Remembering the Cottage: Part 2

Happy Canada Day! To celebrate, let’s go way back and take a look at something that was an integral part of Canada Day for me for many years. Yes, that’s right, it’s finally time for the long-awaited Remembering the Cottage: Part Two

I have been slowly writing this article since 2007, which is not the longest that I’ve ever procrastinated on writing something, but it is a concept so close to my heart, so important to the foundation of who I am, that I feel terrible for not having finished writing it at some point in the last eleven years. During that time, many details have certainly been forgotten and memories jumbled up, so this is definitely not going to be as historically accurate as it should be.

To help illustrate, in the time since I posted Part One: two generations of Nintendo consoles passed; Obama’s tenure as US President began and ended; smartphones replaced flip-phones and human-to-human contact; I purchased two homes; I met a girl who I dated, married and divorced; and I bumbled my way into a job that eventually led to what darn well better be my career at this point.

I don’t know how long this article is going to go on for, but if the previous part is anything to go by, it’ll be a whopper. You all know the story anyway, and if you don’t, maybe go check out Part One and then come back. So let’s just skip the formalities and head right in, yes?

Continue reading Remembering the Cottage: Part 2

Long time listener, first time writer

Anyone who knows me even just a little should be aware that I’m not really a “participation” kind of guy. In most cases, I much prefer to sit on the sidelines and just watch other people do their thing. Observation makes much more sense to me. I’m told that this is a perfectly normal thing for introverts, and I’ve been happy to live my life in this fashion.

However, once in a while, I will feel an irrepressible urge to get up and be part of something. It’s rare, but it happens.

One of those moments came this week, when listening to the previous week’s episode of the Talk Nintendo Podcast. In it, the boys were discussing recent eShop releases, as they do, and mentioned that they were going to start accepting reader-submitted reviews of eShop games to read on air. Because two guys just can’t play every game, you know?

Normally I would just think this was a cool addition and take no action. But they just happened to mention PAN-PAN, a game that they knew nothing about and had strongly piqued my own curiosity. So I went ahead and bought the game, played through it, and after much deliberation, sent in a tiny review.

And now, my friends, you can listen to my paragraph of thoughts on PAN-PAN being read on Talk Nintendo Episode #53. I have now truly been immortalized on the internet. This is even better than the time I got name dropped on No More Whoppers. Best of all, I even got a nice little thank you email back from the boys, encouraging me to send more micro-reviews in the future. So maybe I will!

Full disclosure: one of my tweets has been read on Talk Nintendo before. But man, it was a friggin’ tweet. It means nothing.

A weekend of games and stuff

I hate to admit it, because I’ve been trying to diversify the ways I waste time lately, but I spent pretty much the whole weekend playing video games. Well, the time during the weekend that I was conscious. I spent way too much time sleeping in and napping, but I slept terribly last week, so I suppose that I needed it. Anyway, for some reason I feel the need to write about all the nothing I did over the weekend. Really Live Journal it.

Friday night was a blur. Because it’s already so far away, you see. But I do recall that after a long Friday at work, I decided that it was in my best interest to get some physical activity, I opted to take a short walk. Partly because I wanted to do something good for my body, and partly because I wanted to listen to the Talk Nintendo podcast special on Ever Oasis. And by golly, did Casey and Neal ever do a good job of selling that game. I was planning on skipping it, but their gushing praise started to make me reconsider my stance…

Upon returning home, I finally set aside a little time to play ARMS, which I am desperately in love with in theory, but I need a lot more practice because I am awful at it. I managed to get through the easiest level of the single-player mode, but not without some struggles. Also I need to get online and get in on that party mode. Once I was done with that, I cracked and bought Ever Oasis. In retrospect, I should have played the demo first to make sure, but in the end it wouldn’t have dissuaded me anyhow. Although the game was surprisingly small (just over 6200 blocks), the download was slow and would not finish until early the next morning.

