Tuesday, September 26, 2006

O' Nintendo

So today, Nicole and I had the opportunity to go visit Nintendo thanks to Wing Cho.

The main attraction is the Nintendo Corporate store. They sell alot of merchandize stuff. First the usual Hats, shirts, then it goes to things like Nintendo themed games like Uno, Monopoly, Dominos...
And then you start seeing the stuff you usually find in China Towns... The little figurines, Pens and Plushies!

Unfortunately no pictures of the store are allowed, but we were allowed to take pictures of the other things.

First off is the Little Nintendo Museum. Starting from when Nintendo use to make trading cards all the way to the current generation with out missing a step (as far as I'm aware anyway)

Picture of me next to the Game and Watch Gallery display.

The NES Display with ROB the Robot!

A Game Man! Well no, the big buttons don't work :(

They also had a "marketing" section where they have displays of how stores should setup there displays. In this section they also had a F-zero Arcade machine! Oh man was it fun... you have the strap yourself in to the seat as it tilts around as you play. So much fun but I wasnt very good at it.

So I did end up getting a bunch of stuff from the Nintendo Store but I did hold myself back a bit. Nicole got her self a Kirby Plushy (OMG the cute!)

I got my self Nintendo Monopoly, a hat (to replace the one I lost...) some games and accessories yada yada yada :D

Oh did I mention the Store was really really cheap?!? I'm gonna have a Hay Day come Wii launch...

If anyone in Calgary wants anything Nintendo related for Christmas time this year, say the word and I'll see what I can do

- Mike Out

Monday, September 25, 2006

Welcome to My Humble Abode

So here's a really abbreviated version of events after day 2 of the move.

On August 25, we finally got keys to the condo at around 5:30pm. Appearently there was some mixup so then the realtor never got told that the place was finally ready. We were hoping to have the place early afternoon >_<. We moved our stuff inside, and did a few errands before turning in for the night. We spent the night allergic to the place. We assumed that the former owners had a pet or something because we ended up vacuuming a lot of hair. (Later on, we received a dog & cat magazine in the mail)

The next day we went to PAX; Mike placed 5th out of 100 in a tetris DS tournament. Gooooooo Mike! His sister arrived later in the day and we packed the rest of the stuff into our condo unit. The next few days were filled with shopping for furniture & food, buildng furniture, vaccuuming, and all that stuff. (Mike bought a ton of Banana Republic clothes... I think he owns more clothing than I do).

September 1st, we attended a Microsoft party for Windows Vista. Then we headed off to the welcome event for DigiPen. After that we went along Alki Beach and later headed off to the Crab Pot. This is a seafood place that has massive amounts of food, and they dump it all onto the table. Mike says "you grab a bib and start eating." Unfortunately somehow I became ill and had a fever. So while everyone ate at crabpot, I slept in the car.

Anyhow, on to the stuff you all wanted, here are the pictures (along with some cost information) for your viewing pleasure.

Here you can see the entrance to our place. There's really not much to note here I guess.

Floor Mat: ??
Shoe Rack: $18.99
Total: $18.99+

Living Room
This is ourliving room. As you can see, on the day I took this picture, we connected Mike's laptop to our snazzy TV. We were watching some episodes of Lost :D.

Couch: $499.99
Coffee Table: $29.99
Place Mat: $0.99
Television: $824.98m
Television Stand: $99.99
Floor Lamp: $14.99
Frame for poster: $24.99
Total: $1495.92

Dining Room
The table here can be used for eating. We can have up to 4 guests here! (we have folding chairs)

4x4 Shelf: $149.00
Shelf Boxes x3: 29.97
Table: $149.00
Placemat x4: $3.96
Chairs x4: $159.98
Total: $491.91

Yummy stuff to eat comes from here.

Garbage Can: $29.99
Canister Set: $29.99
Dish Rack: $12.99
Cutlery holders for dish rack x2: $7.98
Total: $80.95

This is the bathroom in the main hallway. I'm afraid I don't know how much the stuff cost in here since Elaine paid for it. (Thanks!)

This is where we spend our time on our computers. Mike took a lot of time trying to pick out that chair of his. I don't know how many stores we went to and chairs we sat on. He kept saying how much he misses his chair he left in Calgary.

