Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Reviews and Happy Thanksgiving

My review of Theresia: Dear Emile is up if you're into horror adventure games on the DS, all, you know, one of them.

More importantly, I hope that you and yours have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for each and every one of you that come and spend time here and I hope that you continue to do so forever and ever and ever. Well, maybe not that long, but certainly through the end of the year. If that's ok with you that is.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Night of Rock

Saturday night I hit the town to take in an evening of quality music. A four band bill was the concert of choice, consisting of The Hush Sound, The Spill Canvas, Augustana and One Republic.

I had never heard of The Hush Sound, and was going mostly to see The Spill Canvas, but every band put on a great show. Lots of personality, lots of good music and the lead singer for One Republic has one of the best singing voices I've ever heard. Seriously, that dude is amazing.

I had a small problem with a woman sitting behind me asking me to sit, even though I was in the back row, specifically so that I could stand, while she and her brood brought up folding chairs that they weren't supposed to be in but I got over it eventually. Still, here's a friendly reminder from me to you: if you want to be able to see the show, get there on time, not an hour and fifteen minutes into the fucking show. They don't print the time on the tickets just because it's visually appealing. If you can't get there on time, or choose not to, well you get the seat that you get, and you see what you can see and you shut your fucking piehole about it. If you feel that you must complain, please wait until the current song is over, because it might very well be one of the favorite songs of the poor person you're currently bothering. Bitch.

And now that the complaining portion of our show is over, it's time for crappy cell phone camera pictures! Yay!

The Hush Sound

The Spill Canvas


One Republic (and a pillar)

I had a great time, and the timing of the show worked out beautifully. The show started at 7, and I was home and in bed by a little after 11:30. That's a schedule my old ass can get behind.

My next show is MC Frontalot on December 5th. Those wishing to bear witness to the glory and splendor that is the godfather of nerdcore hip-hop are welcome to join me. If past shows are any indication, this show will be a great one.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Crazy Week

I know, I know, I hit you with like two weeks of almost constant posting, only to then be away for four days. I'm insane I tell you! Insane!

It's been a crazy week I tell ya. Don't feel bad though, as I'm ignoring all of my responsibilities, not just you. In fact, I should be writing a Gears of War 2 achievement guide right now, or a review of Call of Duty: World at War for the DS.

I long to get back to posting though as I have one of those email blog taggy thingamahoppers that Greg sent me. Seven interesting facts about myself or some such thing. Not sure I can come up with seven. I should probably get started as all of that lying is going to take some time.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Quantum of Solace

The wife and I took some time to see Quantum of Solace this weekend and, for the most part, it was an enjoyable flick.

I say "for the most part" because the movie did try to do a bit too much, what with setting up a huge, evil organization for MI:6 to spar with in the future as well as a main bad guy for Bond to go after. Oh, and there was also another bad guy for Bond's female cohort to go after. See what I mean? The problem was that about half way through the movie I had to ask myself why Bond was going after the main bad guy in the first place. That's not a question that a filmmaker usually wants their audience asking of themselves. Luckily it wasn't too distracting what with all of the cool chase scenes and the continued excellence of Daniel Craig as 007. Upon further reflection, I was able to answer most of the questions for myself, but again, I would have preferred to have less of a story, provided it was more straightforward.

This movie retained the "realism" of Casino Royale but still made some small attempts to get back to the old Bond ways. For example, Bond meets a redhead in the movie who says that her name is Ms. Fields. When he presses her more on her name, she tells him that it's "just Fields". The credits show that her full name was Strawberry Fields. Oh the wit! Now, I liked the older Bond movies and I'm all for giving a nod to them, but let's remember that they decided to go into a new direction with Bond for a reason and cutesy names for the women in these movies is but one small step down a road that leads to Craig flying the helicopter that his phone turned into while he shoots missles out of his smoking jacket.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the movie, I just don't think it was as good as Casino Royale, but that's ok. They can't all be knocked out of the park. Sometimes you have to settle for a triple and be ok with that.

