Watch me ollie!

Monday, October 25, 2004

Monday Arvo

Well, so that was the weekend. Not bad, all things considered. Here's a quick summary:

On Friday, I played a bit of Star Wars: Battlefront, which was good fun. I even managed to win a round on Hoth as the Rebels. Huzzah! They didn't even manage that in the film. Then I went out with the missus and our second-best mate Penni for a beer at the Rob Roy, on Brunswick St, Fitzroy. There was kind of a weird crowd there, but we had a good laugh anyway. I was probably a fair bit drunker than I would have let on at the time, if asked.

On Saturday, the missus and I bought loads of new undies and socks, and other boring essentials. I also bought a copy of Outrun2, and the third season of Black Books. These I'll consider early birthday presents to myself. We watched the Black Books DVD that night, and laughed like a couple of drains. It's highly recommended if you enjoy comedies like Spaced and Father Ted. Which you would, if you knew what was good for you.

I played a bit of Outrun2, and I'm enjoying it very much indeed. It's the only game that's seriously looked like challenging Burnout 3 for "Game of the Year" status so far. It's interesting that they're both "arcade"-style racing games, and that they're the only two decent arcade racers to have come along in absolute ages. I guess I've been dying for one, without really realising it. The last great one was probably Ridge Racer 4. Ouch.

Outrun2 isn't for everyone, though. It's goofy where Burnout 3 is 'hip'. It's over-the-top and a bit silly, but delightfully so. It's bursting with charm and sunshine, and manages to expand on the classic original it's a sequel to, without stomping all over it. The warm glow of nostalgia is still there. If you loved the cheesiness and unbridled joy of the original, the sequel is likely exactly what you're looking for. If you like serious, realistic racing, then you'll likely be disappointed. It's worth mentioning that the game (at first blush, at least) seems to be big and varied, but also bastard difficult, and quite eccentric, in its handling and overall 'feel'. I bet you already know whether you're going to like it or not. It's pretty much what you'd expect.

In Outrun2, for those who don't know, you basically drive fast, through traffic, in a Ferrari. But you also have your girlfriend next to you, who's really demanding, and wants you to do all sorts of ridiculous things to impress her. This is where most of the gameplay variation comes from. I won't go into all the details of the different modes here (partly because there are loads of review sites that've already done that, but mostly because nobody's actually reading this anyway), but let's just say that they're numerous, bizarre and varied. If you enjoyed the "Crazy Box" mode of Crazy Taxi, you'll know what I'm talking about. It's good stuff.

Oh, and on Sunday, as well as playing Outrun2, I also went to the zoo, and then did a bit of gardening with the missus. At the zoo, we saw loads of neat things (as per usual), but the highlights were probably the baby tree kangaroo (poking out of its mother's pouch) and the echidnas that we saw hoover up a bowl of food like you wouldn't believe. For creatures with mouths that small, they can really eat fast. Plus, they have freakishly long tongues. We didn't see any tapirs, which was a shame, since we were both looking forward to seeing them (and hearing them - they make a really unexpected noise), but we did both agree that the black and white colobus was our favourite monkey. Plus, it was a beautiful day.

It was our first visit to the zoo as "friends of the zoo" - I bought us a family membership for the missus' birthday last month. We were able to skip the queue and just walk straight in, which made us feel a little bit like VIPs. Tidy.

As for the gardening, well, it was kinda fun too, I have to admit. The courtyard is *really* tidy now, and there are three garbage bags and a sulo bin filled with leaves and bits of vine. This one vine has been slowly taking over the courtyard (having roughly quadrupled in size in the last six weeks or so), and I feel that we took the fight back to it yesterday. We may have even won a round. We also managed to repot our Happy Plant, which we've been feeling a bit sorry for lately, as it keeps blowing over.

I don't really know very much about gardening, so I hope I didn't irrreparably damage the monster vine when I hacked most of its limbs off. I'll admit that the process was strangely satisfying.

After a long-ish Sunday out in the sun, walking around the zoo and then tidying up and pruning in the courtyard, I was pretty knackered, and the missus and I had a Parmy and a pint down at the local. I then slept like a log. Not a bad weekend, all up. Even though we didn't get to see Shaun of the Dead.

We were meant to be going to dinner tonight, for my birthday, but we've put it off until Thursday night instead. My birthday's actually tomorrow, but Monday and Thursday are the only nights the missus has off this week, sadly. I'm not sure what we'll do tonight - grab a quiet pint, perhaps. My sister might pop over for a bit tomorrow night, but as the missus is working until midnight, I'll likely spend most of the evening on my lonesome. Ah, well. I didn't want to make a fuss out of this birthday anyway - in fact, it's totally snuck up on me, since I've been trying to avoid thinking about it.

Next year I'll be 30 - that's something I'm not quite ready for just yet. Ouch.

Anyway, I'll probably have a night out on the sauce next weekend, and can probably deal with a big Greek banquet or something on Thursday night. It should be alright.

My dear old mother is away in Italy, and she hasn't been in contact at all since she's been away, which is most unlike her. I really hope she calls me tomorrow for my birthday, just so I know she's still alive and well. Of course, she hasn't been very happy lately, so perhaps she's run off to start a new life. I'd be happy for her, if she did, but I'd also just like to know that she's still alive. Fingers crossed, eh?


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