TGIF!

I have several things I want to post today, but I also have a LOT to do at work as well, so I’ll be posting in spurts just to get it all out of my system. It’s funny, after days of struggling to find something interesting to post about (interesting to ME anyway 😉 now I’m positively busting. It must be Friday.

I got my package from my mom finally — woohoo!! Early Christmas presents! My wonderful, wonderful mom sent me some maternity jeans, which I badly need, along with a very pretty blouse and more maternity pants to go with it. I was so geeked when I opened that package! I thought I was going to have to go out to the mall this weekend and buy some cheap sweats or something to hold me over for a while, but not anymore! Thanks Mom! Also, she sent me some pregnancy magazines, which is also very cool because I read just about anything I can get my hands on about pregnancy. Cuz I’m a geek. And did you guys see that she posted on my blog? My mom is cool. 🙂

Speaking of cool family members. Bro, if you are out there reading this — contact me!! I swear you must’ve fallen of the face of the earth because I haven’t heard from you in MONTHS.

I’m having a pretty darn good Friday so far. I woke up to the best feeling in the world — my honey cuddling up to me, and then snoozed for a little while longer. Then I got up and worked on the baby blanket while he played around with our new game (Sega’s NHL 2K3, which is very cool), then we were off to work and here I am. Speaking of which…I’ll get back to it now.

NHL 2K3 – EA vs. Sega

Jason just reminded me, this is one of the things I wanted to post today.

As most of you know, and as if it’s not painfully obvious, I’m a hockey nut. This year the only hockey I will be playing is on X-Box, since for some reason I just can’t play competitively while I’m pregnant. Go figure.

Both Wayde and I (it’s a value Wayde has instilled in me) at importance on having the best NHL hockey game available. We once played on the PC, but now that we have an X-Box, it has become our platform of choice.

There has been an interesting development in the land of computerized hockey games this year when it comes to hockey. Long time champion Electronic Arts has been on the top of the heap for many years, but this year Sega has taken a leap into the ring to challenge the title of Best Hockey Game of the Year.

Last month, when EA NHL 2003 came out, we rented it from a local video store for a few days to check it out. It was pretty cool, but nothing spectacular. I did like the pop and alternative music that played in between plays and in the main menus, it added some flavor. The gameplay really hadn’t changed that much from the year before, but the graphics were much better than last year’s X-Box version (the colors were washed out, the porting to X-Box from PC didn’t work very well, I think). The player profiles and collector cards are a cool addition, but also was a feature from last year. I didn’t feel like they put much into making gameplay and AI changes, maybe they thought they were trying to improve perfection? Overall, EA still makes a good product but one big lacking feature that Sega does have is online play. Now, myself, I don’t put too much weight on this feature, but Wayde does and I’m sure most of the general gaming community does as well. One thing that definitely sucked about EA’s version is that, when playing a Season, you could NOT just opt to play one team and then have either a Player 2 or Computer play opposite of you. It was either all or none. And lastly, and I forget what it’s called, but EA has this feature where the crowd noise lowers, the screen turns red, the camera closes in on the player, the game play slows down a tad, and you hear a heartbeat pounding when you end up on a breakaway. I hate that. I think it *can* be turned off, but it happened somewhat infrequently, I just put up with it. (Besides, finding it in the menus would be a pain.)

Last night we got Sega NHL 2K3 and, well, it rocks. Sega’s gameplay is actually much more realistic than EA’s, which I wasn’t sure was possible. You can’t make players skate in impossible directions and if you try to, they can fall. You can pin players along the boards, and you have to aim the puck. One-timers are much more difficult, and player animations are way more realistic — especially the goalies! I never really liked EA’s goalie animations that much, now I definitely don’t. If you are a fan of EA, or are familiar with playing their brand of annual hockey games, you’ll be familiar with their controller setup as well. Sega’s methods are, well, much more complicated. Not really that much harder, but still more complicated. For example, you can sidestep to the left or right, and you can even drag the puck to the outer side of your turn to keep it way from your opponent. Getting used to the controls will be the hardest part, but well worth it, I’m sure. You *can* elect to place the game on a setting which doesn’t use the more diverse controls, but why spoil the fun? On a bad note, the music sucks. The music played during the menu selections is, I think, the ESPN bumper. BORING! But, hey, I’ll trade that for more realistic gameplay any day. Oh, and one more thing. The color commentary isn’t as “colorful” as EA’s, but personally I don’t mind it. I usually end up turning that stuff off anyway. When setting up to play a season, you can pick your team you want to play and for each game you can either play against the computer OR another player can jump in and play the opposing team. That rules. And lastly, Sega’s verson can be played on X-Box live.

