Sunday, May 17, 2009

My new obsession


Xbox launched their new 1 vs 100 game beta a few weeks ago in Canada, but I haven't been able to try it until this weekend. You can only play it when it's scheduled to be on - it's like a game show. So far I've played it twice, and I'm officially addicted. You know when you watch Jeopardy and yell out the answers? It's like that, only your answers are actually tallied and you get a score. During the beta, you can't win any prizes, but once it goes live they will have actual prizes to win (supported by advertising).

The way it works is there's one person chosen to be "the one". 100 people are "the mob". Everyone else (about 15,000 people at the two games I attended) is in "the crowd". Trivia questions are asked, with 3 possible answers. Everyone answers. If you're "the one", your goal is to outlast "the mob". Whenever someone from the mob answers incorrectly, they are eliminated. The one gets three "helps" to assist them, which are that they can trust the mob (they're forced to take the most popular answer from the mob), trust the crowd (similar but for the crowd), and trust the brain (where they're forced to take the most popular answer from the player who is performing best during the current round). If the one eliminates all the mob members, they win 10,000 microsoft points. If the one answers a question wrong, all the mob members who haven't been eliminated split the prize amongst themselves. In the crowd, the top 3 performers (you get points based on accuracy and speed) win a prize.

I was part of the mob once, and the rest of the time I was in the crowd. One cool thing about being in the crowd is they match you up with up to 3 other players, so you can see how they're doing and it makes it more fun because you have a mini competition amongst the smaller group. Even though there are no prizes yet because it's a beta, it's so much fun. I'm really addicted.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


I'm on a business trip at the moment. I remembered to pack all my business clothes, but I wouldn't be me if I didn't forget something. This time it was my pajamas. It could've been worse.

At home we don't have cable any more. We cancelled cable a year or two ago because we felt like we were spending too much time watching TV. Generally speaking, this was a great decision. We still watch TV - we just watch it on DVD instead of live. It means we can watch all sorts of TV we didn't have access to before - like HBO shows and so on. And we don't feel stressed having to keep up with the TV schedule - we can watch what we want at our own pace. And if we want to binge on Entourage one weekend, well, we can do that too. :)

However, there's a serious lack of schlocky TV now. They don't tend to release reality shows on DVD when the season is over. So this means when I travel and suddenly have access to live TV, I watch these things. Last night was two shows on HGTV about first-time homebuyers (kinda boring, honestly), and CSI: Miami (my guilty travel pleasure... I normally only ever watch it on business trips). Tonight I watched Everybody Loves Raymond and now it's The Biggest Loser. I haven't seen The Biggest Loser before - I have to say, it's really bad. Maybe I'm just thinking it's bad because this seems to be the final episode, and reality shows seem to usually make their final episode really awful.

Reality executives seem to have this philosophy: We know our viewers want to find out who'll win the contest, since they've invested themselves in the whole season. So let's make the final episode 2 hours long, and include lots of introspection from all the contestants since we don't really have much actual content to fill the time. Yeah, that'll be good! Oh, and let's put in some product placements too!

Right now the contestants are cooking "Jennie-O turkey meatloaf", and they've only mentioned the Jennie-O brand name about 6 times, not obvious at all that it's a product placement. ;)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

More parsnips, and some knitting

So it's been ages since I last posted. Sorry about that. Things got a little crazy last year - I was working on a super important stressful project at work and just had no energy for blogging or anything else, really. I'm going to try and get back into the habit.

This year I couldn't get my parsnips out of the ground until April. This was partly because it was sort of a cold winter, and the ground was really frozen, but also partly because the parsnips had mutated into enormous giant parsnips. Here's a picture:

Giant mutant parsnip

They were so big around I couldn't fit my hand around them - probably a good 5 inches in diameter! And lots of extra roots coming off the main head, too. According to my mom, this happens when you fertilize them too much - but I didn't fertilize them at all! At least I got much more yield than last year's puny harvest. I made a bunch of parsnip/apple soup, we had them for dinner, and we froze some for future eating. I consider it a success. The giant head parts were a little woody, so I only used them for soup and not for eating plain.

On to the knitting. I was really excited to start the Diminishing Rib Cardigan from the new Interweave Knits. It looked so nice. I knit it out of Elann's superwash bamboo yarn, which is really soft, and a gorgeous colour. Things were coming along well. I finished the body reasonably quickly and tried it on. It looks AWFUL on me. I don't have a modeled picture to share, because it would be too embarassing.

Diminishing Rib Cardigan

It looks nice enough on the bench, doesn't it? Unfortunately, on me, it's a definite no-go. It makes my stomach look huge, which is really not a look I want to go for.

So, that's hibernating in the corner of shame for now. I'll frog it once I've gotten over the disappointment.

So instead, I've cast on for Hey, Teach. I'm using an orange cotton/acrylic blend, and I even bought a white dress shirt to wear under it. I may be tempting fate there. Pictures are non-existent right now, and since I have a cat on my lap, they will have to wait for another time. Every cat owner knows when you have a cat on your lap, you can't move, unless the house is on fire.