Friday, December 11, 2009

The Best Video Game Consoles Ever: #5-1

So sometimes I am a bit of a slacker, or I get busy livin and forget to get busy writing. That said, here we go, way late; my top 5 consoles of all time. If you ignored me per usual, time to pay attention and read parts uno y dos. Below you’ll see my score and justification for the best 5 video game boxes ever produced, followed by the final chart showing all of the 15 scores in line. Per usual, tear me apart in the comments as you please!

5. Nintendo 64
Score: 36
Games: 7
Graphics/Sound: 6

Controller/Interface: 10

Durability: 9

Intangibles: 4

Sheer, absolute, uninhibited joy. That is what I felt free running as Mario in an open world on that first encounter with Super Mario 64. The N64 innovated more genres of gaming than any console before it. While it did not create these modes of play, the first person shooter with Goldeneye, flight with Pilot Wings, sports play and management with any of the EA Sports games all got a significant console level boost on the N64. Mario Kart was stronger and more fun here than in any other iteration. The controller? A sheer pleasure to hold, a perfect extension of your palm. It is a bit of a sin I don’t have this system higher up the list.

4. Playstation 2
Score: 37
Games: 8
Graphics/Sound: 7
Controller/Interface: 9

Durability: 5

Intangibles: 8

The first console to have wireless controller attachments, the first console to go (successfully Dreamcast!) on-line, the first console to put a plastic guitar in your hands, the PS2 was more anticipated than any unit ever. Remember waiting in line to buy one? Remember them selling for $1,000 on eBay? Remember the sheer shock of amazement at those graphics when you loaded NHL or Madden and saw individually drawn crowd members cheering for your team? The PS2 started all that chaos. Game selection was already into the hundreds when the original Xbox came out, and the horrid size, power usage and missteps of Microsoft never allowed it to match Sony’s most successful console ever. That said, we all had a few optical lens issues and feared for our lives each time that disc drive slid open. But seriously, you could watch DVDs on your game console(!) How amazing was that?

3. Sega and the 32X
Score: 39
Games: 9
Graphics/Sound: 8

Controller/Interface: 7

Durability: 8

Intangibles: 7

The Sega was the preeminent system for an era. Games out the wazzo. Sonic, Desert Strike, Earthworm Jim, NHL 94, Mortal Kombat, Streets of Rage, on and on they go. That controller? Divine intervention. Nothing ever seemed so amazing and comfortable in your hands. The console was a step forward from the 8-bit era in all the right ways, and in many similar to the Super Nintendo. The basis for designation as the 3rd best console comes down to iconic themes and what we think of when some classic games or characters are brought up. Sonic? Sega. Mortal Kombat? Sega. For the SNES era games, if you mention Mario, Metroid, Donkey Kong; you don’t think of the SNES, you think of the original Nintendo. The SNES only defined itself with the Star Wars series, and that just was not enough.

2. Microsoft Xbox 360
Score: 40
Games: 9
Graphics/Sound: 9

Controller/Interface: 10

Durability: 2
Intangibles: 10

The Xbox 360 is the current champion of the industry. Innovation in graphics, sound, design and community interactivity all start and stop here. Sure the PS3 can boast a Blu-ray player and just as powerful a graphic/audio experience, but the PS3 completely bones the community involvement, which sends so many throngs of friends to the Xbox. The ability to group up in parties, talk to each other across different games, interact and meet new friends, the Xbox makes distance gaming almost feel like on the couch gaming did for the N64 or Sega. With exclusive titles like Gears of War and the Halo series, along with getting some titles before the PS3 will, the 360 is your top choice for today’s gaming addictions. The 360 controller feels like a controller should, compared to the too light and bumbling PS3 unit with its poorly modified triggers. The console obviously has its downfalls. Yours will break. $100 on the mat right now, buy one and it will break, probably soon. It is loud, it is too big, it does not have built in wireless internet, and it does not have a great hard drive system. Still, this unit forced a gaming revolution, who can say they play today without thinking about Achievement Points? Microsoft has come a long way with the 360, and should knock it out of the park with whatever their third console is.

1. Nintendo Entertainment System
Score: 44
Games: 10
Graphics/Sound: 7

Controller/Interface: 8

Durability: 10
Intangibles: 9

The big dog, queen bee, lord and savior of all indoor entertainment; the NES started everything for real. This was the first platform to transcend geeks and reach average people. For true gamers, how many games do I have to list to convey the importance of game quality during this era? Mario Bros, Zelda, Metroid, Contra, Mega Man, Battle Toads, Ninja Turtles, it goes on and on! 61 million of these consoles were sold, and at the time they include two games, two controllers and a light gun! What value! The 8-bit graphics and sound still hold up today for a basis of design, just look at the recent Mega Man 9, or exploding market for 8-bit emulators on the iPhone, hand-helds and PC. The controller was simple, move-jump-shoot, and today, sometimes I just wish that was what they all still were. There is something to be said for nostalgia in a contest like this, and something to be said for acknowledging a trend setter and rule breaker. The NES did more than sell so many million units or start a whole generation of video game lovers, it brought about the first real design elements of games as stories/art/culture as opposed to pong or asteroids; it started it all.

Thanks for hanging around for the ride, feel free to tear apart my opinions in the comments and please, just go game a little. Give a programmer his wings.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Prognosticate this... sorry, funny word!

So prognostication is not my forte. Well except in the survival football league where I am 7-0(!) None the less, I made projections based on averages of other projections in order to see who would finish where this year. If you use the actual rankings, records and points scored so far, I just sucked on that analysis.

This is not a bad thing as far as I am concerned, considering I am first and second in the two leagues. I think I’ll keep projecting myself to suck every year now!

And Newman buddy… yea, let’s fix that big zero OK?

Friday, October 09, 2009

A bunch of games others have reviewed hundreds of times like 3 years before I played them

A few quick game reviews and thoughts since they have piled up and I never quite found the time to write anything about them:

Fall Out 3
Why the heck am I even bothering to write this? Everyone who games knows the scoop. This was one of the best ever. A ridiculously sized open world in post apocalyptic Washington D.C. with crazy stories, monsters, weapons, and missions. Player customization was without a doubt the highlight of this for me. As always, it is perplexing to realize your character is carrying the load of a pack mule while traversing the wasteland, but it is a game mechanic long accepted. While I ended up skipping half the missions and having to go back during one of the expansions to beat them, the logical layout of mission projection and game advancement was skillfully thought out. Really you need to give 60+ hours of time to Fall Out if you are a big RPG fan. Or a fan of lasers. Or robots. Maybe werewolves too.

Score: 5 out of 5 nuka-colas

Uncharted 2 drops next week, and for the first time as a PS3 owner I am beyond psyched. Uncharted provided the kind of action movie/game experience you never get from either action movies or games. The characters and dialog are the sole winners of this game. You care about your protagonist and his story. The game mechanics are fun, fluid, and tricky enough to make you die a few times. I am sure Uncharted 2 will improve on all the low points, but for Uncharted, the low points are still 8 out of 10s. If you liked Tomb Raider for the genre and not the big boobs, this is right up your alley but sooooo much better. Nathan Drake FTW.