Finally, we were lucky enough to see the new Star Trek trailer before the movie, and holy crap. If any of the tv shows had been even a fraction as exciting as that trailer, I probably would have watched them.

Friday, November 14, 2008

On Rock Band and Sales Numbers

So the October NPD numbers came out, and the Guitar Hero: World Tour combined sales were double that of the Rock Band 2 combined sales. Granted, the previous month's sales of Rock Band 2 just for the 360 gives Rock Band a slight lead but still.

I've played both, although I haven't played GH nearly as much as I have Rock Band, and I simply can not understand why people would choose Guitar Hero: World Tour over Rock Band 2. Hell I don't know why they'd chose GH:WT over the original Rock Band. I know that a lot of the people who bought it are gamers who just genuinely prefer GH, but I'm sure that there are a fair amount of people buying it because they know of the Guitar Hero franchise and aren't the type of people who research the differences in the platforms.

On paper, in my opinion, between the differences in tour progression, the ability to save failing band members and all of the downloadable songs available for RB2, it sounds like the better platform. When you play it, things like having to take your eyes off of the note chart to see how much overdrive you have and the overall sterile presentation in GH:WT makes it the lesser platform. Some people like the GH drum kit better, some people like the RB kit better and I can understand those differences more as it's a matter of which feels more comfortable, but I simply do not understand how anyone who has played both platforms would chose Guitar Hero over Rock Band. I just do not get it.

Now, Rock Band has tons of DLC that people are still buying, so I'm sure that the disparity in the sales numbers won't cause the bottom to fall out at Harmonix, but at the same time, it bugs me that my favorite platform, and one of my favorite games ever, isn't winning the music battle. I can only hope that people who bought the GH:WT equipment will utilize the hardware compatibility, pick up a copy of Rock Band 2 and become life long Harmonix fans. The more rocking out, the better for everyone involved.

Me, I'm going to keep buying DLC as it comes out and do my best to support the platform. If that means that I have to buy some t-shirts with Saving Throw on it, or some band character statues, well, so be it. Somehow I'll suffer through.

Saints Row 2 Guide

My Saints Row 2 guide is up and it's awesome. My editor says so.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I have nothing to say, but I feel like I've been on a roll lately and it's a shame to stop now.

So, how are you? No really, how are you?

Ok. We're done. Carry on.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Time Waits for No Rocker

Last night I did something I've never done before, and hopefully won't ever do again. I purposefully did not attend a show that I had bought a ticket for.

A month or so ago, when the Flobots show was announced, I was quite excited. Even though the show was on a Tuesday night, I figured I could swing it as I'm usually not all that tired in the beginning of the week. Alas, when the day of the show arrived, I woke up exhausted and it never got any better. The combination of my fatigue, the two opening bands before the Flobots, the standing room only venue and the 45 minute drive home all deep sixed my attendance.

I was disappointed, as I'm always tired, it comes with being a parent, but I'm not usually so tired as to not be able to go out and do stuff. Things have been a little stressful at home though, as we're trying to get Abby the help she needs and keep her from being bounced out of a second daycare. I'm sure that her having a feeding aversion appointment all the way the hell downtown, complete with a multi-hour absence from work didn't help, but it is what it is. Neither me, my family nor the Flobots are well served by me wrapping myself around a guardrail on the way home when I fall asleep at the wheel.

Luckily, while I was bummed that I couldn't go to the show, I don't feel like I wasted my money. The show was relatively inexpensive, something like 22 bucks once fees and such are factored in, and I know full well that bands like the Flobots get money from touring, not from cd sales. Hell, I bought their record for eight bucks, so there's no way they're making a mint off of sales from Best Buy. Live shows is what supports them, and given that I want them to continue making records, I'm ok with having paid for the ticket, even if I didn't get to see the show. Now, I'm not saying that I want to make it a point to bag out on shows in the future, but if an up and coming band that I enjoy is selling tickets to a show with a dubious time, I'd rather buy the ticket and hope I can make it, than not and know that I can't. With the latter no one wins, yet with the former, they can make some more music and hopefully I can attend. I'm not so hard up for cash that I can't kick a little their way. I don't want to make a habit out of it, and I do have an upper limit for what I'm willing to risk, but truth be told, that if a band hits my upper limit, they probably spend their days swimming in gilded pools filled with 50 dollar bills, so they won't miss my ticket sale very much.

