Tamakun's Journal Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Tamakun" journal:

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February 9th, 2014
11:07 pm


Arcade Café
Back last year (a couple of months ago), we had a Movie Night where we watched a pair of movies, one of which was Wreck-it Ralph. Ever since I had that night, I kept thinking about Flitwick's Arcade, and how there aren't any arcades in Toronto anymore. (At least, not ones that I'm aware of.)

I've been thinking a lot about whether or not if I want to run a Café with arcade machines in it. I don't even know if I want to pursue my Cuppies or baked goods anymore (I fear I won't be able to keep up the pace) but I still want a place for people to relax and enjoy a coffee, internet, and maybe a game or two.

When I was little, I remember once being pulled away from a session of Donkey Kong Jr at the supermarket as my Mom was done shopping and the store was closing. I never played that particular game again. I think I need resolution.

Out at one of my grandmother's cottages, we once took the boat out for gas and I caught my first glimpse of a Baby Pac-Man machine. This is a combination Video-Pinball machine, one of the very few machines of its kind. The gameplay isn't perfect (the ghosts are a lot more difficult than the traditional Pac-Man games and you need to play pinball in order to enable the power-ups) but I always wanted one of those machines because of its uniqueness.

When I own my own café, I want four arcade machines: Fix-it Felix Jr, Baby Pac-Man, Donkey Kong Jr., and maybe another machine that I would swap out from time to time.

Now, unfortunately, The Pinball Café that was located in Parkdale closed down due to several different reasons, of which there's no clear answer as to which was the real answer - they were in the midst of a battle with the City for a Zoning Variation, never got a Business License (because of said Zoning License issue), the City was doing a study in Parkdale and there's a specific Parkdale law about not having more than two arcade machines in a food establishment... so I definitely wouldn't want to set up shop in Parkdale.

I keep thinking about a coffee franchise, something like a Java Joe's, something that I wouldn't need to make anything other than a few sandwiches and snacklike things. Right now though, I just need to focus on staying at Bell and get myself comfortable before I launch myself into something else.

Not that I haven't thought about this much or anything... ;)

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December 26th, 2013
11:04 pm


Merry Christmas!
Hi everyone!

I bet you're all stunned that I'm updating, but I'm still alive and kicking!

I wanted to wish everyone a wonderful belated Holiday Season, and I plan to start updating things here again soon. I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things and wanting to get back in touch with all my friends, so look for more posts from me (including a long-overdue WEDDING post) in the near future :)

Take care, see you all soon!

Tama :)

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September 6th, 2013
09:59 pm


Another post on the WEDDING and BACHELOR PARTY coming up, but this has been sitting here for quite some time and I feel SO OUT OF TOUCH with people, especially since I barely have MENTIONED the wedding...

So I'm kinda puttering about here today, and I've been kinda left alone with my thoughts, and I've been thinking that I should write up a bit to try to find some direction in my life.

Don't get me wrong, "Willy Wonka" is a pretty sweet title to have (no pun intended). But While I should be living "in the now", I've been thinking to the future (I keep thinking about Legacy and what I will leave behind) and so I want to see what really interests me and who inspires me.

I also was wondering why no-one had responded to this post only to discover that I had never posted it!

So, without further ado, here's my list of people who inspire me :)

Cut for lengthCollapse )I'm curious. These are only the few that have jumped to mind since I started thinking about these things. I must have more people who I see as inspiring to me. Feel free to ask about any category and I'll look into my memorybanks to see if I have someone who I look up to!

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July 25th, 2013
11:25 pm


I miss Japan.
I just sat down to watch a documentary titled "Jiro Dreams of Sushi". (There's a good New Yorker article about the movie.) As I'm making my way through it, watching the wonderful sweeping shots of Japan, the Tsukiji Fish Market and the auction, and the Japanese mentality of work, and I'm kinda wanting to go back to Japan. I miss it...

...I'll admit that I'm pretty easily influenced, too. All the glorious food porn images of the sushi is making me hungry for some sushi pretty badly.

I have been finally been able to breathe and think now that I'm working at The Chocolate Factory, and it's been so welcoming. I've missed having the odd thought like remembering Independent Women as performed by kittens. (and I'm so sorry that I haven't updated this in ages, my thoughts all end up on Twitter these days, in small, 140-character chunks.) Being able to sit at home without worrying if the bakery is burning down or tensely waiting for that call at 8pm when a cashier doesn't know how to do the End-of-Day. Management at COBS was definitely not for me!

