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Weekend Wind-Down

Well, another weekend almost over and done with. Aside from further tweaks to Vickie's web site, I've stayed away from posting here; it's a knock-on from that Quantity over Quality posting I did a couple of days ago.

It has, thankfully, been a restful weekend, which is rather ironic when you consider how busy we've been. For starters, it's been a real garden weekend for us both. In between work and Dan dropping over on Friday, I mowed the grass verge and some of the front lawn. Saturday morning saw me finish most of the lawn; I left the edging until today. Vickie spent a good chunk of today hacking away at our bougainvillea in the back yard, with me helping out now and again. It's but a stump of its former self, and the cuttings have been put into two wheelie-bins for pickup on Wednesday. It's a bastard to manage; Vickie's very scratched up from all the thorns on the rotten thing.

... yeah, Dan. He tried to get some Crimson Skies going on Friday night, but Gav had a prior engagement, Boots had been called into work and I, I must confess, wasn't really feeling in the mood for any clicky action, so instead Dan just hung out here for a while. I played some more Red Vs. Blue for him; he only has four episodes left to see.

I also broke down and picked up Homeworld2 earlier that day, so I got to show some of it off to Dan. I've been able to squeeze it into my budget, especially as over-paying last month's phone bill meant I only had $25 to pay this month. It's pretty good fun; obviously a graphical improvement over the original (boy, do the new ships look cool), but I like the real-time build/research queue management they've incorporated. I also really wanted to find out what happens next to my old friend Fleet Command, and the story so far hasn't disappointed at all.

Saturday, after the mowing was done, we dropped into Chatswood. Vickie had a good browse of the bead store and picked up another supply. She's sold a few more pieces at work and has some commissions; she explains the current state of her hobby/sideline much better on her own site. I dropped into the Phantom Zone, but there was nothing new in my standing order.

We were very naughty this weekend; I drove through McDonalds for both yesterday dinner and today's lunch. We've both been so busy this weekend that Vickie was just too tired to cook - and I wanted to spoil her.

And I did a final sneaky yesterday - I downloaded 130 megabytes of Halo PC demo. Aside from its propensity to generate exception errors and crash 50% of the times I load it up, it's fun, the graphics are cleaner, and it's great playing Capture the Flag on the Blood Gulch arena. See, I can pretend I'm Church or Grif, but in a fit of over-excitement I wound up acting like Caboose - the teamkilling fucktard - when I forgot I was on the Red team and started shooting my own team-mates. Yes, oops. Still, I don't think there's enough there to justify paying $90 for a single-player game I already completed twice. If some other people I know got their mitts on it, I might reconsider, but not in any great hurry - I'd prefer to pick up Battlefield 1942 first (which, as is, may well have to wait until after Christmas).

And I know that there are a lot of FPS maniacs out there who reckon that mouse and keyboard are the way Halo was meant to be played all along - but I really like the Xbox controller better. Half the time, I have to look down at the keyboard to make sure I'm pressing the right buttions, I have to "scuff" the mouse (move the mouse left, lift it off the table, move it right, set it down and move it left again) to turn any great distance, and I've never quite liked how you have to position your left hand to govern movement. With the Xbox controller, all of the necessary controls are positioned ergonomically at my fingertips, so I can pay full attention to what's happening on screen.

So I'll save my Halo biccies for Halo 2 on the Xbox, and get my multiplayer jollies with the demo, thank you very much. There's also the Xbox Live service that I might consider to get some Halo 2 multiplayer action, although there's still the issue of drilling holes in the floor to consider. Wireless has dropped, but paying $300-500 just to hook my Xbox up to the Net seems a little too much. (Have any of the other Xbox owners out there broken down and bought Live yet?)

I got three films out for us to watch on Saturday evening. As a sort of mood lightener for the next one, we watched O Brother, Where Art Thou? Vickie hadn't seen it, and thankfully quite enjoyed it, especially the music. We then watched the very well reviewed The Magdalene Sisters. It's a dark little tale (although not unrelentingly so), and I tell you what, if you don't have a low opinion of the way Irish men treat their women, you will after watching this movie. You really want to beat the living tar out of most of the male characters you meet in this film, them and the head Nun of the Magdalene convent, Sister Bridget, played with such holy malice by Geraldine McEwan.

We finished the night off with this supposed romantic comedy called Life Without Dick. Now, let me be honest here; I got this over Vickie's misgivings (it has Harry Connick, Jr. in it, and he usually does good stuff). Frankly, I should have done the sensible thing and listened to Vickie: this was a turkey. The best acting in the whole thing was by Johnny Knoxville of Jackass fame, and believe it or not, that is actually saying something; he really got into his self-serving sleazebag role and played it with relish. Unfortunately the same can't be said about Harry and central character/love interest Sarah Jessica Parker. Try as they might, there just wasn't any chemistry there whatsoever. To be fair on them, they got saddled with some pretty awkward dialogue and situations, and the director didn't keep things moving at all. One third of the plot seemed contrived to get Harry to sing, and while that's not a bad thing - he's very musically talented, with a great set of crooner's pipes - it just made the movie that much more contrived. So unless you just can't get enough of the three leads, leave this one on the shelf.

Finally, the purchase of our plane tickets went through, so we're officially off to the UK on the third! We still have to get the Cazman over to talk about the details of him house-sitting for us; he was crook mid-last week and has been ignoring me on ICQ/MSN Messenger today, so with any luck we'll hook up with him this coming week. The next Heavy Gear: Black Talon episode is on Saturday, so I have to get some prep-work done.

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