Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Holy Shit Holy Shit Holy Shit Holy Shit

Holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit!

Wait, not done yet. HOLY SHIT!!!

My comments? It's fucking Joss, and fucking Tim, and fucking Duck Shoot. I only wish it wasn't on Fox. But hey, we're done with baseball, right? Bring that shit on!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

GH3 Update

I was rolling along on Hard mode (because that's the difficulty I play the main campaign mode on the GH games the first time through), when along comes the 7th set. Until that point, no song had really challenged me (except the boss battles, which can be a righteous pain in the ass, but are satisfying to beat), and all the songs were awesome (with the exception of Kool Thing by Sonic Youth, it's just not a very good rock song). But what awaits me in the 7th set?

Before I Forget by Slipknot
Stricken by Disturbed
3's & 7's by Queens of the Stone Age
Knights of Cydonia by Muse

Wow. What a mountain full of suck that is. A terrible song by a fucking awful band that is literally painful to play, a pretty good song by a pretty good band that's a real challenge, a shitty song by a good band, and a bad prog rock song by a bad prog rock band. Can you say brick wall? Because that's what the 7th set is for me.

The Slipknot song is the same hand-crushing, skull-fucking bullshit over and over again for 4 and a half minutes. The Disturbed song I actually beat with a minimum amount of fuss. The Queens of the Stone Age song, despite being shitty, is also impossible to play. And finally, the Muse song lulls you into a false sense of security with long, lilting notes and chords before hitting you with note ladders and triplets for the last 30% of the song.

I've felt like I couldn't beat songs in GH games before, but I really think I'm serious this time. I honestly have no idea how I could ever beat any of those 3 songs. On fucking Hard, no less. I don't even want to think about them on Expert.

And there's a whole other set! The 8th set has Slayer, and Maiden, and Metallica. Great songs, yes, but I can guarantee they'll be harder than the ones in the 7th set. I just don't get how the first 30 songs can be basically a breeze, and then the next 10 are impossible. Color me confused.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

First Impressions: Guitar Hero 3 (PS3)

First off, I don't know why I was worried about GH3. I listened to all the haters for GH80s, and it turned out not to be that bad. Same goes for GH3. Yeah, boss battles aren't that great, but the rest of the game is. Song difficulty seems to be somewhere between GH1 and GH2, and the note charts are still well done. Plus it looks friggin awesome in HD. And the wireless guitar, holy crap. Holy crap, the wireless guitar.

I would like to point out one issue I have, even though this has nothing to do with GH3 as a game in and of itself. While the PS3 will play the PS2 GH games, neither the old guitars or the new wireless guitar are compatible with them. Which means I still have to keep a space in my entertainment center for my PS2, and I still have to keep my PS2 guitars. That makes me very angry.

Back to GH3, I haven't finished the single player career yet, and there's supposedly a co-op career, too. I'll have to wait until I get a second guitar for that. As of now, GH3 gets two goats up. \m/ \m/

On a side note, I thought it would be fun to list my band names (i.e. save game names) I've used for the GH games.

GH1: Breaking the Girl (formerly The G-Men)
GH2: Abominable Mailman
GH80s: Redrum
GH3: Fabricated Cake (because The Cake Is A Lie)

I don't know what my band name for Rock Band will be yet. I've still got 3 weeks to think on it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Quick Hit: Portal (PC)

Portal is awesome. It's laugh out loud funny, uniquely puzzling, and one of the best games I've played this year (also by far the shortest). It's certainly not worth 50 bucks as part of The Orange Box or 20 by itself, but it's definitely worth the price I paid for it (which is nothing). If you know someone who has The Orange Box or aren't afraid of breaking the law, give Portal a spin. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Heroes has solidified its place as my current favorite show. Supernatural or Reaper may have been creeping up, but nope, Heroes now stands alone. Why, you ask? Because Kristen Bell was on it. I really hope it's not one and done, but still, it was awesome. Kevin Smith directs an episode later this year, too.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

New Car Shopping

My folks were recently in the market for a new car. Their old car died, so they needed a new one. They asked me for advice, so I went online and did some looking around. I was working under some fairly strict requirements: it had to be a 2002 model or newer with under 40k miles on it and with a sticker price of under $14,000. My dad's not a small man, so it also had to have enough room for him, and at least 2 other people in the car. Fuel economy was important, but not a deal breaker, and it had to be reasonably safe.

