March 24, 2008

Stack Up Adventures.

This past weekend I was in London. No, not London, England. Fake London. Ghetto London. London, Ontario. I have a cousin from there who’s getting married this summer and so his parents held a big party and invited pretty much everyone. It was held at a place called “Palisad“, which is a restaurant with arcade games and bowling. Kind of a like a Chuck E. Cheese, but for grownups. There were general racing and shooting video games along with games where you win tickets that you can trade in exchange for various useless trinkets. But I didn’t really care about any of those. I spent the majority of the time there playing a game called Stack Up.

Stack up, for those who are unfamiliar, is an electronic game involving a grid with squares that light up and scroll back and forth. You press a button to make the squares stop moving, then more squares appear on the row above it. You have to line them up to create a stack going up to the top, and the game gets harder with each new row. It doesn’t particularly sound all that exciting from that description, but when there are big prizes on the line, it definitely gets the blood pumping. There are major prizes and minor prizes, with the minor prizes being lame keychains and stuff like that. If you get up to a certain point, you can either choose a minor prize or give that up and continue towards a major prize. The major prizes in the unit I was playing on included some GPS systems, iPods, and a cobalt blue Nintendo DS Lite, which is what I was after. I witnessed someone winning a PSP before I started playing, so I knew it was possible to win. Alas, it was not to be for me.

I have to say, I was pretty good! I got the hang of the game pretty quickly. I probably got up to the final row at least 8 times, but came up short. At one point I had a big crowd of people gathered around me who all sighed with disappointment when I lost on the final row. I played it so much that I badly hurt my wrist from leaning on the machine with my right hand the whole time. People were asking me all night if I won yet, confident that I could do it. But by the time the party was over, I was empty handed. I could have won about 200 Care Bear Keychains, but of course I had my eyes on the big prize and I got greedy.

I played it enough to come to the conclusion that the times I lost before reaching the top were my own fault, but I have my doubts about that last row. Since I had the skill to reach the top multiple times, how could I not win in the end at least once? There had to be more to this game than meets the eye. In my opinion, there must be a certain degree of luck involved on that final row. I will do my research, figure out the secret, and I will try again. Somewhere, some day, I will be victorious in Stack Up.

Stack Up, you are mine!!!

Anyway, the rest of the weekend was fun family stuff. But you don’t care about that.


March 7, 2008

Hard Work is Hard.

I had something of an adventure this week.

This past Wednesday I worked as staff for the Toronto Art Expo at the Metro Toronto Convention Center. It was just a temporary thing. I got the offer to come and work from one of the folks I had met at the Shonen Knife concert last year who is in charge of hiring for the event. It was very cool to be thought of for an opportunity like this, as they were looking for artistically minded people.

Essentially, I was one of 20+ people there to help artists unloading their artwork from their vehicles and moving over to their booths. This work mostly consisted of wearing a red shirt and pushing wheeled carts, mixed with healthy doses of sitting around and waiting to push yet more wheeled carts. Occasionally I would be asked questions that I didn’t know the answer to and had no qualifications or authority to answer anyway, such as what to do when things went wrong with people’s booths. This was slightly annoying as all I was ever told about was related to pushing those wheeled carts.

Anyway, I worked for 11 hours, and while I can’t say it was grueling work, since there was plenty of time to sit in between the busier periods, it was hard enough to make it nearly impossible to walk out of the building when I was finished. I wasn’t tired, but my feet were absolutely killing me, and I’m still aching today. But it’s going to amount to some money in my pocket, and I got to see some cool people and eat some pizza, so it’s all good.

Best of all, the folks that I met at the Shonen Knife concert knew that they were going to see me again, and since I had to leave as soon as the concert ended, they got me a CD and had it autographed by the band! So now I have an autographed Shonen Knife CD. That totally rocks and I’m incredibly thankful for it. So it was definitely a great day in that respect.

I’d do it again at some point down the line if I was asked. But this experience has made me glad that I don’t do work like that on a regular basis because it really takes a lot out of ya.