I am bummed that I didn't get to buy a t-shirt, but it's not like I need any more of those. Hopefully the show went well, the fan response was exuberant and the Flobots will return in the near future. If they do, I'll be there.

Well, provided it's on a weekend.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Because Bones Demanded It

Behold the new Lancer! This is a crappy cell phone picture because I haven't had time to take a crappy real camera picture, although they are coming. Don't you worry.

I'm trying to come up with a name for it and am starved for ideas. "Bessie" stands out in my mind, as does "Stephanie". I also like "Batman" if only so that I can imagine it saying "I'm Batman, and I can chainsaw Locusts."

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Fly on the Wall

Man what I wouldn't have given to be a fly on the wall during the meeting between Obama and President Bush. I can only imagine the conversation that took place.

"So, I hear that you're looking at repealing a number of my Presidential edicts."

"Yes Mr. President, I am."

"Have you checked with Dick about that? Because I'm pretty sure you can't do that."

"Oh, I think I can. Vice President Cheney doesn't have to approve my actions once I'm President."

"Ok, I know that's not true. Believe me, I asked."

Oh the wit! Seriously though, I'm sure it was all very cordial and such. As much as I would like to think that Obama gave GW a stern talking to and said that under no circumstances was he to invade Iran or any other country without at least first checking with Obama, I'm pretty sure the conversation tended to be much more civil and of the "did you know that they'll make you any kind of sandwich whenever you want" type. Still, I can't imagine what kind of things they'd discuss as I honestly can't imagine the enormity of the task facing the person who in a few short months will be the President of the United States of America.

Me, I'd want to know three things:

1. Where are the space alien corpses?
2. Who shot Kennedy?
3. When you say any kind of sandwich, do you mean any kind, or like any kind from this limited menu?

I'd also want to know what it would take to make it a Federal crime to be a fan of the Eagles, Giants and/or Cowboys, but I think I'd need the help of Congress on that one.

In other news my Lancer has arrived. Oh sweet, sweet geekdom, how I love thee.

Friday, November 07, 2008

30 Days of Sacrilege

I recently took advantage of various Halloween sales to pick up a copy of "30 Days of Night" the movie adaptation of the horror comic of the same name. The premise of the comic and the movie is that there's a town in Alaska called Barrow where, for thirty days in the winter, the sun never rises. Vampires find out about this town and head there to feast on the town in a month long orgy of eating.

The movie ended up being quite good, much better than it was reviewed if you ask me, but there were a few things I wasn't sure about in terms of deviation from the comic. So, in the spirit of research, and in an effort to reread a comic I had enjoyed so much, last night I read the original all over again.

Here's where Bones will probably reach through the screen and punch me, but I have to say that compared to the comic, the movie was much, much better. Spoilers abound, so you've been warned.

In the comic, Eben (the sheriff) and Stella (the deputy) are married and all sorts of in love. In the movie, they're estranged for reasons we never find out about, and she's a Fire Marshall. The change in employment serves no purpose other than giving her a reason to not be living in Barrow, but the tension between them not only gave the actors a lot to work with. At one point, after the vampires have arrived and the survivors are hiding out, Josh Hartnett, who plays Eben shoots Melissa George (Stella) a look after her "I guess it's good you didn't want kids" line that said more than ten pages of writing ever could.

At the end of the movie, Eben shoots himself up with vampire blood so that he can fight the remaining vamps and provide a distraction for Stella to escape. She's trapped hiding under a truck with a kid who somehow escaped, and is in danger of burning to death after the vampires start burning the town down. In the comic, Eben transforms himself so that he can fight the vamps and save the town, which is a noble goal, but in the movie it seemed so much more noble because he was willing to destroy himself to save one woman, and not just any woman, but the woman who had left him. I would expect him to go off and fight in the comic because he and Stella were so in love with each other. I didn't expect it here.

