Gamer Public Service Announcement

Tales of Vesperia is the most visually stunning video game I have ever seen, and is easily the best RPG I’ve played since FF7. Maybe since FF5.

All of this video is in-game. That is what the combat actually looks like.

The battles are real-time, the skill system is a perfect combination of the job system and the materia system, and I’m over 20 hours in and I just got off the first continent.

This game is to the 360 what FF7 was to the PS. It’s worth buying the console for.

…but don’t take my word for it, ask Famitsu (who gave it 9-9-9-8), or ask Japan (where 360s are now sold out at every major retailer in the country).


I’ve been coasting a lot lately. Waiting for work to be over, killing time until it’s time to sleep, counting the days until it’s the weekend… I’m not even doing anything interesting with this — I’m not spending my time reading great books or listening to great music, mostly I’m caught in the Livejournal Circle of Death, which involves me clicking listlessly on a dozen bookmarks (of which LJ is the first) over and over and over again, even if there’s nothing new.

If you’ve ever spent an afternoon circling your kitchen, opening and closing your fridge and cupboards even though the food hasn’t changed at all, you should know what I mean.

On the upside, it’s better than playing WoW.

The skin on several parts of my face appears to be falling off. This is troubling.

Notes from thee basement.

HydroOttawa has fucked up, claiming that my power usage went up by an order of magnitude one month, and now I have a completely insane and impossible $3,300 hydro bill. They then proceeded to blackmail me into a payment plan by threatening to cut off my power within 24 hours, while saying it would take 48+ hours to get a supervisor to call me back to discuss the issue. They have since replaced my meter and refuse to discuss the issue with me until they’re done ‘investigating’. They have yet to tell me what they’re investigating. I may sue. Rogers has fucked up in a similar fashion that I don’t even want to get into, and now I have a completely insane $1,200 bill.

(In related news, I don’t think I’m going to Maschinenfest.)

Saw some guy wearing a totenkopf death head t-shirt when I was out for lunch with coworkers. Do people still think this is cool? I mean, it’s not as stupid as wearing an SS uniform to a nightclub or anything, but still.

Might be going on a US tour with Cyanotic/Acumen/Acucrack in November. Not 100% yet. This will, coincidentally, be the second time I will be in tour with Cyanotic in the US and Nine Inch Nails comes to play Ottawa.

Need to get on that fucking backpiece tattoo I already put down money for.

i have the outrage fatigue

It gets worse:

CBC NEWS – The chorus of voices blasting the federal Heritage Department’s recent cuts to federal arts and culture programs grew louder on Friday, with critics calling the decision “appalling” and “disastrous” for the community.

“Culture is not an expense, it’s an investment — in human potential, the economy and in creativity,” MP Denis Coderre, the Liberal Party’s heritage critic, told a news conference in Montreal on Friday, adding that the decision is a “disastrous” step backwards for the country and “extremely worrying.”

“When you cut a program you have to rebuild it some other way. Creating new programs takes months and months,” he said, also accusing the government of denying funding to artists “because they’re radical” and of trying to define “what culture is, when we should be fostering creativity.”

Last week, government officials confirmed it would no longer fund the $4.7 million PromArt program, which subsidizes the promotion of Canadian artists touring abroad. News then emerged that funding of the $9 million Trade Routes program, which promotes the export of Canadian arts and culture products abroad, had also been cut.

The elimination of further federal cultural funding came to light late this week, including contributions of:

$300,000 to the Audio-Visual Preservation Trust of Canada, for programs archiving important film, television and musical recordings.
$1.5 million to the Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund.
$2.5 million to the National Training Program in the Film and Video Sector.
Two programs that provide administrative support to arts organizations — the Stabilization Projects and Capacity Building — will also be eliminated, as will two New Media Research funds, the government announced in updates on the programs’ respective web pages.

New condemnation

Myriad arts and cultural groups had already voiced their dismay regarding the PromArt and Trade Routes cuts, but a flood of new condemnation came on Friday.

