Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rock Band? More Like Crack Band

Question: Does the awesomeness of Rock Band ever stop?

Answer: Hell no!

The Official Xbox Magazine just leaked a "tentative" DLC release schedule for the month of March. Check this out.
3/04 Thrash Pack
Blinded By Fear by At the Gates
Thrasher by Evile
Shadow World by The Haunted
A more appropriate name is "Death Metal Pack," but I'm splitting hairs. Given the niche market of a pack like this, I'm guessing it's going to be on the order of $2.50 or 3 bucks, and since a few of the people I regularly play with are actually in a death metal band, they'll be all over these songs.
Shooting Star as made famous by Bad Company
Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Message in a Bottle by The Police
Holy shit those are all made of win. Personally, I don't think you can go wrong with anything from Bad Company or Skynyrd, and Message in a Bottle is one of the classic Police tracks.
3/18 Nine Inch Nails Pack
March of the Pigs
The Collector
The Perfect Drug
I've never been a huge NIN fan, but Perfect Drug is definitely getting bought, at the very least.
3/25 Metal Pack
Wrathchild as made famous by Iron Maiden
Supernaut as made famous by Black Sabbath
Fuel by Metallica
Holy shit those are all made of win. You can't go wrong with anything from Maiden, Sabbath, or Metallica.

No clue what's coming out in February yet (perhaps a little Who's Next or Nevermind), but if Harmonix keeps releasing great tracks like these, they're guaranteed to get 10-20 bucks of my money every month.

On a completely unrelated note, Lost comes back tonight. Woot!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Weekend Movie Reviews (and a TV show)

I know, the weekend ended yesterday, but I had Monday off, so nyeh. I watched a couple of movies that I had never seen, and coworkers advised me I just had to see.

The Breakfast Club, rated R, starring Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy. This is one of those movies from the 80's that passed me right by. I was too young when it came out, and by the time I was old enough to appreciate it, there were other movies to watch and things to do. I really liked this flick, although the seemingly happy ending pretty much came out of nowhere, and didn't fit the tone of the film at all. My favorite line is one of Bender's: "A naked blonde walks into a bar carrying a poodle under one arm, and a two foot long salami under the other. The bartender says to her, 'I guess you won't be needing a drink,' and the naked lady says...oh shit!"

Little Miss Sunshine, rated R, starring Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, and Steve Carell. This is one of those movies where you either like it or you don't, and I liked it. It's not really a comedy (or at least, not in the sense that you're given punchlines to laugh at), and it's not really a drama (although there are plenty of dramatic moments). I think what I liked most about it is that every single one of the characters felt real, and I completely bought their actions throughout the movie, and I never had that moment that's all too common in other films where I say to myself, "Oh bullshit, that just happened because it's a movie."

I recommend you check out both The Breakfast Club and Little Miss Sunshine if you've never seen them.

Finally, I started watching Sports Night, otherwise known as the show Aaron Sorkin did before he hit the jackpot with The West Wing. I've never actually seen The West Wing, but I did see Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (Fantastic fucking show, by the way, NBC is filled with dickheads for giving it the ax), and much like that show was not about a late night sketch show but about the people behind said late night sketch show, Sports Night is not about a cable sports news show but about the people behind said cable sports news show. It's also fantastic, but only got two seasons on the air. I highly recommend it, especially if you're a fan of Mr. Sorkin's work.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Burnout Paradise (PS3) Impressions

I've been playing Burnout Paradise for the past 4 hours or so, and it's awesome. It's the same kind of arcade racing goodness that was in the previous Burnout games, but this time you're given a fairly large city to freely roam around in. There are a shit-ton of cars to get (75 in all, although half of those are upgraded versions of each car), over 100 events (races, time trials, survival tests, takedown competitions, and stunt runs) to participate in, and a "best crash" and "best time" mode. I haven't even touched the last two modes, I've been having too much fun unlocking cars and breaking shit all over the city.

