Monday, December 31, 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

Surviving Christmas

I honestly had no idea it has been so long since posting. The Christmas holiday, along with my day off the day after and my two "work" days have just flown by. The quote marks in the preceding sentence are meant to convey the fact that while I was at work, there really was no work to be done. Well, that isn't entirely correct. I completed some much needed Six Sigma training, which was horrendously boring, and I played both Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters and Draglade, a DS music based fighting game. I was unaware I was going to be reviewing this game until it arrived in my mailbox. This happens more frequently than one might think, and while I am always surprised that I have received the game, I'm usually interested in what the game ends up being. More on Draglade later. First I must update you on the continued war between Pestilence and the leader of the Four Horsemen, grinning Death himself.

As you already know, foul Pestilence placed his mark on my children before Christmas, attempting to strike them down with both an ear infection and strep throat. On Christmas eve, Death made his presence known by appearing in a Christmas cookie. A more fearful individual would think that they were to perish either on, or before Christmas, but I took it to mean that Death was warning Pestilence away from us. Call me optimistic, but I prefer not to think that our family's Christmases from here on out would be tainted by one, or all of our deaths.

Unfortunately, this was not to be the last salvo in this war among the Horsemen. The refrigerator in the basement, our storage fridge for the spoils of our Costco milk runs, had been exhibiting a strange smell for some time. Being the lazy person that I am, I did nothing about it. On Christmas, I brought the leftovers downstairs to place them in the fridge and realized that I couldn't put my sacred leftovers in such a stench filled refrigerator, so I set off to clean it. I started wiping down the walls and the crisper when I realized that the crisper could come out. Excellent, I thought, as the smell seemed to be coming from it. I removed the crisper and was greeted with the sight of what can only be described as a foul pool of, what, I don't know. One one side of the fridge, it was a greenish-gray with a thick consistency. On the other side it was the color of caramel. Both sides smelled horrible. Cleaning it up was not a pleasant task, however I was successful in doing so. I don't know what exactly would have dripped down there to create such a fetid swamp, but I have an idea that the caramel apple pies we used to get from Costco must have leaked behind the crisper, unbeknownst to us and that, along with a constant flow of water from the humid air in the basement caused Lake Funk-o-lot.

It wasn't the way I had hoped to spend my Christmas evening, however at least the fridge is now clean. It still smells somewhat, so it has an upcoming appointment with some bleach, but for now at least you can open the door without thinking a raccoon died in the egg tray. Hopefully this marks the end of the spat between the Horsemen as I'm tired of being their mouse to bat back and forth like eager cats. If anything else happens, I'll be sure to let you know, unless it's my death, as I'm fairly certain that blogging from the netherworld is impossible.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Don't Eat the Reaper

I'm not sure what to expect when the leering visage of Death appears amongst your Christmas cookies. Perhaps it's a reminder that in these festive times, we're all just biding time until we ride the pale horse to the netherworld. Perhaps Death is sending a message to foul Pestilence, that this family is under the Reaper's grim protection. Perhaps it's just a freak of the batter and the sprinkles. It's hard to say. One thing I do know is that leaving this cookie out for Santa is a sure way to either receive nothing but coal, or to get whacked by the Elven Cosa Nostro.

May your holiday season be a safe and joyous one and may your new year find you healthy in both body and spirit.

Christmasally yours,

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Plague-mas

Almost every member of my household was sick this weekend. Only myself and one dog was spared Pestilence's diseased finger. I say one dog as I'm fairly certain that Henry is not long for this world as his body is wracked with growths both foul and oft appearing.

It started with my daughter who contracted both an ear infection and strep throat. Next to fall was Linda who was laid low with a cold that filled her sinuses with cement. Then Ben woke up with a fever, albeit one that didn't affect his mood or activity level at all. After a day and a half of debating the need to take Ben to an urgent care facility we decided that it was better to take him and get him all set for Christmas than wait and have him get sick. This morning, Linda and I both looked at his throat and it was clear as can be. By the time we were seen at the urgent care facility, only a couple of hours later, it looked like some sort of primeval swamp. I think I saw a coelacanth hanging out by his uvula. The odd thing about this kid is that if his sister harms him in even the slightest, he's quick to tears, however having a massive bacterial infection in his throat causes no discomfort.