Score: 4 out of 5 zombies in this game for some random reason


Seriously poor buy. I have Resistance 2 on my shelf waiting to be played, because I heard so many good things about it, but Resistance was so hard to control, navigate and play that I don’t even know if I should open it. This game comes off feeling like Halo: CE, 5 years after Halo came out. The story gives me hope for Resistance 2, but Resistance one, blow me.

Score: 1 out of 5 wtf aliens from Russia?

Killzone 2

I never played Killzone on the PS2, but I did have a run in with it for the PSP, which turned me onto the story a bit. Boy am I happy I jumped in. Killzone 2 is a fantastic, gritty, futuristic shooter. The sound, graphics, mechanics, story and weapons all drew me in. Killzone 2 falls as a mix of Call of Duty and Halo really. Realistic weapons, combat variants and gore, in a other worldly setting. I really can’t promote the multiplayer as I have not touched it, but it looks to be about as fun as Gears of War, just first person.

Score: 4 out of 5 grenades that beep when thrown are much easier to run away from than the silent type

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Best Video Game Consoles Ever: #10-6

So the first 5 consoles of my top 15 ranking drew up a little debate on the ‘ol blog and on the export of the article to Facebook… exxxcellent. I cannot tell you how much I love that you hate that I put the SNES so low. If you missed numbers 15 through 11, you can see them here. Now it is time to show you who was just a pixel above the worst of the best, I guess you could say.

10. Microsoft Xbox
Score: 31
Games: 7

Graphics/Sound: 7
Controller/Interface: 5
Durability: 6
Intangibles: 6

I hear another wave of complaints coming, but I don’t think I’ll be able to find and read them. See this giant, no; behemoth console is blocking my view. We get it Microsoft, you are monsters. You create everything that is good and powerful. I recommend next time you don’t make a console that won’t fit inside the door of a home. For real though, this was a big machine. The Xbox never got a foothold to go up against the PS2; it simply came out way to late in the generational war to combat Sony. The hardware issues could be called petty, but they existed. The box consumed more power than Zeus, the controller was too big for anyone not named Gigantor, and I defy you to name a console exclusive title outside of Halo: CE and Halo 2 that anyone would look at today with fond memories. A good start Microsoft, but a middle of the road machine.

9. Sega Dreamcast
Score: 32
Games: 8

Graphics/Sound: 5
Controller/Interface: 6
Durability: 7
Intangibles: 6

So many people have the Dreamcast as their favorite console. So few of you actually ever owned one. Those that did, myself not included, considered it a gem. The last Sega console ever was a beauty. The controller was beyond innovative, comfortable and futuristic, the on-line network ahead of its time. The failure of the last great Sega unit is as perplexing as it is sad. Titles like Phantasy Star On-line, Shenmue, Jet Grind Radio, Sonic Adventure and Grandia 2 provided ample chances for the Dreamcast to grab attention as exclusive titles, but the propaganda and advertisement war against Sony and Microsoft was not powerful enough. At the end of the day, many see the Dreamcast as another NES, a system you keep for life and cherish memories with; it just didn’t live long enough.

8. Sony Playstation
Score: 33
Games: 8
Graphics/Sound: 4
Controller/Interface: 5
Durability: 8
Intangibles: 8

The first Sony brought the first massive game library on optical discs. Chances are if you owned an original PS, you still do, because it really didn’t break down. The PS brought us our first appearance of the innovative Dualshock controller, our first play of Crash Bandicoot, and who can forget Final Fantasy VII… seriously, get over it, it happened like 34 years ago. The PS had new games out every damn day, any title you wanted to play that wasn’t named Mario, you had it. Grand Theft Auto, Persona and Star Ocean all provided innovation still copied today. The PS was revolutionary for giving the industry a viable reason and method to go optical, while it’s contemporary the N64 was still slugging along with solid state cartridges. 100 million consoles worldwide are not ever wrong.

7. Nintendo Gamecube
Score: 34
Games: 6
Graphics/Sound: 6
Controller/Interface: 8
Durability: 9
Intangibles: 5

Oh Gamecube, I loved you so much. You were so cute and cuddly for a cube. All tiny and cubey and colorful. It was a console to be loved, and one with some really shining examples of Nintendo game design. While a lot of the games you played on the ‘cube were third generations of SNES and N64 titles, they provided explicit reasons to purchase the console, even late in its life. Zelda Windwaker and Twilight Princess, Super Mario Sunshine, Metroid Prime, Mario Kart Double Dash and any of the 80 versions of Mario Party. This was a fun console to play with friends, and the portability of a tiny lil cube, especially when compared to the monster Xbox or fragile PS2, was nice. The controllers, the last great controller Nintendo ever made, were real joys to hold, and it is no mistake Wii players today still crave the feel of an old Gamecube controller.

6. Sony Playstation 3
Score: 35
Games: 6
Graphics/Sound: 9
Controller/Interface: 6
Durability: 7
Intangibles: 7

And here we go; the first major console of the current generation. Yea the Wii was ranked really low, but I don’t consider the Wii to be current generation gaming at all. So the PS3 falls at least lower than the Xbox 360, and several other units. Graphically, it’s a great machine, top of the line and worth playing new games on. The Blu-ray disc drive is nice for the new movies and such, but the longevity of Blu-ray is still far from determined. Let’s go over some real down points though. The third generation of the Dualshock controller, the Sony “Sixaxis” blows. It feels so light and weak, and the “six axis motion control” is a pointless gimmick and very annoying when you are forced to use it in games. The games themselves are fine a lot are great fun. Console exclusives Killzone 2, Little Big Planet, Metal Gear Solid 4, Uncharted, and soon to be Uncharted 2, are all fantastic. The big issue is that is all there is. The exclusives on the 360, and the downloadable content of this new generation for the 360 games surpasses what is found on the PS3. The dashboard and whole console navigation scheme is clunky, slow and confusing. The real downfall though is the network, it just sucks. Nobody wants to play PS Home, and finding and playing with friends on the PSN is nothing when compared to Xbox Live. Yes the PSN is free, but you get what you pay for in this scenario.

So there we go, another 5 charted and scored, another 5 to be digested and spat back out with your own opinion. That is what is so fantastic about these machines though; so many people had unique and impactful experiences on a particular device, that they still feel the joy of it today. Next week I bring you numbers 5 through the king console of them all, so till then I say bleep bloop.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Best Video Game Consoles Ever: #15-11

I am a big video game nut. I still own in working condition every system I have ever had except for my PS2, and I’ve played every console available for home use. In purchasing my latest toy, the PS3 Slim the other week, I began a thought process on what console had been my favorite, which was the best in practical use? Well here we go; I done figured it out and ranked the 15 most popular consoles based on five levels of criteria. Each category has a total possible score of 10 points. Consoles 15 through 11 are presented today and I will count down to the next 5, then the top 5 at a later point as soon as well.. I do it.

