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Squared Sevens Blogging Corp.
Wednesday, 24 August 2005
Close Call
Scary moment at work today. I was at the front of the store getting carts and a customer who was sitting outside got my attention. He said he wasn't feeling well and thought he might be having a heart attack. I talked to him for a second and asked if he needed an ambulance. I went inside and informed the management, who called the ambulance. After a few minutes, the first responder from the Fire Dept. showed up, followed by the ambulance. Although I was back running the register by this point, I later heard that the customer was fine and just had high blood pressure. Still, that's a little bit more serious than paper or plastic.

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 11:55 PM EDT
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Sunday, 21 August 2005
Blue Ridgin'
Recently I went with my family and friends up to the mountains. We went on the Blue Ridge Parkway over to the Moses Cone house, Linville Falls, and Mt. Mitchell. It was real nice to get away from the traffic of suburban Mooresville and enjoy the clean mountain air. In fact, I don't know why we don't do it more often. Anyways, I posted a couple of pictures from the trip on flickr. Why don't you go check them out here? And find some time to go up to the mountains one day. You'll feel a lot better afterwards, I can gurantee it.

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 10:23 PM EDT
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Game Over
It was the end of a 12-year personal quest for me today as I finally, finally, played through and beat Final Fantasy II for the Super Nintendo. It all started back in '93 when I rented the game from the old Box Office Video that used to be off of Highway 29. After being in a Dragon Warrior phase for many years, I played FFII and it absolutely blew me away. The graphics, music, story, and game design were all completely unlike anything I'd ever seen before. I think I played it so much my mom threatened bodily harm, because I remember sneaking in play sessions while she was outside conversing with the neighbors. Anyways, remember, back then you couldn't just buy whatever game you wanted whenever- cartridges were really expensive, and by '93 the game was pretty much out of print anyway. There were certainly no $20 greatest hits sections available back in 1993. So I played it and rented it whenever I could, but never really got too far in the game.

Then, around 97-98 I finally had a chance to purchase the game from the University Media Play (RIP) used for $30, back when they briefly got into the used games business. It was more than I usually put down for a used game, but I considered it money well spent. Then through high school and college, I had the game, but never went to the trouble of beating it. Why did it take me so long to beat the game once I had it? I guess because there is a lot of inertia with RPGs. Once you get started with one, it's tough to stop, but if you stop in the middle of a game, it can be tricky to pick up right where you left off. Another factor could be that I didn't play RPGs for several years after being burned out on the genre. Those factors, combined with my desire to play both newer titles meant FFII got pushed to the side.

Finally, sometime this summer I took stock of the situation and decided to go for it. The battery backups in these old games often don't last more than 10 years- if I wanted to beat the game in its original condition, it was now or never. And tonight, after a couple of tough fights, I did it. And after all these years, the game still impresses me with its clever design and excellent presentation. Now I'm proud to say that I conquered the beast- FFII is done. But it sure took long enough to beat a 25-hour game.

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 10:34 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 16 August 2005
What I'm Watching
Back in the day, it used to be AMC was one of those multitudes of cable channels that rapidly got skipped through during channel surfing, just another click between ESPN and the Weather Channel. Face it, the mostly black and white flicks from the 40s and 50s they used to show aren't enough to keep kids' interest these days. But recently it's changed into something younger folks can get into, showing more action packed fare and even some more modern favorites. Any channel that features Blade Runner and Pale Rider is alright by me.

There are even some nice special editions of movies that are shown. Take for example the recent "Complete James Bond" special they have been showing recently, featuring all of the Bond Films up until "License to Kill" in restored widescreen versions. They also did a restored version of "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" with some redubbed sections that was at least an interesting experiment and deserves some praise. Then one day you'll turn the channel on expecting a familiar movie and see something completely new like "Hell and High Water". Either way, it's almost always interesting. So if you enjoy movies and happen to be channel surfing one night, try AMC. You might be watching a lot more movies on TV than you thought.

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 10:59 PM EDT
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Thursday, 4 August 2005
What's the NHL Coming To?
What's the NHL coming to?

With the league just coming back after a year-long lockout, I expected to see some strange sights. But this is just nuts. Chris Pronger and Mike Peca to the Oilers? Sergei Conchar to the Penguins? Bobby Holik in Atlanta? Brian Leetch to Boston? It seems like a computer simulated season thats gone out of control.