Everyone is doing fine now. Linda's cold seems to have abated and both children are medicated to the gills with antibiotics. So far, I seem to have escaped illness however I'm sure that on Christmas day I'll awaken with every node swollen to bursting with foul contagion. I may need to have extra nodes flown in just to accommodate the illness. I'm tempted to go to the doctor's tomorrow and get my throat swabbed, but the notion of spending yet another morning, Christmas Eve morning no less, at a doctor's office, is not an appealing one. Better I should wait and ruin everyone's Christmas with my diseased person.

Friday, December 21, 2007

My Deepest Fears Realized

When the Lego Indiana Jones game was announced, I was concerned that they would also create Lego Indiana Jones sets to go along with the game. I am running out of room in my office and other than the Batmobile in the bedroom, the wife is not going to allow the home to be decorated in children's building blocks.

I was perusing the paper this evening and chanced upon an ad for some sale taking place at Toys R Us this weekend. One of the sections in the ad was for a sneak peak of toys coming in 2008. What did I happen to see, as a feeling of dread settled in my stomach but two Indiana Jones Lego sets.


Oddly enough, one of them is the exact set I felt could melt my steely resolve, namely the tomb that the Arc of the Covenant was found in, complete with a big, black Egyptian statue.

The second set is less exciting consisting of the motorcycle chase from The Last Crusade. I can only imagine what sets will come out next year, but the potential for Batman-Indiana Jones combinations may be too great to pass up.

Looks like I may be heading out to Toys R Us tomorrow.

*Double sigh.*

Thursday, December 20, 2007

For Greg

Dear Mr. Howley,

First of allow me to express my sincerest regret at not being able to be purchased by you. It is my deepest wish that I could have been brought to the home of someone such as yourself rather than the hu-man to whose home I was deposited.

I have had the benefit of spending time with a great number of hu-mans. Some were successful in seeing past the veil of GLADoS. Some ended up being consumed by flames or shot up by the turrets. Many dropped my compatriots into incinerators, although I know that you would never do that. Thankfully, one escaped and temporarily stopped GLADos and, more importantly, allowed us to be sold and spend time with you hu-mans without the fear of incineration.

The hu-man I have been sent to is nothing like any hu-man I have ever spent time with. He is...strange. He speaks of nothing but singing, yet he is not a singer. He is under the delusion that he is in a, to use his phrase, "kick-ass band" and will not cease talking about it. At night he me. Unspeakable things. Plus, he carries the vague scent of bacon. Yes, I have a nose. It is well hidden.

I know that you live a considerable distance from this hu-man, however I am sure that if you were willing to make the trip, you could easily distract him by asking him to perform with you and abscond me to the wilds of Colorado. There we could live together along with your mate and your offspring. I am very soft and could easily comfort a small hu-man should they find themselves in a state of emotional distress.

Please consider my offer, Mr. Howley. I am not sure how much I can endure living with this hu-man. After time with him, I long for the sweet escape of the incinerator. Even GLADoS's incessant whining is better than what I have had to hear these past few hours.

Respectfully yours,

Weighted Companion Cube

P.S. He kisses like a drunk seal.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Rush of Performing

Partially out of a need to see what was up, as the kids would say, and partially because it's not practical to have others over to my home during my gaming time, I started up a band in Rock Band where I play bass and sing. It is, in a word, intoxicating.

I'm only playing on medium, however when I know the words to a song, I can 5 star it pretty much every time. Not knowing the song, as you would well imagine, is a much more dodgy proposition as I'm trying to figure out the singing harmonies while keeping my eye on the bass track. Often times it ain't pretty, but even with those impediments to progress, I'm still able to 3-star those songs and get fans. Once you start a gig, it's hard to back out just because you don't know the song (some set lists are generated on the fly) because you'll lose fans. Coming across such a song is both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. I can only imagine that this is but a fraction of the rush one must feel to perform in real life.

As I no longer want to be caught with my vocal pants down, I have continued my vocals campaign on Easy so that I can become familiar with the songs. The best part is that it doesn't even feel like practice. I genuinely enjoy the singing, so if singing these songs allows me to not only finish the vocals tour on Easy and prepare myself for my band, then that's even better. For the love of Robert Plant, I want to get singing lessons. I need help!