“It’s appalling that these cuts come during the Olympics when all eyes are focused on the world stage,” Richard Hardacre, national president of performers’ union ACTRA, said in a statement on Friday.

“You can’t compete without investment in years of training and long-term support. The arts are no different.”

Noted Canadian filmmaker Sturla Gunnarsson, who is also president of the Directors Guild of Canada, said his group was “gravely concerned by these recent decisions and will be seeking meetings with both [heritage and foreign affairs] ministers to encourage their reconsideration. Given the size of our market and the current state of our industry, now is the time to strengthen, not abolish, such key programs.”

The cancellations will have a “devastating effect,” Antoni Cimolino, Stratford Shakespeare Festival general director and a vice-president of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres, said in an earlier statement.

“Canadians depend on our artists and their work to communicate Canadian values. Government investment is a crucial element of cultural diplomacy in every developed nation, including Canada.”

On Thursday, Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe called the funding cuts “unacceptable.” He called on his Liberal and NDP colleagues to join the Bloc in calling the Heritage Department to task and demanded the Conservatives immediately explain their decision.

Efficiency, stronger impact sought: Verner

After mostly silence (save for brief statements from department spokesmen) this week, Heritage Minister Josée Verner defended the Trade Routes and PromArt decisions in an interview with the French arm of Canadian Press on Thursday.

“What’s being considered … is to examine how we can create a new program or new avenues that will be more efficient and with a stronger impact for our culture abroad,” Verner said.

Though these programs are important for artists, they did not demonstrate that the federal government’s investment in them had enough impact to make a difference, Verner said, adding that the decision to abolish these programs stems from revisions announced in the budget last spring.

Verner said she would “always fight” for the cultural sector but that reality dictates “that we seek efficiency. I think the first beneficiary of this [action] will be the cultural world.”


In case anyone missed this from a few days ago:

OTTAWA – The federal government will cancel a program today that sent artists abroad to promote Canadian culture because the program’s grant recipients included “a general radical,” “a left-wing and anti-globalization think-tank” and a rock band that uses an expletive as part of its name.

Canwest News Service has learned that the Conservatives are cancelling the $4.7-million PromArt program administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade because most of the money “went to groups that would raise the eyebrows of any typical Canadian,” said a government official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The move is sure to provoke a backlash in the Canadian cultural community, already angry at the federal Conservatives for tinkering with the funding criteria for other arts programs, most famously for pending legislation which would prohibit federal funding of films and television shows the government might find offensive.

The cut is part of an ongoing government-wide review to cut spending but the department’s PromArt program became an easy target when senior Conservatives discovered that some recipients of taxpayer-funded foreign travel were “not exactly the foot that most Canadians would want to see put forward.”

The recipients singled out by the Conservatives include:

– $3,000 to Toronto-based experimental rock band Holy F— Music for a week-long tour of the United Kingdom.

– $5,000 was given to former CBC broadcaster Avi Lewis, who now works for al-Jazeera and who is described in a Conservative memo as “a general radical” to help pay for his travel to film festivals in Australia and Argentina;

– $16,500 to send Tal Bachman, a bestselling recording artist and the son of The Guess Who’s Randy Bachman, to South Africa and Zimbabwe for music festivals.

“I think there’s a reasonable expectation by taxpayers that they won’t fund the world travel of wealthy rock stars, ideological activists or fringe and alternative groups,” the source said.

Bachman, Lewis or representatives of Holy F— Music could not immediately be reached.

But the program also funded travel to promote what many Canadians might consider “mainstream” Canadian art. For example, the Canadian Museum of Civilization received $50,000 to help defray the costs of taking an exhibition of Inuit art to Brazil; the Royal Winnipeg Ballet received assistance of $40,000 for a U.S. tour; and former Supreme Court Justice Michel Bastarache received a $3,000 grant so he could travel to Cuba to give a lecture about the Canadian Charter of Rights.

The Foreign Affairs website said the grant program “provides funding to Canadian artists and arts organizations for the promotion of Canadian culture abroad, in alignment with Canada’s foreign policy and trade priorities.”

More than 300 grants were awarded in 2006-07.

