Monday, December 28, 2009

"Mapi Liberia" documentary

When my sister was studying abroad in Ghana in 2007-2008, she started a girls soccer team at a Liberian refugee camp. The team was named "Mapi," which was our nickname for our dad, because he was the one who taught her soccer.

While in Ghana, a fellow exchange student (from Germany) thought this would make an interesting documentary. Well, a few months later, here is a clip of the trailer of the film. (Click on the clip titled "Mapi Liberia Working title with new music"). It was shown fairly widely in Germany and my sister is trying to get it shown at the local independent movie theatre in Fort Collins.

They grow up so fast

I am in the FoCo on a weekish long vacation before the start of the hell, wrath and fury that is the legislative session. I had a rude awakening on my first full day back here. My sister and I went to the club (gym, for my Northeast readers) and played some raquetball.

This is a typical routine for us, and it usually goes like this: We play, my sister sometimes scores in the double digits, but in the end I sweep the best of three series easily.

Well, turns out that my little sister has been practicing the ol' ballgame and she got pretty damn good. She has (umm, had) only beaten me in a series once before. Sure, every now and then I will lose a game to her, but a series, that was a once in a lifetime event. And I remember that the time she did beat me, I was lazy, uninterested and she basically ambushed me.

Well, mark this date down: December 26, 2009. I got a raquetball beatdown. An ol' fashioned ass-whooping. I am sure the fathers and mothers out there reading this can relate. It felt like that first time that a son or daughter beat you at something, whether it be chess, or basketball, or just plain physically beat you up.

So my little sister finally grew up (or I grew old). We played again yesterday afternoon, a best of 5 this time, and yes, although I ultimately prevailed, it was only after a furious rally from 2-1 games down. I am no longer the scary raquetballer that bullied my sister and built my own confidence at her expense. I am now running around a raquetball court like a moron chasing a little black ball - all this at the hands of a person that is barely over 4 feet tall.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Adventures in FSX

Around this time last year, I was grousing about the fact that FS 2004: A Century of Flight was no longer good enough after I had caught a glimpse of the screen shots of Flight Simulator X. This is despite the fact that I had only been playing said FS 2004 for about two months at the time and had deemed it a "major upgrade." What I did not say last December, was that I had gone to Best Buy to see exactly how much FSX would set me back. Well, if you know me at all, you would also now know that it must have been a poop load of money because I am usually quite tempted when it comes to the purchase airplane and airplane accessories.

Turns out I was at the old shopping mall the other day on different business and I decided to meander on over to Best Buy and lo and behold, FSX was available at a significantly reduced price. So I bought it.

Problem: the graphics on this game are very much as amazing as I expected them to be. Why is this a problem, you might be asking yourself? Well, my laptop is not quite able to handle all of this airplane goodness very well.

Result: sometimes choppy action on the computer and a failure to be able to run multiple flights due to my computer giving up.

It's not all bad, though. About the same time I purchased FSX, I also started using a little thing called YouTube. You may have heard of this. Well, it turns out that people out there that are in fact dorkier than me have made videos of how to use the Instrument Landing System (ILS) on FSX. This is huge actually for two reasons: (1) it allows me to use the larger jetliners because I have a greater probability of landing them and (2) I can fly anywhere I want. As I have said before, one of my handicaps with the earlier versions of FS was that I only was able to use airports that I could locate with visual clues. That really limited my options. Now I can fly virtually anywhere and the ILS will guide me down to my destination.

You can bet that I have already put all the new features of FSX to good use. Here are two screenshots of a successful landing at ALB with an A321. Check out the detail on the wing - you can literally see runway between the ailerons and flaps.Another great feature of FSX is the new and improved airline options. The plane I was using above is Pacifica Airlines. It's so good that were it real and a flag-carrier, it would have a decent shot in the best color scheme among flag-carriers tournament.