Project Natal

E3 is a gamers heaven: for three days each year, the video game industry comes together to show off what they’ve been working on. This year, Microsoft unveiled “Project Natal” — a camera that detects motion, facial expression, voices and more, for the Xbox 360. Instead of the traditional hand-held controller, Project Natal is meant fully immerse the player into the game using a camera, depth sensor and microphone.

On stage, Microsoft’s Senior Vice President, Don Mattrick, joined acclaimed film director, Steven Spielberg, in showcasing the new device along with three games to demonstrate how the interaction works.

Ever since Nintendo changed direction with Wii, Sony and Microsoft have been looking at ways to improve the console gaming experience and lure in potential gamers. When Wii was launched, everyone in the family joined in from little Johnny to grandma since it was easy to pick up and offered a variety of easy to play games. Microsoft is looking to break down the walls that keep players sitting on the floor holding an Xbox 360 controller in their hand and get them up and moving, dodging bullets and reacting to a punch in the gut.

Interested developers will be receiving Project Natal development kits shortly, but no information on a release date or any major titles taking advantage of the technology were made available.

Naruto manga volume 45

Naruto vol. 45

Naruto vol. 45

The latest installation of the Naruto manga from Viz is set to hit shelves on Sunday, July 7th for 7.95 USD or 9.50 CAD.

The ongoing quest to find out more about the mysterious organization known as Akatsuki continues, and Jiraiya manages to uncover something about their leader. As the orange-clad ninja works to break the coded message Jiraiya left behind, will Naruto be able to stand up to Akatsuki?

Armitage

Armitage station house

Armitage station house

Opened on June 1st, 1900 and located in Chicago’s trendy Lincoln Park neighbourhood, Armitage station was one of the first to serve the Northwestern Elevated Railroad. Originally named Center Street, the Armitage station house was designed by William Gibb. The street-level station house was based on the Classical Revival style; being constructed of brick and finished with an elegant terracotta trim. The platforms are wooden planks with edges capped off using blue plastic to enhance visibility when boarding or alighting trains. The platform canopies feature corrugated sheet metal roofs which cover a short section where the stairs and new elevators are located.

On the north end of the inbound platform is a former control tower that was used to manage the interlocking for the northern portal of the State Street subway. This interlocking is now controlled at a tower further up the line at the Clark Junction, where the Brown Line diverges from the Red and Purple Lines.

Armitage serves the Brown and Purple Express lines on the outer tracks, while Red line trains pass through without stopping on the centre tracks.

In 2006, work began on the Armitage station to enhance it for the Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project. This project would give the station longer platforms to allow eight car trains, elevators, and an expanded station house for increased crowds during rush hours. Much of the station house’s original design was left unaltered and the interiors were replicated to give passengers the true feeling of days gone by.

Personally, this is one of my favourite stations (the other being the historic Quincy station) and is located in a beautiful neighbourhood. Stop by and take a look!

Armitage entrance sign Armitage platforms Armitage platform sign

Sources: Chicago-L.org, Chicago Transit Authority

Quincy

Quincy station house

Quincy station house

Opened on September 3rd, 1897, the Quincy station stands over Quincy Street and Wells Avenue (formerly Fifth Avenue), just east of the Sears Tower. Quincy showcases how the ‘L’ system appeared back at the turn of the century when rapid transit was in its infancy. Unlike other stations in the Chicago Loop, Quincy was rebuilt with replicas of the original wood and tin panelling, lighting mounts, and signage. Of course, the station features modern amenities such as turnstiles, fare card machines and digital marquees, which all fits nicely into the magnificent character of the structure.

The platform canopies feature corrugated metal roofs with decorative supporting posts. Along the fences guarding the platform edges, there are period advertisements and maps of the ‘L’ system. The lighting fixtures are not originals, but are shaped like canes and alternate with newer box-shaped mounts to provide illumination.

The station serves the Brown Line on the outbound (western) platform, while Pink, Purple and Orange Line trains are served on the inbound (eastern) platform.

All in all, it’s a very beautiful station and perfect for the history buff who’s curious to take a trip back in time on this bustling metropolitan transit system.

Quincy is one of my favourite stations along with Armitage up in Lincoln Park. Stop by and take a look!

Quincy platforms Quincy platform advertisements Quincy platform sign

Sources: Chicago-L.org, Chicago Transit Authority

High-speed rail from Portland to Vancouver

The reality of high-speed rail between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Portland, Oregon is arriving at the next station.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Portland Mayor Sam Adams signed an agreement that would allow them apply for additional funding from the United States government so the infrastructure can be upgraded.
However, the Canadian government is looking to charge Amtrak an extra $1,500 CAD a day for running a second train between the two cities. Vancouver City Council wants the government to drop this fee on the rail provider as it could implicate the addition of another train.

