Tuesday, July 25, 2006

No Ants at This Picnic

Sunday was interesting. Brandon was allowed to take an extra person to the Microsoft company picnic, to which I obliged the presence of my company. It was about a 30 minute bus ride out to some farm out in the middle of nowhere. The picture above is a nice representation of what we saw. There is a giant mountain in the background of the farm. It's a lot taller than it looks, it looms over you as you walk around. Apparently there is no space within a respectable distance to have the company picnic where 25,000 people can enjoy ribs and ice cream. There are so many people that work at Microsoft, the company had to divide the picnic up between Saturday and Sunday.

There was a lot of stuff to do, if you were a 10 year old that is. Most of the fun stuff was aimed at kids, which there were a lot of by the way. I joked that I think Microsoft is encouraging people to reproduce, to which Brandon replied, "They do want to take over the world and out breading everyone else would certainly make it easier". Agreed.

The food was good. Really good. And FREE! Can't beat that. No sir.

I did do the rock climbing thing, not the actual rocks, but the plastic wall thing, which was fun. We also played giant basketball. But, in the 100 degree weather, we only played for about 5 minutes. Luckily, they had giant tubs of ice filled with bottles of water everywhere. So far as I know, nobody died or fainted from exhaustion. Oh and I got to see a bald eagle for the very first time. They were really cool. The symbol of American freedom, just a few feet away.

Anyway, it was so freaking hot, we left early and flew down to the beach. I could swear that when I jumped in the water, steam rose from my body due to the sheer heat. It's still really hot here, roughly averaging 95 a day, no humidity though. I can't even ride my bike out there now, I'm afraid I'll die. I hear that this is the peak of heat here in Seattle, it will soon go back to the beautiful 70's within the week.

Let's hope.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Adventures of Bimodal Bigelow

I've been enamored by the emphasis put behind the use of bicycles in every day life here. There are bike trails everywhere, many people ride their bikes to work, and even more just for recreation. I always thought I was a good rider. I used to ride to work at McDonalds back in the day, and even on my off days, I would go here, there, and everywhere on my Dad's old Schwinn. So, you can understand that when I saw everyone riding their bikes around so freely when I'm stuck to the stopsigns and pedestrian crossings of the road, I set out to find me a bicycle. After checking out a few stores in my area, ones that only specialized in selling new bikes and parts, I decided to check out Recycled Cycles, a used bike store downtown that had new and used bikes and parts.

When I went in, I immediately fell in love with one bike inparticular, a navy blue Cannondale. From what I know of Cannondale, they make pretty good bikes, as told to me by my old baseball coach who was an avid rider himself. While it's only a Cannondale frame, the other parts are very respectable, a mix of Shimano and Mavic.

It rides great, and is a perfect height for me. I do, although have to adjust the seat up a bit, becuase of my long legs. When I first rode, it felt like I was riding a bmx becuase my legs almost came up 90 degrees. The ride height on my old bike was really high, which kept me from tiring out too fast, which I did on my first time out on my new bike. I ended up getting a helmet and a bottle holder too. I didn't want to be the only shmuck in Washington without a bike helmet. Besides, if I were to actually fall down, a helmet wouldn't be such a bad idea.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Bigelow Redemption

I told you I would make up for the "punch in the face".

Today, I got to talking to another employee from Microsoft. He, however, was not a recruiter though he did know somebody in a division who was looking for marketing people. I told him my back story and everything, he seemed genuine in his attempt to help. He took my name and number, as well as my e-mail and gave me the name of the man he was going to talk to about me. I just hope that this will get me in contact with someone who can help me. Even if it doesn't turn out that he can help me, then he can probably point me in the right direction.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Rocky: Resurrected

I recently watched the new trailer for Rocky Balboa, the supposed sequel to the final Rocky movie. Apparently after seeing that, in a boxing video game, Rocky (in his prime) would defeat the new champ, Rocky gets the itch to get back into the ring. Knowing this, the new guy challenges Rocky and blah blah blah. Training ensues and you get the rest.

Sylvester Stallone just turned 60. 60! Granted, he's in good shape, but I mean come on, who are they trying to fool? And the plotline? I can guarantee that Rocky does the usual training techniques, yells unintelligable slurs with blood dripping down his face, comes back from being down, and ends up miraculously winning in the end. The formula is old and worn. Are there any non-sequal movies coming out at all? I'm so tired of seeing the same old junk.

