Friday, July 02, 2004

Going to see Fireworks up North in timberland coun

Welcome back ya’ll. I’m listening to Moutgomery Gentry. His country is catchy, just like Brooks and Dunn and Garth Brooks. His “Hillbilly Shoes” song sounds great, and so does “Daddy won’t sell the Farm”. Somethin’ new must have come over me, I’m listening to country again. My friend listens to country. My favorite country song of the moment, “Joe Diffie – The 3rd Rock from the Sun.” It went like this. I had always had country mp3s and was a fan of country when I was a kid. As I ‘matured,’ I listened to alternative than went on to 93X (a local rock station) Country is as big as heavy metal over here, possibly a little more… we have 5 country music stations on FM. Ye-ha! 93X and country is all what my friend, Randy, listens too.

Wednesday was a good day, having 99 hits total. Wow, I remember once when I had 115 hits one day, but that was the most I ever had here. Usually I get about 75 hits in a day. It doesn’t look like “Ian’s Smashing Good Software Blog” will be as successful here as I thought. I won’t put energy into it if no one comes to it. I rather spend more resources on this blog since it expresses me, not software. I’ll leave it up to Stuff5 to do that sort of thing. I wish I could somehow delete it. I had asked iMike to delete it because he owns this site. I’ll continue to just add freeware of the day picks to the bottom of each entry on this blog. It makes more sense to have everything under one roof so to speak.

On Thursday I was playing Rayman 3 - Hoodlum Havoc. I bought it for 20 dollars. I had a couple choices in mind. Return to Castle of Wolfenstine for Xbox is suppose to be really good for what you pay for it. I own the PC version which was above average for a first person shooter (mainly because it was developed by the same team that made Quake 3 Arena, iD Sofware.) in 2001. From what I seen in X-fire gaming chat client, this game has held it’s own strength against newer competition. I gave it up because there were plenty of other games to get into. Another choice on my list was Crash Bandicoot for PS2, but I heard that game had sloppy design, and was the worst Crash Bandicoot ever. Universal Interactive bought the franchise, made it multi-platform, and put Traveler’s Tales in charge instead of Naughty Dog. This sort of saddens me because Crash was a funny character, and Traveler’s Tails ruined it by giving it poorly budgeted and sloppy design. I hear it runs on middleware engine, Renderware. Renderware is primary made to give decent graphics for a game that can be ported to several consoles all at once while not breaking the bank. Anyways, to get back to my subject on Rayman 2, which is the only platform game I had for Dreamcast. I beat that game. Rayman is one of those characters who is funny, strange, but didn’t disappoint me. I didn’t max out my score on that game. I hear the Dreamcast version looks better than the PC version and PS2 versions. The PS2 version was called Rayman 2 - Revolution. Anyways, unlike Rayman 2, Rayman 3 has a lot of mini-games inside it including skateboarding, and frying around with Mury, whos Rayman’s fairy companion. All the main characters talk in this game unlike the silent Rayman in Rayman 2. There are more lighting effects in Rayman 3, and Rayman has much more polygons added to him than before. Rayman is French, but Rayman is the only French character I won’t boycott. I might own the PC game once I can find Rayman 2 for PC. I thought I saw it at Wal-mart for 20 dollars. I have a powerful enough PC that this game would look splendid. PC is my preferred platform, and I don’t have a platform game for it yet. says that Rayman 2 was a revolutionary game. The Dreamcast game was really colorful, and was in high resolution. Remember I said it doesn’t matter how much a game is along as it’s in high resolution, it still holds true to Rayman 2’s polished gameplay.

I also downloaded a text-to-voice speech program called CoolSpeech 5. The digital voice speaks to me with what’s ever on the clipboard or text file. In my opinion, the computer voice is bad, it’s using Microsoft’s Text to Speech 4.0.3 engine, which is using out-dated technology. What blew me away is the computer voice knows how to sound out all English words, and attempts to put incest on comas, periods, explanation points. However, with numbers and URLs, ‘she’ speaks every letter. This is bad. CoolSpeech 5 can also save the text file to WAV spoken with her voice than I use CDEX to compress the wave file to 96 KBPS MP3. No noticeable sound is lost in the compression process. I’ve spent half the day finding better ‘commercial text-to-speech’ engines that sounded better than Microsoft’s text-to-speech engine. I had no success on this. IBM allows me to download the software. However, there is this amazing text-to-speech demo at Its sounds so real like a woman’s voice, it scares me. Then I downloaded IBM’s Home Page Reader. I thought, “Hmm, maybe IBM will have a better text-to-speech engine than Microsofts because the company is so well known for their development projects.” Except this program wasn’t very good, it sounded worst then Cool Speech 5. I really want software with the rhetorical speech engine.

This comes to Friday where I’ve been ripping videogame music off Videogame music is a required taste, it’s not something anyone can pick up. The game internet station I was on usually plays Final Fantasy or similar RPG tunes. I can also rip Playstation audio to MP3 using my favorite PS ripper – actually it’s the only one that can. PSX Multi-converter to rip the audio files to wav then I convert the songs to WAV and use CDEX to make MP3s. I can’t hear any sound improvements at 160 KBPS. This is a better idea than using Digital Sound Recorder to rip the files to WAV than compressing it to MP3. The songs in Ridge Racer 4 are cool, not all, but the first few tracks.

