Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas in Kenya: Days 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14

This is Part 3 in a series. You might want to checkout the previous post, or start at the beginning.

Lazy Holidays

Day 10 was a Sunday, so naturally we went to church. However, the church that we went to was one that was down in the valley, in the IDP camp. This Internally Displaced People camp was formed four years ago, in the wake of the most recent elections. There had been much violence that had broken out because of the election, so many people had lost their homes. They were then placed in these IDP camps, originally in emergency tents. However, a couple of years back, Habitat for Humanity had come into this particular camp and had built the residents actual brick and mortar houses to permanently live in.

However, the community is still very poor. Everyone is wearing cast away clothing, there are people without shoes... that sort of thing. Because of their great need, one of the Kenyan men from the community around RVA, John, has taken it upon himself to help these people. Apparently, he usually boils ~150 hardboiled eggs and takes them to the children in the camp. This week, seeing as it was Christmas Sunday, he brought a huge bag of plumbs and a massive box filled with individual treat bags for the children. I don't know how he managed to get all those bags, but it was impressive. When we went down to the camp, we gave John a ride too. It was a bit of a cramped ride with the six of us plus John and his treats all in the Pajero, but we fit.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas in Kenya: Days 6, 7, 8 and 9

This is Part 2 in a series. You might want to checkout the previous post to start at the beginning.

Wildlife In the Aberdares and Nakuru

This was the start of the "wildlife" portion of the trip. On Wednesday, we woke up, packed up, and then drove off to the Aberdares. The Aberdare park is a wildlife preserve that has houses that you can rent to stay in for the night. It's a very nice park, and there is a lot of wildlife around to look at. The scenery is beautiful too.

So, the first day we drove up to the park, which was an adventure in itself. The roads are pretty amazing in Kenya. I have never seen so many potholes in my life. You weave from one side of the road to the other in an effort to keep away from the nastiest of the potholes. It's pretty exciting, but I can see why people would want to have a four wheel drive car. Some of those holes were deep, and we bottomed out many times. The final count was 9 times, I do believe.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas in Kenya: Days 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

Adventures in Airports and Acclimation

Day 1 of my journey didn't start until about 8pm on Friday when the first flight left, so there wasn't much going on before that. I mean, we chilled at Dagger's cousin's house, but that was it. Chisel and I were pretty much the only ones home most of the day because Dagger and the rest of the family was at his cousin's graduation. When everybody else got back, it was almost time to leave (so as to avoid the traffic). We got to the airport without any major events happening, and made it through security, found our gate, and boarded the plane on time. We even took off on time. It's weird. International travel doesn't usually work out that well.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

2D Games Aren't Dead Yet: To the Moon

If there ever was a game that catered to me personally, it would be To the Moon. I'm a big fan of story driven games, which is why I love Alan Wake so much. If the story is definitely the reason that the game exists, I'm pretty much predestined to love it. Like the rest of the games from Freebird Games, the game is focused on the story that it is telling.

A poster that shows the main characters looking at the patient as he lies in his bed asleep with an IV.
Image from 
The official description of the game is:
To the Moon is an indie Adventure RPG, about two doctors traversing through the memories of a dying man to fulfill his last wish.
An  intriguing  concept, right? The game doesn't actually have all that much in the way of gameplay, but it is based around the story, so that's ok. The mission of Freebird Games is to make games that immerse the player in the story and atmosphere of the game.

Monday, 6 August 2012


So, for the past year and a half, I've been preforming an experiment on myself. Like all good ideas, this one came from the internet. I was reading some ideas that people had posted about how to be more efficient when using my computer. One such idea was to switch keyboard layouts away from the standard QWERTY layout to the newer, much, much more efficient Colemak layout.

If you don't know, the QWERTY layout is the layout that has been used on all keyboards since forever. It was originally developed for typewriters, but has now been adopted for use with computers as the standard. It's name comes from the first six letters on the top row of the keyboard.

This is what the Colemak layout looks like:
A picture of the layout of where each button is on the Colemak layout.
Image from
Clearly, it's not the same as the QWERTY layout, but it is very similar.