Did I mention the game looks amazing? It's the best looking racing game I've ever seen. Fuck Gran Turismo, Burnout Paradise is beautiful. The sense of speed is incredible, and the crashes are filled with nifty touches like super slo-mo and quick cuts to a camera "finding" the crash. Watching cars crumple and deform into so much twisted metal is fantastic, even after the 100th time.

Paradise has a huge and varied soundtrack, which is pretty standard for any EA game. There are a few misses here and there, but all it takes is a flick of the R1 button to switch to a new track. The DJ is annoying too, but thankfully he doesn't talk a whole lot once he's taught you the basics.

The only bad thing I have to say about it is that there's no option to quickly retry a race if you fail (you have to drive all the way back to the starting point, in fact, if you want to go anywhere, you have to drive there. No magic teleporting in Paradise), but failure doesn't happen too often (cause I'm pimp like that), and when it does, there are a multitude of other events in whatever area you end up in to just carry on like nothing happened.

Paradise seems like the kind of game that I can get a large amount of enjoyment out of in a week or two, and then be done with it. Not a purchase, but definitely worthy of a rental.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rumors Of My Death

Have been greatly exaggerated. Allow me to explain.

You may have heard that Heath Ledger was found dead in his apartment earlier today. While I didn't particularly care for him as an actor, he was only 28 and had a young daughter, so his passing is a real shame.

Today at work, I was walking around the third floor speaking with some of my former coworkers (when I got promoted, I moved to the second floor, so I rarely get to see the folks on the third floor anymore). Apparently, when the news broke, someone on my old team had said, "Did you hear who died? Heath Ledger!" and people's ears stopped working after they heard, "Heath." Before the tears started flowing and fund-raising for a flower arrangement began, however, it was clarified that I had not died, but an actor with the same first name as me had died.

Rest in peace, Heath.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King Day

2007 NFL Playoffs: Conference Championship Results and Super Bowl Prediction

And so the field of 4 becomes 2. Look at that, both teams I picked won this weekend, and...what's that? Both teams I picked lost? Son of a bitch!

Patriots 21, Chargers 12
Let this be a lesson to any team in the NFL: field goals don't win football games. Not when your opponents are scoring TDs, anyway.

Giants 23, Packers 20
Field goals win football games in OT, though. Especially when you pick off the opposing QB on your side of the field. The official "will he or won't he retire" conversations may

2007 Playoff Prediction Record: 4-6

Super Bowl XLII: New England Patriots vs New York Giants
The undefeated versus the road warriors. The pretty boys versus the roughnecks. Brady versus Manning. While a smart man would pick the Patriots to finish only the second unbeaten season in NFL history, I make no claim to be a smart man. Peyton got his last year, so now it's Eli's turn.
Giants win.

Check back in two weeks for the Super Bowl result.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Rock Band DLC

So far, Rock Band has been out for a total of 9 weeks. Every single week, Harmonix has released at least 3 songs worth of downloadable content (or DLC). The range of bands has been pretty incredible:

30 Seconds to Mars
All-American Rejects
Black Crowes
Black Sabbath
Blink 182
Creedence Clearwater Revival
David Bowie
Iron Maiden
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Queens of the Stone Age
Stone Temple Pilots
The Clash
The Hives
The Knack
The Monkees
The Police
The Pretenders
The Ramones
The Runaways
The Sounds

And yet, there are still people complaining that the DLC "sucks," or doesn't have enough rock/metal/punk/classic/pop/emo/nu-rock/grunge/flavor-of-the-week. Either that, or they like the bands but wish other songs had been chosen, so therefore the DLC "sucks." In tandem with that, they take issue with paying, at most, $1.99 per track, even though a single song on iTunes costs a buck, and all you can do is passively listen to it.

Personally, I think 2 bucks is a steal for some of these songs, and I've discovered quite a bit of music I otherwise never would have been exposed to. But then again, if you're a pimple-faced 16 year-old who only listens to growling death metal, those bands don't interest you, and you can't afford 2 bucks a song on your McDonald's paycheck after buying all that Clearasil.