The movie also increased the dramatic tension of the entire experience. We see various townspeople being taken before the town square is attacked. The human familiar that wanders into town before the vamps is sufficiently creepy and does a lot to sow discord and confusion before things really start happening. In the comic, the pacing seemed really off and you never got the feelings of dread and isolation that the movie evokes.

The one area where I liked the comic better is in some of the drama that plays out among the vampires. The vampires invite a head vampire dude to come and revel in the slaughter and he basically shows up and starts smacking fools down, basically saying that the vampires have spent decades making themselves appear to be nothing more than myths, and here these dumbasses come and eat a whole town. The notion of a hidden vampire nation is always appealing to me, even with it having been done to death by now in countless books, tv shows and movies. It makes sense to do it in the comic, as the book is clearly the beginning of a larger tale, while the movie needs to stand on it's own, even though talks of a sequel are being held. I can see why they decided to not go that route in the movie, and if you didn't know about it being in the comic, I don't think you'd think "hey, this movie needs some secret vampire nation infighting", but still.

In both cases, I don't understand exactly what the vampires hoped to gain from this, given that once the town is dead, it's dead and most likely coming back, but I guess they're just really hungry and here's a chance to eat like kings. If there is a hidden vampire nation, the desire to go buck wild for a month and feed out in the open, even if the open is cold as hell certainly would have appeal, but they don't talk about that much in the comic, so I'm not sure that's the motivation. In the movie it's just "we like to eat people and here you all are".

The other thing that neither story explains very well is how for thirty days a bunch of townspeople can stay hidden from a pack of vampires. I mean, come on. The town isn't that large. Neither the movie nor the comic gives the impression that the townspeople move from house to house, so I don't understand why, in thirty days, a pack of vampires couldn't go from hosue and house and basically tear them all apart, uncovering all of the townspeople in the process. It's not like they had to sleep. Besides, gorged themselves pretty heavily when they first attacked, so at some point you'd think they'd get hungry for more blood and start looking. The comic mentions how the vampires' sense of smell is lessened in the cold, which would explain why the vamps couldn't sniff out the survivors, but I don't remember any mention of that in the movie. At the end of the movie, once the vamps were driven out, a bunch of townspeople who we hadn't seen before just come ambling out into the town square and I was like "where the fuck were you people?" It just didn't ring true, but again, that's in both versions.

Complaints aside, I really enjoyed the movie. The vampires weren't the pretty boy, "I just want to hold your hand" or the "I'm so emotional and conflicted" versions we've been seeing so much of lately, and not a one of them had any redeeming qualities whatsoever. They were just brutal, savage, inhumane killing machines. In a word, they were fucking scary. Guess that's two words. Sorry. Don't get me wrong, I like Angel and Spike and Blade and all of those tormented vampire dudes, but the horror fan in me likes vampires to scare your ass off, like they did when I read "Salem's Lot" so many, many years ago.

In the end, I still like the comic, but the small plot changes, increased tension and bucket and buckets of gore puts the movie version over the top in my head. Melissa George being plenty cute, even in a parka, certainly doesn't hurt.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I Should Hope So

So we're all coming back from Wendy's last night, and when we stopped at a traffic light, I noticed that the car ahead of us had a ribbon magnet on it, only this one had what looked like Dalmatian spots. Personally, I think that this whole ribbon thing has gotten way out of hand to the point where I can't keep track of what the hell the different ribbons are supposed to mean. The yellow ribbon means that we want troops back home, but the pink one means we're supposed to fight breast cancer? Shouldn't it mean that we want breast cancer back home? And what's with the plaid one for Autism? One color isn't enough for them or could no one come to a consensus? Who makes these decisions any way? If I decide that I don't like Lupus, can I start selling green and white polka dot ribbons or will I get sued by the ACLU or some other group for ribbon infringement.

But I digress. Thinking that maybe this car wanted to remember their dog, or they lost their dog, or they want to fight dogs, I pulled up a little closer so that I could see what was on the ribbon. It read "I adopted my dog."