Mainly, I found things like the Chevy Impala, the Ford Crown Victoria, the Mercury Grand Marquis, and the Pontiac Grand Prix. I even managed to find a Ford Mustang that met the specs (my dad has some irrational fondness for Fords, and Mustangs in particular). I printed out spec sheets and contacts for all the cars so they would have an easier time at the dealerships. Not only that, but I offered to pay for part of the cost of the car, in case they found a Toyota Camry or a Nissan Altima or a Honda Accord that was a few grand out of their price range.

In the meantime, they had rented a Chrysler PT Cruiser to get around. My mom liked it, and my dad was indifferent towards it. They asked me what I thought of it, and I said, "It's a Chrysler." After asking for clarification, I told them that Chrysler's are notoriously unreliable, and the PT Cruiser in particular is so poor, they should be called POS Cruisers.

So they called me up today to let me know they'd looked around at dealerships in town, and had purchased a brand new car. I asked what it was, and my dad responded, "A PT Cruiser." I asked if he was kidding, and he said no.

My question now is why did I bother looking cars up for them if they weren't going to seriously consider them? Why did they ask my advice if they were going to ignore it? I'm sure as hell not going to help them pay for a piece of shit car that I warned them about, and they'll most likely end up being disappointed with. Jesus Christ, what the fuck.

Monday, October 15, 2007

It's Rant-Disneyworld!

I was reading the Sports Gamer blog today (I'm not going to link to it because I only check it about once a week, and after today, I think I'm done), and I ran across this post by one of the contributors, Dan. Before I start, know that Dan is a New England Patriots fan.

Well Dallas did play tough, right up until the Patriots destroyed them. Heh. Glen was remarking to me how classless the last minute touchdown was, but I think that Bill Simmons set it up right when he said that after cheatgate the Patriots are just giving a big middle finger to the rest of the league.

Let me stop you right there, Dan.

First off, yes, the last minute touchdown was classless. When you have the ball with under four minutes left in the game and you're leading 41-27, there is no reason you should be trying to score a TD. There's stepping on your opponent's neck, and then there's pissing in their mouth.

Second, what the fuck is cheatgate? Are you referring to the incident where the Patriots were using on field video cameras to record their opponent's signals? Because that's not cheatgate. Cheatgate isn't a word, Dan. Watergate is a word. You know Watergate. It's the name of a complex that was broken into back in 1972, and is often used to refer to the entire scandal that eventually led to President Nixon's resignation. All this whatever-gate shit? Not words. Stop using them. You're an idiot, Dan.

And finally, the Patriots aren't giving a middle finger to the league. Stop being such a fucking drama queen, Dan. The Patriots have beaten a bunch of thoroughly mediocre teams and one over-achiever. Get back to me after they've played Indianapolis, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and the NY Giants.

While I certainly see that some people would hate it, I have to say I wanted to see Brady get another passing TD.

A win isn't good enough? To quote Herman Edwards, you play to win the game, Dan.

I want a big middle finger going out to Manning, considering not a Sunday goes by without his 23 commercials.

Right, because Peyton Manning is the root of all evil. Last I checked, all he's done is consistently play well, quietly set records while giving credit to his team, and win a Super Bowl. Success equals endorsements. Simple as that, Dan.

He could be a great guy, but I’m sick of him. He’s right up there with Elway in my book of asshats.

Excuse me? Are we talking about the same John Elway who was drafted by the Baltimore Colts and bitched and whined ("I'd rather play baseball") until he got traded to the Broncos for a song? Are we also talking about the same Peyton Manning who got drafted by the Indianapolis Colts and shut his mouth, put his head down, and has started every game since then in a Colts uniform? We are? Ok, just wanted to make sure, Dan.