I am really looking forward to Lady in the Water from M. Night Shyamalan, it comes out next week I think. Suspenseful, original, and eye catching. Sign me up.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Cosby Show: A Retrospective

I remember it clearly. I was seven years old when my sister stuck her small pink radio filled with a blank cassette in front of my face, pushed the record button and started her own impromptu interview. It's been a long time since then, but one question stands out to this day:

"Derek, what's your favorite TV show?"

To which I replied, "The Cosby Show!" Of course!

More than 15 years later, it still remains one of my all time favorite shows. The cast was impeccable, combining hilarity and sincerity, honesty and tragedy. Every person in the cast was relatable in some way. I always looked up to Theo in some way to fill in that "no older brother" void that my sister (regardless of surgery) could not provide. He was good for some laughs, but didn't compare to Cosby. Cosby was funny, stern, sincere, and honest, qualities which I see inherent in my father and grandfather.

Don't forget Lisa Bonet or Phylicia Rashad. Without either one, the show wouldn't have been worth a dime. Bonet was the eclectic woman of the show, oozing cool from whenever she stepped onto screen. Rashad, on the other hand was the smart and sincere attorney that matched perfectly with Cosby. I've never told anyone, but I always thought Phylicia Rashad was one of the sexiest women alive. Of course, when you're seven or eight, you are automatically infatuated with any older woman on television. It's a rule I think.

The Cosby Show stands the test of time, and every time I watch it, I get those good nostalgic goosebumps that take me back to a time long past, 1991.
So next time you're laying on your couch, flipping through the channels, be sure to watch for the loveable Huxtables, you're very likely to get a good laugh.

New Blog?

I have been thinking about starting a new blog chronicalling my progress with some of the game ideas I have. One idea in particular is very well developed, I just have to research a little more, and eventually write it. I feel that if I can do this on my own; research, writing, storyboarding, and game design, then I could use that to show how capable I am at doing that type of work. Even if it's not picked up, it would be one hell of a job interview sample.

If I can generate enough material for a new blog, then I'll start it, and post the link on this page.

Taking Care of Business

Now that my resume has been out and about in Seattle (I think I saw it at Happy Hour downtown one day), I've been recieving a few e-mails from potential employers and from businesses who hire people for other businesses. I'm quite unsure as to what to do about this. Sure, there are people who could help me...at a cost. I've already determined that I will never resort to paying my way into a job, it just doesn't seem right. Why pay someone to mow my lawn when I have to two, fully cabable legs? Yet, a little bit of advice wouldn't hurt.

I moved here for a specific reason - to get into the game industry. I don't want to lose sight of my plan and settle for something that will give me no particularly useful skills relevant to what I want to do. But, If I stay at Gap, I won't be any better off either.

If I can't get the type of position that I want, I'm gonna try to get as close as I can. But, I want to make sure that I don't pass up good opportunities that aren't quite what I'm looking for.

It was Henry David Thoreau who said, "Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for the love of it".

Perhaps I should put that on my resume.

I'm going to think this all over a little. Any suggestions?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Those Clever Pokemon

So, most of you already thought I was a nerd, here's more fuel for your fire.

A long time ago, my brother's friend came to our house with his gameboy. In it, Pokemon Yellow. After getting my hands on it and playing for a few hours (to my brother's discontent), I was hooked. Anyway, a long time has passed since then, and when I first purchased my Nintendo DS, I sought out to purchase a new Pokemon game. After dishing out money on MarioKart DS, Trauma Center, Phoenix Wright, Lost in Blue, and Meteos (not all at once), I finally snagged me a copy of Pokemon Sapphire.

If you've never played a Pokemon game, you have no idea what you're missing. Do you remember catching snakes when you were a kid? How about lightning bugs? Well, this is very similar, except you can make the snakes and lightning bugs fight each other. Not only that, but there are hundreds of different Pokemon you can catch, it's friggin endless! They also evolve into more powerful Pokemon and level up after each fight. It's like your little lightning bug turns into a creature of destruction! So cool.

I'm almost done with Sapphire and plan on getting another one when I'm finished. Anyone else out there into Pokemon. You can admit it!

By the way, that's my Swellow in the picture, he can kick your ass.

New Header Again...

So I decided to change the header again, the last one seemed a little bulky. I hope you guys like this one!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Bigelow! Where are you? From?

One of many questions I ask myself and particularly my father is where we came from as a family. He thinks (please correct me if I'm wrong Dad) that our heritage is primarily from German ancestry. My belief is that our heritage stems from Great Britain. By doing some research over the past few years, I have found that I don't really know either way.

What I do know I learned from The Bigelow Society. Started by Rod Bigelow in 1996, the Bigelow Society attempts to piece together the broken history of our founding ancestry. Although the site is not as maintained as it used to be, there are still useful links to be searched, and information to be discovered. Rod also has the time to organize Bigelow Society annual meetings (of which I have never attended), with the 2006 meeting scheduled to be in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.