I can honestly say that I haven't had this much fun in a video game in a long, long time, and it is absolutely true that while the solo tours in Rock Band are lots of fun, the World Tour mode fucking blows the doors off this thing.

And in case you were wondering, your goddamn right I 5-starred "Wanted Dead or Alive" while in the band. Hell fucking yeah I did.

New Mr. Binky

My latest Mr. Binky column is up. Sorry it's late, but events conspired against me. Seriously, I had nothing to do with it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Blade Runner: The Final Cut

Just finished watching the "Final Cut" of Blade Runner. It's a great cut of the film and the remastered picture and sound are well worth the price of admission. The ending is better than the original one I remember, but I gotta say that I still have no idea why you'd think that Decker is a replicant. In fact, other than Rachel asking him if he ever tried the test on himself, I don't know why you'd even ask the question. I guess the unicorn vision and the origami unicorn are supposed to be too much of a coincidence? I don't know. It's going to take someone much smarter than me to explain it. Greg, you up for it?

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Fashion Show

I spent my lunch hour finishing up the Christmas shopping for my beautiful bride. This weekend I prompted her for more gift ideas as all she had given me prior to this was "gloves" and I didn't want the sum total of her Christmas experience to be an Isotoner commercial. After thinking about what to ask for, she told me that I always do a good job of picking out clothes for her, which, admittedly, I do, so I could do that. Oh, she added, and I love Michael Kors. Prior to this conversation, I had never heard the man's name, however I'm smart enough to know that when your wife tells you that she loves a certain designer, she's either dropping a very large hint, or she's having an affair. Either way, you lose.

How Linda even knows of this person is a mystery. My wife is not a girly-girl. That's not to say that she isn't feminine, just that he has rarely shown an interest in the stereotypical girly hobbies such as fashion and make-up. Granted, she reads In Style magazine, but I just assumed that any items found in a magazine about celebrity fashion were not attainable by mere mortals. Personally, I blame Oprah as her leering visage recently started showing up in our mailbox. Linda says that she likes the magazine, but would like it better if Oprah had nothing to do with it, something I find very odd. It is, after all, Oprah's magazine. Every month I get Cooking Light, Game Informer and Playboy and I can assure you that they all represent my interests quite faithfully. Food, boobs and video games are some of my favorite things.

Armed with the knowledge that my wife loves both Michael Kors and Calvin Klein (him I already knew about) I set out to do some shopping. From my trip to the store, the only additional information I have about Michael Kors is that the man is infatuated with belts. Time and time again I would find a very nice shirt only to pull it off the rack and find that someone had soldered a metal belt to it. I can only assume that the man has some sort of investment in a copper mine because the man's clothing is lousy with the stuff.

Thankfully I am not so helpless in the ways of female fashion to be stopped by some metallic accessories and I continued to shop undaunted. I must admit that I have no idea how people can afford to buy designer clothing. Most of my wardrobe consists of things from Target, Old Navy and Kohls, and what isn't from those stores is from the Penny Arcade store. I have simple tastes. To think that there are people out there that simply walk into a store and think nothing about dropping 90 bucks on a sweater blows my mind. I am not one of those people, regardless of whose name is on the damn thing and instead I was able to parlay multiple discounts, including one obtained by opening a store credit card, into savings of mythological proportions. Normally I wouldn't bother opening up a store card, however the savings were too much to pass up. Too much! I'm told I can cancel it any time. Actually what I was told is that the card will cancel itself, however I find it very hard to believe that even death could break the surly bonds of credit fashioned between myself and this store.

With this trip, the shopping is almost complete, save for stocking stuffers and the like. I can assure you that I will not be opening up a store credit card for these items as I have no need for a gas station credit card. I can pay for my Slim Jims with cash, thank you very much.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Take Me Down to the Paradise City

The new Burnout demo dropped last week and I am, in a word, confused.

