Thursday, October 13, 2005

Media Day

What up buttercup?

Not that anyone comes here and reads with any frequency, but for those that do, starting tomorrow I'll be on hiatus as I head back to Russia to claim my rightful heir. We'll be gone a week, provided they decide to waive the 10 day waiting period between the court date and the date of baby retrieval. If they don't waive the waiting period, I'll be on hiatus longer because I'm going to fucking shoot myself. I'll try to take pictures so that I can regale you all with tales of Russian infant purchasing, er adopting.

Before I go, I thought I'd share with you my thoughts on a bunch of fantastical purchases I've made in a quest to go completely bankrupt before the second child arrives. October has been an expensive month for stupid, useless purchases and only serves to get more expensive, stupid and useless. Huzzah! Technically some of these purchases were back in September, but the bill didn't come until October, so they count too. I'll put links where available.

Ringside - "Ringside" - the Amazon review says that this is a serious band despite half of it being actor Balthazar Getty, to which I respond "Who the fuck is Balthazar Getty". Well, it's a good album despite me not knowing who Balthazar Getty is. Not the sort of music for those that want actual humans playing all of the instruments, but if music created on an iBook is your thing, it's a solid album. "Tired of Being Sorry" may have graced your radio at some point.

Citizen Cope - "The Clarence Greenwood Recordings" - Again, referencing Amazon, the review says that those who have both Jack Johnson and Mos Def in their catalog would like this cd. In my case, it's true, however that makes it sound like CC is a mix between Jack Johnson and Mos Def and he isn't, although I'd like to know what hip-hop-surf-folk sounds like. This is an amazing album, and CC lays down some soulful shit. You may have heard "Son's Gonna Rise" as it's on the radio and possibly on a car commercial or something. The album version is superior to the radio cut, as the guitar solo is infinitely more blistering.

Fiona Apple - "Extraordinary Machine" - I had "Tidal", I sold "Tidal". I never bought that Pawn album. This album kicks ass. It's an amazing piece of music and no longer sounds like the journal writings of a tragedy stricken 7th grader. The album took quite a ride before coming out, having been produced by two different people. Two tracks from the first producer remain and act as bookends for the album, which works, because their style is much, much different from the second producer. BTW, the second producer has produced tracks for Eminem, which leads us to the idea of Fiona Apple and Eminem touring, a spectacle of dysfunctional entertainment the world has never seen.

Liz Phair - "Somebody's Miracle" - Liz Phair is one duet with Don Henley away from becoming Sheryl Crow. Not a bad album, but nothing particularly impressive.

Dane Cook - "Harmful if Swallowed" and "Retaliation" - Fuck bees. Fuck bees. Honestly, this guy is hilarious despite his comments about disregarding some of our more important insect friends. If you had to just buy one, get "Harmful", but try to get both. And while we're at it, fuck shoes too.

Gilmore Girls Season 1 and Season 2 - OK, I love Gilmore Girls. It's well written, the characters walk the fine line between too nutty to be believable and extremely genuine and Lauren Graham is hot enough to fry an egg on. Plus I like Luke, so if that makes me even more of a woman then send me a dress and I'll suit up. Both seasons were on sale at Target for 18.88 each one week, so I snagged both of them on the cheap. Cha-ching!

Veronica Mars Season 1 - Picking between this show and Lost for best show on TV last season would have been very, very hard. So far this season, Lost has continued on last season's momentum while VM appears to be taking some time to get back to it's chewy center, but during season 1, VM was amazing television. Very well written, good characters, good mysteries and in the egg frying contest, Kristen Bell would incinerate said eggs before they could even get close to her. Plus, I don't get UPN in Hi-Def, so the choice was between faint memories of shitty broadcast Kristen Bell and Kristen Bell on tasty DVD. A no brainer if ever there was one.

"The Fly - Collectors Edition" - Be afraid. Be very afraid. You're goddamn right. This movie is one of the few remakes I consider to be better than the original. It's short, it gets to the point and it takes no prisoners. The performances are amazing, the effects still hold up and where else can you see such a calamitous relationship between vomit and someone's hand? Don't get "The Fly 2". That movie sucks ass except for the dream sequence, where she births a giant maggot.

Video Games
X-Men Legends 2 - Rise of Apocalypse (Xbox) - Given that there was only a year between this game and its prequel, there wasn't a lot to add other than a boatload of new mutants and co-op over Live. The Live co-op kicks ass as it gives you a chance to make fun of the voicework with something other than the chair next to you. Plus, you can let the AI handle all of your leveling up for those that care more about the action part of an Action-RPG. The only thing that sucks about co-op is that everyone has to have the same tv settings, so if you game with people who don't have an obsessive desire to amass Hi-Def tv equipment, you have to turn off all of your bells and whistles. It sucks to have to do that, trust me, but it's still playable and highly enjoyable. For the record, the team of Iceman, Wolverine, Storm and Cyclops is a quartet of unholy destruction.