My final verdict: If you’re in for realistic gameplay, and you’re not shy of learning to use most of the buttons on your gamepad, and if you even have an inkling that you might want to play online, definitely get Sega. On the other hand, if you like the more arcadish play, the player card profiles that give you “bonuses” earned, and you absolutely must have the cooler music, stick with EA.

No really, I’m sane.

You didn’t think I was just gonna leave you with one silly link today, did ya? Well, I almost did, but I’ve done a lot today and I need a break, so I’m posting.

First, I just want to say thanks to Clive for pointing out that my hockey website looks like total crapola in Netscape. I was aware of it but, once again, my lazy side hasn’t done anything about it. But, Clive gets the credit for pointing out what 20,000 visitors (ok, I’m sure not all use Netscape, but you get my drift) did not. And not only that, but he took a look at my code and sent me an example of what would work better for cross-browser compatibility. Wow, that was extra nice! And I should thank Rick too because Clive got here from there. 🙂

I saw an accident on the way to work this morning — some dood ran into the back corner of an OPP (that’s like the State Police) van and totally smashed both vehicles. Whew. Talk about having a bad day! I’m glad I’m not that guy.

Baby update:
I’m 20 weeks preggo now, which means I’m halfway done cooking this little “bun in the oven”. (Does that mean the kid is half-baked? Haha!!) S/he is starting to kick with a little more force now…I have the distinct feeling that it’s not going to be cute for much longer, but I’m sure I still won’t mind.

This weekend I must, must, must go get some more comfy pants. Having just one pair of maternity pants that I can wear to work is just NOT cutting it.

Ok, one more thing. I’m setting up a weblog for the baby stuff. Cuz I can. Dammit. But I swear there will be no teddy bears, balloons, flowers, cutesy gag-you-with-it’s-sweetness stuff. It will remain plain and simplistic. Possibly even just a default MT template. So there.

Back in a groove…I think.

I’ve got to work on getting myself “back in the groove” at work. Once I was on top of it all, getting things done left and right, motivated and captivated, all that jazz. Now I’m a veritable bump on a log…well, not quite that bad, but my motivation was gone for a while.

I hate to blame it on my pregnancy, I really do, but it’s kind of hard to not be distracted by an alien being thriving on your life. Not to mention squirming around, sucking all your energy, and often making you nauseous and/or starving. I kept hearing something about a “second trimester heaven”, I think they were lying to me. When I hit my second trimester, I started to get more tired, sick, and emotional — not the other way around. It has only been in the last week (almost to the day) that I’ve begun to feel better. Immensely better.

This explains why I finally got off my butt and got goaliegirl.com back up. I’ve also renewed my interest in the baby blanket I was making AND I’m getting back into the swing of things at work. Yay, me.

So, if you want to take a peek at my latest project at work, head on over to playbetterhockey.com. I count myself extremely lucky to have a job that entails two things that give me great self-satisfaction: web design and hockey. And I’m getting paid to do it. Say it with me now…..”suckers!!!” 🙂

Whew.

Yesterday was, well, kinda scary. I’m ok now though, thankfully. I ended up meeting my midwife at her office to make sure that the baby is still ok, and it is. I heard the heartbeat again and the little one was moving around all day. I took it easy yesterday, relaxing and destressing.

I’m back to the daily grind today though, right after a small trip to the lab this morning, I’m off to work and away I go! I have to remember to NOT stress about little things…I don’t know why it’s getting to me now, but it is. Deeeep breaths, relaaaaaax.

Link o the Day:
Osama Bin Laden the philanthropist