While I love what I'm doing, I do have to think about the future too and see just what I really want to do or what comes next. Admittedly working as a Candymaker is a pretty sweet job, no pun intended! There is the occasional moment where I wonder if what I'm doing is good, or if I could be doing something else, but right now, making chocolate = incredibly awesome. I have to watch my parents' dog this weekend so there may be a few moments of introversion as I'm left all alone in a big house.

I've been playing a lot of Antichamber lately. The Steam Summer Sale really pushed me to pick up a few games. I've been really spending more time thinking about what games I want to play that I would actually enjoy. That said, I haven't even cracked open Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask yet (still need to finish the Last Specter), and Kid Icarus Uprising. Club Nintendo also gifted me with Link's Awakening, so I've also got that on my 3DS, my first virtual 3DS Nintendo purchase. So I'm awash in games and don't know what I should be playing next! XD

The wedding is in less than a month now! Most of our ducks are in a row, and things are going pretty well for that - I have Christine to thank for that, she's organizing things really well. I think at this point all we really need to do is show up! ^^

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June 8th, 2013
04:07 pm


My thoughts on the WiiU and upcoming consoles
Well, let me preface this by saying that I've always been a Nintendo fanboy, I only have an XBox 360 because of an awesome price, and I've never really had the desire to get a PS3 (despite its numerous exclusives), so I may be a bit biased.

However, in looking at the WiiU, which has launched over 6 months ago, and the upcoming Xbox One and PS4, I would say that the only system I would even consider getting is the WiiU, and even then, I have my reservations.

The WiiU doesn't really have many games on there yet, and it hasn't taken off like the Wii did. EA recently mentioned that they weren't planning on supporting the WiiU due to the lack of interest, then backpedaled, but whatever their current stance is, it's not like I was all that interested in EA games anyways, most of them were First-Person Shooters and Sports games, both of which were not in my line of sight.

The conflict I have is that currently my Wii is partially broken: my Wii seems to forget my Video settings every time I turn it off, so I have to switch the cables to a Composite Feed, change the Video settings, change the cables again, then reset the thing. Then there's the fact that my Wii locks up a lot and seems to be overheating. If anything, I would be buying a WiiU for the Wii backwards compatibility since I wanted to finish the games on the Wii which I can't at the moment.

However, one of the items that I've noticed in regards to the WiiU is that it is a Nintendo console, and Nintendo has been releasing a lot of its backlog through the eShop. davidn's Stumbling Through for Super Metroid reminded me of all the incredible games that came out during my childhood, and a lot of the modern fare is not appealing to me. Nintendo could theoretically release a lot of the older games onto the eShop (heck, we were getting Commodore64 games on the Wii!) and I would be really pleased with that.

Am I hesitant to pick up a WiiU right now? Yes. Despite the lack of games, I have confidence that Nintendo will roll out some of their older titles which I could pick up on the cheap. They still don't have that "killer app" that makes people purchase the system. They're the only place where I can play Zelda and Mario games. But right now, I kinda want to go back and play the older games and relive a bit of childhood. It's kinda like the WiiU is a time machine, a little backwards-compatibility that lets me legally play the oldschool games without salvaging my NES out of storage. :P

I wonder what will come up in a week's time after E3's big announcements are done. I doubt my stance will change but I wonder if it will influence me at all.

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June 5th, 2013
10:55 pm


Updates on the Job Front 2
Well, that was fast. Not three days after my previous posting (friends-only link) about leaving COBS and the prospective jobs that I was looking out for, I went on Tuesday to The Chocolate Factory to learn about what they do and lend a hand for a day.

Once I got there, I met the owner, really nice guy, and without even starting my work, he told me my starting pay, and said "Welcome to the team". By the end of the shift I had made 18 batches of fudge with the family, and I was on the payroll, simple as that.

So, I've moved from my job as a Bakery Manager to -- get this -- a Candymaker. :D

The Chocolate Factory is a family-run business, not too many people work there. The Mom-and-Pop feel is still present (it is a Mom-and-Pop with their daughter helping out), despite the wide variety of products that are made. Almost 30 years ago, they started with fudge and eventually moved into items like hard candies, chocolates, and truffles. Every day they typically make something different - not to keep it fresh and interesting, but to make what's being ordered for the next few days. In one day you can make a LOT of one particular item (i.e. 18 batches of fudge is enough for maybe 500 of those "blocks" of fudge that you buy at the store), so over the next month I'll likely see a lot of different items being made. (I'm kinda excited to see the Hard Candy machine in use, admittedly...)

