Give Him a Cardboard Box, and He'll Be Set

October 27, 2009 at 11:20 PMJeremy

Jonathan is certainly not claustrophobic.  He likes crawling in his little play tunnel, shutting himself in our closet, and pulling everything out of the clothes hamper, climbing inside, and shutting the door.

The other day, for no reason at all, he opened one of our end tables, pulled all the stuff out, climbed inside, and closed the doors!  It's a cube probably smaller than 2ft on edge.  I guess he figured that he won't fit in it for much longer, so he might as well try it now.

He's an odd one.

Posted in: Jonathan


Church Music

October 7, 2009 at 8:00 PMJeremy

A couple of weeks ago, our bible study group went to UBC for the CD release concert for David Crowder Band's newest album, Church Music.  Besides some technical glitches, the concert was great and was really fun experience.  The new album is a definite change in style for them, but I kinda like the slight techno edge to many of the songs.

I wasn't sure what the situation or policy would be on photography (turns out a lot of people were snapping pictures), so I didn't take my DSLR and just had my point & shoot Sony digicam.  The smoke machine pretty much killed the couple of flash photos I took (same concept as driving in the fog with your high beams on), but using the timer and bracing the camera against a support beam, I was able to get a few interesting shots:

Funny story: they'd pulled all of the chairs out of the sanctuary to fit more people in, so it was literally standing room only.  After we were there a few minutes waiting for the concert to start, Marci grabbed my arm and said, "hey, we're moving over here. We think we can get a better view of the stage."  I thought the view was just fine where we were.  It honestly took me about 30 seconds to figure out why.

Even though we were 20 or so people back from the stage, I could still see over everybody's heads.  I looked out over the crowd and I was the tallest person in the audience, and I was at least a head taller than all but one other person.  (and that guy looked like he might've been 6'2" or 6'3")  I'm just so rarely in a crowd that it doesn't occur to me that everybody else's perspective is a lot lower.

One of the perks of being tall, I guess.   I suppose that makes up for all the times I hit low-hanging lights and have to hunch over in cars.

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Catching Up Again

October 7, 2009 at 6:00 PMJeremy

We finally got around to repainting and refurnishing the office/guestroom.  Sorry, Sean, the only green left is in the closet (which still isn't done) and the few places you strayed a little too far onto the ceiling.

While that was going on, I had to disconnect the computer I use to "develop" my photos, so I got a bit of a backlog.

Here are some from niece Charley's baptism:

Brandon and Charley.


With the grandparents.

Couldn't help but try to get some artsy shots.

I was driving home one day and saw three Apache helicopters circling around over Hewitt.  Not sure what they were looking for, but they stuck around long enough for me to get a few decent shots:

AH-64 Apache.

Some random Sunday pictures:

A farm silo on the road to church.


Mimi and the grandkids.

We took Jonathan to the Cultural Arts Fair a couple of weeks ago.  It was hot and humid, but he enjoyed looking at everything:

Happy kid.

Posted in: Family | Jonathan

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My Brother is Going to Hate Me for This One...

October 2, 2009 at 1:30 PMJeremy

This past Sunday, Brandon and I got into a somewhat lively discussion about a very important topic; no, not healh care reform or the situation in Iran -- explaining to Lucas the relative merits of Sony's Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii.

In our discussion, Brandon made the claim that, although the base system is cheaper, the Wii is actually the most expensive system because of the various add-ons and extras that you have to buy for it.  This seemed true enough; after all, there are extra remotes, extra "nunchuk" peripherals, the new MotionPlus add-on, and that certainly does add up.  I decided that the best way to settle it was with a spreadsheet comparing one system to the other, and see just how much it would cost to outfit the system to play a single game.  I used the current MSRP for all items, as other times or sales aren't a fair representation.

For Wii, I decided to be generous and chose Wii Sports Resort, which requires a remote, a nunchuk, and the MotionPlus add-on to play (although one MotionPlus comes with the game).  I thought about asking Brandon which game he'd nominate for the PS3, but I knew he'd pick Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. 

To outfit the Wii for 1 player requires the Wii system ($199.99), which includes a remote and nunchuk (plus a free game!) and a copy of Wii Sports Resort ($49.99) which includes a MotionPlus; total: $249.98.  For the PS3, I'd need the system ($299.99) which includes a DualShock 3 controller and the game ($29.99, as a bestseller, which includes Metal Gear Online for free); total: $329.98.  So the Wii wins by 80 bucks.

Of course, part of the appeal of the latest generation of games is that they enable multiplayer much more easily than previous generations.  So, what happens if you scale these out to support more players?  Well, for Wii Sports Resort, you just need more remotes, nunchuks, and MotionPluses.   For Metal Gear Online, you need more Playstation 3's and more copies of the game.  How does that stack up?  For four players:

  MSRP Quantity Cost
Wii $199.99 1 $199.99
Wii Remote $39.99 3 $119.97
Wii Nunchuk $19.99 3 $59.97
MotionPlus $19.99 3 $59.97
Wii Sports Resort $49.99 1 $49.99
Playstation 3 $299.99 4 $1,199.96
DualShock 3 $54.99 0 $0.00
Metal Gear Solid 4 $29.99 4 $119.96

The difference is $830.03 in Nintendo's favor.  (And that's not even counting the 4 HDTVs and HDMI cables you'd need...)

Now, I can already anticipate the counter-argument.  "Not every PS3 game require multiple systems."  True enough, the PS3 does support local multiplayer on the same system for some games, which at $54.99 for a Dual Shock 3, would have to be cheaper than buying $40 remotes plus $20 nunchuks and $20 MotionPluses, right?

Again, pitting a fully-kitted Wii Sports Resort setup against some random new 4-player PS3 game yields these results:

  MSRP Quantity Cost
Wii $199.99 1 $199.99
Wii Remote $39.99 3 $119.97
Wii Nunchuk $19.99 3 $59.97
MotionPlus $19.99 3 $59.97
Wii Sports Resort $49.99 1 $49.99
Playstation 3 $299.99 1 $299.99
DualShock 3 $54.99 3 $164.97
Local MP Game $59.99 1 $59.99

The Wii is still $35.06 cheaper!  And all these figures are based on the recent price reductions on both systems.  For about two weeks, the Wii was still $249 while the PS3 had dropped to $299.  At any other point, the Wii has been more than $100 cheaper, so there is only a small window where this would've played out differently.

So there you have it, folks.  The myth that the Wii has these hidden costs that make it ultimately the more expensive system has been busted.  To be fair, the PS3 also plays Blu-Ray and is an awesome upscaling DVD player, so with that factored in there are certainly scenarios where the Playstation becomes a better overall deal. But from a pure gaming standpoint, the cheaper system is the cheaper system, regardless of the extras.

Personally, I like them both.  There are more games that interest me on the Wii, but the PS3 does a lot of non-gaming stuff really well... and it is the exclusive home to certain Tactical Espionage Action.  [Of course, that may be changing in the future, as Metal Gear's creator Hideo Kojima has expressed his interest in Microsoft's Project Natal; It won't surprise me in the least to find my brother sneaking over to the Xbox 360... in a cardboard box, of course...]

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Funny Foto Friday

September 25, 2009 at 9:20 PMJeremy

Jonathan has learned how to make a "fish face", which he thinks is just hilarious.

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