I'm not sure what to think about the free form driving mode. On the one hand, the long loading times that plagued the last Burnout offering are a thing of the past, as they well should be as they've had enough time with the platform, however, on the other hand, I demand structure and driving around to random intersections trolling for races like they're hookers and I'm a Des Moines brush salesman visiting Vegas for the first time, makes me feel unclean. It certainly doesn't help that most of the intersections in the demo had nothing but cheery messages proclaiming that delicious content would be available in the full game, so check back then. When your beautifully rendered open world demo is bereft of races, you're asking people to buy into nothing but the idea and I'm not so sure I'm willing to put my money down just yet.

My readings on the subject of the crash junction removal hasn't made me feel much better about things as the crash junctions were my favorite part of the Burnout series. Yes, you can turn any intersection into a crash junction in the new game, which makes me wonder if the unfortunate residents of Paradise City are aware that a madman trolls their streets, considering them nothing but paints for his brutal art, but my question to you is how many of these living, breathing intersections contain nothing but rows and rows of unspoiled buses? One? Two if I'm lucky? The mind reels.

Those that I game with speak of this game as the spiritual successor to Midtown Madness, a game I have never heard of, much less played. They refer to the game in hushed, reverent tones, and describe it as less of a racing game and more of a chat room on wheels. I can honestly say that I can't think of a more horrid concept and if this is what Burnout Paradise turns into, you can count me out. The only chatting I do is via the sound of metal on metal. I speak in flames and wreckage and in this tongue, I commune with gods.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Early Christmas Gift

Greetings. Christmas comes eleven days early this year courtesy of Valve. Our prayers have been answered and behold, the plushy Weighted Companion Cube! I bought mine. Have you purchased yours? No? Hmmm. Well, perhaps you weren't as friendly with yours as I was with mine. You laughed when you dropped yours in the incinerator, didn't you? Bastard.

Yesterday was another glorious day off. For those of you that have been here for some time, do you wonder when I don't post, thinking that perhaps I've fallen off the laziness wagon and have gone back to my slothful days? No? Well, you should. The recidivism rate for laziness is quite high, especially for someone such as myself who is genetically predisposed to slothfulness. Laziness was not the culprit here though, just me being wrapped up in the fun and excitement of a vacation day. Nothing too exciting, just wrapping up the children's Xmas shopping with Linda and consuming an ungodly amount of food. Now that we have kids, simply being able to share a meal and have a normal conversation is like being on a far away beach, minus the sand and the potential for being mauled by decapod crustaceans.

I am continuing to make progress in Mass Effect. I have left the confines of the Citadel after speaking to pretty much every being in the damn place. Now I'm on some planet killing robots or some shit. I don't know. I do like that they've revamped the whole good/evil dynamic, replacing it instead with nice guy/flaming asshole. When I play these games, my moral sensitivities get in the way of enjoying myself as a murderous psychopath, however I have no barriers to being a dick. I can only assume this behavioral pattern is close enough to my real life personality so as to not cause conflict. When I knocked out someone simply because he was crazy and his rambling annoyed me, I cackled with glee. Who knew that my niche lay not in chaotic evil but lawful jackhole?

Rock Band continues to impress and on Wednesday, a cadre of coworkers will come to my home for some full scale rocking. Just when I think this game can't impress me any more, it comes out with some new effect while I'm playing, or generally just ups the atmosphere present during a performance. I am halfway through the solo guitar tour on medium and if things keep getting exponentially more awesome, I can only assume finishing the tour will result in my death from a massive rockgasm. I pity the person who has to clean up such a mess.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Another Day Off

Ah, the joys of yet another day off. One of two this week, actually.

Today was spent mostly gaming, but I also got some other things done like sanded down the drywall patch from where I sent my bowling ball into the basement wall. Don't ask.

I spent the time between Rock Band and Mass Effect. I'm continuing to make progress as a drummer in Rock Band and am really enjoying it, despite feeling like a complete spaz most of the time.