Despite all these transactions, the new CBA might have hurt the Avs worst of all. Adam Foote going to Columbus of all places is an insult, but Peter Forsberg's departure to Philly is a body blow to the future of the franchise and signifies an end of an era. These two guys were rocks solid for Colorado during their run since the mid-90s. Now, they are gone thanks to free agency. Well, hey, "it's a whole new game"- which apparently means the Avs are gonna have a real reversal of fortune coming up.

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 11:44 AM EDT
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Saturday, 30 July 2005
Strange Days
Today was just weird. It all began when the electricity started going on and off throughout that about two AM. When the power cuts off at night, my upstairs bedroom gets quite warm, which makes good sleep difficult. Then because the power cut off, my alarm didn't work, so I didn't wake up until really late and I didn't even know what time it was. Then, the weather. After weeks of the blazing sun, today was a washout with steady rain and gray clouds all day. It was quite a shock to have dark rooms in the house during the daytime. Plus the cable was broke, so it was not only quiet it was dark too. Just a weird day today, at least my man Carlos got me free tickets to the Comedy Zone which was nice, even if Ri-Ra's has a ridiculous cover charge (I didn't even want to go to that dive anyway).

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 1:05 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 26 July 2005
One Year Ago
It's been one year since I came home from Japan, sat down, and ate a large bowl of Cheerios. Time flies far too fast...

A year anniversary is important to me because I feel a year is the most significant period of time.It really is what I measure everything in life by. Whenever I'd think of Japan, I could always think, at least that was less than a year ago. Now, I can't say that anymore. At least it should be less than one year before I can go back.

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 1:08 AM EDT
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Sunday, 24 July 2005
Various and Sundry Posts
These are various posts I've been kicking around with for awhile, and I just decided to put them all up at the same time. Hope you enjoy.

I don't normally like to brag about my Ebay winnings too much, but this one I got recently is too good to pass up. I won a lot of 50+ Famitsu magazines from this Japanese guy a couple of weeks ago, and it might be my best Ebay purchase yet- 50+ issues of the magazine shipped for $76.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

What is Famitsu, you ask? Short for Famicom Tsushin (Famicom Communcations), it's Japan's biggest weekly videogame magazine with a circulation of 800,000. It's got news, previews, sales reports, tons of strategy, a humorous letters section, contests, and its famous four-person cross review system. There's even some Movies and food reports that pop in there from time to time. Basically it's chock full of Japanese gaming goodness, for only about 320 yen a pop. And on top of that, they're pretty good for practicing Japanese too.

I had read about Famitsu previously on the web thanks to guys like Video-Fenky before I went to Japan, so I already knew about it and was excited to be able to purchase it. The first one I got was the 10/17/03 issue which featured a report on the 2003 Tokyo Game Show. From there, I probably bought about a dozen issues in total, but due to space and weight constraints I had to throw some out at Narita (sniff). Once I got home, I always monitered the usual channels to see if I could prop up my collection. Now, I've got about 65 issues from the year 1995-2005,most of it coming from this latest lot on Ebay. Now, if I could only find somewhere to put them...

Breaking Game Nerd News Alert

Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, last year's hottest game, just had its rating changed from M to AO due to explicit sex scenes hidden within the game. In case you didn't know, AO (Adults Only) is basically forbidden territory for mainstream games, with most major retailers refusing to carry games with that rating. This decision and the ensuing backlash will probably be a huge blow to not only Rockstar but probably the entire "mature" games industry as well. The fact that this explicit material was hidden away in the game is only going to make those in control even more suspicious. Expect the shit to really hit the fan now from the Senators and interests groups. All I can say is, at least it's not an election year.

The Hell?

From imdb.com

Camcord a Movie; Lose Your Camera

"Security staffs in Tokyo theaters are confiscating the video cameras of anyone caught trying to use them to record a movie on the screen, the Tokyo daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported today (Wednesday). Moreover, the newspaper reported, notices warning patrons that filming inside a theater is banned are being posted in Tokyo theaters, and the major Japanese film distributors have cooperated to produce an animated short film that is being screened throughout the country showing a girl shedding tears that turn into skulls, as an announcer says, "Films are stolen, and so are impressive moments. Precious things are being tainted."

Strange.

