3:39 PM
It is Halloween.

I am Doug Ballantine.

Auto/Boat/Home/Life Insurance agent.

1983 Top Sales Associate - #1 Western US Region

-Brett #

10:49 AM
I've beaten Shadow of the Colossus twice now - once normally and again on hard mode. I guess I'll try and do the time trials now.

The game's just so short! And easy! 'Hard Mode' should have been the normal difficulty setting.

However! That doesn't change the fact that it's a beautiful, totally fun, and absolutely unique game with some of the best music I've ever heard and some of the most gorgeous visuals I've ever seen my PlayStation pump out. Some not-so-obvious references to ICO, another of my favorite PS2 games, were nice touches.

In fact after seeing the ending I'm pretty sure that Shadow is probably meant to be a prequel to ICO in some form or another. Anyway, it's worth a play if you consider yourself to be an appreciator of well-designed games and not just a player of them!

-Brett #


7:52 AM
Wow! Mr. Sulu is gay?

That still doesn't explain why he's such a horrible actor. I want answers, people!

-Brett #


4:17 PM
15 of the top 31 most reliable cars for 2006 are Toyotas. I've said it for years - Toyota makes the best cars!

Le scoop.

-Brett #


4:11 PM
To follow up from my post yesterday it turns out that low-level electrical pulses applied to your ears can affect your sense of balance, effectively guiding you to walk in a certain direction.

Researchers in Japan have already developed a remote control/helmet system that basically does just that!

This is either sorta spooky or TOTALLY AWESOME.

-Brett #

10:21 AM
Google Video just threw up a bunch of interviews with TV legends like Sherwood Schwartz, Bob Newhart, Carl Reiner, and even William Shatner. The interviews were conducted by the Archive of American Television and are available in their entirety, completely unedited. The interviewees talk about their lives and their work - and they save you from having to read a biography written by someone else years later down the road.

I've been watching the interview with Fred Rogers. It's a little over four hours long, but I just love to hear that guy talk.

Here's the complete list of interviews.

-Brett #


4:27 PM
The human brain is capable of staggering feats! But unless you're born a savant or incur some type of brain 'damage' throughout your lifetime, most of us will never have the ability to tap into or harness even a fraction of the mental powers that we all carry with us.

One researcher claims that a series of imperceptible low-level electrical pulses is all it takes to trigger your brain to do wonderful things, at least on a small scale.

Based on this article I predict that someday we will start seeing people wearing electrode-equipped hats powered by 9 volt batteries. These brain enhancers will be as common as baseball caps are today.

Just you wait and see.

-Brett #


4:05 PM
Attention Internet! This is not a picture of me!

-Brett #


2:45 PM
I discovered this morning that my VCR had died. I put a tape in and nothing but a horrible grinding noise came out. The tape won't even eject.

That's life I guess. Granted, the VCR has been sitting unused next to my TV doing the 12:00 thing for the past three years, so I'm not too broken up about it.

It's just one less device cluttering up a shelf and a TV input. Just goes to show that in the DVR and DVD age it's not uncommon for a VCR to go completely unused for three freaking years.

-Brett #


11:15 AM
You know what feeling I miss from my days as a wee lad? The feeling that you get when you take sharp pair of scissors and cut through construction paper.

It's like biting into a crisp apple.

-Brett #


9:25 AM
Today's the day...

The reviews are already coming in, and things are looking good! MetaCritic has the roundup.

-Brett #


10:21 AM
Tammy had to work in San Diego this weekend, so I drove down after work Friday to hang out with her. While I've been to San Diego a few times before, I'd never actually driven through downtown. It was pretty nice!

Saturday we hung out at the Miramar air show.

Here's the Nobel Biocare booth. It provided some much-needed shade on Saturday-

A few random shots-

This is actually a Harrier hovering above the airstrip before strafing left and right across the crowd. The Harrier is the perennial fan favorite, and it's easy to see why when you see them in action.

Unfortunately a cameraphone can't do justice to aircraft flying at 600 miles per hour. It was hard enough getting the jets in the shot in the first place.

Those little specks are actually the Blue Angels!

-Brett #


12:02 PM
It drives me crazy when people don't pronounce the H in 'human'. We're not yoo-man beings, people! We're humans! Know how to pronounce your own species at least.

It's a slow week for me.

-Brett #


9:26 AM
Shadow of the Colossus is just seven days away from retail, and 1up.com is running a week-long feature to get you PUMPED UP!


-Brett #


10:51 AM
A Scientologist birth is like no other.
Tom and Katie are likely to follow the church's "silent birth" guidelines during delivery, which means no music and no talking during the birth, which also means no screaming during the pains of labor.

-Brett #


10:00 PM
Mario64 is a game near and dear to my heart. It was the reason I bought a Nintendo 64. Even though it may have been the first title released for the N64 it's probably still the best game the platform has ever seen.

Normally you'd need to collect 70 stars throughout the game before you'd be allowed to climb the endless staircase to battle Bowser and finish it off. This could take hours.

However! There are a few map glitches in the game, and if you take advantage of them you can finish the whole thing with just 16 stars in a little less than 20 minutes.

I know, I know. It sounds crazy. I hear ya. That's what I thought too. Then I watched this video and it all made sense.

Imagine what would happen if you told Data from Star Trek to play a video game as fast as he possibly could without dying once. This video is just like that. It's insane.

Now, videos like this are nothing new. If you search Google for "speed run" you'll find a ton. What's unique about this one is how every known glitch in Mario64 is exploited perfectly to produce an absolutely flawless play-through of what I used to think was a really hard game!

-Brett #

9:28 AM
I thought this was kind of silly.

Yahoo, a site that nobody really uses, just bought upcoming.org, another site that nobody really uses.

-Brett #


7:51 AM
I've been up since 4:30 this morning so bear with me if I sound a little loopy.

"Retexturizing" is the process of deconstructing a Nintendo 64 ROM and replacing all of its textures with hand-made, higher-resolution versions. The end result is a game that looks great when played in an emulator.

Purists may argue that this is sacrilege, but it's hard to argue with results like this:

Notable projects include Mario64, a cel-shaded Mario64, and of course Zelda.

-Brett #

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