This is what the site says about our origin:

The immigrant ancestor of nearly all persons in North America bearing the
surname Bigelow in any of its several variants, is John Biglo of Watertown,
Massachusetts. He lived from 1617 to 1703. Many of his descendants have been
recorded in a genealogy entitled The Bigelow Family in America, written by
Gilman Bigelow Howe, printed 1890. The book was published by Charles Hamilton of Boston, and is no longer available except by photo-copy reprint. Rebound used
copies occasionally come into the used-book market with the simple title Bigelow
In this book Howe states that he was
unable to obtain any satisfactory account of the progenitor of John Biglo, and
quotes conflicting traditions stating that the surname is of various national
origins. He also quotes the late genealogist H.G. Somerby, who felt that John
Biglo came from Wrentham, Suffolk, England, and was son of Randall and Jane
Beageley, who had their youngest son, John, baptized 16 February 1617. Also,
from the probate records of Wrentham, Somerby quotes the will of a Francis
Baguley, blacksmith, of Wrentham, who in a will dated 20 October 1656, granted
five pounds "to his brother John Baguley, now living in New England, if he comes
for it within two years". He offered no proof that Francis was son of Randall
So we may never know where the hell we came from. It's funny that our name is dirivitive of Biglo. It's my guess that we were a victim of bad spelling back in the days of old ship passenger logs. If you try to say Biglo phonetically, you'd end up with something very similar to Bigelow. But, it's just my guess. There is a lot more on this subject, but I'll leave that for another day.

The reason I wrote this post was to help explain my new banner. While at the Bigelow Society page, I came across the Bigelow family coat-of-arms. I've always wondered what it would look like slightly updated. I took some time tonight, since I don't have to work tomorrow to break out my photoshop skills and try to pop one out. What you see above is the final product of my efforts. The latin words above GoBigelow, "Finis Coronat Opus" mean "The End Crowns the Work". The Bigelow Society also explains the coat-of-arms:

Regarding the diamonds, or lozenges, on the "Bigelow" coat-of-arms: They are
sometimes described simply as "three lozenges" or three in a row across the
shield. In other descriptions, the specifications "two-over-one" is added. In
Baguley Hall, Manchester, England, the Baguley (Bigelow) shield is displayed. It
is also on the effigy of Sir Wm. Baguley and in both cases the lozenges are
The legal description, from some 650 years or more ago: Arms,
Argent, three lozenges azure. Crest: a ram's head erased azure, charged with
three lozenges and attired or. In summary: The shield is of silver, the three
lozenges are of blue. The ram's head is of blue, lozenges on it's neck are of
gold, as are the ram's horns. The wreath, under the crest, is of alternate
twists of silver and blue. The helmet is of steel color and the mantle is of
blue lined with silver. The ribbon is of silver.

I hope you enjoyed reading a little Bigelow history. If you want to learn a little more, visit the Bigelow Society Page.

The Bigelow Society
The Bigelow Society Coat-of-Arms

Edit: For some reason the quoted sections aren't coming out right. I'm not sure how to fix it, so I apologize.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Hardest Game I've Ever Played

Dance, or possibly a better term, rhythm is not one of my strongest abilities. To be honest, it's not really one of my abilities at all. I can't dance. Period.

When arriving in Seattle, I found it one of my duties to seek out a game import store, where they sell games from Japan. One such game, Osu! Tatakae Oendan, caught my eye in particular. I've heard so much about it. Many people think that it's the greatest game for the Nintendo DS, while others think it's just plain awesome.

Rhythm games are very popular in Japan and Oendan is one of the best. Of course, the US has Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution, but to compare those to Oendan is absurd. To play the game, instead of hitting buttons to the rhythm, you actually have to tap the screen in number sequence (you'll see what I mean when you watch the video). The better you are, the more points you get.

The cool thing about Oendan, is that you're basically cheering people on through their daily lives. For instance, a sculptor was having a hard time being creative, and could only make crappy sculptures. So he called for Oendan to cheer him on and he ends up making masterpieces. By following the rhythm, you are able to cheer him on successfully and help him out.

This video is of the last level of the hardest difficulty (where you get to be actual cheerleaders). Keep in mind I'm on the first difficulty level and can't get past this part.

Rhythm indeed.

Just for background info, all the people in the beginning sequence are those who you help throughout the game, and they all come together to help you destroy the meteor. The flames and stuff behind them are there to show that they're getting pumped or something. Enjoy.