Desks (one left, one right): $398.00
Chair Mats x2: $33.98
Desk Lamps x2: $33.98
Letter Tray: $9.99
Hanging Folders: $10.99
Mike's Chair: $169.99
Nicole's Chair: $119.99
Waste Basket: $3.99
Total: $780.91

Master Bedroom
This is where we sleep :)

Bed (plus delivery & tax): $686.66
Bed Sheets: $79.99
Duvet & shams: $39.99
Floor Lamp: $7.99
Pillows (4): $30.87
Dresser: $179.00
Bedside Tables x2: $99.98
Table Lamp x2: $39.98
Total: $1164.46

Master Bathroom

Bath Mat: $17.99
Bathroom Set: $15.99
Shower Rack: ??
Waste Basket: $1.99
Total: $35.97+

As you can tell, we have a very IKEA home. Something interesting to note is that the IKEA here is actually labelled as a tourist attraction on the signs on the interstate. Appearently, it's the only one in the northwest states. This IKEA had a MASSIVE parking lot, and is massive itself. I think if you just walked through the whole store at a normal shopping place it would probably take you an hour to get through it all. You can check it out on google maps. Go to sattelite view and I think it's the three buildings above where it has it marked; 2 are parking, 1 is the store. I guess we were spoiled having one right in Calgary.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Digipen Week 3

So this week we did our game pitch / presentation thingy. I didnt present my best since it was totally unreheared but it was good still. Prof had a couple remarks about our game being difficult to do. But I imagine that with the way we've outlined it, it'll be very easy to scale back items if things get rough.

The other classes are uh going... GFX (CS241) we got our first assignment due in 2 weeks... I finished it in 2 hours. It was made easy since the Prof gave us a frame work to start with and since I'm familiar with gfx and opengl.

Animation and modeling we finally got our first assignment and its to model a humvee / hummer when given a texture map. I'll post my crappy model when it gets done :)

Math is time consuming, nothing to report there...

Had 2 really good lecture things this week thou. First one was on Tuesday. It runs from 7pm to 8pm and is now a required thing to attend. It was a xbox game developer and this week he was talking about networking... really good lecture imo. Puts in to perspective the different type of decisions that are made when comparing game development to normal application software.

The other was something that happends once a month and has a game developer speak about whatever... This month had the developer of Supreme Commander, a new RTS game thats coming out. Talked about the evolving game development process and talked about how games use to be made and how they are made now. Was a very good listen.

Got involved in the Super Smash Bros Melee club at the school. They meet once a week on friday to play. People destroy me at it but its sooo much fun. I dont do to bad against most people, but the really good me beat me fairly easily.

As for Non Digipen News..
I want a Nintendo Wii, comes out Novemember 19th... seems so long away
- Mike out

Monday, September 18, 2006

Digipen Week 2

Hmmm whats there to report...

So I got my GAM240 group. Got in the "B" team oh the possible A, B and C groups.

Our group decided to make a 3D game based on the ability to manipulate the characters Local / Personal gravity. Its aimed to be a Puzzle action game. More on this later as details develop.

Animation is going a bit slow... only a little bit of formal teaching so far, still just getting familiar with the (horrible) 3D Studio Max interface.

Graphics is pretty lame at the moment... total review. I have the option of not having to take this course but then I need to find a course to replace it, else they kick me out of the country! (Student VISA requires so many credits per semester). Kinda late to find a replacement unfortunetly :( Atleast it'll be easy I guess.

Linear Algebra is pretty good so far but alot of work too. Weekly semi long assignments and a graphical, curve drawing project that spans many parts. We're to mathamatically generate a curve given input points and draw it to the screen using a variety of curve creation algorithms. We got a framework for the project from the TA, but its in C#. So I gotta learn a bit of that to figure it out. This stuff isnt really difficult, just time consuming but thats just the way it goes.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Ronald MacDonald rides a segway and other more recent news

On Saturday, Mike & I took a trip to Seattle. I have to say that the roads in the states can be a little crazy. As Mike put it, sometimes it looks like it's a roller coaster. I took a picture from the car which I think demonstrates how scary the roads can look sometimes.

Anyhow, the whole point of our trip was to visi the sci-fi museum and the space needle. We also wandered around the area a little bit to take a look around (after first driving around a bit to try and find some cheaper parking). This area seems to be where all the touristy attractions are located (sci-fi museum, experience music project, science center, space needle, seattle center, some small amusement park, etc.). It was during this wandering around that I spotted Ronald MacDonald riding a segway. Now that's something that you won't see in Calgary. Ignore the kids in the picture, they're just some people that were posing.