Finally, I posted some pics from the Charlotte Eagles/ CD Chivas USA game that I wrote about earlier. Check them out here. I apologize for the quality of these pics, I really need to get a better camera. (Dad, are you reading this?)




Posted by nc/frodaddy at 12:45 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 24 July 2005 12:47 AM EDT
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Friday, 22 July 2005
Generation Zero
It started with flip flops in the White House. A few days ago I was watching an NBC News report about how a women's championship lacrosse team wore flip flops to their photo-op with the Prez at the White House. Big deal, right? Well, one of the analysts said how, for Generation Y or whatever you want to call kids these days, wearing (dressy) flip flops in formal settings their form of rebellion. Compare this with the ruckus-raising antics of the 60s, and those of Generation X. Is that the best we can do? Flip Flops?

That little comment led me to reconsider a lot about people in my age group. It's not that we haven't done anything, it is that it seems we don't have the desire to do anything. The M.O. is, just stay low, buy whatever's on TV, do what your peer groups expects you to, go to college cause it's "the thing to do", and get a job where you make a lot of money. Outside of white kids listening to rap, "Rock the boat" is certainly not on the list (and even that isn't a big deal anymore I would argue).

We can't even wear our slacker labels with pride like Gen X can. At least they were serious about it. Nowadays, don't step out of line, and be sure to look good while not doing anything. Did the economic boom years of the late 90's make everyone complacent? Is it the country's increasingly superficial, cookie-cutter ethos to blame? Even with the events of Sep. 11, there is still a shocking apathy of young people towards politics and the electoral process. It's a safe bet most college kids can't even tell you who their state senators are, never mind the details of the Iraq war. I'm just concerned that if people get complacent, and allow things to happen that shouldn't, that could be as damaging in the long run as any rebellious activity.

Hell, I know these arguments are nothing new. These tags apply to probably all groups of young people and have been said by old people for generations. But for me, this was a revelation of something that I'd felt for awhile but never really made the connection. I'm concerned when we look back at ourselves, we're not going to have stood for anything except a sharp increase in iPod sales. Now, I'm not recommending that everyone get weeded out or start a radical political movement, but just do something, dammit!

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 1:03 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 22 July 2005 1:08 AM EDT
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Thursday, 14 July 2005
Showdown in Davidson
Tonight I went with my Dad to watch a great soccer match at Davidson college between the Charlotte Eagles and CD Chivas USA of Major League Soccer. This was for the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open, which pits all U.S. Soccer affiliated teams against each other in a single elimination tournament. These tournaments, such as the FA cup in England, provide a great opportunity to see upsets due to their open nature. And we almost saw one tonight, as the Eagles of the USL second division came just this close to knocking off an MLS squad. In the end, they just didn't have enough to pull it off.

Things got off to a quick start. After Chivas scored in the third minute, Jacob Coggins took a long ball from the keeper and caught the Chivas goalie out of position with a nice touch goal to even the score. From then, the play was evenly matched as Charlotte held their own for the rest of the first half. In the second half, Chivas came out strong but Charlotte weathered the Chivas attack and scored in the 80th minute to go up 2-1 with a great upset seemingly within reach. Unfortunately for the Eagles, Chivas finally got through three minutes later to send the game to OT.

In the two overtime periods, Chivas carried the play throughout, with Charlotte only able to generate a minimal amount of ball control and offense. I guess this was where the differences in the level of play really caught up with Charlotte. Chivas players seemed better conditioned, less winded, and always had an answer for the Eagles' counterattacks. Regardless, Charlotte held on to the tie thanks to the play of their goalie, Chris McClellan, who truly was the star of the match.

McClellan played like a man possessed, making incredible saves time after time and a few of which I truly could not believe my eyes. Undoubtedly his sharp play kept the game closer than it had any right to be. In the end, it was a routine low shot in the last minute of the second overtime which bounced of his chest to lead to an easy Chivas goal and victory. What a crushing way to lose a hard fought and closely contested game.

This game could have been a great resume builder for the Eagles franchise and could have really helped build their profile in Charlotte. What the worst part may be is that had they won, the Los Angeles Galaxy and America's top player Landon Donovan would have come to Charlotte for a high-stakes showdown to be played at UNCC. I suppose it was not meant to be. Still, a great night of soccer.

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 1:04 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 14 July 2005 1:01 AM EDT
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