15. Sega CD
Score: 16
Games: 1
Graphics/Sound: 3

Controller/Interface: 5
Durability: 5

Intangibles: 2

Ah the Sega CD, the only system I ever traded in anything for. I ultimately owned just 3 games for this beast of a console; Silpheed, Tomcat Alley and NBA Jam. The system functioned as an add on to the Sega Genesis. Most of the games developed for it were geared to adults, and they all just sucked. The console was the first to go with an optical disc drive, and the complications of that showed up in spades. Slow read times, flimsy CD tray (replaced for a top load unit later on) and poor capacity for data. Yea that whole saving games thing was an issue. Sega tried to push the envelope here and keep the aging Genesis alive through add ons. The 32x (grouped in with the Genesis for this story) did more for developing greater games than this system ever did. Ultimately there was nothing the Sega CD did that the Sega couldn’t do, outside of video… and lemme tell ya, nobody had a clue what to do with that. Hey it played audio CDs though…

14. Atari Jaguar
Score: 20
Games: 2
Graphics/Sound: 4
Controller/Interface: 2

Durability: 6
Intangibles: 6

A guy I knew had a Jaguar and man did I think it was cool. My first encounter with it was a great game called Dragons Lair, an interactive movie drawn by a famous Disney animator. Titles like that and Alien vs. Predator gave the Atari console some bite, but not enough to ever make a real impact. The controller was a monstrosity, buttons for no reason. Looked a lot more like a phone really. There was no advertising for the thing, which probably makes most people think of the Tiger based handhelds when you bring up a video game system named for an animal. I liked the Jag, but in no sense did it ever compel me to own one.

13. Atari
Score: 25
Games: 3
Graphics/Sound: 1
Controller/Interface: 8

Durability: 7
Intangibles: 6

The Atari was pretty much the start of it all. While not the first commercially available in home system by far, it was the first real mainstream one. This was my first memory of gaming… the gateway drug if you will. I give some major points to the Nintendo for its 8 bit graphics and 8 bit sound later on, because that really generates some saliva from the mouths and minds of gamers when they think of quality, but I don’t give those points to the Atari. It was pretty primitive, bloops and blips. It was replaced for a reason. The games were damn simple; graphing calculators have had better. Basketball was identical to hockey, was identical to tennis. The controller though, man what a beauty. The Atari joystick has come to and will always symbolize gaming.

12. Super Nintendo
Score: 27
Games: 6
Graphics/Sound: 5
Controller/Interface: 6

Durability: 8
Intangibles: 2

So the follow up to the great NES did not quite hold its own for as long and as strong as it should have. The first console war broke out over the SNES and the Sega Genesis, and the SNES just fell short. Graphical power was equal, but the game selection proved mundane. The SNES gave you what Nintendo will be known for forever. Mario, Zelda, and Star Wars. While the Bazooka gun was pretty cool, the gamepad fell far short of the Sega controller. The console was fairly durable, and spit out a lot of solid games, but just not the innovative titles Sega was able to produce on a yearly basis.

11. Nintendo Wii
Score: 30
Games: 2
Graphics/Sound: 3

Controller/Interface: 8
Durability: 7
Intangibles: 10

This will easily be the most controversial ranking on the list. No console has ever sold so fast or created such buzz. No console has ever re-designed how we game faster than the Wii. The controller and whole concept is very innovative, a true game changer leaving Sony and Microsoft running to catch up. It’s a child’s toy however, a lame step back in entertainment. This system is for non-gamers. If you grew up on games and you love challenges and adventure, you laugh at this. Every game put out for it is mundane, simple in execution and scope, and laughable graphically. Step aerobics and swinging cheap peripherals around to simulate what I used to be able to do with a joystick? No thanks. I play sports for a workout, not video games,

Next week I’ll drop 10-6 on ya. Stick around.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Not sick and not a dope

So I have a bunch of posts coming soon on video games, music and sports... ya know, the important stuff. I may also have a post about how police officers can suck my nuts, but anyway, allow me to hold you over with a pearl of wisdom.

No.. no Facebook, I will not click to play. See I am not 14, from 1997, nor am I a Ninja Turtle. I find the terms "sickest" and "dopest" to mean disease and stupidity.. something you come to represent more and more everyday.

OK, see ya soon.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Why bother playing? Grading the fanatasy football draft

So after feeling particularly horrible about my fantasy football draft last night, having scored the super sweet 14th pick in the swing position, I decided I should really take a look overall at how that horrible team I had pieced together stacked up. I began to think about a way to grade everyone’s draft, but outside of using my entirely unprofessional opinion, a way to do it mathematically, and give what I rate some credence.

A few magical seconds later I came up with this method: Using the Yahoo! projections, (which is based off of Rotowire) take every starter’s projected year end fantasy points position for a team, each divided by 16 for the games played, and add them up. This figure should represent an average points scored per week for that team. At the end of it all, I would have a rank of power per team, theoretically breaking down that team’s performance for any given week. A few players did not have kickers, so I gave them an average overall kicker score. Well, let’s just say this got interesting.

My horrible draft turned out not so bad after all. Only five of us crafted a 100+ point team, with my hot Cooley Wives coming in 5th. My co-worker Greg gets the top spot with 104.04, and poor old Scott didn’t make it to 90, with 89.65. #1 overall pick holder Mr. Ford gets a 96.52 good for 9th place.

So naturally, it was time to turn this to our Dynasty league. This took a slight bit more prognostication, and some players had not set their starters yet. I used the best number per position on a team, so if Drew Brees was a 350.00 and Tom Brady a 400.00, I put Brady in the QB slot. This league also has one more starting position than the regular league, and only 10 teams, so point totals were significantly higher.

Well there you have it. The rich got richer. Last year’s champ Swampy Drunk Donkeys of Fordy score a motherfucking 134.50. That is 17.86 points higher than runner-up Dave at 116.64. Poor Howie appears not to have improved his chances much on finishing ahead of dead last again, with a score of 105.53 good for last. Myself, well I felt pretty good about my chances this year, now… well, who wants to trade me some free agency money and draft picks?

Another interesting item is Newman dropping from 3rd to 8th. Obviously intangibles like bench spots are not a factor here, as Newman’s “3 Great QBs” scheme does not equal points on the starter bench in this algorithm, where last year it proved strong when injuries and trades came up.

All told, this paints an interesting picture for the year to come, I think it is a fair guess at how everyone will finish, if you subtract manager skill, and give or take the free agent gems and injuries … not to mention those who fall asleep after week 6.

Can’t wait to come back in December and see how this draft score/projection worked out.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Rumors of our demise were greatly exaggerated

100 can be a big number can’t it? If you make it to 100 years old, you’re considered healthy, a specimen stronger than 90% of your peers. 100 bucks is nothing to scoff at for the vast majority of the world’s population. 100 M&M’s filled that jar you tried to guess the contents of.

In the Blogging world, 100 kinda blows… well depending on how long it took you to get there. A really well written, ok scratch that, an obsessive blogger who cares to write content daily would be here in a few months. It took us three years. But yay for us!

A project born of communication between college friends expanded into commentary on media, booze, life, sports and empty thoughts. Readership is only a hundred or so people who all know us directly, mixed in with the hundred or so who stumble in from the wide world of the interwebs.

What matters about this blog is the ability to type what comes from our minds and have our friends absorb it. We used to have discussions about nothing on an hourly basis in our dorms and apartments. Now we only talk on birthdays, weddings and non-frequent random occasions. By placing thoughts and content on a equally assessable shelf, we can all hear… or read, the opinion of our friend again whom totally forgot we didn’t want to hear it in the first place.

