New Thing #216: Glitch MMORPG

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When I saw the trailer for Glitch, a new online roleplaying game from the guys that started Flickr, I knew I’d have to at least try it. It’s just too weird not to.

Everything about it sets it apart from the things you might want to compare it to. It’s a massive online world like World of Warcraft, but it’s a 2D sidescroller. You can farm and harvest food ala Farmville, but there’s characters, quests and a deep, deep leveling system.

At first glance it seems super simple, but within half an hour of playing it you realize there’s a much richer roleplaying experience there if you want it. The world is gorgeous and every item is really well designed and smartly written for. 

The gameplay seems simplistic enough, a lot of quests seem to be mostly chore based, but getting from one place to another is a joy. The world is just so engaging, you want to check out every corner of it.

I get the sense that it’s designed for a casual crowd at first and then, smartly, offers more and more for the user to do and explore. 

My only real complaint is that the whole thing is Flash based, so my computer sounds like a jet engine taxiing around the runway the entire time I play it. 

If I had a little more time in my life there might be a place for Glitch, but as it is I think I’ll check in from time to time to see what’s going on.

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New Thing #215: Homeopathic Cold Remedy

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This thing that’s been kicking around in my chest for the past week really came full force this morning, so I stayed home to rest. But I felt awful. And the medicine I tried last night did nothing to help, so I thought I’d check out some home remedies online.

This one sounded the least terrible and I actually had all the neccessary ingredients in stock:

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons water

As you can tell from the video, it isn’t exactly the smoothest concoction I’ve ever drank but what you can’t tell from the video is that about 15 minutes later, it worked!

Most of my congestion went away during the day, my throat was soothed and my coughing lessened. It didn’t cure me, but it made the day a lot more bearable than I think it would have been without it.

Screw you Robitussin!

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New Thing #214: Listen to Lenny Bruce

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A lot of the comics I admire who are more truth tellers than clowns seem to credit Lenny Bruce as an inspiration. I thought it was high time that I finally gave him a listen.

His live, 1962 performance “Dirty Words” seemed like a good place to start. And it I think I was right. It is a pretty definitive representation of his philosophy and style. I wouldn’t call it comedy, it’s more performance art…but not the kind you want to claw your eyes out at after ten minutes.

It’s dark. It’s servere. It’s raw. And the man was ahead of his time to be saying the things he did.

New Thing #213: Circus Coffee House

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There’s a little storefront on the way to the park from my house that’s been under wraps for months now. And I’ve been anticipating it’s opening since the first time I saw the word coffee on the door.

Unfortunately, it’s not going to replace any of my go to coffee shops. 

I grabbed a latte, and once it had cooled down enough to drink I nursed it on the subway all the way to work. It was ok, but nothing I’m going to go out of my way for in the future. 

However, they do have an extensive list of fresh juices and free-wifi so I might go back for their non-caffeinated fare some day.

New Thing #212: Gears of War 3 Beast Mode

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I’ve been playing the hell out of Gears of War 3 since it came out last week. Campaign, co-op, Horde mode, everything. Everything that is except the new Beast mode where you get to play as any number of locust creatures battling the humans.

During our forty-five minutes or so of play tonight I got to utterly destroy COGs as, among other things, a friggin’ Berserker. If you’ve every played Gears of War before, you know how awesome that sounds. If you haven’t played Gears of War before, well, take my word for it.

Although it took a little figuring out at first, once we got the hang of it, Beast Mode was great fun. And it’ll end up being even better when there’s more than two of us going up against the enemy.

New Thing #211: Battlestar Galactica Original Series

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Even though the relatively recent remake of Battlestar Galactica is one of my favourite pieces of television ever, the original series was just a little before my time. 

Growing up I remember glimpses of Cylons in their spaceships hidden behind what I always thought were some outer space Venetian blinds. Other than that, my only real contact with the series was my own beloved Cylon Centurian action figure. It’s eye glowed red and even moved back and forth, how cool is that!

What I was most impressed with the by the pilot though was the scale of it. The space battles mostly stand up and the first half was actually pretty thrilling. Then it devolved into melodrama for the second half and Lorne Greene basically sleep-walked through the episode.

I’m also surprised at just how many of the core characters and lore of the universe were incorporated into the remake, but reimagined into a more realistic scenerio. 

And, as Shauna pointed out to me, I now get the joke in the A-Team’s third season opening when the Cylon walks past Face. Good times.

New Thing #210: Californication

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I’ve had more than one person I know tell me to watch Californication. I mean, I like David Duchovny, I like Showtime shows, and who doesn’t like looking at naked women?

Too bad it’s one of the most contrived things I’ve ever watched. I’ve never seen more ludicrous circumstances to get a woman to take off her clothes on camera.

It’s as if Sex and the City focused entirely on Samantha with even more use of the word vagina.

Too bad, because the show seems genuinely well acted. Since it’s in its fifth season now, it proves that sex does indeed still sell.

New Thing #209: The Burger’s Priest

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I’ve been on a bit of a burger kick this summer, thanks in part to realizing just how simple they are to make at home.

Then The Burger’s Priest opened up shop relatively lately near the Beaches.

They promise fresh beef ground daily on the premises. So I braved the wind and rain today and grabbed a bacon cheeseburger for lunch.

The toppings were simple. The bun was simple. The meat was simple. In short, it was the perfect burger.

New Thing #208: Cornish Pasty

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We were grabbing a treat at Celena’s Bakery on the Danforth after grabbing some fresh vegetables from the Farmers’ Market this afternoon. Audrey picked up a giant cookie and I spied the Cornish Pasties at the bottom of the display. 

I quickly made up my mind and brought home the Steak and Stilton variety for dinner. Ten minutes at 350ºF was enough to make this pasty hot and tasty. It’s sort of a cross between a meat pie and a samosa and is super filling.

For only $5, this might be the best take home dinner item I’ve ever found in this neighbourhood.

New Thing #207: O.Noir

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For our ninth wedding anniversary, my wife and I decided to dine in the dark together. The pitch dark actually.

We went to O.Noir, a restaurant in Toronto where you eat without a single bit of light in the dining room. The waiters are blind and, if you order off the menu like I did, your meal is a complete surprise. 

We arrived quite early and had the pleasure of being the only diners for the better part of our meal. Victor, our waiter, was an adept server and the wall next to us was our best friend; what with helping us keep our bearings, and the position of our wine in check.

The food, although not exactly haute cuisine, was good and plenty. Tasting every bite and trying to identify it using everything but my vision was a treat. I nailed my first course (warm roasted vegetables over a spring mix with a balsamic vinegrette) but completely botched the chicken dish I had as my main.

To end the evening I errantly drove my hand through my half eaten choclate mousse after forgetting it was there. Of course there’s nothing saying I wouldn’t have done the same had the lights be on.

All in all it was a great meal, and an experience I’ve defintely never had before.