Because I haven't been using QWERTY in over a year and a half, this has led to the problem of using other people's computers. I can no longer type with any sort of accuracy or speed when I am forced to borrow another computer. However, I've just recently discovered a new program that I can use to take the Colemak layout with me when I travel, so hopefully it will work out. I would just like to say congratulations to Apple for (apparently) adding standard support for Colemak into their OS (as of Lion, I believe).

It's actually not that hard to switch from QWERTY to Colemak, due to their similarities. If you do a lot of typing, I would recommend that you give it a try. It can take a bit of time to get used to the new system (it took me about 2 weeks), but it's well worth the effort in terms of speed and the overall ease of typing.

Plus, if you don't change the physical keys on your keyboard, it can make your computer frustratingly difficult for anyone else to use! Endless hours of amusement right there...

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Best Games of 2011: Number One

This is Day 5 in a series. You might want to check out the previous day, or start at the introduction.

Batman: Arkham City

So, when I decided to write this, I had no idea that the final day of my review series would line up perfectly with the day of the BAFTA game awards. And, apparently, the fine British folks don't agree with my choices. They seem to think that Portal 2 is deserving of the Game of the Year, whereas I have clearly chosen Batman: Arkham City. Ah well. You win some, you lose some. As much as I'd like to agree with the BAFTA awards, I have my reasons.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Best Games of 2011: Number Two

This is Day 4 in a series. You might want to check out the previous day, or start at the introduction.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Like I said yesterday, this was the hardest choice for me. Did I think that Skyrim or Skyward Sword was the better game? After much deliberation, I realized that although both games were fantastic, I had more fun playing Skyward Sword, so I gave it the higher spot. I haven't finished either of them, but I'm giving Skyward Sword the benefit of the doubt that the ending won't be terrible. (UPDATE: It wasn't.)

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Best Games of 2011: Number Three

This is Day 3 in a series. You might want to check out the previous day, or start at the introduction.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

So, this was the most difficult choice. I couldn't decide if Skyrim should get third place or second place. Apparently, I decided that it deserves third. Interesting...

Skyrim was a very difficult game for me to get into. I loved its predecessor, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, when it came out in 2006. I bought it on launch day, and played it for hours. Over 110 hours, actually. I couldn't get enough of the massive, vibrant, alive world. There were so many quests, and I had to do them all! And I did. I memorized the towns, and to this day I can still name most of them and put them on a map.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Best Games of 2011: Number Four

This is Day 2 in a series. You might want to check out the previous day, or start at the introduction.

Portal 2

Portal 2 was a fantastic game. Let me say that right off the bat. However, I'm only giving it fourth place. Ordinarily, that would mean that this was a fantastic year for games. Unfortunately, I only played four games this year that were worth giving a place on this list, so that's not true. It just means that there were more games this year that fit my play style.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Best Games of 2011: Honourable Mention

This is Day 1 in a series. You might want to start at the introduction.

L.A. Noire

You may be wondering why L.A. Noire is only getting an honourable mention, as opposed to being the 5th best game of last year. Goodness knows that I love round numbers, so I really wanted to do a "5 best games" feature, rather than a "4 best games" piece. However, I couldn't say that it was one of the best games of the year in good conscience.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Best Games of 2011: Intro

Okay, so here's the plan. It's March Break, and that means that I don't have any school to do. So I once again turn my attention to this blog. I'm going to once again try to update this thing on a consistent basis.

Monday through Friday, each night I will post the next game in my "Best Games of 2011" ranking. We'll start with Honourable Mention, and move up from there.

Now, I know what you're saying: "Bacon, it's March already! 2011 is long over, why even bother?"

Well... Yeah. You're right.
But, I've been meaning to do this for a while and I just hadn't gotten around to it yet. Priorities. And I wanted to finish all of the games (which I haven't, but I'm close enough).

So, anyways, check back tomorrow night, and the night after, and the night after, and the night after, and the night after to see my thought of what the best games of 2011 were.

p.s. There will be a substantial bit of bias here, because almost all of the games that I am going to mention will be Xbox games, because that is what I use, almost exclusively. So don't expect to see Uncharted 3, or Minecraft, or any of those other heavy hitters that I can't play on my Xbox.