So to our 100th post I say hello to my college brethren, all our gathered friends, and to the randoms who googled Miley Cyrus and found that one post where I wrote she’s a bimbo. I hope you come around for out next 100 as well.

A few good blogs are your allies in the fight against Mr. Clock

What do you do when you are bored? I read. I don’t read books per se, but I like to read articles; Stories and snippets on science and technology. Then there is the oft found blog about junk food and just junk that catches my eye. I thought I would share a few favorites.

This is Why You’re Fat is an incredible photojournalistic journey through some of the most disgustingly good looking food stuffs you could ever conceive. The skill some of these confection’s creators had to know the desires of our stomachs is beyond devine.

Everyone is familiar with the Gawker Media stable of blogs. I personally enjoy Kotaku’s work on video games, Gizmodo on technology and gadgets, and Lifehacker on 1,001 ways to improve the way you live your life.

Uncrate is a collection of things a guy never knew he needed to have until they told him. Five new items appear every day, and I recommend glancing through them all at the end of a hard day’s work earning your money to buy such devices.

Lunch Bag Art is a series of photographs by a video game artist who draws a new cartoon on his children’s lunch bags every day. All of you looking forward to being parents one day, this guy trumps you already.

Now if you forgive me, work needs to be done.

Monday, August 24, 2009

District 9

So I just saw this movie tonight, and in light of Jason's rave review, thought I would offer my own thoughts of it. I'll do my best to keep the plot spoiler free. If I'm to judge District 9 by the reactions of the person sitting next to me, then there's but one emotional response I need to go into: cringing. People explode in this movie. Lots of people, lots of exploding. If you've ever imagined a way that someone could possibly explode, this movie has you covered. Ok, to be fair there are some funny moments, the action and animation are top notch, and the whole human/alien oppression shtick hits pretty true. But man, this movie is gruesome.

The other point I wanted to make is about the aliens. Jason's review noted a real sense of caring for what come to be known as "prawns". I'd say he's half right. As a race they definitely come off as less despicable than their human oppressors, but there's only ever a couple of them that are given much regard, which I thought still fell a little short.

At any rate, if you can get past the abundance of exploding and gore, District 9 is a good movie. Action and aliens set to a solid, if guilt-inducing, story. Also, a robot. What more could you ask for?

Friday, August 21, 2009

District 9 equals total awesomeness

Very minor content and non-plot based spoiler alerts for those who have not seen District 9.

Not a spoiler alert: I am a geek. I love Sci-Fi.

I love this fucking movie.

District 9 elicited several emotions out of the person sitting next to me and myself. Laughter. Cheers. Anger. Crying. Really really crying. Fear. Disgust. Lots more cheers.

The basic plot is about aliens coming to earth, not really having any wherewithal to take care of themselves or find a way home, and the humans abusing them, segregating them, and trying to steal their technology.

What develops is a story about one man who is a self absorbed idiot, who somehow got the hot wife and thus a cushy job from her dad. Our “hero” never inspired much sympathy from me because his heroic acts are all self-involved, and hes a doofus.

Who I did/do cheer for are the “Prawn” or aliens. I found a very high level of emotion levied in them, and found myself drawn to their plight and personal desires. I caught myself wanting so badly for the humans to be slaughtered and the Prawn to escape back to their home world. The emotional journey you are taken on, from curiosity about the creatures, to disgust for human nature, to anger over torture, to joy when at least some aliens improve their lives, is a long trip.

I found myself the day after during a long drive, daydreaming about the alien characters I had just met, their incredible technology, guns, robots and the battles that ensued. I wanted to hear the child alien’s words again, and I wanted to watch 100 more human bodies explode upon use of the alien lightning gun. In other words, this is a DVD purchase.

Director Neil Blomkamp would have killed it if he got to make his Halo movie, instead he created this masterpiece. I feel this is a story that makes comments on bigotry, racism, class struggles, weapons industries, and the general disgusting feeling you get when you look at what really drives the human condition. Probably the most memorable line for me of the whole movie happens right away. “Not everyone was shocked when the alien ship did not come to rest over New York, Los Angeles or Chicago; but in Johannesburg.”

Simple messages, simple pleasures. Go see this and enjoy the CGI, enjoy the weapons, enjoy the action and the emotions. Stop for a second and think about the comments the movie makes, and then see the damn thing again cause it is so fun.

Hopefully you walk away feeling the same way I did; wanting the aliens to declare war on Earth and blow it all up. In this movie, we deserve it.

Score: 5 out of 5 for wicked alien badassery

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Why Ad writers don't write movies... most of the time

Reading some news articles… who am I kidding… blog posts today, I found myself wondering why so many people, millions really, are so shocked that Transformers 1 and 2 were some of the worst movies ever made. G.I. Joe is ready to step in and take T2’s spot next week. Why such a shock though? Look at what you are working with for source material, and who was put in charge.

Transformers and G.I. Joe were not well written, story driven, childhood gems. They were commercials. 30 minuets long, decade spanning commercials, designed to sell toys. Trying to make a real movie out of them is like trying to take the Geico cavemen and make a TV show…. Oh yea, opps... well, point proven.

We didn’t watch these shows because they had stories on par with Looney Toons or Chip and Dales Rescue Rangers. We watched them because they had toy tie ins that we were captivated by and bought.

Very few of these series in the 80s had anything close to smart intellectual property, and because of that, I don’t ever expect the likes of Michael Bay or any other talentless director to be able to craft a real story about them.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had a moderate amount of entertainment value and success as a movie franchise, but that was because the source material had real writing and didn’t have to showcase a new vehicle or character every week to buy. There is one other hope for a great movie from our childhood in line with the Turtles. Thundercats.

The Thundercats were one of the most unique and well written ideas and series in the entirety of the decade, and it would transfer over beautifully to the live action big screen with the correct team.

Just take a look at what fans were able to do. (from io9) Gets you kinda juiced up doesn’t it?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Barrier of entry

I've been cursed with feeling insightful today. On a normal day I'll be searching through my usual treasure trove of entertainments to occupy my mind until the next essential comes up, but not today. Today, just glancing about the usual settings yields something new and inspiring. I don't need some overstimulating nonsense to keep my mind going at a normal clip, there's just a natural flow of good ideas coming in. I can even write this blog with a surprising minimum of distractions and needs to drag out my thesaurus. Now what's so damning about this welcome change to the norm? It just so happens I'll tell you.

This insight I'm boasting about comes at a price. All the things crammed at the back of my mind are resurfacing in a fresh new light. It still sounds like I'm complaining about a good thing doesn't it.....well so much of what inhabit the back of my temporal lobe are regrets. Things I've had such well meaning intentions to learn or revisit but never do. Books I haven't read, good movies never watched. Places never explored, ideas never fully thought out. Old friends I haven't reconnected with, girls I was too afraid to ask out.

On a normal day I have reasons for each and every one. "I was focused on something else", "I had too much going on", "I haven't finished that last book I started", "they probably don't remember me", "no WAY she's interested...." But on a day like today, I know these are all barriers I've made for myself. My cozy little comfort box that blocks away all things scary and new. All it would take is to invest some small time and effort to get past that initial hump of doubt and I'll have expanded this minuscule little chunk of existence I inhabit. That's it, that's all. On a day like today, everything feels like it should be in reach.