Monday, January 14, 2008

2007 NFL Playoffs: Divisional Results and Conference Championship Predictions

And so the field of 8 becomes 4. Here's the rundown for this weekend's Divisional games, and my predictions for next weekend's Conference Championship games.

Packers 42, Seahawks 20
This game was Brett Favre being Brett Favre. In the snow and cold on the frozen tundra, Number 4 was just having fun.

Patriots 31, Jaguars 20
Tom Brady set another record, and the Patriots got another win. Is it just me, or are the Patriots like a self-fulfilling prophecy or something? Everyone expects them to win, so they do, regardless of how they play or who they play. Here's the thing: just because they haven't been beaten this year doesn't mean they're unbeatable. Someone just needs to do it.

Chargers 28, Colts 24
What the hell happened here? Suddenly, the Chargers don't choke in the postseason? Peyton Manning has a healthy squad and loses? Black is white, night is day, and Norv Turner is yelling at people. The whole world's gone crazy.

Giants 21, Cowboys 17
With another win, the prospect of a Manning vs Manning Super Bowl...wait, fuck, that's not right. Take that, "America's Team." Are you gonna cry about it, T.O.? Do we need to call the waah-mbulance?

2007 Playoff Prediction Record: 4-4

Now on to next week's games.


3 San Diego Chargers at 1 New England Patriots
Fuck the goddamn Patriots. I don't care if conventional wisdom says they're going to win, I'm not picking them.
Chargers win.


5 New York Giants at 2 Green Bay Packers
Sorry, Eli, your road to the Super Bowl ends in the snow. Favre's been here before, and there's no way he's going home yet.
Packers win.

Check back next week for results and my Super Bowl prediction.

Friday, January 11, 2008


It's entirely possible that I watch too much television right now, but I just discovered a great show: 30 Rock. It's not exactly new, since it's been on for a whole season and a half, but for some reason, I never watched it. I think it's because the promo spots always made it look like shit, like some kind of wacky, screwball comedy, and that's not the case at all. There's wacky screwball comedy at times, yes, but it's mostly smart, biting humor (like The Office). I'm halfway through the first season on Netflix's Watch Now deal. Good stuff.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Quick Hit: Sam & Max Season 1

Sam & Max Season 1 may only be 6 episodes worth of gameplay that lasts, at most, 12 hours, but damn if it isn't some of the best 12 hours I've spent on my PC. It's consistently laugh out loud hilarious, and provides the classic experience of point and click adventure games without all the pointless wandering around wondering about how best to utilize a fire extinguisher ("That's not on fire.") or what possible use a rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle would have.

It's also currently the best example of how to do episodic content. The first episode hit in October of 2006, with episode 6 releasing in April of 2007. The first episode of Season 2 just hit last November, and the second season should finish up in April.

In short, Sam and Max are awesome, and Telltale Games have done and continue to do a great job with them.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Rock Band Meme?

I don't think this is a Rock Band meme, but I'm going to say it is anyway. Thanks to Bill Harris over at Dubious Quality for this.

Basically, what you do is get a band name, album, and album cover from the following sources:
1. The first article title on the Wikipedia Random Articles page is the name of your band.
2. The last four words of the very last quotation on the Random Quotations page is the title of your album.
3. The third picture in Flickr's Interesting Photos From The Last 7 Days is your album cover.

Here's my entry:

And yes, I broke the second rule, because I can.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Red Vs Blue

Hey, look, politics! And how my views on the hot-button issues match up with the 2008 Presidential candidates!

82% Mike Gravel
79% Bill Richardson
77% Barack Obama
76% John Edwards
75% Dennis Kucinich
74% Chris Dodd
72% Hillary Clinton
70% Joe Biden
46% Rudy Giuliani
43% John McCain
40% Ron Paul
39% Mike Huckabee
36% Mitt Romney
31% Tom Tancredo
28% Fred Thompson

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

According to this, I'm most similar to Mike Gravel, and should cast my vote for him. Now, if only I knew who the hell Mike Gravel is....