Finally, I began playing what might be the only free PS+ game that I’ve been at all interested in since I’ve had the service: Anna: Extended Edition. It is pitched on the store as a psychological horror game wherein you explore an abandoned sawmill to discover its spooky secrets. Late Friday night is like the only good time I get to play horror games, so I was pumped. And then the game turns out to be something of a janky mess. I was so befuddled by the odd control scheme and got stuck on a stupid(ly simple) puzzle that I only played up through the first “stage” before calling it quits and turning in for the night.

The next morning, I woke up late because I had opted not to set any alarms. Then I chose to relive a ritual of Saturday mornings from last summer: watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 series) while playing Tap My Katamari. I had four episodes left to watch from season four’s “lost episodes” (not on DVD) and burned through those right quick. Afterwards, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do and curled up in bed for a quick nap.

It was after I woke that I realized that Ever Oasis was probably done downloading, and then most of my afternoon just vanished into it. Ever Oasis is a really good game. What Casey and Neal neglected to mention is that it is very slow to start because holy crap does it ever like to take its time explaining everything to you. Also, it is just as hand-holdy as the Zelda series is infamous for being. At least for the first few hours. Eventually it gives you a little more freedom, but the beginning of the game is a slow, unskippable slog. This will undoubtedly discourage replays.

I then decided that it was my mission for the rest of the afternoon to finish Anna, and so I booted the ol’ PS3 back up and jumped back into that mess. The game does have its charms once you let yourself get into it, but I maintain that it could have used a lot more polish. At least have a few of the rougher edges sanded down. Case in point: I was not interested in the game enough to care about solving its obtuse puzzles, and it didn’t take me long to pull up a walkthrough for consultation whenever I felt stuck. I cleared the game, and am weakly considering a quick second playthrough to round up the leftover trophies. On one hand, it’ll be a very easy task that should take no more than half an hour. On the other hand, I don’t really care about this game and should probably just delete it and forget it forever.

Saturday night was the usual board games party. The major difference is that when my brother and I made a trip to the liquor store, we found something highly unexpected: Freedom 35 lager! It’s the Trailer Park Boys branded beer! We were so excited that we each filled up an 8-can carrier and merrily went on our way. The checkout guy must have thought we were nuts.

Many beers led to a hearty sleep-in on Sunday morning. Sort of. I got up at 8:30, had breakfast, watched an episode of Bob’s Burgers, and played some Mighty Gunvolt Burst to grab a few screenshots for the article I wrote on it. Then I passed out again and slept until after noon.

To round out my activities, I went out for an extra-long walk/run after waking up. I was out for two and a half hours, which I think is my longest journey on record so far. Especially since it was only my second outing that included running this year. And yet it was still not long enough to listen to the regular weekly episode of the Talk Nintendo. When I got back, my legs were so done that I showered off and flopped onto bed to nap for an hour, then watched several more episodes of Bob’s Burgers. And then I ate a metric ton of food for dinner and way too much in the way of ice cream treats, completely invalidating all the exercise I’d done earlier.

Finally, I ended the evening the same way that every Sunday evening ends: laundry. In between throwing dirty clothes in the machines and putting away the clean laundry, I tacked a few more hours onto Ever Oasis. Turns out that it’s quite difficult! Monsters hit really, really hard and you can’t dodge-cancel out of attack animations, so you’ve got to be careful. It’s still limiting how far off-course I can explore, but at least it’s not pushing me along the intended route quite as sternly any more.

Alas, eventually the laundry was all done, and that’s my cue to stop whatever fun I’m having and go to bed. I think that’s probably why I hate doing laundry so much. It heralds the end of the freedom of the weekend, and the return of the dreadful work week. Ugh. So disheartening. At least I had a lot of fun over the weekend. And when put into words, it almost seems like I accomplished much more than I actually did. Hurray!


Halloween may be my favourite holiday. Not to the extent that Dinosaur Dracula and The Sexy Armpit love it, but it’s definitely the annual occasion that plays to the most of my interests. You’ve got candy, you’ve got monsters, you’ve got pumpkins. All the best things that modern life has to offer. Also, it takes place in autumn, the best season of all.