Mass Effect has to be the prettiest galactic conversation simulator I've ever seen. Conversation in this game is like the physics puzzles in Half-Life 2. You made a pretty dialog engine, we get it. Can I shoot something please? Anything? Oh sure there's some combat, but half the time I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing, or when I'm getting hit. Thankfully my death lets me know when I've taken too much damage. Yay. Unfortunately my 360 has locked up on me twice today, once after about twenty minutes of unsaved fucking about in Mass Effect, so my fear is that the damn thing is going to die on me soon. That would be bad. If it does, I'll have no recourse but to go out and buy Super Mario Galaxy, Christmas list be damned. If I have to spend the next four weeks playing Cooking Mama 2, I'm going to stab myself in the groin. Twice.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Here Endeth the Flood

With my recent completion of Medal of Honor Heroes 2 for the Wii, the Great Review Deluge of 2007 is over. Granted, I'm still working on Dead Head Fred for the PSP and recently received Geometry Wars: Galaxies for both the Wii and the DS and Cooking Mama 2: Dinner With Friends for the DS, but that's besides the point. Handheld don't take me as much time as console games what with my ability to play them for a couple of hours when watching tv at night as well as at work on my lunch break.

So far I'm really enjoying Dead Head Fred. The combat takes some time to get used to, and the camera can cause platforming problems, but it's a great concept, it looks fantastic and John C. McGinley as Fred is some inspired casting. We'll see how it holds up as I continue to play, but if things continue, it'll be getting a favorable review from me. Cooking Mama 2 on the other hand just isn't doing it for me. I guess I don't see the appeal of the game. Maybe it's because I cook almost every evening, so this game just seems like work for me. Plus, most of the time when I cook I have two children who are less than appreciative. The last thing I need is a game where someone is whining because I botched their pizza. Screw you friends of Mama! Go buy your own goddamned pizza.

I haven't touched either Geometry Wars games yet, but it's Geometry Wars so I'm sure it'll be great. I recently rented Ghost Squad for the Wii and based on my limited play time decided to keep it. Between the pre-played price at GameFly and my five buck credit, the game cost me less than 20 bucks and they're shipping me the case and manual free of charge. That's a hard price to beat, especially given that last night I unlocked Ninja mode. Don't ask.

Tomorrow is yet another day off and I intend to spend it playing Mass Effect. I'm tingling with excitement, but not as much excitement as that brought on by Rock Buddy Chip's latest gift to me, a microphone stand from his studio. Between that and the news that Peters' wife was able to score him a Rock Band bundle for Xmas, it is an utmost certainty that the band will be gotten together in January. Saving Throw will be rolling through your town in no time.

Rock on Cleveland, rock on.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ninjas > Pirates

My son received a boatload of plastic ninjas for his birthday and despite the fact that most of the cheap-ass things are now differently-abled in some way due to lost feet and hands, he continues to play with them a great deal. Knowing that the debate over ninjas and pirates still rages on, as the family was driving back home from running errands, I asked him who would win in a fight, a pirate or a ninja.

What amazed me was how quickly he responded. His response was that a ninja would win because he has a hole in his hand that he can use to catch the pirate's sword and take it away. Seems like a sound fighting strategy if you ask me. He also mentioned something about ninjas having motorcycles which they would bring to my house and I could ride the motorcycle while he and the ninjas played. Or something. Honestly, he went on for like thirty minutes about these ninjas. The motorcycle thing, if it's true, puts me squarely in the ninja camp as well as pirates have never done anything even remotely as cool as letting ride their motorcycles while they played at my house. Fucking pirates.

In other news, British gamers should soon be able to play Manhunt 2 as the ban in Britain has been lifted. Unfortunately, the game still sucks. Zing!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Angels and Airwaves Pictures

Well, as I mentioned before, not many of the pictures from the Angels & Airwaves show actually came out, but I put the few that did in a Picasa album. There's also a nice pic of Joy in Tomorrow for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Concert Photos

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Friday Five - The PSP Edition

Welcome to the newest Disparate Elements ploy to not have to think of something to write. I'm calling it The Friday Five and as you may have guessed, it's a list of five things. Usually I'll try and stick to a theme, but the theme may just as well be "Things I Forgot to Tell You This Week". Sometimes I have a hard time coalescing my thoughts, especially on a Friday when my bulb is at its dimmest, so this will help me get things together. Fun!