Far Cry Instincts (Xbox) - I haven't touched the single player mode, although the demo was good, but multiplayer kicks ass. It's very fast and loose and has a ton of vehicles, which despite the shitty controls, are still fun to ride. The multiplayer modes carry all of the usual multiplayer favorites but add a Predator mode where a bunch of mercenaries face off against one, or multiple jacked up super-soldiers who can jump high, hit hard, track by smell and regenerate health. When you're the predator, you track someone by smell and take on your prey and all of his cronies, it's an amazing feeling to emerge unscathed amongst the corpses. There's also a mapmaking portion which has gotten my gaming group in it's grip and will not let go. We used to talk about games. Now it's like being on a fucking landscaping committee.

Indigo Prophecy - (Xbox) - I've written about this game at length before, but now that I've finished it, I'm comfortable recommending it to anyone who wants something different or likes adventure games. There are some major plot holes which are best to just ignore, but the control is good, the story is cool and it provides an experience that you can't seem to find in other games. Plus, in addition to peeing there's necrophilia.

Trauma Center: Under the Knife (DS) - As much as I love Nintendogs and Advance Wars, this is the game that got me to buy a DS. When I first heard about a surgery game that uses the stylus exclusively, I figured that I'd end up buying the game, and the console to play it on once it came out. It's a lot of fun despite some of the surgeries being part of some plot about medical terrorists and as such, relatively unrealistic. Some of the surgeries are extremely difficult and will have you resisting the urge to let your DS take flight. The dialog can be annoying too, especially the in-surgery dialog which can only be resolved by fervent tapping. It's still tons of fun and the first time you remove a foot long piece of glass from some dude's heart you'll be asking for random strangers to come and mop your brow.

That seems to be it for the time being. Future weeks will bring the release of Batman Begins on DVD, as well as the release of Tales from the Crypt Season 2 on DVD. October may not be the cruelest month, but it's turning out to be the most expensive.

Friday, October 07, 2005

When Giant Reptiles Fight, We all Lose

From the always hilarious Dubious Quality comes this link to a BBC News story about an unfortunate relationship between a 13 ft burmese python and a 6 ft alligator. You know how these things go, python meets alligator, python falls in love with alligator, python eats alligator, alligator explodes out of python's stomach, python dies, alligator dies, the end. I guess this settles the age old question of who would win between a burmese python and an alligator. That would be no one. As disturbing as the picture is, what's even more disturbing is that when the remains were found, the python was headless. That means that there's some critter in the swamps of Flordia snacking on a python head. Maybe it's a zombie python. Brains!

In other news, emboldened by having this outcome of such a magnificent animal battle literally fall into their laps, scientists are now scouring the coasts of Africa in the desperate hope that the remains of a great white shark and an elephant wash ashore. Either that or the battered remains of Batman and Superman.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Atlanta Driver's Handbook

Greetings fair driver! Welcome to Atlanta, the city too busy to follow basic traffic laws. Here in The ATL, we're known for two things, naming everything after peach trees and sitting in traffic so bad you want to find a peach tree and bust your head against it. We didn't get this way by accident, oh no, it takes years of careful civic planning and a complete and total lack of competence on the part of you, the driver, to make this city the congested commuter shithole it is.

This handy guide has been created to help out those new to the area, who may have come from cities that know what a stop sign is. With the tips in this guide, and a liberal amount of head trauma, you too can drive the way Atlanta wants you to. Horribly!

Everywhere the Signs
As you drive around Atlanta, you may notice a lot of streets named after peach trees. With a language spanning some 600,000 words, you'd think we could come up with some more street names. Not so! Besides, what do you have against peach trees anyway? Getting around Atlanta is easy. Imagine a grid where some streets run North to South, some run East to West, some go diagonally, some go in a circle, some make an 'S' shape and some go absolutely nowhere. Now, if the North-South streets are named one thing, then the East-West streets will be named the same thing, but appended with a "SE" or the number 3, or the letter 'Q', or a very small dot of orange paint. Simple! You can also use handy city landmarks to get around. For instance, if you're driving along and you see the sign for The Varsity, you're in downtown Atlanta. Or you're in Alpharetta. Similarly, if you're in Marietta and you see the Big Chicken, then you know you're in Marietta. Piece of cake! If you see homless people then you're in some bizarro alternate universe, as Atlanta has made homelessness illegal. As we all know, the best way to fight poverty is to criminalize it!