So why isn't it? Why can't I accomplish everything I want to in life? All kinds of imagined restrictions circle around, but the only one that seems to hold any truth is the one I hate to acknowledge more than any other: Time. Even should I manage to focus and accomplish things one by one, my imagination will always work faster than the rest of me. That's not even counting tomorrow when the flurry of doubts and barriers come back to play. Well, it's 4pm right now. Let's see what I can do today.

Friday, July 10, 2009

If only I could hide your news feed in real life

So I have not authored anything in quite awhile, I’ve been busy, tis the summer, all that good jazz. Something has been on my mind for awhile though and I may as well spit the thoughts out.

Nowadays we have Twitter, Facebook feeds, RSS readers, status updates on every IM client possible, and they all inundate us with way more info on a person than we even imagined we wanted.

On a given day I can wake up and look at Facebook to see a post where someone bitches about being awake early, a picture of new hardwood floors (!), or a comment on a failed relationship. This all leads me emotionally to two ends:

First, I realize out of 400 plus people I’ve added on Facebook, I could care less about what 350 of them are doing on a day to day basis, if that. On Twitter, I don’t care at all what anyone is doing that moment, and MySpace, well I just deleted all of you and myself on that one.

Second, I wonder how many people feel that way about my updates. Now I do not exploit my inner emotions a fraction as much as the people who really irk me. I have a new girlfriend, yet I rarely mention her, I am in constant physical pain, yet I don’t complain, I have a tedious 9 to 5 job like most of this country, and I just get up and go. However, I am sure comments I make about hockey games, political action, or lame jokes are equally boring to some as their complaints of life are to me.

The mega question and overall point is this. Are we in reality further distancing emotional attachment to each other by over saturating ourselves with too much info on our friends? These systems are designed to “bring us closer” and “connect” but I find myself every day removing someone permanently from my news feed, and I, although I tried, could give a crap about what you Twitter. Am I in turn alienating friends who don’t care about whatever gibberish I post?

I wonder if the people who reach out the most with these services are just too outgoing or are they people who historically never got any attention from peers and now feel they are accepted and heard just because they were “Added” by someone on the community.

Maybe we’ve reached a point where we need to back off and leave a little more mystery to the world. As a telecomm geek and media professional, I understand connectedness extremely well, but for the love of l33t, I just don’t understand why you deemed it necessary to post a picture of your sick hamster on my wall.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Who wants a sledgehammer to the face?

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, allow me to ask you some simple questions…

Have you ever wanted to smash someone in the face with a sledgehammer?

Have you ever wanted to bring down a building, piece by piece, with that same hammer?

Forget the hammer, how about strategically placing mines around that building so you can take out the support system and make it fall on a bunch of dudes you were going to sledge hammer anyway?

Have you ever wanted to fire rocket launchers at chemical tanks and cause massive chain reactions blowing up buildings and killing dozens?

How about firing a gun that breaks down a person or object to its molecular bits and pieces?

I KNOW you’ve wanted to drive trucks, tanks and walking robots, arms swinging, through buildings... going back to finish off any survivors you missed on the first pass.

I imagine hunting for a series of objects to destroy and complete a mission would be interesting to you as well. How about a bunch of wind turbines? Maybe you’d like to place a charge on the side and watch it fall onto the head of that dude over yonder? Yea, I thought so.

Would you like a world that promises absolutely every man-made object can be destroyed, bit by bit, first the concrete, then the rebar, then the dude standing behind it?

Just go buy Red Faction: Guerilla then. I really can’t sum it up any better than this: Boom.

Score: 4 out of 5 Sledgehammers to the face

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Letting the kid have his tantrum

I am still pretty upset over the Red Wings losing the Stanley Cup. It is a hard reality to accept after you have seen your team win 4 of 4 over 12 years. As a fan base we grew accustomed to being the best year in and year out, countless 100 point seasons, multiple Presidents trophies to go along with the playoff success.

I think we still are the best team, and I would pick us over Pitt again next year in a heartbeat. The West will only get better through Chicago, but Pitt will have to fight Washington, Boston and Carolina to get back.

I think what stings me most is my hate of everything Pittsburgh stands for. I hate this city more than any other in the country. Living so close to the city and attending so many Baltimore/Washington versus Pittsburgh sporting events, I have never in my life encountered dumber or more obscene fans; many who frequent my Facebook experienced one such fan before she was removed. Now before I go further, I make no claim that this is unbiased, of course this statement is biased. This is an opinion based blog, duh.

Crosby was anointed king of the league when he was 17. It was not his choice, and I think he handled it well... at first. I think attention and media can consume you though, and it can blur reality. If I am a parent who just has kids, sure I’ll let them look at Sid as a role model and be content that this is a fine upstanding man who doesn’t do drugs and is a fine hero to have. If I am a parent of a young hockey player, I do not think as highly of him.

I expect a role model to leave the rink without chopping someone’s ankles. I expect him to not punch another player’s crotch, specifically a player who at the time was fighting someone else. I expect him to not complain about every other call. Yea captains talk to the refs, but it generally happens two or three times a game, not every stoppage of play. I think that has as much to do with his mentor as it does his own sense of self satisfaction though. There was one other great captain who was known as a fantastic whiner before Cros showed up, and that happens to be Cros’s current landlord, Mario Lemieux.

Beyond Cros is Malkin. As my brother so perfectly stated, the guy is a punk. He’s a very talented punk, but the dude can’t keep composure at all during a loss. Has he ever fought when his panties were not in a tizzy?

I think the Pens beat the Red Wings fair and square. I can’t blame fatigue or injury, the Wings didn’t show up in game six or seven, so good job Pens. I can say I hate the image Pittsburgh and its players with the cup, and I know I am certainly not in the minority on that one.

Enjoy it Sid, and get off the stage please, there are some much more dynamic (Ovechkin), composed (Zetterberg) and classy (Toews) players better suited for your “position”.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stop the greedy. Boycott Bono

Radio has been with you all your lives. Radio plays the Christmas music for you that you never buy. Radio introduces you to new artists you have never heard of. Radio keeps you up to date on the community you live in and connects you with the culture you belong to.

Radio plays the single from the new artist who then gains popularity, makes new music, and then goes on to be one of the biggest super stars in the world. A single radio station group pays hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for the rights to play this music; for the right to give FREE publicity to this superstar artist. Now this artist, along with dozens of others and the RIAA are pushing legislation on Capitol Hill that will force broadcasters to virtually DOUBLE the fees they pay to play music on air.

The super star artist I talk about is U2’s Bono, along with other big names like Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins and the R&B group the Black Eyed Peas. These artists would be flipping burgers without radio, not famous, unknown to you and your friends. They would not be at concerts held by radio stations in their honor or being primped and gifted at meet and greets.

This “Performance Tax” is pushed by the RIAA, artists and record labels as something they need to survive, something radio owes them. In case anyone didn’t notice, nearly every broadcasting company in this country is down in revenue in the past few years, some as much as 50%. Radio has been shrinking for more time than that. And they want stations to double what they pay? The artists need to be responsible and learn how to negotiate better contracts with their labels, not try to steal from a wounded ally who built them up.