And yet, I feel like in 2016, I’ve really pooped the bed in regards to celebrating Halloween properly. The fact that my house remains undecorated is more of a by-product of me not knowing if I’d still be living there come October 31st, but I could certainly be dabbling in other ways of showing my appreciation for the best season of all. That said, it’s time for a play-by-play of all the Halloweeny things I’ve done so far.


  • I’ve eaten more Oreos over the last six weeks than throughout the rest of the year, and while most of them were Pumpkin Spice flavoured, which is only mildly Halloweeny, there was a pack of actual Halloween Oreos in there. You know, the ones that are just plain Oreos, but with the amazing neon orange filling? Pretty great.
  • I bought a pack of Pillsbury ready-to-bake Pumpkin Spice cookies. While they were maybe not quite appropriate for the holiday, they were the amazing.
  • There are two packs of Pillsbury ready-to-bake sugar cookies in my fridge, and they are in the spirit of the season. One has pumpkins, and the other black cats. I intend to make them next weekend.
  • I bought a box of Coffin Crisp to keep at my desk at work, but that’s been it for Halloween-themed candy. It seems like interesting ‘Ween editions of established candy is getting harder an harder to find. At least here in stupid Canada, where fun junk food is illegal.
  • While at a craft show, I purchased a pack of skull-shaped cookies. They were frosted in an assortment of neon colours, and they were delicious. Not really $1-per cookie delicious, but as a one-time thing, not a bad buy.
  • There is a box of Spookylicious Pop-Tarts in my cupboard that I have yet to break into. I am under the impression that they are regular chocolate fudge Pop-Tarts, but with orange frosting and fun bat-shaped sprinkles.
  • My mom bought me a single box of Franken Berry, which I appreciated greatly. But during all of my travels, I haven’t been able to find another box, or any of the other monster cereals. What awful luck I have.


  • I have played exactly one good horror-themed video game so far this season, and that is Five Nights at Freddy’s: Sister Location. And really, if you’re only going to play one scary game, it’s… decent enough. Like, I think it’s a great game, but there are many more substantial options.
  • I also played one terrible scary game, and it’s called Haunted Hotel. It was garbage.
  • There’s still time to pop in a couple quick horror games, though. I do intend to make a run at the first Silent Hill, as I can reliably finish it in a single sitting. Really, I should have put Paper Mario: Color Splash on the back-burner this month and focused on one of the many horror-themed Steam games I’ve not played.
  • The Shallows and Black Mirror: White Christmas are dramas that lie somewhere on the ‘frightening’ scale, but don’t really fit the spirit of Halloween. But I don’t think I’d feel quite right watching the latter as a Christmas movie either.
  • Emelie and The Invitation are a little closer to the right kind of spooky, as they don’t take place on a beach or during Christmastime, but they still aren’t overly Halloweeny. Definitely a disturbing pair of films, however.
  • I did watch Creepshow and Creepshow 2 back in late September, which are A+ as far as Halloween spirit goes, but honestly, I wasn’t crazy about them. A couple of the stories were really good, but others bored me to tears. I’d recommend looking up “Something to Tide You Over” and “Old Chief Wood’nhead” independently, rather than watching the entirety of both anthologies.
  • The VVitch was really great! So good that I wrote a number of words about it!
  • I really, really watch to watch The Babadook, but just the Google image results have been giving me nightmares for weeks. I don’t think I can hack it.
  • Other movies on the docket, that I probably won’t find time to watch: Hausu, Alien, Burying the Ex, Zombeavers, etc, etc…


  • I suppose it falls under media, but I choose to note that I’ve been following the Purple Stuff Podcast in this section because it’s a little empty otherwise. Anyway, Matt and Jay have put out a couple Halloween-themed episodes this year, but not nearly as many as they did in 2015. Maybe I’ll just have to listen to those old ones again.
  • My house is so sparsely decorated this year. It’s sad. There’s a weird aluminum pumpkin by the door, and a lights-and-sounds door knocker… on the wall downstairs. That’s it. By the time I knew I’d still be living in the house for Halloween, I had already given up on decorating.
  • I do have a candy corn-scented candle that has been out and lit. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a very strong scent, so it’s more about mood lighting than anything else.
  • My search for better Halloween candles has come up empty-handed. Of course, I haven’t been looking especially hard, but you would think that this kind of thing would just be jumping off the shelves at you during this time of year.
  • I don’t have a costume or plan for Halloween night. I’ll probably spend it the same way I do every other Monday night: at my parents’ house, watching The Bachelorette Canada. Which, you know, is totally fine by me.
  • I haven’t even been to the Spirit store this year. I am the worst Halloween fan ever.

