Sunday, November 27, 2005

20Q from Joss Whedon

This file had been sitting on my desktop for about a week, waiting to be posted on this blog. Why didn't I do it sooner? Check out question 19.


1) What do you wish you'd invented? (for coolness and/or changing-the-world factor, not the patent. If it was about the patent money, my answer would be "stairs".)

Heath bars. Then I could say they were named after me, instead of having people think the opposite.

2) Take two movies and meld them into the ultimate movie -- or the weirdest, it's all good.

I'm gonna go for weirdest. The Hulk and Titanic. Hulk smash puny iceberg!

3) Very earliest memory.

I'm sure there's something before this, but it's not significant enough to stick out. Kindergarten, the class bully pushed a girl down. My best friend went to help her, and the bully pushed him too. So I pushed the bully down. That girl was my first "girlfriend."

4) Most remarkable thing you've ever eaten.

I don't eat anything I can't recognize, so I can't say I've ever eaten anything remarkable. I do remember the first time I ate salad with dressing, I wanted to vomit.

5) Hillary Clinton. Does she have a shot? SHOULD she have a shot?

No. And no. Yeah, Bill was great, but Hillary? I'd rather see Howard Dean.

6) Name something about you you have actively changed, or are trying to.

The only thing I've changed in the last month was my facial hair (I grew a beard for Halloween and haven't shaved it off yet).

7) Does Opera matter?

The web browser or the artform? Wait, the answer's no either way.

8) Recommend a book.

Irrational Exuberance. If you have any interest at all in the stock market, it's a great read.

9) If there ever was a female James Bond, who should play it?

Catherine Zeta-Jones.

10) With the obvious exception of Morgan Freeman's voiceovers, what's the most soothing sound in the world to you?

Brahm's Lullaby. You're lying if you tell me that won't put you to sleep everytime, because it certainly works on me.

11) A time someone surprised you.

A friend of mine in high school ate dog biscuits, canned cat food, and liquid hand soap in some sort of twisted cocktail. Why? To suprise me, I guess. It worked.

12) Your dumbest childhood fear.

Monsters in my closet. Maybe not the dumbest, but it's all I can think of.

13) Do you believe humankind is in ascension or decline?

Well, we'd like to think we're in an ascension, wouldn't we? While I don't think we're in a decline, and we certainly haven't descended in the last 100 years, I wouldn't say we've ascended in the last 15, either. If anything, we're moving sideways.

14) 10 friends. One week. Anywhere in the world. Where ya bringing us? (notice how I wormed in there? Awesome!)

Roadtripping along the East Coast. Plenty of great places to see and things to do.

15) If you were actually asked to run your government, would you?

Hell no.

16) What song do you HAVE to dance to?

I don't dance. I would substitute my favorite song, but there are way too many great ones to choose. The one that just popped into my head is Stranglehold by Ted Nugent.

17) Name a mentor.

My dad. I certainly have more in common with him than anyone else.

18) Porn. Good, evil, or indifferent?

Very good. Any man who does not have a porn stash is not a man I'd like to know. In case you're wondering, yes, my Dad has a porn stash. He's my mentor, remember?

19) Are you a procrastinator? If so, what's your usual method? (Answer this when you can get to it.)

Note to self: write an answer to this question.

20) Does your life have a purpose?

Yes. And it has nothing to do with spirituality.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Xbox 360

So the Xbox 360 is supposed to hit this Tuesday. Color me unimpressed.

Don't get me wrong, I love me some Xbox, and console gaming in general, but I'm simply not excited about the Xbox 360 launch. I've been excited about other console launches. I distinctly remember being very excited about the Gamecube launch, as there was this little game that allowed you to battle it out with your friends using classic Nintendo characters (Smash Brothers, for the uninitiated). I was excited about the PS2 launch, too.

In fact, I should be extremely excited about the 360 launch, since I like the Xbox the most out of the previous generation consoles, and think Microsoft is going to come out on top of this generation after a long reign of domination by Sony. Plus, this was the first console launch that I actually had enough disposable income to pre-order, had I been so inclined.

So why am I not excited about the 360? The main reason is the launch title lineup. It's pathetic. Let's see that list of launch titles, shall we?