See, there is a law called Payola. This law makes it illegal for labels to PAY RADIO to play songs. Hmm, why would that be illegal? Are you saying artists would give anything to get on the radio? That radio gives a competitive advantage to those who get on its airwaves? And yet by the artists’ claims now, radio should be paying even more for the right to play their song. It’s fucking bizzaro world.

I call on you to boycott U2. I call on you to boycott the Black Eyed Peas. I call on you to boycott the Smashing Pumpkins. I call on you to read the news on this issue and discover who else is trying to cut off music’s nose in spite of its face.

Call your legislator, tell them to support radio. Tell them you as a listener think fair is already fair enough.

If you don’t, one day soon you’ll turn your radio on and hear nothing at all.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Who even knew what a bucket list was before that movie?

So while Damman is talking about flowers, I myself have recently had deep and interesting thoughts occur in my brain goo. I met a girl recently who asked me questions I have not thought about in forever, the kind of stuff that makes you realize there is something going on between your left and right shoulder blade, slightly north of your food receptacle.

The topic of conversation drifted slightly to the mythical “bucket list,” but I always struggle with that term being so young still. I like to think of it more as a life to do list, and after the discussion, I went over this list again and again in my mind, really wondering what I needed to see before I melt away into the black. Well, I think this is kind of the start of a running “need to do before I am old” list… old taken into interpretation.

  • Visit three continents before I am 40.
  • Learn to surf.
  • Take at least one great trip with my brother before we both have kids.
  • Learn to scuba dive.
  • Visit every NHL arena.
  • Hike and camp in the Canadian Rockies.
  • Go shark fishing.
  • Take my Dad on one big hunting trip.
  • Attend E3.
  • See the Stanley Cup presented in person.
  • Help out in one grand philanthropic event.
  • Do something that absolutely terrifies me.
  • Take a professionally taught cooking class.
  • See the pyramids.
  • Brew my own beer, and make it not suck.
  • See the Australian outback.
  • Participate in some kind of triathlon.

I guess that’s a good start…

Friday, May 29, 2009

On Appreciation

"How can anyone look at all the flowers out here and not believe in God?" This was a question posed to me today at work by a customer (I work at a big retail greenhouse). I don't think she expected an answer, thankfully, because I definitely didn't have one for her. Now, I don't mean to paint a picture of an ignorant or gullible person. It just piqued my interest to hear it. The woman didn't seem particularly evangelical, or critical of anyone who might disagree. She may have even blushed slightly after realizing she said it in public. It was like she saw something meaningful and simply commented on it.

I probably don't share this woman's religious views. If anything, when I look at a sea of flowers I'm more likely to imagine the biological makeup that allows so much complexity to come in to existence from dirt and water; or.....hell, molecules, atoms, effing neutrons! While we might be on opposite ends of the spectrum about creation, it doesn't matter. It's all appreciation.

There was another customer I had last week, she was looking at buying a peony. For the non-gardener/greenhouse worker, this is what a peony looks like.

They grow big, get kinda bushy and have large flowers ranging from red to pink to white. This woman had a garden layout all planned up for her, sketches and all, and in one spot she needed some type of peony. It didn't really matter which one. Of the 10 or so varieties out there, the choice was entirely hers. She spent over 45 minutes agonizing. There had to be one perfect plant to choose, THE SOLUTION, and having that kind of responsibility was causing her just so much grief. I wanted to scream at her, "For god's sake just pick one! You can make your OWN freaking decision!" In the end, I think she elected to put it off until she could contact her garden designer. Hypocrite that I am, I know I've done the same thing in a similar situation. But really, is anything actually that important? I'm not so sure.

If you're still waiting for the point to this, well then one of us has clearly failed. I'm gonna say it's god.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Night Shift: Lost Phone

So last night at work, it was a party night (as finals run Monday-Wednesday). This meant that I had drunk student after drunk student coming in, especially because it was the "after finals" drinking that I'm sure all of the college grads understand.

Anyway, I still have to enforce the security rules, which means no non-students after midnight up in the rooms. Even the drunks know this, and they try to get crafty with me. And sometimes, they succeed!

I had a girl who I could tell was eying a way to sneak past me. Normally I am pretty good at stopping this, but... they can sometimes win. I had a large group of students come in all at once (most likely all from the same train). Some of them can walk right in, as they all live their and it is quick. Those with guests have to wait in a line, and I sign them in. So I'm signing in some people and watching to make sure the residents are all actually supposed to pass me. The girl who got by me first was waiting in the 'check in' line, but then hopped to the other line and piggybacked through the door. At least I believe this is what happened, as I didn't see her. She was just "gone."

What wasn't gone was her blackberry. Once I had the crowd taken care of, and I noticed she never checked in, I looked back at where she was in the line, and there it was sitting on my desk. In her drunken planning of her sweet 'slip by the guard' she set her phone down. I picked it up, and stuck inside the phone holder was her drivers license. Awesome.

I ran her name through the computer to see if she had ever been in the building before, cause if she had and only visited one person, I could look that up and guess where she was. Unfortunately, she was a pretty popular girl and had visited many different people. So I had no way to predict who she was with.

Then the phone started ringing. I didn't answer. It rang again. From my experience, this is the friend she is with calling it to try and find it, now that she realizes that it's gone. It only come up as a first name, and not a name on her "previously visited" list, so it doesn't help me find where she is. I could just answer it, and say it's at the desk, but that would somewhat let her off the hook. She wouldn't be worried if I did that. Remember this girl snuck by me, which can get me fired. So I'm going to not answer and let her sweat a while.

It rings and rings, and after a while, two girls come down to my desk. I know that these are not the girls, because the girl who's ID I have is of eastern complexion with dark hair, while these girls are white blonds.

"Did you find a phone?" Blond Girl 1 asks.

"Yes, I did," I respond.

"Is it a Blackberry?" she asks.

"Yes, it is," I respond again. I am trying to keep a straight face and as monotone, matter of fact voice as possible.

"Has it been ringing off the hook?" she asks. "And is it ringing now?" she says as she hold up her phone making a call.

"Yes, and yes," I respond.

"Great!" says Blond Girl 2. "That's mine!"

"No, actually it's not," I reply. "It's this girls..." I say holding her ID. Their faces go south.

"OK, yeah, shes my friend, and shes upstairs in my room crying her eyes out cause she thinks her phone is lost. Can we please have it to give to her?" Blond Girl 2 asks.

"No," I respond. "But if you can send her down, I can give her her phone." They look at each other, knowing this isn't a good idea. Their friend isn't allowed in the building, so sending her down to the desk will get her caught. Plus the friend is drunk and now crying.

"Please, I give you my word we'll give it to her, shes really upset," Blond Girl 1 begs.

"No, but I'll hold it here at the desk. And give it to her with her ID," I said, crushing their hopes. They sulked back upstairs. About fifteen minutes went by, and I began to think that they had called my bluff. See, knowing that the phone is at the desk, and knowing that we have the ID of the owner, that phone isn't going anywhere. It's safe. The girl could easily stay all night, and get it on the way out in the morning. But I'm betting that the drunk girl won't think of that option.

After about twenty minutes, two girls come down. Blond Girl 1, and Phone Girl.