For the first month I'll be there for 4 days a week (Tuesday-Friday) as it's actually a quieter time, but we'll be getting ready for Christmas soon enough (!), so it'll eventually graduate onto a 5-shift week. Even so, four days a week is a good opportunity for me to gradually get into the swing of things.

I still can't believe that I ended up finding this position. Of all places, I found it on Craigslist. I applied probably about 10 days ago, and had an interview with them only last week... and then started working with them the day before my last day at COBS. (They wanted me to come in today, and I had to tell them "let me just finish out my previous job first!" XD) This is kinda absurd but I'm already amazed.

I guess I need to tell the other interviewers that I've already found a position... but hey, Candymaker. :D

Current Mood: CANDYMAKER. :D

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April 22nd, 2013
11:35 am


I have so many links open in Chrome that my Desktop is sluggish. And that's saying something! Time to clean up.

- Resignation by cake. What an awesome way to resign. I don't know what the cake looks like on the inside but I bet it tasted incredible!
- I think I've seen this GLaDOS cosplayer before, but I have to admit that it's an incredible piece of art she's wearing.
- I love machines that don't serve a purpose, but they have a nice visual style. These wooden marble machines were apparently built without blueprints, which definitely must have taken some detailed work! I love the "Quatro" design where the marbles are being flung about. :D
- Now you can get a webcam to monitor your pulse. That's actually a pretty cool piece of software! I never thought you'd be able to sense a person's pulse outside of physical touch.
- I have to admit that I'm a little saddened that Rock Band Weekly DLC has ended. But they have released over 2,100 songs as well as many more from the Rock Band Network (i.e. "indies"), and they spent almost five and a half year in putting out weekly content. That's some dedicaton. I'm looking forward to seeing what they will do in the future. I should get another Rock Band party together...
- VGJunk did a review of one of my favorite classic almost-impossible-to-beat games for the Commodore 64, Forbidden Forest. He didn't really explain just how difficult it was to control your archer in this game. I remember specifically "running away" from skeletons a lot in that game. I don't remember some of those enemies - namely, the snake - though... maybe I never got that far since I also don't remember the Demogorgon...
- a review of the Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney 3DS game. DEAR GOD I WANT THIS GAME SO BADLY, CAPCOM AND LEVEL-5. MAKE IT HAPPEN ;_;
- Speaking of Ace Attorney, it's great to see some new news (trailer!) coming out for the newest version, too :)
- I discovered the Parrot Sanctuary when I was reading up on adopting a bird as a new pet. We already have fish and two cats now though, adding a bird would be like having Tweety, Sylvester, and the Bruiser Dog (Bruno?) all in one household...
- There's a couple of IndieGogo Crowdfunding items that I've been watching recently. The first was for an ocean cleanup project to remove the plastics gyres that are swimming in the ocean. I've had a sudden fascination with the amount of plastics in the oceans and want to help clean up the planet, and this method seems like the most feasible and cost-effective method yet. (Plus, I would love to stand on one of these units mentioned in the video and see it collecting plastic without any energy wasted!)
- The second is for the geek-troupe band Debs & Errol who are looking to put out a new Parody Album. I happened to be at their 2nd Year Anniversary party (and provided the cake, something I hadn't done in quite some time!) and they played a few of their new songs. They have a song explaining the rules for Settlers of Catan. XD
- Speaking of cake! As mentioned, Debs & Errol approached me to make a cake and cupcakes for their 2nd-year anniversary party. I was never happy with how my cakes came out, so I grabbed a new recipe, and found it lacking as well. So I remade the recipe a third time, adding in the yolks (as the recipe I used in the second try omitted them) and I ended up with vanilla and chocolate cakes which I am now adding to my repertoire. :D I was in tears knowing that I had just developed my very own cake recipe, just as I had made my very own cookie recipe when I started the Silver Ball Bakery! I should upload the photos... (let me know if you want to see them, it'll give me inspiration to upload them!)

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February 22nd, 2013
11:49 pm


Birthday :D
So now I've reached the ripe age of 34. Insert strange number joke here :P

I really didn't have any plans on what to do to celebrate. I have been wandering a lot through my days off, and Tuesday was a day off for me, so I was content with just sitting at home and reading e-mails (and quite the amount of e-mails came my way - lots of Facebook notifications and personal e-mails. I got a lot of them on my phone :D).