I bought a PSP this week as, and I'm not making this up, GameShark kept sending me PSP games to review despite my repeated insistence that I don't have a PSP. I'm convinced that Bill has stock in Sony and this is all part of some nefarious plan to drive up the stock price, using my own greed against me at the same time. Honestly, how could I resist the 100 bucks in review games just sitting on my desk waiting to be taken? At any rate, I bought one of the newfangled slimline systems and while it is slimmer and lighter, much of the thing hasn't changed, so today's Friday Five is:

Five Things Still Wrong With the PSP

I'm so gloriously negative! But I digress

1.) No on-board storage and no included memory stick. The fact that you need a memory stick to save games is silly enough in the first place, but to then not include one with the system is even more ridiculous. I mean, after spending 170 bucks, who wants to spend an additional 30 just so they can save their gaming progress? I realize that the PSP can do more with the memory stick like read movies and music from it, but it's still 100% necessary for game play, so include one in the box, or put one in the unit.

2.) You have to have the unit plugged in and fully charged to update the firmware. Why? This makes no sense. Maybe it's just a precautionary thing, but seriously, you get a new game console, want to upgrade the firmware and have to wait while the damn thing charges up? That's just dumb. Plus, it's a portable for Chrissakes, you shouldn't have to have an outlet handy any time you want to do anything with it.

3.) It needs firmware updates. Consoles used to be closed boxes. You bought one, bought some games, and played on it for three to five years. Now they're all so frakkin' complicated that they need multiple firmware upgrades just to turn the damn things on. Handhelds used to be the last bastion of closed-boxedness, but now this blasted thing needs firmware upgrades too. I just want to play games on the damn thing, not use it to open my garage door.

4.) Setting up wireless networking is a pain in the ass. Yeah, I'm glad it can do Wi-Fi and all that, but entering a 20+ digit WEP key with a cell phone interface is as close to hell as I've been in quite some time. If this thing is so smart, why can't I use the USB connection to put a text file on it and the system can import the WEP key and SSID from that? No good fucking reason, that's why.

5.) Games are on discs, not cartridges. UMD's are stupid and everyone knows it. The fact that the PSP has to read from a disc constantly sucks out the battery life and because it's read only, you have to buy a stinking memory card for game saves. Thankfully, the UMD has sold like gangbusters and it has heralded a new age of Sony proprietary media. Oh wait.

Now, on the plus side, that screen is still a fucking marvel of modern engineering and it is a slick looking piece of tech. It can do a bunch of new things like get RSS feeds automatically and connect to your PS3, should you have one, and it's hard to be impressed with 3D games on the DS after playing Medal of Honor Heroes 2 on the PSP so it's not all bad. I still probably wouldn't have bought one if I couldn't make money off of it, but now that I have one, I can play Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters, and hopefully, review the upcoming God of War game. First though, I have to finish the aforementioned Medal of Honor and then Dead Head Fred. Time for this thing to earn its keep.

Front Page Failure

My Godzilla Unleashed review gets the front page treatment over at GameShark today, despite the fact that I gave it a big old "F". Let's hope that Atari doesn't advertise on the site or I might find myself out of doors, with a new PSP to support too!

More on the PSP later. Bowling beckons.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Droppin' Review Knowledge Like Bombs

My Zack and Wiki review is up so make haste to it! It really is a charming game. I hope it sells well, however it's not exactly positioned to do so. Getting something this quirky to sell well on a console not currently fought over by the casual gamer is hard enough as it is. Getting the aforementioned casual gamer to give it a look will be even tougher. Well, good on you Capcom for putting out things like this. Just for that, I will be buying Okami for the Wii even though I already played it on the PS2.

Support good games people! You have nothing to lose but your chains, your boring shooters and your silly GTA clones.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Day Off

I took a day off today, in the interest of culling my vacation herd. For some reason, my company allows you to carry over only exactly 40 hours of vacation. Not an hour more, not an hour less. As I conveniently have 4.5 days and not the requisite five, I'm pretty much screwed in the carry over departments, so instead I'm forced to take off 4.5 days between now and the end of the year. The horrors!

Today was day number one and what a glorious day it was. Nothing to exciting, started the day with some donuts for me and the missus, then we went to a parent teacher conference at my son's Pre-K to find out that he's a certified genius. Well, not certified, but he's quite smart. It's strange because most parents would have a feeling of "I made that kid, he's smart because I am" in these situations, but in this case, with him being adopted and all that, neither my wife nor I had a blasted thing to do with it. The best we can say is that we bought a very smart child.