Also, I take issue with the fact that I'm 46% similar to Rudolph the Red Nosed Gooliani. Fuck that guy. And fuck Mike Huckabee with his 39%. I didn't see any questions on that quiz about Chuck Norris. And who the shit is Tom Tancredo? Or Chris Dodd? Who are these people, and why are they running for President of the United States when they don't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning?

EDIT: I love the internet. I found out who Mike Gravel is, and what he stands for. This guy makes a shitload of sense.

Monday, January 07, 2008

2007 NFL Playoffs: Wild Card Results and Divisional Predictions

And so the field of 12 becomes 8. Here's the rundown for this weekend's Wild Card games, and my picks for next weekend's Divisional games.

Seahawks 35, Redskins 14
What a rollercoaster. The Seahawks put up 13 points and held the Redskins scoreless until the start of the 4th quarter, when Washington scored 14 unanswered. Just when it looked like the tide had turned, it was all Seattle after that. I don't think there was anyone following football that wasn't rooting for the Redskins, and it's a shame they got bumped out early by what I think is a very sub-par team.

Jaguars 31, Steelers 29
Wow. After the Jaguars had seemingly buried the Steelers in the first half, they blew the lead and required a last second field goal to come away with a win. However, in the playoffs, a win means you play next week, no matter how you may get that win. Hell, the Patriots built a dynasty on wins like this.

Giants 24, Buccaneers 14
In a result that surprised just about everyone but me, Eli Manning and his G-Men got a win in the postseason, keeping alive the possibility (however unlikely it may be) of a Manning vs. Manning Super Bowl.

Chargers 17, Titans 6
Am I the only one who thinks that after LT got stuffed on his touchdown dive, the ref should have blown the whistle as his forward progress had stopped? It wouldn't have necessarily changed the outcome, but it's just another all-too-often example of the officials significantly changing the game. On a side note, isn't Philip Rivers the biggest crybaby you've ever seen in the NFL? Whenever something doesn't go his way, he whines and bitches and throws a tantrum at his teammates, opponents, coaches, or the fans. What is he, 12?

2007 Playoff Prediction Record: 3-1

Now on to next week's games.


5 New York Giants at 1 Dallas Cowboys
While I would love to see the Giants knock off the Cowboys, I just don't see it happening. Unless Jessica Simpson runs onto the field and gives Tony Romo a blowjob, of course.
Cowboys win.

3 Seattle Seahawks at 2 Green Bay Packers
The overrated Seahawks vs the underrated (at least at the start of the season) Packers. I honestly believe this is Brett Favre's last season, win, lose, or draw, so I'm rooting for the Pack.
Packers win.


5 Jacksonville Jaguars at 1 New England Patriots
I don't care that the Patriots went undefeated in the regular season. I don't care that they have Tom Brady and Randy Moss and Laurence Maroney. I don't care that they're playing yet another playoff game in Foxborough after getting a first round bye. All I care about is seeing them get their asses whooped by a better team, and that's what Jacksonville is going to do.
Jaguars win.

3 San Diego Chargers at 2 Indianapolis Colts
The defending Super Bowl champions host a thoroughly mediocre team with designs on the Super Bowl. Even with all the injuries on the Colts roster, Peyton Manning and the rest of the Colts have been here plenty of times before, and they're not going down to the goddamn Super Chargers in their powder blue unis.
Colts win.

Check back next week for results and more predictions.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Meet the New Year, Same as the Old Year

My New Year's Eve involved Rock Band (as if there was anything else it would involve, except possibly hookers and blow). We got the regular crew together, including Justin, and like 3 new people. By my count, there were 9 of us who actually rocked out, and at least half played more than one instrument. In a word, it was awesome. In two words, it fucking rocked.

Seriously, if you own a PS3 or a 360 (or now, even a PS2) you must get Rock Band. Now. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Ok, cool. Now before you start rocking, one more thing. If you've got like, 20 extra bucks burning a hole in your pocket, grab some of the downloadable content. Sabbath, Metallica, Skynyrd, CCR, Foreigner, and that's just to name a few. Guitar Hero was an 11, Guitar Hero 2 was a 12, but Rock Band is a 20.