The Mythical Wii-Beast of Black Friday

This past Black Friday was a Wii-less one. After I went into work to find out that I wasn’t needed for the special shift, my friend and I didn’t start prowling the stores until noon. If any Nintendo Wii consoles were available on this sacred shopping day, they were long gone after 5:00AM.

First stop was to Circuit City for my friend to pick up “From The Earth to The Moon” DVD box set for $15 USD (normally $60 USD). We found no mythical Wii-beast there. We told one guy in line that we were hunting for the Wii-beast; he mentioned that he got his own months ago through a friend at EA. When I was a lead tester at Accolade/Infogrames/Atari (same company, different owners, multiple identity crisis), I won a Sony Playstation 2 at the company Christmas party in 2003. I sold it to a friend unopened for $200 USD because she wanted one to give to her boyfriend for Christmas, but kept it for herself after the relationship went south. Since I was the Nintendo guru at work, it didn’t make much sense to have a Playstation 2 at home. That’s how video game company connections usually work.

The parking lot at Fry’s Electronics in San Jose was more interesting with three idiots for every open parking spot in front and no one going in back to park. (We did get a parking spot in front.) A sign inside the video game department greeted us with the bad news: “Wii Sold Out!” We didn’t buy anything at Fry’s since the line to the cash register was two hours long.

The sign at Best Buy at Santana Row was no better: “Wii No Longer Available!”

The mythical Wii-beast of Black Friday eluded us among the many boxes of the Sony Playstation 3 and Microsoft XBox 360 that no one wanted. Since I told all my relatives that I was looking for a Wii this holiday season, maybe the mythical Wii-beast will make an appearance for Christmas.

Painting – Turkish Watch Tower

This painting is from a BBC photo of a Turkish watch tower on the Iraqi border silhouetted against an orange sky. I often like to paint a black foreground image against a colorful background since it’s easier to paint.

Painted on an 8×10 canvas panel with Liquitex Basics acrylic paint that took an hour to complete.

Painting – Gaza’s Last Stand

This painting is from an International Herald Tribune photo of a sad Palestinian vegetable seller in Gaza. I painted the man and his vegetable stand first, and then added the desolated wasteland in the background. What does the painting mean? I’m going to leave that open to interpretation. This is perhaps my most “political” painting to date.

Painted on an 8×10 canvas panel with Liquitex Basics acrylic paint that took three hours to complete.

Painting – Finnish Lake

This painting is from a BBC photo of a Finnish lake in autumn colors. I might paint this scene over again as the trees are not distinctive enough and the water reflection is too mirror image perfect. These are two areas that I feel challenged to master as an amateur painter.

Painted on an 8×10 canvas panel with Liquitex Basics acrylic paint that took three hours to complete.

I See Zombies

I became a zombie game fan when I started blasting them in “Quake” with grenades and rockets in 1997, and a hardcore zombie movie fan after the “Resident Evil” movies came out. For whatever reason this weekend, I was knee-deep in the zombie dead. Halloween—like daylight savings time—came a few weeks late.

The zombie fest started with the installation of “Hellgate: London” on my gaming PC. When I tried the demo out a few weeks ago, I hated it since I thought the game play was tedious, no ending to wrap up the game play, and the game was too much like a “Diablo” clone. No surprise that this game came from the same people who created “Diablo II.” After readjusting my thinking from first person shooter to hack-and-slash (never mind that my marksmen character used guns instead of swords), I started enjoying the demo and pre-ordered the game.

My current character is Level 7 marksmen with some tricked out armor and modified guns. My favorite weapons are the RPG/flame thrower that’s good for clearing out small groups of zombies, and the machine gun for larger groups and bigger-sized zombies. The game had several memorable moments. I blew off the top half of a zombie only to see the lower half do a twitch dance before falling over. I came roaring around the corner after throwing a grenade, where I expected to find a half-dozen zombies, to run into 20+ zombies waiting for me. After falling down to the bottom of a three-story staircase, all the zombies from the upper floors came banging downstairs and all the nearby zombies became aware of  my presence, which took all my ammo to get out of that mess. This game should keep me busy until “Unreal Tournament 3” comes out in two weeks.

I went to Borders at Santana Row to locate “Flight of the Living Dead” (a.k.a., “Zombies On A Plane”) DVD. The woman behind the information counter gave me a weird look when I asked about the title, almost as if I was asking permission to eat her brains. Alas, no such luck. So I got the “Black Sheep” DVD instead.

If you thought zombie crows in “Resident Evil: Extinction” was weird, try zombie sheep on a small island country where the sheep outnumbers people by ten to one. When two animal rights activists in New Zealand steal research material being disposed of at a sheep farm, they get more than bargain for when the canister cracks open to release a zombie lamb. People bitten by the zombie sheep turn into were-sheep.  All the traditional elements of a zombie film are here: the New Age animal rights activist airhead playing the dismal in distress, one guy being stretched out to have his guts ripped out be a pair of sheep, and the usual genetic research versus mother nature debate. Plus the standard redneck farm jokes about inbred family and lovelorn sheep. This movie is so hilariously wrong on so many levels.

If that wasn’t enough, I was watching a “Star Trek: Enterprise” episode called “Impulse” that was about… drum roll please… Vulcan zombies!