Oh, and Dan? Here's a big middle finger from me going out to you. Fuck you, Dan.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

One More Post About Orange Box

Last Wednesday I went to Best Buy after work because I wanted to get NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer. I made my way over to the "Strategy/Role Playing" section of the PC games, and looked for MotB. I found the Diamond edition of NWN, as well as NWN2, but not the expansion. Luckily, there were a couple of store employees chatting in the same aisle with a customer about Orange Box.

I asked one of them if they had gotten Mask of the Betrayer in today.

He greeted me with a blank stare.

"It's the expansion to Neverwinter Nights 2," I said.

He responded, "Did you want Orange Box? We've got Orange Box."

"Um, no, I'm looking for NWN2 Mask of the Betrayer. It's supposed to be out today."

"Hmm, let me check my computer."

So I followed him over to the computer terminal. He looked it up, and said, "Looks like we've got 12 of them, but it says the release date is 10/11." (Wednesday was 10/10)

We walked back over to the PC games, and he asked his co-worker. "Hey, do you have an ad? I need to check the shelf date for a new game."

The co-worker said, "Orange Box? Yeah, it's out today."

He eventually found the ad, read where it said by the little picture of MotB, "In Stores Wednesday by 2 pm," and sold me the game.

I'm not sure if those guys were getting paid extra to push Orange Box, but it sure as hell felt like it. I mean, shit, MotB was supposed to be on the shelf by 2 pm, I was there a little before 6, and apparently no one else had asked for it? Or maybe when they did, the guys said, "Oh yeah, we've got Orange Box," and the customer bought Orange Box instead. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I Don't Understand Religious People

I was chatting with a coworker today about his son. He was explaining how the boy divvied up his allowance. "10% goes in his college fund, 10% goes in the bank, 10% goes to god, and he does whatever he wants with the other 70%."

10% goes to god? How does that work? Does he take some of his money out in the backyard and burn it? Does he turn it into an origami swan and sail it down the river at dusk? Does he put it under his pillow at night and it magically disappears while he's sleeping? I honestly don't understand how 10% goes to god; that's like saying 10% goes to the Easter Bunny.

Bustin' A Cap

Captain America is coming back next year. No, not Steve Rogers, cause he's dead. The new and improved Cap now comes complete with what looks like a .45. If that means Frank Castle is donning the mask and shield, that's pretty damn cool. If it's someone else (like Bucky, for example), that's pretty damn terrible. I'm certainly intrigued, though.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wherein Everyone Deepthroats Valve

I wonder how much green Valve had to pay out for the top-notch cock sucking The Orange Box has been getting. Here's a game that takes Half-Life 2 (a great game, granted, but it came out almost 3 years ago. We've seen it. We've played it. We don't need to buy it again), Episode 1 (released a year and a half after HL2, lasted 5 hours and cost twenty bucks), Episode 2 (another year and a half later, 5 more hours, and twenty bucks more on its own), Portal (a ninety minute tech demo), and Team Fortress 2 (the sequel to a HL1 mod, which itself was a revisit of a Quake mod). All this for the low, low price of 50 bucks (60 if your sorry ass buys it for the 360).

Any objective observer can see this compilation for what it is: a shameless, blatant money grab. No game in this package is worth more than 10 bucks individually (some of them aren't worth anything), but combined they're somehow worth 50. Not only that, but the reviews are through the roof. 97 over at Metacritic. This is my favorite quote: "Regardless of whether you enjoy first-person shooters or not, The Orange Box is one title that every gamer must experience. If you buy one game this year, make it The Orange Box." That douchebag gave it a perfect score, and he wasn't the only one.

Do these reviewers even play the games they write about? Or do they throw something together in 5 minutes so they can go back to counting their money?

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Escapist

I'm pretty sure I've never pimped The Escapist before, so it's long overdue. If I have, I'm going to pimp it some more, because it's awesome.

The Escapist should be required Tuesday reading, since it's usually filled with insightful, interesting, and relevant gaming articles. I'm not talking about the type of gaming articles usually found in gaming-centered magazines (you won't find any shit like, "Which is better: Halo 2 or Halo 3 lol" or "How does the Wii compare to the PS3 lolzor" in The Escapist). I'm talking about stuff you actually want to read, and don't end up hating yourself for later because you just wasted twenty minutes of your life that you'll never get back.