Now, the sci-fi museum shares a building with the Experience Music Project (something we'll have to go to another day. I have to say this is one of the weirdest buildings I've ever seen. According to wikipedia, someone out there thought it resembles a melted electric guitar... I fail to see the resemblance myself. Especially when looking at it from above; to me, it looked like a bunch of mismatched blobs, but then I've never been a connoisseur of architecture.

The museum itself contains some cool props and costumes from various science fiction movies and tv series, as well as showcases of some science fiction novels. There's also some stuff on the history of science and science fiction. It was kinda neat to see the stuff and I thought that my dad might enjoy going through the place. He's probably also read a lot of the books that they had there, I know I read a few of them. I'd post pictures of some of what was in the museum & hall of fame, but we weren't supposed to bring cameras in there. I snuck mine in anyhow because I didn't trust them with my camera, but I was good and didn't take any photos just like they requested.

Afterwards, we had a snack to fill our grumbling tummies, before we went up the space needle. Not really anything to note here other than I got fudge, and it was yummy.

So on to the space needle. This was pretty cool and offered some nice views... if it weren't foggy or smoggy or cloudy or whatever it was we would've been able to see the mountains. After getting off the elevator I spent the whole time feeling rather wobbly up there, it was a really weird sensation. Appearently there's a revolving restaurant right below the observation deck, something similar to what they have in the Calgary tower, I suppose.

I took a lot of pictures up at the top to make sure I got as many angles as I could.
The telescopes that they had up there were free too. I thought that was nice since they already charged you $14 to up the tower. At least they didn't try to milk you for every single cent by then charging you another 50 cents or so to look through a telescope for a minute.

So after that we went home, made dinner and all that jazz. I will conclude this post with another picture of Mike, with the space needle behind him. Where am I you ask? Why I'm behind the camera. (if you want more pictures, or higher resolution, you'll have to ask)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Moving - Part 2

So now I'll talk about day two of our moving trip (August 23, 2006).

02:00 - We were woken up by some rather rude people a bit before 2 in the morning. I don't know what they were doing but they went stomping and yelling through the hallways and down the stairs and out the building... and then we could still hear them outside for a bit. Then they seemed to quiet down, but just as I was about to fall asleep again they came back inside and the yelling and stomping started all over again. Luckily the noise stopped after a few minutes. I just hoped that the car and allour stuff was ok.
07:30 - The alarm went off since we were planning to get a nice early start, but Mike said he was too tired to wake up yet (must've been the rude awaking @ 2 am)
08:30 - We got up
09:15 - we checked out and packed our suitcases back into the car, which I might add was a-ok. None of our stuff appeared to be missing either.
09:26 - Got onto the i-90
09:34 - Post Falls
09:38 - We passed a truck that was filled with chickens. There were feathers flying everywhere!
09:44 - Spokane Valley... and some time or other we passed through Spokane too
10:32 - Albert's County
11:04 - Passed by exit 196 (wherever that leads to)
11:10 - Passed by a grass fire
11:11 - 189 miles left to Seattle
11:17 - Stopped at a Chevron for gas just before Moses Lake. We also had lunch at McDonald's. I ate a Fruit & Walnut salad (which I thought was pretty tasty, but maybe I was just hungry) and Mike had a snack wrap
11:55 - Driving on the i-90 again
11:57 - Drove by Moses Lake. There was a person on a bridge here that appeared to be fishing.
12:25 - We passed by a canyon. Mike dropped his sunglass clip around this time and spent the next while squinting while driving.
12:29 - Crossed the Columbia River.

12:40 - There was another grass fire by the interstate. We saw a lot of Fire trucks travelling in the opposite direction a bit after passing this. Presumably, they were going to put out the fire.
12:52 - Ellensburg
13:24 - Easton. Mike stopped to find his sunglass clip here. It was awfully bright out that day and I'm surprised he waited that long before stopping to find it.
13:31 - Entered Wanatchee National Forest
14:09 - Passed the turnoffs for Auburn & Tacoma
14:20 - Entered Bellevue
14:45 - We arrived at Alvin's (the place we stayed at until we got our own place) after getting a little lost first
16:00 - Mike's realtor came by with some forms for Mike to fill out
16:30ish - We navigated to Mike's bank branch using our trusty map
17:00ish - Tested out soe matresses at Sleep Country & Sears. Then we shared a Chicken Fajita for dinner at Red Robin
18:45 - We took a look at our furture place and explored the mall that resides across the street.
19:07 - Took a look around the Redmond Town Centre. This mall is just a few blocks away from our place. Here we got cell phones from T-Mobile. Afterwards we headed back to Alvin's place.