The two mayors believe this upgrade will bring improved economic and environmental benefits to the communities along the line, plus not to mention cutting the trip from Vancouver to Seattle to two hours down from four. However, the upgrades and service additions are in the planning stages and will take a few years before being implemented.

Source: News1130

Your worst nightmare, butt-horn!

I love badly done 80’s movies, and Bulletproof is no exception. Just watch for yourself.

Cubs pitcher gone for six games

Chicago Cubs ace pitcher, Carlos Zambrano, has been suspended for six games after exploding during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday, May 27th. During the seventh inning, Pittsburgh’s Nyjer Morgan managed to sneak in on home plate, however, umpire Mark Carlson declared him safe and that’s when Zambrano got in Carlson’s face. Following a brief bump between the two, the umpire ejected the pitcher and Zambrano became animated, even motioning that Carlson should be ejected. Cubs Manager Lou Piniella tried to step in, but Zambrano stormed off throwing the ball back onto left-centre field followed by his glove. It didn’t end there as the Gatorade machine in the Cubs dugout was beaten up by Zambrano with a bat.

Major League Baseball’s Bob Watson, Vice President of On-Field Operations, handed down a six game suspension to the Cubs pitcher starting Thursday. Zambrano will be eligible to return next Thursday in Atlanta against the Braves. Zambrano has accepted the suspension and has made no decision to challenge it. The Cubs won 5-2 over the Pirates on Wednesday’s game. No word yet on the condition of the Gatorade dispenser.

Source: MLB

Domo invades 7-Eleven

Domo (better known as Domo-kun) is coming to a 7-Eleven near you! The familiar meatloaf-shaped mascot of Japan’s NHK network will be part of a six week campaign featuring an apple flavoured Slurpee in Domo-esque style cup. Dark Horse Comics and Tokyopop are hoping to sell exclusive toys and a short sample of the Domo comic alongside the frozen drink.

Domo invades 7-Eleven stores starting on October 1st, 2009, but there is no information if this will be limited to certain markets, and makes no mention if Domo will cross the border into Canada (similar to The Simpsons Movie campaign a few years back).

Domo is represented by Big Tent Entertainment while visiting America.

Source: Anime News Network

Passports Required for US Entry

If you’re traveling to the United States by land, on June 1st, 2009, a passport is now required. Even for a quick trip across to take advantage of the rising Loonie, a passport (or other approved document) will need to be presented to the US border officer.

Check out the Canada Border Services Agency web site for further information, and alternative documents that can be used to enter Canada and the United States.

Summer Night Market

Last night was my first visit to the famed to the Summer Night Market in Richmond and I wasn’t disappointed. Though not as large as previous incarnations, I managed to spend over three hours wandering through the stalls and munching on barbecued chicken and slurping down mango bubble tea. It was amazing, the smells, the colours, the different wares all packed between crowds of people. There’s just so much to sample, and all of it amazing: barbeque lamb, chicken, beef, duck, dragon’s beard candy, waffle fish with red bean paste, dim sum, chow mein — I could keep going. Aside from the food, there are vendors selling just about everything from short swords, DVDs and of course anime-related merchandise to shirts, sunglasses and shoes. Make sure you bring plenty of cash, although some vendors take debit and credit, but if you do run out, there are ATMs available.

There is parking, but remember: the closer it is to the market, the more expensive it will be. I was able to find parking further up Vulcan Way along the curb past the Knight Street Bridge. It’s free, but there’s a bit of a walk involved.

The Summer Night Market is located at 12631 Vulcan Way in Richmond (behind the Home Depot) and runs from 7:00 pm until 12:00 am, Fridays and Saturdays, and 7:00 PM until 11:00 pm on Sundays starting May 15th until October 4th. More information can be found on the Summer Night Market web site.

Popular Articles

Boruto: Naruto the Movie coming to select Canadian theatres October 2015

Canadian Naruto fans will be able catch Boruto: Naruto the Movie on the big screen.¬†According to Cineplex’s web site, there will be limited showings at select theatres across the country… Read the rest of this article…


Anime Footwear

Most anime series have loads of merchandise featuring images of the main characters or logos and replicas of items used in those series. There’s a lot of apparel from some… Read the rest of this article…


Common Misconceptions About Canada

I have quite a few friends in the United States and a few days ago, one of them asked me if Canadians used different electrical outlets than Americans. Not sure… Read the rest of this article…