Over at the website, you'll also find Tom Chick's weekly column called Shoot Club. Every Thursday, Tom writes up an autobiographical account of his Shoot Club, i.e. a group of gamers (who may or may not be somewhat or entirely fictitious) who get together on a regular basis to do what gamers are wont to do: play games.

Finally, a recent addition to the site is Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw's weekly video review column called Zero Punctuation. Definitely not safe for work, but completely hilarious, Zero Punctuation should not be missed every Wednesday. I laughed. I laughed out loud. There may have even been rolling on the floor involved.

Now go, read, watch, and enjoy. My work here is done.

EDIT: I added an audio version of this post, and one for the "Conversations With Myself" post back on 9/25/07. Just screwing around.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pushing Daisies

Wednesdays, 8:00 pm, ABC - Pushing Daisies is good. It's damn good, actually. It's unlike just about anything else on television right now. Which I why I think its days are numbered. People don't watch what's new and different. They watch what's old and exactly the same. They watch shit that falls into easily definable categories. "Reality Competition." "Police Procedural Drama." "Forensics Drama." "Medical Drama." Pushing Daisies doesn't fit any of those categories, or any category. It's a show about a guy who can bring dead things back to life with one touch, and kill them with another. If he brings them back for more than a minute, someone else dies instead. It's brightly colored, darkly comedic, and has an English narrator. I really like it, but I don't think it's going to last the season. I can only hope I'm wrong.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


For a long time now, I had been figuring I'd be completely out of debt before the end of 2007. I had once estimated it would be as early as the end of August, and at one point as late as the beginning of December.

So today, when I went online to pay some bills, I decided to revisit those calculations using my current debt amounts. Not only will my debt be completely paid off when I cash my second check in November (on 11/23, the day after Thanksgiving and the official release date of Rock Band, woohoo!), but that money will pay for all the Christmas shopping I plan to do (including the aforementioned Rock Band for myself).

Let me say this: I don't think I've been happier about anything before than that fact right there. Getting rid of my debt is going to be a huge weight off my shoulders, and my only regret is that I didn't work harder at getting it paid off sooner.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

How Much?

Just tell me where to send the check.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Fall TV Season 2007

Premiere week is officially over, so it's time for my postmortem on the new and returning TV shows I'm watching for Fall 2007.

Monday night:

How I Met Your Mother, 7:00 pm, CBS - Good stuff. One of only a handful (actually, 3) half hour comedies I watch, and the only pure sitcom of the bunch, HIMYM is consistently funny, and shows no signs of slowing down or getting complacent. I assume eventually we'll find out how Ted met his wife, but that's not really the point.

Prison Break, 8:00 pm, FOX - While FOX is traditionally a death sentence for new and interesting television, this is one show that squeaked through and took off. Now in its third year, Prison Break went from being about the breakout, to the manhunt, and now to another breakout of a completely different (and much more dangerous) prison, with an updated cast of characters. I'm interested to see how long this one can go without getting stale. For some odd reason, I don't get FOX in HD, so I'm getting this one off the net and watching the next show on the list instead.

Chuck, 8:00 pm, NBC - One of a glut of new shows from NBC, Chuck is about a computer nerd who gets some government secrets stuck in his head and ends up working for the CIA. Sure, it's a ridiculous premise, but the show is good and fun. Plus, it's got Adam Baldwin as an NSA agent (which pretty much works out to Jayne in a suit) and an extremely hot woman as the CIA agent who tracked Chuck down (Yvonne Strzechowski, who I've never heard of). If the marketing blitz is anything to go by, I'd say Chuck will be sticking around for a while.

Heroes, 9:00 pm, NBC - Since VM and Studio 60 got axed last year, Heroes has been elevated to the best show on TV. Not that that's a bad thing (although I'd give anything to have more VM), since it's a great show. There's going to be new heroes, new stories, Kristen Bell does a guest shot, Kevin Smith will be directing an episode, it's going to be fucking awesome. If you're not watching Heroes, you're dead to me.

