Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year

Wishing everyone a great new year!

San Jose's Christmas in the Park

This year I visited Christmas in the Park with my friend and we took some pictures. It's a nice even San Jose throws every year in the down town area. The pictures really don't show the animated puppets and little trains which was really nice.

Here's a short Photostory I made of the photos.

Christmas in the Park video 10MB

Also here's the pictures, including the new San Jose City Hall.

Gallery of Christmas in the Park and City Hall

Home buying

I'm in the process of saving money for a home but in the mean time read about the market and topics in the news. This article from the Wall Stree Journal's free site caught my attention.

Watch Your Step, Novice Home Buyers...

Basically, they said that while the rates are down it's not a good idea to get over your head with a loan that is more than you can afford. Sounds like common sence but it's hard to settle for something small when you can get something bigger for a few hundred more a month.


A few monthes ago, the video game publisher Sierra released the game F.E.A.R for the PC. This game was created by the company Monolith, they also created the great game series called No One Lives Forever. This game featured a woman as the main character and was set in a very Austin Powers type world completed with funny cut scenes.

Well my local Fry's had the game on sale for $37 so I figured I try the game out and see how it plays. It's actually one of the highest rated game of this year so I figure it must be good. After paying the game for an hour I really was disappointed with the graphics. I don't think it's a performance issue but even with the highest settings they still look sub-par compared with Half Life 2 or Battlefield 2.

The overall game play feels slightly dated as well. I really liked the thinking game that Half Life 2 was, you couldn't just run out and blast everything, some levels required thinking. For F.E.A.R. I felt that it was lacking the depth of a good game, and the feature of the "bullet time" slo-mo was not very interesting. I'll try playing the game again but so far it could have been done better. I do have to say that the creepyness of the game is done well. Plenty of gorey areas, nice effects with the lighting and interesting story line.

Learning to play

For Christmas I received an Fender acoustic guitar kit. It's pretty nice, comes with the tuner, learning dvd, bag and some picks. So far I bought an book to learn from, just going over the basics on how to hold each fret and correct placement of the fingers. It's hard to come from playing music as a dj then to creating music as a musician. I'm so used to hearing something, and being able to change the tempo or tone that understanding how the music is created was something I lacked.

I actually got interested in playing a guitar when I was out helping record a jazz band. Once I saw how the band works and they each play a part of the music I was more interested in playing. Another time I helped record a short session of a 4 piece band. While the band members were discussing the song they kept reffering to names such as "B5" or "E7", then they could tell just what key the song was sung in. These are areas which I never learned from playing records. I'll follow up once I have more experience on the guitar but my goal is to play Message in the Bottle and Everlong.