Really, hasn't every dog owner in the world adopted their dog or is there a rare genetic trait in some women that allows them to birth puppies? Maybe this is what this woman is calling attention to, the fact that cruel fate left her unable to give birth to dogs. I'm sure she meant that she didn't buy her dog, rather, she got it from a shelter, but whatever. In the end, the dog is a part of your family through non-biological means. In my book that's adoption.

I'm going to get a red and yellow ribbon for my van with the line "I purchased my children" or "I gave birth to my hamster" and really blow people's minds. Either that or a pink and yellow one signifying that I want the troops to come back home and fight breast cancer. They all sound good to me.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Win Loss

So, Obama.


I was pretty damned worried about last night, as all of my coworkers and my spouse can attest to. Despite the fact that Obama was running a masterful campaign, I couldn't help but think that he's a Democrat, and as such, he's storied in the art of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Thankfully, Obama was a Democrat in party only and victory was his. Now comes the hard part. I have no reservations about the long, difficult road ahead of him, but if anyone in the past few years seems equipped to travel it with grace and competence, he's it. I am incredibly proud to be an American right now.

Unfortunately with a fantastic win comes some pretty shitty losses, namely the various anti-gay measures that passed across the country. California and Arkansas are particularly odious with the former potentially destroying 18,000 valid, legal marriages between committed couples and the latter banning unmarried couples from adopting children or being foster parents. To those in California who voted for Proposition 8, I would say that I hope it's just that you didn't understand the repurcussions of your vote, and not that you're so incredibly dense as to think that destroying thousands of marriages actually strengthens marriage. I would also ask you to think about how you would feel if a religious group were to feel very strongly about a reason why your particular marriage should end, and they lobbied to have your marriage dissolved just because their holy book said that you shouldn't be married to your spouse. I bet you'd be none too pleased about it. I'd also like to think about what might happen if your child grows up to be gay and the joyful conversation you can have with them about why they're not allowed to be married and share the same joy of life long commitment that you do. Then again, maybe you secretly hate marriage. If so, then well played, because you're certainly doing well to fuck it up for the rest of us.

To those in Arkansas, I would say, you're all fucking idiots. Pure and simple. I don't care who the fuck you are, if you voted for the ban, you're a fucking idiot. Seriously, in a country where so many children need good homes and are in foster care, you're going to limit who can adopt or be foster parents simply based on marital status? Do you seriously hate gays so much that you would deny them the joy of parenthood, or more importantly, deny a child the opportunity to be raised by loving parents? Way to live Jesus's words. I'm sure He's thrilled with you right now. As the father of an adopted child and the father of young children, to know that the possibility of them growing up gay means that they could neither get married nor be parents sickens me as it should sicken you.

It blows my mind that in the same day that we elect an African-American to the highest office in the land that we could also write so much hatred and bigotry, because yes it is bigotry, into state constitutions. It serves as a sobering wake up call to the fact that we may have come far, but we haven't come nearly far enough. There is still plenty of work to be done, and not just for gay rights, but for all who have been margianlized or maligned because they look different, practice different faiths, or love differently. Let us not forget that and grow complacent. Instead, let's take a small moment to reflect on what we've done so far and then get back to work.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Loss Win

Despite having excellent company to watch the game with, last night's complete and utter dismantling of my beloved Redskins at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers was a tough thing to watch. My only consolation is that the 'Skins loss at home, all but assures an Obama victory, due to the strange statistical phenomenon that states for the past 17 elections, if the Redskins win the home game prior to the election, the party that won the popular vote in the last election wins. If they lose, the party that lost the popular vote wins. Given that the Democrats lost the popular vote last time around, our 23 - 6 ass whipping means that Obama should win, and win big.