Journeyman, 10:00 pm, NBC - Although it's been called a "poor man's Quantum Leap," I can't find anything to dislike about Journeyman. It stars Kevin McKidd (of Rome fame) as a time-traveling newspaper reporter in San Francisco. He's also not alone, as he stumbles on his long-thought-dead former fiancee during one of his trips. I'll try not to get too attached to this show, though, since last season NBC (rather unfairly, I think) cut down not one, but two excellent shows in the Monday night 10:00 pm slot.

Tuesday night:

Bones, 8:00 pm, FOX - This is the only other show I watch at the FOX network, and it started right along with Prison Break two years ago. Despite FOX's best attempts to destroy both of them, they've survived and flourished. It's not as good as Angel was, but that's a tall order to fill.

Reaper, 9:00 pm, CW - Directed by Kevin Smith. That's all I needed to tune in. Once I did, I discovered that Reaper is a quality show. Sam turns 21, and finds out his parents sold his soul to the devil before he was even born. Now it's time to pay up, so Satan has Sam collecting escaped souls and returning them to hell. The ordinary-guy-as-devil's-bounty-hunter angle has been done before (with the good but canceled Brimstone), but never as a comedy. Ray Wise is an absolute genius casting choice as the devil, and Tyler Labine as the goofy best friend is hilarious. Given the success of Supernatural on the same network, I'm cautiously optimistic about Reaper's chances.

Wednesday night:

Pushing Daisies, 8:00 pm, ABC - This one hasn't premiered yet, so I'll make a new post once it does. Supposedly, it's the best new show of the fall season. We'll see.

Bionic Woman, 9:00 pm, NBC - I wasn't even born when the original Bionic Woman aired. It was a seventies show, though, about a woman rebuilt with cybernetic parts, so I expect it had quite a bit of cheese. The new Bionic Woman? Heavy on the cheese and the melodrama. So far, I'm decidedly on the fence about this show. As for its prospects, NBC is marketing the shit out of it (Wednesdays should now be called "Bionic Wednesdays"), so unless it gets no viewers, it will most likely be picked up.

Life, 10:00 pm, NBC - I don't normally go for the cop shows, but this one stars Damian Lewis, who was awesome as Major Winters in Band of Brothers. Detective Charlie Crews was behind bars for a murder he didn't commit. Years later, he's exonerated and released, and as part of his settlement, gets his old job back (and a shitload of dough). The pilot is an interesting mix of police procedural drama, fish out of water comedy (Charlie is amazed by cell phones and IMs), and philosophical musings on the meaning of life. Plus, Charlie's LT is played by Robin Weigert, formerly Deadwood's Calamity Jane. Here's hoping Life doesn't end too soon.

Thursday night:

My Name Is Earl, 8:00 pm, NBC - Jason Lee kicks serious ass. Hell, the whole cast on this show is fantastic, and it's by far the best comedy on TV. What else can you ask for?

Smallville, 8:00 pm, CW - I still find myself questioning why I'm watching this show. It's either because it's like watching a train wreck, or that I somehow would feel ripped off after investing 6 seasons worth of viewing time. Last season showed a little bit of promise, what with the Justice League, a couple of annoying and completely irrelevant characters getting killed off, and Bizarro Supes showing up. The start of this season, however, saw both of those characters brought back to life, the introduction of Supergirl, and a storyline that could have been told in 20 minutes instead of an hour. Smallville is definitely the worst show that I watch. CW is the other network that I don't get in HD, so I get this and Supernatural off the net.

The Office, 9:00 pm, NBC - Hilarious, as usual. Great cast, great stories, hilarious comedy. This and Earl make for a great night of comedy.

Supernatural, 9:00 pm, CW - I think this is the second best show on TV right now. The new season premieres on Thursday. Some have said the second season wasn't as good as good as the first, but I think they've both been excellent. I'm curious to see where they go with season number 3.

Friday night:

Moonlight, 8:00 pm, CBS - A vampire detective operating in L.A. who's involved with a blonde from his past, is tormented by his sire, and strives to do good in a world filled with evil. Sounds quite a bit like Angel, doesn't it? To be fair, Moonlight has only a few things in common with Angel. It's an interesting show, and I hope it gets a fair shot. There hasn't been a decent vampire detective show on the air since Angel, so Moonlight certainly fills that void.