Amped 3
Call of Duty 2
Condemned: Criminal Origins
FIFA Soccer 06 Road to 2006 FIFA World Cup
Kameo: Elements of Power
Madden NFL 06
Need for Speed Most Wanted
Perfect Dark Zero
Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie
Project Gotham Racing 3
Quake 4
Ridge Racer 6
Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 06
Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland

I'm going to immediately ignore all the sports games (Amped, FIFA, Madden, the NBA games, NHL, Tiger Woods, and Tony Hawk) right off the bat. Sports games have been a part of every console's launch for as long as I can remember, but they're just yearly releases; new iterations of the same old game. They don't count as launch titles. You can't build a console launch on sports games.

Moving on, there's 3 racing games in there. I've never been a Ridge Racer fan, so that's out. The Need For Speed series has taken a serious downtown recently, as they seem hellbent on cashing in on the "underground" racing fad, when they should be continuing to release quality racing games, like Hot Pursuit and Porsche Unleashed. Then there's PGR 3. I liked PGR 2, until Forza Motorsport came along. I don't care how many cars and tracks PGR 2 had, it only had cosmetic damage modeling, which pisses me off in a non-arcade racing game. So until they make a new Forza game, I'm not interested.

There's a shitload of shooters. I heard something about Call of Duty 2 having a Halo 2-style "recharging" energy meter. This is WWII, assholes, there were no fucking energy shields. Don't give me some bullshit excuse for why your game lacks realism, just fuck off. I honestly haven't heard much about Condemned either way, so I can't comment on that. But if I haven't heard anything about it, it's hard to get excited. GUN is a rental, not a purchase. There's a lot of fanboys out there with a hardon for Perfect Dark Zero, and I don't know why. Never played the original because it didn't look any good. Probably not going to play the sequel, either. Quake 4 had a shitload of hype behind it, but didn't live up to it. Granted, that would be hard to do, but Quake 4 didn't even live up to my expectation of being a good game.

What's left? "Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie"? When your game's title is a 10 word sentence, I'm not playing it. I don't care if it's the best game ever. Tone down that hubris a bit, Peter, you're not fucking Spielberg or Scorsese. Kameo is the only game that might be worth buying. I've heard a lot of good things, but haven't read any reviews yet. It kind of interests me, but I'm still not interested enough to bother reading a review to see if it's any good, let alone plop down my money for it.

Is that it? Is that the whole list of launch titles? For one game that maybe, perhaps, is a possible purchase? You've gotta be fucking kidding me.

What games would have interested me at launch? Excellent question. Let me give you a list of titles that would have made me hose my drawers.

Dark Messiah of Might and Magic
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Gears of War
Halo 3
Mass Effect
Saint's Row
The Godfather
The Outfit

Every last one of those games are going to be purchases, I'll bet. Granted, some of them might not be coming out for a while, but if the 360 had launched with that lineup? Fuck, I would have pre-ordered, pre-paid, pre-came, all that shit. I would have taken a week vacation just so I could play my 360 all day and most of the night.

Now, I said that the launch title lineup was one of the reasons I wasn't excited about the 360 launch. The other reason is related to the launch titles, but is mainly because of Gamestop/EB Games. Let me say this first: I hate Gamestop/EB Games. They were bad enough when they were seperate companies, but now one of them owns the other, and it's bullshit all around. I used to buy my games at brick and mortar stores, but not anymore. I do most of my shopping on the internet. So when I want to buy something, I go there first, and don't go anywhere else. So I can get an Xbox 360 online, right?

Not exactly. The only place you can pre-order online is at Gamestop/EB Games. Great. Well, I suppose buying from them online isn't so bad. At least then I don't have to deal with idiot salespeople. But wait! You can't just pre-order a 360 and be done with it. No, they're not going to let you get away just spending 300-400 bucks there. You have to get a bundle. A bundle with shitty launch titles, and peripherals you don't need, for like 800-1000 dollars. A grand? I want to buy a game console, not put a down payment on a car. Hey Microsoft, you should thank Gamestop/EB Games for their idiotic bundles. They helped you not sell a bunch of consoles at launch.