Full Series

Intro: Best Games of 2011
Day 2Number Four
Day 3Number Three
Day 4Number Two
Day 5Number One

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The 5 Dragon Daughter

So, I've decided that I'd rather write this than do my homework, so here goes nothing.

On Monday (two days ago), LeTourneau's Belcher Center played host to The 5 Dragon Daughter, a sort of artsy show. I had heard good things about it, but had been unable to see it during its previous showings (it's because I don't have a car). So, it came to me!

I finally got around to watching it on Monday, and it immediately became one of my favourite things ever. Without a doubt.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

England: Day Nine

This is Day 9 in a series. You might want to check out the previous day, or start at the introduction.

So, this is the last update. However, it's not the end of my trip. It was supposed to be, but it's not. Right now, I'm stuck in Philadelphia, as opposed to being in Minneapolis. Why is that, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

So this morning I was in London still. We got on the tube to Heathrow, and everything was going fine. We got in the line to return our Oyster cards (that allow you to easily take the tube and buses), and everything was going fine. We were cutting it a little close, but it wasn't too bad. We showed up at our gate, but we weren't able to board until half an hour after we were scheduled to, because the plane hadn't come in yet.

When we did board, we were pushed back on the take off schedule by the ATC, so we were late to get onto the runway. However, when we did finally make it out, everyone on board could definitely smell burning... something. We were pulled back to the terminal for maintenence.

It turned out that an AC unit had overheated, which had caused the smell. By the time that we got finished repairs, refuelling, and were back on the runway to take off, it was 3 hours later than scheduled.

On the flight, I watched several movies: X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Minority Report, and Cowboys and Aliens. Only Minority Report was worth my time.

Oh, in case anybody was interested, the planes that I have flown on over this trip were an Embraer 190, Boeing 767, Boeing 737, and an Airbus A330. Not sure what I'm taking tomorrow. And, sorry to any Boeing fans out there, but I enjoyed the A330 more than the 767. I'm sure that almost all of that is related to the fact that the A330 had personal, on-demand movies, while the 767 had a couple TV's for everyone to watch, so everyone saw the same thing.

So, landing 3 hours later than we should have, we had missed our connecting flight, and were stranded here in Philadelphia.

So, that's where this blog will end. I won't bother posting tomorrow, because I'm not in England anymore. I probably won't update this blog again very soon, and when I do, I'll probably post something boring, like a very unoriginal analysis of Citizen Kane, or something. I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to read this blog. This has been a great experience, both the blog and the trip. But mostly the trip.

Full Series

IntroEngland Trip

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

England: Day Eight

This is Day 8 in a series. You might want to check out the previous day, or start at the introduction.

Even though we didn't have anything planned for today, we still managed to get a lot done. More than most other days, I'd say.

So, because we had no plans I got to sleep in. While I was missing breakfast (which closes at 10), my dad went out to Stamford Bridge, which is the Chelsea FC stadium. He walked through a cemetery on the way there, and apparently he saw a fox. In the middle of London. Who'd have thought?

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

England: Day Seven

This is Day 7 in a series. You might want to check out the previous day, or start at the introduction.

Today was crazy busy.

We started out the day with a tour of BBC Studios. Right outside the front doors, this is parked:
The TARDIS is parked in front of BBC Studios.
It's the TARDIS from Doctor Who,
in case you don't know.

Monday, 2 January 2012

England: Day Six

This is Day 6 in a series. You might want to check out the previous day, or start at the introduction.

Remember how I said that today was going to be a slow day? Yeah, I was wrong. This was actually the day that both my dad and I were looking forward to the most, and it was probably the highlight of my trip.

So, thanks to a tip off by an awesome cab driver, we found out that there's this show on right now called the Doctor Who Experience. We looked it up last night, and discovered that the only day that it was open while we were here was today. So guess where we went?

Sunday, 1 January 2012

England: Day Five

This is Day 5 in a series. You might want to check out the previous day, or start at the introduction.

Today was the slowest day yet. I slept in, then went to breakfast in the hotel. (UPDATE: In case you're wondering about the hotel, it's the Hotel Ibis: Earl's Court. I just recently learned that in the K-ON! movie that was released the very same month that I was in London, the girls actually stay in the Hotel Ibis: Earl's Court! You have no idea how excited I was when I learned that!)