"Hi," says phone girl. "You have my phone and ID?"

"Yes I do," I respond, handing her the phone.

"Thank you so much sweety!" she says with a smile.

"Do you want to check in now?" I ask. Their smiles quickly fade.

"Um, yes I do," she responds.

"I'll need your overnight pass please," I ask. Her face is totally blank, that look of drunken "oh shit" when you realize you didn't completely think the plan through.

"I don't have one," she quietly says.

"Ah. Then I can't let you in. Here's your ID back," I said has I handed her back the ID.

"But, um, I don't have anywhere to go," she said.

"Yeah, shes stuck here!" Blond Girl 1 chimed in.

"Sorry," I responded.

Then I made her leave. Out into the rain at 3 a.m. Don't F with me kids. I'm not risking my job for you after you break the rules and get caught. You have to be nice and beg from the start...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

World War II: When Nazi Zombies walked the Earth

There are a few constants in this world you can count on. Night and Day, love and loss, authors using this same line to open a paragraph, and video games being made about World War II. For our generation no event has captured our imaginations and awe as a conflict that is enough removed that we have no memory, but not so much that we cannot interact with heroes and victims from it. I imagine when my grandchildren grow up; media will mimic the war or terror in the same way, although in my mind it will pale in comparison to the sudden burst of violence and destruction in such a short amount of time that was WWII.

None the less, Call of Duty: World at War thrusts us into WWII for the 17th time this year it feels like, but this really is a title that is worth the purchase. Carrying over virtually every interface and game play variant from the popular CofD4: Modern Combat, WaW picks up with ease, and adds to it a fresh new story and combat elements.

First I will point out my favorite aspect, which you may suspect by his large picture overhead. Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland voices one of the American characters in the game and I swoon every time he speaks. I think the Russian character is famous too, I just don’t know who it is.

So what is new about the game? First off, the co-op has expanded, in CofD4 I don’t think you could play co-op missions at all, but now you can play with 3 other buddies, very cool. Multiplayer is the same game it was before, just with new maps and weapons historically accurate to WWII of course. As always, the art design is beautiful and you end up getting blasted to death just wandering around and taking in the world created.

A new raved about multiplayer variant is available to you after beating the game. Akin to the Gears of War 2 “horde mode”, “Nazi Zombies” throws you in a barn and has you defend against well, Nazi zombies as they tear down planks on the windows and try to eat your souls. It’s fun, but not ground breaking by any means. Having only 1 map to play it on, save for buying more, also kind of sucks.

For me the game really shines in the missions. CofD has a knack for piecing together a tense, challenging and rich story that flows from one mission to another. Veteran mode still makes you want to throw your controller through the window, but when you get through a mission on V, you feel like your life is complete. Yet again they let us play in an airplane for a mission, one of the cool Black Cat amphibious planes, which was a lot of fun, and the tank mission as well proved to be a joy; who knew tanks had flamethrowers?

In the end WaW is gritty, dirty, bloody violence that has all the characteristics of a CofD game; Great sound design, great attention to weapon detail, fairly smart AI, and a lot of fun. Perhaps the one thing WaW has that shines a little more than previous CofD titles, is the moral message. The story really wants you to understand the weight and value of what occurred 50 some years ago; if you can stop enjoying the Nazi zombies for a minute that is.

Score: 3 out of 5 Kiefer's gritty sexy voices

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fantasy Hockey Season Review and the State of 3B Sports

Well we bring to close another year, our seventh, of 3B fantasy sport activity. What began as dorm room smack talk has elevated to young professionals wasting time at work smack talk. We’ve seen a total of 30 players through 2 sports and 15 seasons played; this year being our inaugural Dynasty hockey and football seasons. Only Eric and I have been in every league holding the 3B title.

Where does the end of hockey leave us? First let me congratulate Medium on his first ever championship, finally getting out of his nasty 3rd place finish habit. His Sibir Novosibirsk are crowned our first ever Dynasty hockey champs, while Howie’s Dinamo Riga finish second after a ridiculous climb to the top of the regular season pile. Third place went to Andy’s Atlant Mytishchi, his third season in a row of scoring career points in hockey. Chris won as the 3rd seed, which surprisingly is not the lowest to ever have won hockey. In fact, the 4th seed has claimed the title 3 times. Korey has the honor of being our last place team and winning the Tavares lottery for next season.

In Traditional, Howie gets to play bridesmaid again, the first player to ever finish first or second in more than 1 season in a year. First place goes to Cover, securing his first ever 3B points in his 3rd season. Third place sees the always competitive Ken pick up another point.

The top of the 3B career points list didn’t change too much, Eric still sits first with 15, Korey second with 12, and Andy and Ken with 11. Howie did climb into 5th with 8 points, Chris into 7th with 7, and Cover leaps into 8th with 4.

Rookies this year include Jim Wolf in Dynasty hockey, and Brian Ardanowski, Amanda Horn and Sara Luichinger in Traditional hockey. Rookies in football this year included Dynasty runner-up Jonny Quinton and Greg Guy.

Performance percentage had a big shake-up with Cover claiming a title in his 3rd season. Ken remains above 100% with his point, while major movers were Medium with 4 points to grab an 87.5% and Howie’s double 2nd places moving him to the devil’s number of 66.67%. Naturally I dropped to 26.67%.

Next year promises to hold some excitement for us, as this summer brings our first ever offseason movement for our Dynasty teams, while Eric, Korey or Andy all have a chance to become our first ever 3 time champion.

And finally, how did my predictions go for the end of the hockey seasons? For Traditional I called Sara’s ilikebacon over Cover’s High Glove Side in the finals. High Glove Side ended up winning it all over Howie’s Winnipeg Jets. Sara lost in the semifinal. So I blew that one.

In Dynasty I was vague but kind of right. I called my Spartak against Andy’s Atlant if I remained healthy. I didn’t and as I guessed, Medium and Howie could have pounced in there. They both faced off in the finals and Medium won. My big mistake was calling Cover to miss the playoffs, as he made the semis and finished in 4th overall.

Once again, thanks for a terrific year of fantasy guys, congrats to our winners and enjoy the offseason games coming up this summer! As always you can see the history of all the leagues, career points and dynasty rules on our web page. Also please feel free to become a "follower" on the right side of the blog page.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


So it's finals season again. Things have changed though from my days at MSU. I actually have a group to study with for one of my harder classes: Physics. And the others I've found myself taking notes, doing ungraded homework, and even studying more than just an hour the night before an exam. Well on my way to another 3.5 and up semester. But some things don't change easily. I have an 8-10 page report due a week from Thursday that I've hardly even started thinking about, the rough draft of which was due two weeks ago.

Sadly I can see myself falling into the same trappings I do whenever I'm tasked with a long paper. Every time I think about it, all I see is the full bulk of it looming over me ominously.

I understand this is bad. I need to separate myself from the total mass of the paper and just start chipping away at it. There's time too. I have before me a monumental opportunity. Over a week before this report is due, I have nearly a full day to work on it. I could even get it completely written and (brace yourself) actually be able to revise it before the due date. I never do that! Typically I put it off, or stare at a blank Word document until hours before it's due. Then I drop all refinement and simply begin vomiting content onto the screen, too tired to care about its completeness or flow. That usually earns me a B+/A-, so what's the harm?

