Tag Archives: Entertainment

Dancing for humanity

*View this post in HD*

The video “Where the Hell is Matt?” has seen over 21 million views to date, so you’re likely to have seen it before, but if you haven’t, you should give it a watch. It takes you to a place of magic and joy and wonder – a place where all the bad in the world is forgotten for 4mins 29secs. It is one of the most viewed viral videos of its time and one of my top dancing videos.

“14 months in the making, 42 countries, and a cast of thousands. Thanks to everyone who danced with me” – Matt Harding

Thanks Matt. You Rock.
Happy Friday!

Related video post: Playing for Change: Peace Through Music

Time to chair up

*View this post in HD*

ULTIMATE V3: It’s death by comfort

THEY say that we spend a third of our lives sleeping (presumably in a bed). Well, I reckon that we spend another third of our lives sitting in a chair, especially if you work in an office. Think about it. You get out of bed, sit at the breakfast table, drive seated to work, sit at your desk, drive home again, maybe sit and watch some television, perhaps sit at your computer and do some writing or surf the web and climb back into bed.
 
Some are more disciplined than that. I had a Swiss-German friend at varsity who couldn’t even sit through a movie because it involved too much sitting. It must be his German blood.

I find nothing more satisfying than sitting (even better — lying) on a comfortable couch. The funny thing about couches is that it is always the most stuffed, unattractive-looking couch in any house that is everyone’s favourite — the couch that is probably worth less than the amount of loose change that has fallen into it over the years.

An artist's impression of my dads favourite chair

An artist

My dad has a favourite couch back home, which I’m sure is a source of some embarrassment when visitors arrive. I wouldn’t be surprised if my mother has tried to incinerate it in a freak “coal-leaping-out-the-fire” accident. I’m sure it would go up in flames pretty quickly with the amount of body oil that has seeped into it over the centuries.

This off-white relic has coffee stains, tobacco burns and an imprint of my father’s behind in the centre. Yet, when seated in its mould, in front of an early winter’s fire and after some of Mother’s good home cooking, Father is as happy as Larry (however happy he is), usually fast asleep. He probably sleeps more in that couch than in his own bed.

So, if we do spend such a significant amount of our lives in beds and chairs, then why not make them decent ones. I’m always willing to spend a little extra on something that I know I’ll use every day and probably have for a lifetime.

I thought it was high time for me to chair up and buy myself a decent gaming chair — one that I could swivel around in freely and lean back and forth in. It’s a rather simple piece of furniture, although it was one heck of a science putting the thing together.

It came in attachable parts with a set of tools, a spider diagram, some Chinese instructions, and a note of encouragement. I half expected to find a small key, some coded message, a strange map and an enchan­ted ring. Without those one definitely needs a degree to put one of these pieces of technology together.

Although I now swivel contently in my “leather” chair, I still wanted to see what else was available on the market. This is what I found …

Ultimate Game Chair V3

The V3 Ultimate Gaming Chair can be jacked into your PC, Mac, Xbox, Game Cube, iPod, Playstation, or television. Photo: ultimategamechair.com

The V3 Ultimate Gaming Chair can be jacked into your PC, Mac, Xbox, Game Cube, iPod, Playstation, or television. Photo: ultimategamechair.com

There are a lot of fancy and alien-looking chairs out there — most of which have been designed for home entertainment. The simplest home theatre chairs have speakers mounted on the headrest and are basically REALLY comfortable and pleasant-smelling.

The most common gaming chairs, on the other hand, are designed to enhance the experience of simulators such as Flight Simulator. These have joysticks protruding out the armrests, which I imagine one could use to play a variety of games.

Racing chairs come with an adjustable chassis and have foot pedals and a steering wheel as part of their anatomy. The seats are designed to mimic the feeling of being in a Formula One car, and many even go the extra mile by vibrating as you ‘drive’ over rough roads.

Yet those chairs are old school now. You can get a close-enough experience at your local arcade. I was more intrigued by the Ultimate V3. This baby is co­vered in plugs and ports and is compatible with just about everything. To name a few, you can jack it up to your PC, Mac, Xbox, Game Cube, iPod, Playstation, or television. One reviewer had this to say:

“The V3 quite literally rocks your face off! From our experience from it, we were simply stunned. It is like getting a back massage while playing all your favourite games in a comfortable leather chair. It is simply amazing.” — ultimategamechair.com

It has 12 “strategically distributed” feedback monitors, adjustable 3D stereo speakers and a headset jack. It also vibrates and has “variable output on all three vibration sensation levels”. There are three vibration sensation levels? That takes the sensation of sitting in those vibrating chairs at the mall to a whole new le­vel.

 I imagine that one would never get out of this chair if seated in it. It would be death by comfort. So, I imagine that V3 owners have to be just as disciplined as those who are not fans of the couch.

The 20th Splashy Fen (videos)

THE 20th Splashy Fen came and went in a drum-beat and proved to be one of the best ones yet. A diverse crowd of about 9000 people descended on the Ferraz farm in Underberg for five days of good South African music and festivities.

The crowd of festival goers ranged from metal-studded Goths to colourfully-clad hippies, whose Splashy spirits remained high whether they were jiving to a great South African band or chilling down by the riverside. The weather was kind this year and brought four full days of KZN sunshine.

Often a serious detox, a long shower and some much needed R&R, I put together two productions that I hope encapsulate the Splashy experience for any of those who couldn’t make it to Splashy Fen’s 20th birthday jam. Enjoy.