Christine, though, wanted me to do something a little more grand and memorable. So, we had gone out to Wimpy's Diner for a nice breakfast, then visited the Pink Lemon Bakeshop to finalize some details for our wedding cake (oh yes-- that's the extent to our wedding updates right now, we now have a cake!), then, with some deliberation and surfing the website, decided to go visit the Ontario Science Centre and catch a movie at the IMAX theatre there.

We saw "Hubble", a documentary on the Hubble Space Telescope and the pictures that it's taken over the years, as well as the numerous repair missions that have been undertaken to correct and update its capabilities. Being it was in an Omnimax Theatre, the scene filled your entire field of vision, so scenes with the Space Shuttle taking off were so grand that it was actually moving me to tears. It's both a little humbling and yet incredible to think about the grand vastness of space, and what we have managed to do in our lifetimes is nothing short of incredible. The determination and focus are testament to what we as a whole can accomplish. It's making me tear up even just thinking about it... (I should probably follow Chris Hadfield while I'm thinking about it...)

Plans were to meet up with David (lj user="bassbeast">) after he was done work, as I figured hey, why not? I hadn't seen him for awhile and I should probably have a nice dinner with a friend. Little was I aware that Christine had planned a surprise party for me! She had invited a small gathering of people together (including a couple I hadn't seen since... probably 6 months :P) and we had a really nice dinner at Green Basil. :D

And this may sound strange, but I got exactly what I wanted for my birthday -- a briefcase! I've been wanting to carry about my work papers in something a little more formal than a bag, so I had been looking at the old-style briefcases (i.e. not a laptop bag). It's already stuffed full of papers, and I'll be reorganizing things tomorrow. I feel so professional. :D

Gotta get to sleep! I want to thank everyone who wished me a happy birthday, I never expected quite the outpouring that I received. :D

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February 13th, 2013
09:23 pm


Demo Reviews 2
So I decided to clear out more of the demos from my Xbox today.

Deepak Chopra's Leela: A Kinect-based game which gives you "Play" as well as "Meditate" portions, some of which are very relaxing. I have another one of Deepak Chopra's games, The Journey to Wild Divine, which incorporated a biofeedback sensor to read your heartbeat. They seem to like using the gadgets. :) This was very relaxing for me, I kinda want to find a copy now. (And go figure, it's published by THQ. It may be harder to find now...)
Arkanoid LIVE!: I don't get the "Live" part of the game other than the fact that you can play against a human opponent online. Otherwise, it's like Space Invaders Extreme - a graphically-upgraded version of the original game. Nothing special but fun nonetheless. I still enjoyed Krakout a lot more but that's an ancient C64 game.
Astroman: This game wants to be a Metroid clone so badly. It's probably not as expansive as Metroid, but I actually found the game to be quite controllable, and not very difficult to play. I'd recommend a play :)
Matrix2: I thought this was going to be a Matrix ripoff in some form, but it's actually a Tetris Clone, but instead of using blocks, you're tasked with creating quadrilaterals using lines - think of the environment as if it was made of the numeric LED parts that are in every digital clock, and you have to make a square that reaches from one side of the area to the other. The music is actually kinda nice in this one!
BeatBlox: A ...match-three game, I guess? Like Bejeweled with the music timing of Chime or Lumines? All I noticed was that my health just kept draining while I was playing and I would be dead within a minute of playing. Pass.
Biology Battle: Like Super Stardust HD, Geometry Wars and several other 2-stick shooters, this one is set inside a body and you're destroying figures that resembles cells (but not really). It's fun, but there are so many twin-stick shooters out there...
Decay: Part 1: A Point-and-Click First-Person Puzzler. Kinda similar to "Escape the Room" games. Rather shocking opening (dead person hanging themselves in the bathroom) but then... No idea why they were there or what the purpose of the game was about. I liked the controls (simplified to avoid entire freedom) but I didn't like the atmosphere.
Decimation X3: It's a Space Invaders clone, I would guess it came out before Space Invaders Extreme, because it had lots of nice particle effects and a techno soundtrack, otherwise I would say it's a Space Invaders Extreme clone made by Llamasoft. It's fun!
Marble Blast Ultra: I think davidn played a game like this on the PC awhile back... it had strange features like changing the marble from glass to wood or something. This one was just like Monkey Ball, now that I think about it!
Musicus2: If anyone knows how to play this game, let me know. The controls are confusing and the instructions, written in the traditional Japanese Engrish, are not very understandable! I died within a minute...