Even with the loss, the 'Skins are sitting at a respectable 6 -3, all the more amazing given that two of those wins were divisional road games, and we have a first year coach, and not a first year Redskins coach, but a dude in his first year as a head coach, so I'm not terribly upset. More importantly, the Redskins loss points heavily in favor of an Obama win, and honestly, if my choice was four years of McCain and a Redskins Super Bowl win, or Obama getting elected and the Redskins never win another game all season, I gotta go with Obama on this one. I'm sure that the Football Gods will understand that there are times when you have to take one for the team, and I'm taking one now.

If you haven't already voted, please go out and do so. Your vote counts, if only as a means to complain bitterly for the next four years over whoever gets elected. The ability to exercise one of the most cherished rights in democratic society is an added bonus, but really, it's all about the bitching. I voted via absentee ballot this year, as did Linda, so we could avoid the lines. I can only hope that the votes were actually counted and not discarded upon receipt, but pressing a button on a computer is as far removed from the vote counting process as filling out a bubble sheet and mailing it in, so we all have to trust that our votes are being counted. Make sure yours is too by actually going out and voting. Again, I'm going with the bitching.

Whoever wins, we will all be witness to a historic moment in America's history having elected either the first African-American President, or the first female Vice President. The fact that the latter is such an odious figure shouldn't take away from the historical impact, but hopefully, she and her ilk will lose and she'll go back to the wild north and we'll only remember her as "that woman that Tina Fey made fun of". I'm sure that there are an equal number of people out there that who wish the same for Obama, but I ain't one of them, so screw them.

As for my Redskins, they go into their bye week and can rest up and get healthy knowing that from here on out their victories are only football victories and that they did their part to secure a brighter future for tomorrow. Hail to the Redskins, hail victory, braves on the warpath, fight for old DC.

Best Binky Ever

Or so my editor says. You be the judge.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Daylight Slavings

Any parent of young children will tell you that the Summer Solstice is not the longest day of the year (or Winter Solstice for those of you in the southern hemisphere). The longest day of the year is that day in the fall when Daylight Savings ends and you have to move the clock back an hour.

Oh, you say, I love that day because I get an extra hour of sleep! Screw you I say. Screw you straight to hell. Daylight Savings time being a harbinger of more or less sleep ended the day I stepped off of that plane with a 7 month old baby under my arm.

The spring clock movement isn't that big of deal. Oh sure, you lose an hour of time during the day, but being that it's the weekend, it's not like there's a lot that has to be done. From a bed time perspective, you put them to bed, they grumble about not being tired because it's an hour early, you say tough noogies and then in the morning you have to pry them out with a crowbar.

Fall is when all of the trouble starts. For one, once you get up, you have to move all of the clocks back, provided that you didn't do it the night before. Either way sucks, because most likely, your kids will be up early as all hell, only with the clock movement, it's even earlier, and even more hellish. Then, you have to fight the urge to put them to bed an hour earlier, as they're probably going to be tired, and if they're like my kids in pissy moods, because if you don't, they'll be up all sorts of early the next day. Oh the horrors.

These are things that they don't tell you about when you're thinking about having kids. I've seen the kinds of things that they teach you in child rearing classes, and frankly, if you don't know which end of the bottle goes in which end of the baby, you shouldn't be having one, but knowing that every year in November Father Time is going to kick you in the balls is of utmost importance. Once my kids are older to where they can either manage themselves in the morning without my assistance, or they sleep later than I do, this won't be a problem, but for now, it makes for a long Sunday.

Luckily, this past Sunday the kids were well behaved, for the most part, not counting the usual sibling squabbles we're so used to refereeing. We did pick Sunday to do a boat load of yard work, on top of my time spent configuring a wireless print server and making the next night's dinner as if we had forgotten that daylight savings was upon us, or worse, we foolishly felt that we could use that extra hour to be productive. By the end of the evening I was exhausted and disoriented to the point that when I woke up in the morning, I spent ten minutes getting myself ready to get out of bed only to look at the clock and see that it was 3:30, a full hour before I had to get up.

Father Time strikes again.

Dude Huge

My epic Rock Band 2 achievement guide is up for your perusal. Ten pages of nothing but the finest in assistance from a guy who can barely drum his way through "Everlong" on easy.