If all I wanted was a grade, then there is none. A couple hours worth of sleep lost the night before is a pretty fair exchange for an A-. But dammit! What do I actually learn? What happens when I'm actually counted on to write something good, and my ability to move up in a job depends on me being able to do better then a poor A-? Not to mention that I actually WANT to be proud of my work.....*sigh*. So that's where I am right now. I realize this isn't a terribly interesting blog, but I have some hope that by confessing my detestable literary ways I might find the strength to change. I do have control over my own will don't I?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sweet Zombie Jesus, I need a subletter

Really? Seether covered George Michael? Come on, I know the world is supposed to end in 2012 or something, but this is a little too apocalyptic for being 3 years out still.

So I have great friends who offered to let me move into a wonderful situation, in a great part of Baltimore, for a great price. I could live the charmed life all summer and save a load of cash for my house I am hunting. Naturally life does not like me, so things are more complicated than just moving.

The long and short of it is I have a year lease expiring in September and I cannot get out of it unless I find a new tenant. I was lied to by a former employee and I failed to have any documentation to back up what kind of out clause I thought I had, and life sucks.

Lets see if my post can generate any renting interest. We’ll sprinkle a few key words here for search engines..


That should be worth a few hits.

If you found your way here and want a pretty cool apartment in Elkridge, MD; comment already. I’ll leave my fire extinguisher and a 6 pack behind when I move.

Happy Easter to those who find some significance in the chocolate hording holiday… Ima go find me a Cadbury chicken and chain that mo-fo up.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Fixed economy? No. Fixed team spirit? Check!

On Christmas morning, some children get nothing. In fact, all the world over, the vast majority of children probably get nothing. Now yea, most of them do not celebrate Christmas, but this post isn’t about religion. What it is about are those kids, that probably make up the top one percent of all kids in the world, who get a race car, or a pony, or something huge, but whine because it’s the wrong color. If you are a Michigan State Spartan and you are pissed off that we did not win the national title, this is you, ya spoiled brat.

We got an incredible gift this year, we went so much further than many thought we could, and experienced some incredible games. Beating the reigning national champs? Check. Blowing out the #1 overall seed in the tourney? Check. Beating a big top seed in the final four on our home turf of Detroit setting up a party for thousands? Check. All we missed out on was the last dance, the last celebration. These things happen, but ya know what, we are still better off than some millions of other fans out in the college basketball universe.

I applaud and thank our Spartan warriors profusely for this gift of March. I yelled, I jumped, I paced, I yelled some more… a lot more, and I loved every second of it. We will be favored to return next year, and I look forward to doing it all again.

Go Green! Go White! Go State!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Zombies CAN ride dirt bikes!

Man I love me some zombies. For Christmas I was given a how to survive zombie attacks set of flash cards and after reading, I felt pretty assured I knew what was what. In leading up to the days of Resident Evil 5, Damman argued with me that the game had no zombies, as I hysterically screamed about dirt bike riding zombies from the trailer. Well since my play through, applying my flash card knowledge, I do have to say this is not a “zombie” game, and it is also not a typical Resident Evil game. A lot of purists have been in an uproar over this; I, well, I have enjoyed the product and I’ll be so kind as to tell you why.

RE5 pretty much abandons survival horror like an unwanted child at the mall. No mention of it, no remorse for it, the game just went a different way. This is a shooter… where you can’t actually shoot while you move. Let us call it a “Stand Still Shooter with Inventory Management.” I think that does nicely. I ate this up. I loved the story, I loved the enemies, I thought the levels were varied and unique. Puzzles pleasurable and simple. The variety of weapons ridiculous (more later) and the cooperative experience joyous.

For me, co-op has become the new drug. Damman has become my new video game BFF as we have sought out new ways to constantly annoy each other while achieving a common goal. RE5 provides another way for one person to be all brain, and another to use hap-hazard brawn. (take a guess who is who.) The inventory management allowing you to trade items with your partner creates a fun interplay between who takes what on a given level and what strategies you want to use for a given boss.

The dialog, as Damman explains, is typical RE, very cheesy. Hell by the end of the game, my very first RE experience, I could guess a line before they said it. As I eluded to before, however, the story was fun. It may do a horrible job of trying to explain the history of RE, but as a stand-alone, it won me over.

The replay value for this title is immense. The un-lockable weapons, costumes, special items and game modes make for a unique kind of treasure hunt. I went back through after my first run through and hunted for all the emblems, treasure and missed goodies from before, searching for the kind of completion of a game I rarely desire. Some may call this achievement whoring, some may be disinterested in it. The blank fact is my game clock was about 11 hours to beat it, and I’ve logged another 6 just hunting for things now. Entertainment value is entertainment value folks.

End of the day, this isn’t really RE5 as much as it is RE-a new way to play. It was hella fun, I am going to play some more, a lot more, and I hope to horde all of your magnum ammo in game sometime if you ever play with me too.

Score: 4 out of 5 “Damn it Jason, you blew me up again!”s

Deviant art image stolen from haruningster

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ramblings of a Madman: Get those damn words offa my yard!

This concept that I'm thinking about right now has no beginning or end. If anything it's really just a never ending loop so I guess I'll drop us in at random point x and damn the consequences!

Are video games art? Yes. No? Well why not? Roger Ebert doesn't think so. He's a pretty bright guy I suppose....he does watch alot of movies. Honestly I don't really care anymore. This does of course imply that at one point I did (which is sadly true), but I'm over it. Anyway, art. Clearly art is this special club that only a specified class of things can call themselves. That's a pretty vague definition, but I really don't know how else to define something that applies to Don Quixote, Citizen Kane, and hunks of metal twisted together in the shape of hunks of metal.

So at this point you might be thinking you've figured out my point. How can something as completely worthless as Citizen Kane be considered art while video games get the shaft? Well you're wrong! I have no grievances surrounding what any one wants to claim as art. My grief here is reserved for people "defining" things. We give things names so that we can identify them to each other through means slightly more helpful than pointing and grunting (imagine if you pointed and grunted and everyone just looked at the tip of your finger).

But it wasn't enough just to label individual things, we had to categorize them too. TVs and computers are ELECTRONICS, lawyer and doctor are OCCUPATIONS, hilariously awkward roommates and green dinosaur sidekicks are BABYBOPS. For the most part it is functional. Communication errors are numerous and frustrating but if you've been able to understand more than half the words in this post I call this language phenomenon a rousing success.

So we're good so far. We have names for things. We have categories to put those names in. We even have categories to put the categories in. What happens then when we start getting new things? Who decides when they can join an existing category? Is the term "art" frozen in a certain time so that everything coming after it has to find it's own new category? I don't know about you but I'd say dictionaries are pretty damn heavy already. Not to mention that (according to Wikipedia) "art" was coined sometime before 1750. Who won the Oscar that year?

What it comes down to I suppose is that we assign meaning not just to the things in our lives, but the words too. I consider myself a pretty open-minded, accepting person, but when someone says "this is gay", I know that they probably mean it's bad or lame or disagreeable with them in some way. Hell, what do "bad" and "lame" mean anyway? If you ask me, there's only one word that completely and reliably defines exactly what we associate it with...."thing".