I still didn't play The Cave!

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01:35 am


Demo Reviews
So while I was waiting for the demo of The Cave to download, I decided that I would look through my backlog of demos that I've downloaded on my Xbox over the past few years (!) and delete what was uninteresting. Here's my thoughts:

Amy: The game tries to look realistic but suffers from a poor framerate. As Christine put it, due to the uncanny valley the titular little girl looks creepy, and the story didn't grab me out of the gate. From there, I got lost in the train station and had trouble with the controls, had trouble finding "DNA Codes" due to lack of an explanation, and then died since my weapon broke and didn't know what button combination let me pull out another one.
WizOrb: If you played Pinball Quest's RPG Mode on the NES way back in the day, this looks like a similar game. It's a Pinball Adventure game, something I can definitely put my money towards. It controls well and I love the Paul Robertson animations :D
WhipCrack: A futuristic game where you swing a whip around to destroy blocks and recycle them. Simple idea, with a wisecracking robot recycler. I actually liked it. It was simple and easy to pick up. The whip was satisfying to control.
Zombies and Pterodactyls 20XX (ZP2KXX): A kind of Team Fortress 2 or Smash Bros clone where you run around a side-scrolling environment, picking up weapons and using them to defeat your opponents or bots. The controls took some getting used to (they use the 2-joystick controls, the right stick to aim your attack) but it was fun, but I wouldn't play it since it was meant for multiplayer, and I hardly do that anymore... This is by the same team who made I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1 and The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai though, so I'm glad to see some different games from this team :)
R-Type Dimensions: I like side-scrolling shooters, but I found R-Type to be too slow for me. I guess my tastes have changed... but I did like the fact that with one press of the Y button, the game went from 3D to 2D sprites seamlessly. It was amusing - but not enough for me to get into it. (Also, only one level for the demo.)
You Will Die: Anyone play Warning Forever? It's pretty much the same idea. You destroy one little machine, then it taunts you (with the titulat "You Will Die") and rebuilds itself with additional parts that will try to stop you from using the same tactics (i.e. if you stayed in one place, it would use homing missles. If you liked to attack from behind it would increase its turning ability). Unfortunately I like Warning Forever a lot more (it was more adaptable), and that's free...
War World: I don't recall downloading this one. Short. The MechWarrior-like Mecha caught my attention. I liked the controls despite having something different on every button. "Died" in less than a minute. Dunno if I ran out of ammo or overheated or what, but I didn't explode.
Wayne the Brain and the Insane Physics Crane: Now this is the kind of game I've been looking for. A simple physics-based game where you have to stack blocks with a magnetic crane. It has a slight "mad scientist" feel as Wayne is actually a brain with an eyeball and his objective is to cover the stains but not the drains and not anger Zane (his Master, I presume). And yes, they make puns.
Twin Blades: The Reaping Vanguard: As much fun as it would be to be a scythe-wielding nun for this game, it was stupidly simple - you can jump, you can cut, you can shoot a gun, but you can just run to the right and swing the blade from time to time and get through unhurt. Boring as all hell.
Gravity: No music, poor running animation (he doesn't even look like he's walking much less running), barely any sound effects, and no on-screen effect to tell you how Gravity is being affected in the game (when you control it yourself and they expect you to use the change in gravity to make bigger jumps, I would expect to see some kind of change to the room to explain it).
I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1: After playing through a few bad games, I just had to come back to this one. I've always loved how the music lined up with the visuals and the game was simple enough to enjoy, being a twin-stick shooter with zombies, ZZT Snakes and multiplying blobs.
TEC 3001: If anyone ever played Pepsiman and liked it, then you might like TEC 3001 since it's a straightforward "run and collect things" game. It has a few extra tricks like changing the environment colour on-the-fly and super-smooth controls, but I'll let this review speak words instead :D
The Cave: I uh... didn't end up playing it. I exhausted myself on all the other games...

Other games I just deleted since I didn't figure I'd enjoy them:
Virtual On: Oriango Tangram
Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise
Ninja Gaiden 2

I'll review more later... somehow I collected over 180 games on my list - and I only have a dozen of physical Xbox games, and maybe another 6 downloaded ones... so that means I have about 150 demos on this thing...

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