EDIT: I read some of Gamestop's reviews of the 360 launch titles. Other than the fact that they're waaay too lenient (6 of the 10 titles they reviewed were "great." Somehow I doubt I'd have the same opinion), I learned that Kameo is deserving of whatever praise it's given, but at under 10 hours of gameplay, is most likely a rental, and that Condemned takes a great premise and interesting gameplay hook (that there's a bunch of crazy people on the loose and your character's way of dealing with them is to beat the living shit out of them with all manner of improvised weapons), but doesn't do much with it due to uninspired level design, lack of combat variety, and unsatisfying story.

So that means the 360 launch verdict is: exactly 2 games worth playing, but not worth buying. Wow. Great launch. I'm impressed.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I tell ya I get no respect

No respect at all.

I'm not asking for much, just get my name right. That's all. It's one syllable, for chrissake.


See that?


Not Keith.
Not Steve.
Not Pete.
Not Zeke.
Not Leif.


Some people aren't even in the ballpark.

My name's not Ryan.
Or Phil.
Or Timmy.
Or Dave.
Or Paul.
Or Sid.

It's Heath, mother fucker, do you even speak English? Like you've never fucking heard of someone named Heath before. There's Heath candy bars, there's Heathcliff the cat, there's that ponce Heath Ledger, there's even a Heath, Ohio, Heath, Texas, and Heath, Massachusetts.

But you know what's worst of all? When they're soooo close, and yet the furthest of all. My first name does not have a fucking "L" in it, alright? Furthermore, have you ever, in the history of the entire fucking world, ever, heard of anyone, anywhere, named Health? Seriously. Cause if you have, I want a hit of whatever drug you're on, asshole.

And my middle name is Gerard. You know, like that Gerardo guy, without the "O" at the end. You know who I'm talking about, that Rico Suave mother fucker? Sure you do. Anyway, it's Gerard.

Not Gerald.

I don't know what the fuck it is with people and them wanting to stick L's in my goddamn name, but I've only got one of em. I don't need more, dipshits.

So for the record, it's Heath Gerard Wheeler. Learn it. Know it. But don't fucking wear it out.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Serenity DVD

Heard tell it hits the shelves December 20, 2005. Gonna be a big damn Christmas present for a lot of folks.

But here's what I take issue with: the cover art. Check it out.

So there are a number of things wrong with that cover, but I'm going to focus on what I think is the most egregious example. That'd be the tagline at the top. "Experience the Ultimate Action Adventure." Wait, what? Serenity is not some bullshit run of the mill action movie. It defies convention. That's kind of the point. So to pick some generalized nonsense tagline to sell the movie is a great disservice.

Allow me to suggest some alternatives:

You can't take the sky from me.
Can't stop the signal.
They aim to misbehave.
Let's be bad guys.
She can kill you with her brain.
I am a leaf on the wind.
Better worlds, all of them.
We shall call it...this land.
Serenity: Some people juggle geese.
Just believe.
No more runnin'.
They're not gonna see this coming.
The first rule of flying: Love.
You think your government is evil?
Mighty fine shindig.
Serenity: The big damn DVD.
Serenity: Not gosa.
We are just too pretty for God to let us die.
The future is worth fighting for.
War's long done. We're all just folk now.
Time for some thrilling heroics.
Serenity: It's worse than they know. It usually is.
If you can't do something smart, do something right.
They may have been on the losing side, but they're still not convinced it was the wrong one.
Serenity: It gets awful lonely in the black.

How fucking hard is that, seriously? Did the marketing assholes even watch the movie? Or even the trailers? Are they familiar with Serenity and Firefly at all? Apparently not.

Thanks to CorSec for helping with the brainstorming of these taglines.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

What in the blue hell is wrong with people?

Seriously. I thought we lived in a civilized society. I thought we, as human animals, had reached a point where we respected each other's property. I'm not asking for all of us to hold hands and sing songs, but is it too much to ask that we don't take what isn't ours?

Apparently it is. You see, I subscribe to Netflix. For those unfamiliar with the concept, Netflix sends you DVDs, you watch the movies, and you send them back. Wash, rinse, repeat. I've been a subscriber since March of 2004, and I've had exactly zero problems with them. I still have no problem with them.

I'm upset because I put out some DVDs for the mailman in the mailbox when I left for work this morning, just like I always do, since the mail usually comes before I get home from work. Just so we're clear, my mailbox isn't out at the street with the flag, it's on my front porch. So I came home from work today, and checked the mailbox. My DVDs weren't there, but there was no mail, either. Huh. No mail today, I guess. That's extremely odd, usually there's at least one piece of junk mail. Oh well.