I’m downloading Sonic CD off Emule so I can see if I can burn it to CD, and make it work with Gens, my preferred Genesis emulator. I will need a SEGA CD BIOS for the CD to work. If this turns out than I can say I emulated the Sega CD. It’s funny to remember back when I first got my Genesis roms to work, about 5 years ago. Then I take the next step, which is emulating the Dreamcast demos only. The Virua Fighter Sega 32X ROM DOES WORK. SO I DID EMULATE THE SEGA 32X! Congratulations to me for finding a Sega 32X ROM! They are even more RARE than N64 ROMS, and Sega CD ISO images are more RARE than Sega 32X roms.

On Saturday, I brought only my PS2 and Gamecube up to Cozy Corner, WI. Dad didn’t bring anything and Mom brought a lot of food. We brought our brown lab, Ruby, with us. My aunt’s cabin was up by Cozy Corner, WI, 15 miles pass Siren, Wisconsin. Siren had a F5 class tornado go through it two years ago, and flatten down town. People who lost everything got free housing, although smaller, and less expensive then the original housing. I don’t know much about it except the on detour during the July 4th parade, trees were pulled from out of the grown from the tornado on Independence Day. The trip took us about 2 ½ hours, which is only 1/4 of the Wisconsin map. We went through 2 counties. The fireworks were cool. The people that went were my Aunt Judy and Uncle Jim, their daughter, Penny and her son, Lars, her husband, Mark and Lars friend, Kyle. We where up by the train tracks with our lawn chairs. Then the train comes and everyone gets off the tracks. The train comes through with 65 freight cars which was only 10 feet away from where I was. The wind picked up very quickly. That was the closest I’ve ever been to a train. The train almost looked as if it was going to tip over us, and didn’t. I’ve been here before 2 years ago. There was much more people here and a lot more fireworks. This time it was the longest of any year the town put out. The whole fireworks get paid off from charity from the year before. I learned that fireworks are little round balls wrapped with gun powder. The gun powder ignites which gives the fireworks itself. The color dye of course makes the color. The ball is then wrapped with several layers of paper like material so that different fireworks explode at different times. Fireworks are rated from M1 to M20. M1 – M6 are the ones anyone can buy while the M7 – M20 are the commercial fireworks only licensed firework handlers can buy. The M17 – M20 are the huge fireworks that the town uses. Fireworks shoot out of pipe cannon when the rope is fused, and the lever is pushed. Jim bought me Miller Genuine Draft! I drank half of it, and poured the rest out. I couldn’t finish it. This was the most beer I had in my entire life. I wondered if this is what cheap beer tastes like, then what does good beer taste like? During the firework show there were some people that kept shouting “Yeah! More! More!” And a lot of whistles. Crazed spectators they were! It figures that spectators were still on the tracks watching the fireworks show. I know my aunt wanted to stay up on the tracks. No one was suppose too although they did anyways.

Back at Jim’s cabin, Jim let the dogs out, and he shot off 20 or so fireworks. Five of them were the roman bombs that made a big bang. 10 were Roman candles. And the last five were the ones that automatically shot off a couple of fireworks one after another for effect. I hooked up the Gamecube that night. Lars and I played “Super Smash Bros. Melee” then I showed him “Viewiful Joe”. He didn’t know what Viewiful Joe was. He’s better at this game than I am. I haven’t had a chance to play it much. He can talk a lot. Way too much for a 10 year old. Then I was up all night in my bunk (I was sleeping above Kyle) trying to figure out how to get down from the top bunk. I was afraid I was going to hurt myself. All night I pondered why I didn’t try to get to know some cute girls. And then I thought maybe it’s extremely foolish to do this. I slept with my pants on. However, I took my socks off since they were a little damp. I drank a lot of soda pop that night. The bathroom smelt like iron water which smelled like sewage. This was the only bad thing about Jim’s cabin.

Jim’s a nice person, obviously because he invited us. They live on the same street as us. Last time David and I pitched a tent and we slept out there with the bears, mosquitoes, and deer. I hated fireworks more than I do now. I actually made a full recovery from my fear of fireworks! Cool, eh?

On Sunday, I woke up at 3:30 AM, when the sky wasn’t lit yet. I played a little F-Zero GX which I did pretty well in. The game looked better then I remember. I played awful hitting every corner. Soon, I got better at it and stayed in the center of the track 90% of the time. I packed the Gamecube in my black leather carrying bag. Then I went out and into my Mom’s Jeep to listen to my MP3 player alone so I’m sure no one can hear my music (sometimes there is noise that leaks through my headset). First, I listened to Ridge Racer music I copied on Friday. Then I listened to country (Garth Brooks, Big and Rich, etc) than I listened to some techno. I don’t think my parents know I listen to techno. Ruby was wondering where I was so she got excited, whining anxiously at the door. I slept in the chair for 4 hours which wasn’t that comfortable. Lars wanted me to bring out PS2 so we played Virua Fighter 4, Tekken 4 and Gran Turismo 3 - A Spec. Lars said he wanted to tag team mode in Tekken 4 - I wasn’t brushed up on my skill too much so Lars pushed a lot of buttons, and got me pinned down finally. I still can’t believe Lars made it my choice. I also believed it was my system and my games so I had exclusive rights to pick which games to play. I just don’t know. I’ve been making a lot of choices in games lately. Sure, it’s really easy for me to pick which game to play. I made a come back and kicked butt for 3 wins in a roll, but with my health depleted, I couldn’t win the last round against him. Jim made me bangles before I left. Everyone at Jim’s house that was left played Scrabble. I won once, because I play defense mostly. I must think like an adult then. All and all, I didn’t like that game. It got too boring. Mom had to kick my leg for me to remember to pick up a card after each deal. I wasn’t rude the first day, but I was rude in the morning because I was grumpy from not getting enough sleep I think. Jim didn’t like that. When we got home I went straight to bed.

This is Ian signing off.

No comments :