Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Red Rings of Death

Seriously, it couldn't have been a better time. I was just about to play some Halo 3 beta tonight, and while it was loading my 360 crashed to a weird brown screen with black vertical lines (the kind you get when you set your PC to a rez that's higher than your monitor can handle). So I turned it off. When I tried turning it back on, I got the infamous "Red Ring 'O Death". It's actually 3 red segiments of death (missing a red segiment in the upper right). So I did this test to figure out the secret error code related to my problem. Turns out it was a general hardware failure due to overheating (error code 0012).. game over!

I guess I should call the Microsoft support line and ask for a repair, but I'm thinking of doing the "towel fix" in the meantime. If it works, I might be able to stave off a repair until after the beta ends and there's nothing to play (I mean, it can't get any worse right?). This sucks. I'm also sending in my DS Lite this very same week too (I think that warranty ends on the 6th of June). What marvelous luck I have!

At least I can still play Starcraft on my PC.. good, old, made-in-1997 Starcraft. Well, it's gonna be a blurry, 640x480 couple of weeks for these spoiled, HD-adjusted eyes.. Maybe I'll just read instead.

More like read about that towel fix..

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lost 3x22 "Through the Looking Glass" Initial Reactions

Well, Season 3 has just come to a close, ending with a definite "wtf" moment. All the Lost junkies out there will have to wait 8 long months before we get our next fix.. Of course, there will still be a few podcasts to listen to, forums to keep the theory pot stirring, and Comic Con in July, but for the most part that's it until 2008. But let's not focus on that deep void that is we've affectionately come to call the "hiatus". Here's my initial reactions to tonight's episode, "Through the Looking Glass".

The big reveal (a.k.a. the "rattlesnake" or top secret scene of season 3) was that future flash-forwards are now fair game. Apparently, Jack and Kate (possibly others survivors) get off the island alive, safe and sound. Will we see more of future-Jack and future-Kate in future seasons? I'm assuming this type of plot device will take the place of flashbacks for a portion of the remaining seasons. We'll probably still see flashbacks as they've become a staple of the Lost formula, but maybe only for new or less prominent characters.

In conjunction with the final scene is the possibility that only Jack and Kate survived until the end. Perhaps they must sacrifice the rest to save themselves or maybe most of the losties got swept away in that tidal wave of xmas 2004 in the Indian Ocean... only Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse know for sure.

Charlie had to die. Most thought it would happen early in Season 4, but I think having it happen now made it more significant. You had a good run there hobbit. Like most central character deaths on Lost, you served your purpose and resolved your story arc.. you had to go.

Damn, that Mikhail "patchy" guy just refuses to die. I think he could out live Jack Bauer in a fatal wounds contest. We haven't seen the last of him. Maybe we'll find out he was also one of the original Dharma employees that, like Ben, converted over to the hostiles' side.

This was the most off-balance I think we've ever seen of the utterly controlling Ben Linus. He's scrambling to remain in power, but that shift is inevitable. Right now, he's the main villain, but I could see Locke taking over being the "man of faith" that he is.

And what was up with Locke seeing a teenage version of Walt? Growth spurts aside, was that a manifestation of the smoke monster, or was Walt projecting himself through "special" means. The creators has said his rapid growth would be explained should he ever return to the show, so I guess we'll have to wait and see.

So, now that Rousseau and her daughter Alex have reunited, will they join the camp or remain mysteriously out in the jungle? I'd like to see them join, but my gut tells me the French lady would never go for it. It would explain the indicated Rousseau flashback for next season, but I don't really know what purpose the two would serve besides helping them fight the Others.

Coming back to the flash-forward.. whose funeral did Jack attend? And why did he mention that his dad, Dr. Christian Shepard was still alive? Is this a hint that Christian Shepard is far from deceased? I sure hope so. How awesome would it be if Jack finds his dad on the island somewhere (can you say Jacob?).

Well.. my biggest question is "What can we expect from Season 4?" Season 1 was the all about survival after the plane crash. Season 2 was about the Hatch. Season 3 was about the Others. What's in store for the next chapter of Lost? Will it revolve around the search for the island by the outside world? Can we expect Penny to play a more important role next year? Will we come to understand the forces that the Others are fighting?

As you can see, I've got more questions than answers, but I guess that's Lost for you. Not that that's a necessarily a bad thing. If this show didn't make me think, I wouldn't be half as addicted to it. Well, that's all I have for now. Stay Lost!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Happiest Place on Earth

I recently had the good fortune to get free tickets to both Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure theme parks, thanks to Thao's best friend Baothy. I hadn't been to the tourist capital of Orange County for at least a few years now, so it was nice to go on a hot summer day and just have a good time.

Oddly enough, I always felt betrayed by my fond childhood memories of the park's size. When I look at it now, Snow White's Castle is tiny and the Matterhorn mountain seems easily scalable. Many of the things I remember have changed to fit the modern era (Chevron Autopia cars, Finding Nemo submarine, Pirates of the Caribbean w/ Jack Sparrow, etc). But some of these changes were a welcome edition, most notably, the remodelled Space Mountain was a much faster blast! It's nice that many of the older rides have remained, albeit, in a new form. As an entertaining attraction, most of the park's glitter has worn off on me, but the nostalgic aspects of the Disneyland of yesteryear still remain with me to this day.

This was also the first time I'd ever been to the "other" Disneyland park, California Adventure. I'd heard the stories and was aware of the identical $63 price tag, but I was surprised to find a handful of enjoyable rides. The California Screamin' rollercoaster was a real treat. One of the most enjoyable rollercoasters I've been on in quite some time, actually. It pretty much has it all; Superman The Ride style start-off, plenty of fast-turning G-forces, a loop, a drop, zero-G bunny hops, and surprisingly, a soundtrack you can hear the whole way through. The Big Foot Rapids-type ride was dizzying fun. The Soaring Over California ride was pure relaxation, and a fine way to end the night.

It might have been the fact that our tickets were free, but all in all, we had a great time. Here to hoping our Disney World trip in August will be just as enjoyable.