Stop Me Before I Stop Again
During your travels around Atlanta you may see strange, red, octagonal signs asking you to stop your vehicle. We all know that when going 65 mph in a residential area, stopping is just a recipe for disaster, or at the least, undue wear on one's seat belts, so feel free to ignore these "Stop" signs. If you feel like you have to slow down, do so, but try not to go under 45. The people behind you have places to go. Similarly, if you're on a highway and a flashing sign is telling you to merge left or right due to a lane closure, what they mean is to continue driving until the lane ends, possibly by slamming you into a piece of heavy machinery, and then swing in to the next lane as quickly as possible. The person you cut off won't mind. And if they do, it's probably their fault anyway. Had they rocketed down the shoulder at 85 mph before merging, everyone else could have all gone a little bit faster. This strategy is also helpful for "Exit Only" lanes. If no one will let you merge, simply stop your vehicle and wait until someone lets you in. Those people behind you will just have to wait. They don't mind. Honest. As for traffic lights, don't worry if the light has turned red and you're still in the intersection, thereby keeping the opposite lanes from getting through. That's what those cameras are for, to capture your wacky hijinks. Oh how we laugh when we see the pictures of the other drivers as they get red faced with rage while all the time you sit there and desperately try to ignore them so you won't have to make eye contact and admit to them that you're a total fucking idiot. Thanks for those fun times! You know who you are.

Can't Stop the Signal
Legends tell of strange devices attached to our cars that, with a flick of one's finger, can indicate to other drivers that you're intending to switch lanes, or turn a corner. Here at the Atlanta Traffic Council, we don't hold much with legends and tall tales. I mean, a flashing light, on a car? That's madness. What would these strange, blinking, flashing, signal devices be called? Flashers? Blinkers? Signals? Flablinknals? The things people come up with. No, fair driver, these items exist only in stories, and it's a good thing too, because how are you expected to drive, hold your cellphone, change the radio station and operate a signalling device? You'd need like 4 arms! As it is, you need 3 just to be able to hold the steering wheel, and you've been doing just fine without doing that, so a fourth arm would be absolutely unnecessary. Plus, think of what would happen to the global sleeve industry if everyone now needed 2 more sleeves on every piece of clothing they own. Demand would outstrip supply and we'd have a garment recession not seen since the Great Zipper Collapse of '08. Just as people don't need to know that your uncle likes to dress in women's clothing, they also don't need to know every time you want to make a turn. Too much information people! Besides, it's a nice surprise, when they expect you to go straight and then you veer off wildly. It's especially surprising if they're trying to make the same turn! Good times. As for lane changes, if you feel the need to tell the other driver that you're planning on occupying the space they're currently occupying, a roll of the eyes, or pointing of the finger will suffice. Honestly, none of this is necessary as physics won't allow both you and the other person to occupy the same space at the same time. Simply get into the other lane and let Classical Mechanics do the rest!

Bumper Cars
On rare occasions, and we mean rare, like it almost never happens, you may find yourself in bumper to bumper traffice on an Atlanta highway. When this happens, it's absolutely imperative that you get as close to the car in front of you as humanly possible. This will ensure that more cars can fit on the roads and that we all get home as quickly as possible. You wouldn't think that 6 inches makes a difference but they all add up to a whole bunch of inches. At least a dozen. We've come up with a handy formula to decide how close you should be to the car in front of you. Simply take the distance from the ground to the top of your front bumper and subtract it from 10. This is how many inches you should be from the car in front of you. SUV owners, this may mean that the front axle of your car is in the back seat of the car in front of you. If so, be sure to buckle your axle in. Safety first Atlanta! Not only will this get us all home faster, but larger cars will be able to shield smaller cars from debris and low swooping pterodactals should a dimensional portal to The Savage Lands be opened and the creatures of prehistoric days thunder across Atlanta's roadways.

Civic Planning
Here at the Atlanta Traffic Council, we too are doing our part to ensure that Atlantans look forward to prostate exams more then their daily commute. That's why we've laid out Atlanta's roads and streets as if the city's infrustructure was planned by drunken howler monkeys. In fact it was. Skippy has been a civil engineer with the City of Atlanta for 20 years now. Say hello Skippy. "*BURP* SCREECH!". Ha! Too true. Anyways, here in Atlanta, we feel that the best way to tangle you up on your drive home is through a cunning combination of single lane roads, left turn only intersections and retail plazas. For example, can you imagine a two lane road with an intersection that leads to a Wal-Mart and behind the Wal-Mart an elementary school? We can, and did! Nothing adds time on to ye olde commute like waiting for buses to take a left in the morning, and shoppers to take a left in the afternoon. Future plans involve putting a landfill behind the elementary school that's behind the Wal-Mart and making it a left turn only intersection so that those that could have taken a right into Wal-Dump Elementary have to go down the road to another left turn only intersection, complete a dangerous and illegal u-turn, and then take a left into good old WDE. That's right Atlanta drivers, we don't expect you to be the only morons in the state. We're dumb two! That is to say, we're dumb to! No wait, ah, forget it.

So there you have it Atlantanoids, all the tips you need to make sure that anyone even attempting to get from one place to another in under an hour have their hopes and dreams smashed like a tail-gating bumper at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. Remember, Atlanta is the only city to have traffic cops at intersections with fully functioning traffic lights. It's your incompetence that makes Atlanta so fun to get around. Happy driving Atlanta! Take it away Skippy!


That guy. He kills me.