I paid it no mind, until I saw the mailman come an hour later and deliver my mail.

Some gutless, dickless, worthless fucking cuntrag stole my fucking DVDs! Well, not my DVDs, Netflix's DVDs, which I now have to report lost, even though the post office didn't lose them. I mean, what the fuck? It's bad enough if an employee of the postal service tampers with the mail, but I find it totally reprehensible that some shitstain in my neighborhood has the fucking audacity to steal mail right out of my mailbox, in broad daylight. Jesus Christ giving anal to mother Mary while Joseph jerks off in the corner.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Just when I thought it was all good...

It has to get all fucked up.

See that post below there? The one blowing smoke up Ultimate Spider-Man's ass? Well, I guess I spoke too soon.

Let me explain. I was playing it not 10 minutes ago. I had been playing for an hour and a half, having a shit ton of fun. Since I'm real bad about stuff like that, I hadn't saved, but had made a ton of progress. And what happens? The game freezes. A fucking console game. Frozen. What the fuck? That's not supposed to happen, goddammit, fucking console games do not fucking freeze! You can't patch a console game. A console game with a freezing bug is nothing more than a coaster, a worthless piece of shit.

Maybe the game autosaves. Maybe it doesn't. Right now I could really care less, as I'm so angry I want to snap the damn disc in half. Son of a bitch.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Time for a rave

I've ranted and bitched, now I feel like giving out some praise for something that's not fucked up.

I recently rented Ultimate Spider-Man for Xbox. And I'll be damned if it isn't fun as hell. Spider-Man was good, and Spider-Man 2 was even better (both movie tie-ins, of course), but there was something about them that just wasn't right.

Ultimate Spider-Man is apparently, based in the Ultimate comic book universe (which I'm not familiar with), but the game gets all the important stuff right. First off, it's fun to swing around the city. If it wasn't fun to swing around the city, it doesn't matter what else the game did, it would be a failure. But it gets that right, and that's a very good thing.

Secondly, Spider-Man is funny. He cracks wise, he's a smart ass, and he's always shooting his mouth off when he shouldn't. Perfect. If you have a Spider-Man game that feels like Spider-Man, but doesn't act like Spider-Man, then you've failed. But again, this game gets it right.

Finally, the pacing and game play are great. Boss battles are varied and genuinely difficult without being hair-pulling. Story-line missions are meted out according to how many miscellaneous city missions you complete. In this way, the normally pointless side-missions are made integral to advancing the story. Now, if the side missions were total bullshit, this would be a game breaker. But since it's so damn fun to web around the city, it doesn't matter. Plus, completing the side missions unlocks stuff. So by making you do side missions alongside the story line, when you're done with the game, you're actually done with the game, and don't have to spend hours doing boring side missions just to unlock a new Spidey outfit or something.

So, makers of Ultimate Spider-Man: I salute you.

Looking for a job sucks

How come no one ever told me about this when I was in school? Why was I not warned that the search for gainful employment is nothing short of looking for a chocolate chip in a wheelbarrow full of shit? Seriously, I don't know how anyone ever has found a job.

Everyone talks about how it's easy. They know a guy who knows a guy. The commericials for the job search websites actually say that you'll have employers contacting you, not the other way around. Lost your job? No worries, another one'll come along in about a week. You won't even miss a paycheck!

Bullshit. It's fucking impossible to find a job, and even tougher to find a decent one. Job search websites don't work. I know, I've tried them all. There's so many buzzwords and bullshit that even if you're qualified for something, you can't find the listing for it. Even if you do find a job that fits you, how many other people found the same listing you did? A shitload, and odds are there's at least one of them that's more qualified than you.

Forget the want ads. Same shit as the websites, only worse because you have to look through them by hand.

No, you have to know a guy who knows a guy. And unless you've sucked said guy's dick, you still might not get the job. You have to already have a job to get a job. You have to actually know the guy, not be somewhere down the acquaintance chain. And that just gets your foot in the door. You've gotta have a shiny resume, a kickass cover letter, and nail the interview in order to actually land the job.

So I ask again: how is that anyone has ever gotten a job, ever? I guess there's a lot of dick suckers out there.