After that, it was back to the house to hang out and play some Medal of Honor Heroes 2 like the good little reviewer that I am. I'm enjoying the game, but man they need to tighten up those checkpoints. This game throws a ridiculous number of enemies at you in a lot of places, many of which are far away from the last checkpoint and it can be a pain in the ass to get through such a battle and die because you were reloading as a Nazi surprised you, thereby causing you to do the battle all over again. Granted, this is the problem with any game that still uses the checkpoint save system, but for some reason, probably having to do with the fact that you have to be very slow, methodical and tactical with this game, I'm really feeling the pain of the spread out checkpoints.

After all the Nazi shooting Linda and I went out to Pure, a cool little Mexican place in out town. The food there is absolutely amazing and they have a surprisingly refreshing beer for 99 cents. It's hard to throw down four bucks on a beer when there's one on the menu for less than a dollar. Way I figure it, the buzz is the same, so why spend the extra cash. Despite the high number of tasty items on the menu, I always get the same thing which is this dish of these thick corn masa cakes split and stuffed with chile roast pork and queso fresca. It's a simple dish but it's so damn tasty I can't resist it. Add to it, the free melted cheese dip we had as an appetizer and we left with two very full stomachs.

Once lunch was finished, we wrapped up some Xmas shopping for my mom and sister and went back home. Linda was still working today so I returned to the basement to check out the online mode of Medal of Honor (I still suck at online WWII shooters, for those keeping score at home) and then busted out some tracks in Rock Band. The Queens of the Stone Age track "Go With the Flow" is giving me fits because I can't even 4-star it and I take it as a blemish on my otherwise sterling Rock Band record. It's a small timing issue and once I resolve it, I'll be back on track. This isn't the first time Queens of the Stone Age has caused me problems, but I conquered them once and I shall do so again.

As days off go, it was a pretty good one. I look forward to the other 3.5 of them being similarly splendiferous.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Angels & Airwaves Show

Once again I ventured out into the wilds of the Atlanta concert venues and once again I was not disappointed by the sheer amount of rock I found. The Angels & Airwaves show was, in a word, excellent. The band had a great stage presence and played a nice collection of stuff from their two albums. Their drummer Atom is a sight to behold. Hands down, he has to be the best drummer I've ever seen. His fills were absolutely amazing and many the time did I think he had an extra arm somewhere. The crowd was really digging the band too, and aside from some teenage punks who thought they could butt in front of me five minutes before A&A took the stage, everyone was very cool. I smacked them down verbally, for the record, with both my words and my stern visage letting them know that this cranky old man would knock them the fuck out if they kept on their present course of action.

Eventually though the sound and the jostling got to be too much for this cranky old man and I went to the back of the venue where I had the opportunity to chat up members of the very excellent opening band, Joy In Tomorrow. The lead singer Josh was particularly kind to spend some time shooting the shit with me, and as well as being an excellent singer, he's also a MD native and a Redskins fan. That's a win-win-win in my book. They're playing The Masquerade on January 18th, conveniently a Friday, so I'm planning on seeing them again. This live music thing is quite addictive.

I took 127 pictures total last night, of which something like six came our correctly. Once I've sorted through them all, I'll post them to my Picasa account and put the link up here. I wish I had gotten some better pictures, but the conditions weren't exactly ideal, especially given my pithy photography skills.

In short, it was a great night of fantastic music and I got home in time to be in bed by 11. Sadly, that may have been the best part of the evening.

Wow. I mean, wow.

My Mr. Binky column is up, and well, you should just see it for yourself. I should now know that if I mention copulating llamas in a column, Bill will be all to happy to provide pictures. My review of Dementium: The Ward is also up. What a banner day!

Monday, December 03, 2007

I Have Not Forgotten

I have not forgotten my pledge to post daily, however weekends are
hard for daytime posting and Sat. night was filled with holiday party
goodness while Sunday found me slaving over Mr. Binky's latest
missive. That brings us to Monday and here we are, you doing whatever
it is you're doing and me sitting in the balcony of The Roxy, waiting
for the Angels & Airwaves show. I expect to be very tired tomorrow.
Tales of epic rocking shall be told though, have no worries.

Disparate Elements