The 20th Splashy Fen

Splashy Fen 2009 highlights

** Click here to see videos from last year’s Splashy Fen **

What do you Wannado when you grow up?

WANNADO: Amusement park where kids do what they wannado

WHEN I was growing up as a child the dream place to go was Disneyland. People dressed like Goofy, candy floss, and a few amusement park type rides seemed to cut it as the height of entertainment. But that was back then…

The youth of today will soon be nagging their parents to take them to a Wannado City – an indoor role-playing theme park. The first of its kind, Wannado occupies 140 000 square-feet of South Florida’s largest mall and sees more than 26 million visitors a year.

It has been said that Wannado has redefined child entertainment by simulating a dream world where children are encouraged to take on and experience one or several adult professions. It features 60 Real-play venues and over 120 career possibilities – ranging from archaeologists, doctors, attorneys and TV hosts to fashion models, pizza makers, DJs and clowns.

The venues and professions are designed to allow kids to live out their dreams while simultaneously empowering them to become decision-makers and learn responsibility. It is the ultimate childhood experience which has been framed around the difficult question of: “What do you wanna do when you grow up?”

“At Wannado City, kids can do what they wanna do”
Wannado City

The chief creative officer of Wannado City – Luis Javier Laresgoiti, came up with the idea while watching his daughter “play executive” on his business phone. Wannado is now a fully capitalised venture backed by multinational entertainment corporation CIE (Corporación Interamericana de Entretenimiento), and is led by an experienced team of entertainment executives from corporations such as Paramount Parks, Nickelodeon, Time Warner and Disney.

Such corporate backing brings me back to the reality that will live in a vicious, expanding capitalist society. When my peers and I were younger we only had to start worrying about what jobs we might do in our latter high school years. A Wannado City, on the other hand, almost seems like a cleverly fun way of instilling a capitalist ideology into the naive minds of children, with the hidden agenda of: “Get them while they’re young!”

The project is aimed at the 2-14 year-old set, and will cost you or your child within that age range $30 (roughly R210) to get in. Kids aged over 15 are charged half-price, and those under 2 get in for free.

Wannado City caters for schools, corporate organisations, and even faith-based groups; and if you have a birthday party coming up, book now – they cater for those too.

Additional Wannado City locations are currently being developed throughout the United States. I just wonder whether South Africa will have anything remotely similar by the time I have kids. Otherwise they’re just going to have to aspire to be a journalist like their dad. Sorry kids!

For more info check out:
The Wannado M-Lab
Expansion Plans for Wannado City
Attending a Jobs Fair for the first time

Fitness that’s fun – Wii!!

MY first experience with a Nintendo Wii saw me breaking a sweat after playing a few rounds of virtual boxing and losing a tennis match. Now people around the world are getting on board one of the first gaming platforms that actually encourages family fitness and health.

Wii Fit is a video game developed by Nintendo for the Wii console and has been dubbed as an example of ‘exercise gaming’. Inspired by sumo wrestlers’ needing to weigh themselves with two scales, Wii Fit uses a unique platform called the Wii Balance Board which senses both weight and shifts in movement and balance, and can calculate a person’s body mass index (BMI) when provided with their height. It then tracks a user’s “Wii Fitness Age” through a daily body test basing the result on the user’s current age, weight, and athletic ability.

Working out on Wii Fit
Working out on Wii Fit

The unique balance board has taken almost two years to develop, and the Wii Fit game today has about 40 different activities. Training on Wii Fit is divided into four categories: aerobic exercise, muscle workouts, yoga poses, and balance games. The activities provide a core workout, emphasising controlled movements rather than overexertion.

The featured muscle workouts are what you might find yourself doing at the gym. These include press-ups, rowing squats, stretching and the like. The aerobic exercises might find you jogging, hula-hooping, or punching the air with rhythmic boxing.

It gets more fun with the balance games, which range from ski jumping to tight-rope walking, and features a game called Penguin Slide – whereby the player has to catch fish whilst balanced on a piece of ice. When you’re done pretending to be the penguin from Surf’s Up you can pose as your favourite Anime character by doing the Half-Moon, Cobra, Warrior, or Palm Tree yoga poses.

New activities can be unlocked by gaining “Fit Credits” which are accumulated in a “Fit Bank”. Each minute of Fit Credits is equal to the number of minutes doing an activity rather than the number of minutes of overall gameplay. At certain stages, new yoga poses or muscle workouts are unlocked based on the total time spent working out. Being the best at an activity with a 100% score, or playing an activity a certain number of times, unlocks more rigorous versions of that activity.

Wii Fit also allows a player to keep track of their activities outside of the game, such as gardening, walking, and playing real sports matches, which are then added on to the player’s activity log, but not included in the daily exercise time.

Some of the games allow the player to watch TV while getting instructions or rhythm through the Wii remote speaker. You can even get your own personal virtual trainers to talk you through the different activities and make suggestions for improvement. Furthermore, different people in the same household can use Wii Fit and track their progress separately.

Wii Fit has sold more than 2 million copies since it’s release in Japan at the end of 2007, and was launched in the States (where it is perhaps needed most) on 19 May 2008 with an exclusive release at the Nintendo World Store in New York City.

Wii is also the first video game system ever included in the President’s Challenge – a program of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports that encourages all Americans to make physical activity a part of their daily lives.

There is little information regarding how Wii Fit has been received in South Africa, but it has at least reached out shores and is available in stores for R1000.

Related post:
Wii Music launched in SA
Gateway to Nintendo Week
Nintendo Wii – Enter the Electronic Fist

For more information visit:
www.nintendo.com or
www.mybroadband.co.za