Among those who received a grant was author Gwynne Dyer, who received $3,000 to help him travel to Cuba for a series of lectures. The grant program’s annual report said Dyer’s funding application was approved “with the expected results of creating greater awareness and appreciation of Canadian foreign policy … within key audiences of Cuban decision-makers and opinion-leaders.”

But the Conservative talking points say Dyer is “a left-wing columnist and author who has plenty of money to travel on his own.”

The Conservatives also dismiss a grant given to The North South Institute, a non-profit foreign policy think-tank, that received $18,000 in federal travel assistance so its representatives could attend a conference in Cuba.

The North-South Institute is “a left-wing and anti-globalization think-tank,” the Conservative memo said. “Why are we paying for these people to attend anti-western conferences in Cuba?” it asked.

Other artists and groups to receive federal funding for foreign travel assistance in 2006-07 were:

– Comedian Andy Jones received $11,000 for an Australian tour; the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada received $18,000 to go to South Carolina; and The Gryphon Trio received $13,200 to travel and play in the United Kingdom.

– Combined, the Quebec-based dance troupes Le Projet Ex Machina, Les 7 doigts de la main, and les Grands ballets canadiens received more than $500,000 in travel assistance for tours through the U.S., Asia, and Europe.

– Rock band The Rheostatics received $7,000 for a trip to China.

you got your earth in my wounds! you got your wounds in my earth!

My new favourite Bone Music review came out on Wounds of the Earth today. I wish most reviewers were half as critical (or as detailed) as this one.

“Bone Music” is a really weird album. It took me quite a few listens to fully wrap my head around what is contained herein. There are two main faces to the music. One is a highly organic and ancient – almost primordial – sound. The melodic and textural aspects of the album take on this sound. The other sound is more industrial…it is that of a dilapidated factory spewing out pollution and shrapnel. This sound is found in the rhythmic aspect of the album.

Somehow the juxtaposition of these two very dissimilar sounds is melded here with astonishing results. […] I can’t say that this album sounds much like anything else on the planet and I think that the Ad-ver-sary sound is truly unique.

quoted for truth

me: hey you doing any torrenting/filesharing or the like?
Mike: i am not
me: k
Mike: y?
me: my usenet connection is at 5kb/s
me: there we go
me: is back now
Mike: its been spiky all day
Mike: ping goes crazy when i’ve been playing cod4
me: shitty
Mike: yup
me: fucking rogers
Mike: i hate them so much
Mike: its like getting cancer when the only other option is aids

does i go electro-metal?

A second review of Bone Music hits ChainDLK.

Another new and yet-not-discovered-before new signing to the growing Electronica armada of the Chicago Heights-based Tympanik Audio label. We had this act already presented here with a review and a well deserved interview, I nevertheless come a bit later on this too. AD-VER-SARY is a solo effort by Jairus Kahn and long-year active Techno- and Underground-DJ. He has already shared some collaborations with acts like CONVERTER, TERRORFAKT or ANTIGEN SHIFT – and CYANOTIC. After having read this and heard the first both tracks, I really thought: “does Tympanik goes Electro-Metal”? Okay, those guitar riffs are sampled, stretched and manipulated, but it seems that some or another of the collaborations has left some organic influence on the musically outfit.

Luckily Jairus leaves the Coldwave-Industrial-like influence after the first tunes. AD-VER-SARY’s playing field is a rather straight oriented form of Electronica music, here and there infiltrated with a promising mixture of Dark Ambient (“International Dark Shies”), Powernoise (“No Exit”) and some Down-Tempo/Break-Beat impressions (“Friends Of Father”, “Bone Music”). It is promising, since the try to include diversity seems to the intended and outstanding point behind this release. Three additional remix work provided by mouthwatering Ant-Zen7Hymen-recording acts like SYNAPSCAPE, ANTIGEN SHIFT or the mysterious TONIKOM (marvelous!) fulfill a quite great release, whose magic can’t get discovered after only one listen. This album needs some more spins to reach fully satisfaction, which is at least guaranteed.