So before we went to sleep, we found a rather large spider wandering around the basement. Our conversation went something like this:

Mike: "Ewww, that's a huge spider"
Nicole: "Where? ... ooohh So kill it or something"
Mike: "With what???"
Nicole: "I dont' know, some toilet paper?"
Mike: "Toilet paper is too small!"

So in the end I got the toilet paper and squished it myself.

Moving - Part 1

On August 22, Mike & I left for the big move. Our original planned departure time was 8:00, but we didn't get to leave until around 10:40. Why the wait you ask? Well, we had to wait for the form that DigiPen sent overnight to arrive. So, until this happened we chilled at Mike's house.

The cops seemed to be out in full force on the roads that day. Along bow trail we almost had a disasterous start when a cop came out and... pulled over the guy that was behind us (don't speed in construction zones).

So here's a timeline of the first day of the trip

11:05 - Last stop before elaving the city
11:20 - Left the city limits.
11:44 - Passed through an odometer test strip and Mike's odometer is ok.
11:52 - Nanton
12:12 - Claresholm
12:20 - The radio signal starts getting too weak :(
12:35 - Fort Macleoad. We stopped for lunch here; amazingly, we couldn't find a Tim Horton's so we went to the subway for lunch. Before leaving we filled up at Petro Canada.

13:13 - Back on the highway. There's a lot of windmills in this area it seems.

13:51 - Lundbreck
13:59 - Municipality of Crowsnest
14:04 - The Frank Slide

14:20 - The Alberta-BC border
14:33ish - Sparwood
14:52 - Fernie. Here was the first Tim's we saw outside of Calgary
15:13 - Elko
15:22 - Galloway
15:23 - Jaffray
15:50 - Cranbrook. Stopped for a snack at Tim Horton's and a bathroom break here. There was a big stretch of construction happening along the main road,
16:27 - Back on the highway again.
16:41 - Moyie
16:54 - Switched time zones
16:03 - Yahk
16:15 - US border crossing. While it wasn't remarkably hard to cross, it did take quite a while for them to process us. We ended up with a trainee (which is fine, I approve of training people) who used the hunt'n'peck method to type on the keyboard. Everything he entered took sooooooooo long >_< Not only that, he had to use google in order to find the sevis website.
17:05 - Made it across the border
17:25 - Passed by a scenic overlook. I took some pictures, but none of them turned out.
17:27 - Two dead deer on the road :(
17:40 - Bonners Ferry
18:15 - Ponderay (estimated population 638)
18:17 - Stop for gas at a Conoco
18:26 - Sandpoint
19:03 - Passed by Silverwood theme park
19:30ish - Coeur d'Alene. Here we decided to stop for the night.
20:00ish - Checked into a Super 8 (room 353) not too far from the i-90, and went for dinner at a place called JB's.
22:00 - Brought our suit cases into the room and watched a little TV before going to sleep.

More to come later.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Week 1 - School's Started

Saturday Sept 10th - Week 1

School started this week. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday... No Classes on Fridays!

So orientation consisted of a C++ exam for all "Pre-Masters" students... 10 failed 3 passed. I got 51.3%! woot. Since I passed I do not have to take there advanced C++ programming course (CS225) but I'm going to just sit in anyway.

During the first week of courses we had to take another C++ exam so the prof can "Balance" groups and by balance I mean stack. Generally they want everyone in a group to be similiarly skilled. They've had it in previous years were very skilled people were teamed up with others of not so good skill and the skilled people ended up doing all the work... (Hmm doesnt think sound familiar...)

So the courses I'm taking are a project course (Gam 240), Linear Algebra (Mat 290), Animation (GAT300) and Computer Graphics (CS241).

Linear algebra is like a hybrid of linear algebra and modeling. Basically learning all the math that goes behind curves and surfaces.

Animation is basically learning how to use 3D studio Max, which is pretty neat in itself

Graphics so far seems like graphics from the UofC. So learning how graphics work and all the jazz.

- Mike

Hooray for the internet!

After a few weeks without the internet and feeling a little disconnected from the world, at long last we have an internet connection. Now I shall have to work on posting all about what happened over the last little while...