Forgotten Film Round-Up #3 – Vacation Flicks

I was on vacation last week, and as per my usual, it was more of a “don’t go to work for a week” kind of vacation, as opposed to other people who generally do things when they take time off. I mean, I did things, but from the comfort of my own home. A lot of those things, surprisingly, were movies. I credit the How Did This Get Made? podcast almost completely for that, as it has encouraged me to watch a lot of movies lately. Like, I’ve gone from one or two a month to several each week.

These are not necessarily “forgotten films” in the usual context of movies I own but haven’t watched, but they’re all movies that I’ve wanted to see at some point. And it’s just nice to have another collection of films to throw under that umbrella. Two entries does not a proper series make.

#1 – Birdemic: Shock and Terror

A film about birds who attack people, much like Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Only, Birdemic was made on a shoestring budget by an actual crazy person. The acting is mostly terrible, the plot makes zero sense, and the birds don’t even show up until a good 45 minutes in. Oh, and also the birds are 2D clip art and explode like kamikaze fighter planes.

While the film is sold on the killer bird action, it’s actually billed as a “romantic thriller,” which is a gross overstatement on both counts. I mean, technically, there’s romance, but the main character is such a poor actor that he seems more like a robot or an alien than a man. And the thrills? Yeah, there aren’t any, really. The stakes are so low, and the characters so stupid, that you simply can’t be bothered to care. You don’t watch Birdemic for its artistic merits. You watch Bridemic because it’s one of the most staggering train wrecks ever committed to film.

It’s really a must-watch for anyone who likes bad movies. If nothing else, listen to the Birdemic episode of How Did This Get Made?, which is fantastic. It features Weird Al as a special guest, and they also managed to bring in Whitney Moore, who plays the female lead in Birdemic. It’s really, really worth your time to give it a listen.

Continue reading Forgotten Film Round-Up #3 – Vacation Flicks

What the **** is a podcash?

I’ve been listening to the Trailer Park Boys Podcast pretty obsessively over the last couple weeks. Burning through the backlog, in fact, listening to as many as three a day. There are only 20 episodes so far, so I’ll probably be caught up by Xmas.


The podcast is usually just the boys sitting around a table, bickering and ripping on each other, occasionally talking about various headlines or random fun facts. A few episodes feature special guests, including but not limited to: Snoop Dogg, Jay Baruchel, and Esa Tikkanen. Also, Randy shows up every once in a while. So far, it’s been pretty darn hilarious.

The first two episodes are a bit slow, both of them leaning heavily on Ricky’s inability to grasp what a podcast is. The joke wears itself out quickly, but things get considerably better by the third episode. By the time they’re doing episodes while on tour in Europe, it goes from ‘great’ to ‘amazing’ and there’s really no longer any competition for the top spot on my Favourite Podcasts list.

One thing that I realized while listening to these, is that the show is at its very best when it’s just Ricky and Bubbles. Julian is a crucial character to the show, and there’s plenty to like about him there, but on the podcast he mostly just complains about how the other two aren’t doing a good enough job. When Ricky and Bubbles are let loose to basically just talk and joke with each other, it’s simply magic. Wonderful listening. I’m not saying that cutting Julian from the show entirely would make it better, but it’s nice to just let the other two go unfiltered once in a while.

I would be remiss to omit that iTunes has ranked the TPB Podcast as one of the best of 2015, so you know that it’s not just me singing its praises. I whole-heartedly recommend checking this one out. You can listen to it on iTunes or Libsyn, and they even film each episode so that you can watch the madness unfold on Swearnet. You’ve gotta be a subscriber to watch it, but hey, you should probably subscribe to Swearnet anyway.