Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Until the End of the World

The last week or so has been absurdly crappy, so I'm going to go low-profile for a few weeks or so. In the meantime, I'm going to ponder things like the legitimacy, or lack thereof, of the ontological argument; where Superman Returns ranks in the grand scheme of superhero movies; whether I have to replace the CD-R drive on my desktop because of its sticking door; whether or not to buy Trauma Center for the Wii; read some books; crap like that. Before anything else, though, I'm going to read through the entire run of The Amazing Spider-Man, which should be arriving at my door tomorrow afternoon.

And I think I'm going to start exercising my writing skills again. I came up with an absurdly bad plot for a movie about a week ago, and I think I'm just going to knock the script out for shits and giggles. And, when I say it's absurdly bad, it's bad. I mean, I know I use the word absurdly a lot more than I should, but I'm not a walking thesaurus, and this plot is certainly absurd, to the point where I wouldn't have considered writing it when I was in high school and I thought highly of my writing skills. But the story (all thirty or so words of it) makes me giggle, so I'm going to knock out a really bad script for a really bad movie. I'm putting a handlebar mustache on the main character, which just makes me giggle that much more.

In any case, I'm not posting for a while; not that anyone's going to notice, since Technorati lists a whopping one site that links to mine. So I'm going to go be productive and shit, but it's going to be a while before anyone sees me again. In the event that you happen to instant-message me and get an away-message, chances are about fifty-fifty that I'm deliberately ignoring you.

AIM: therbmcc71

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Eight Days a Wiik

Yeah, I've got no shortage of Wii puns for the blog titles. Anyway, it's been about a week that I've had the Wii, and it's only now that I'm finally getting back to my blog to say how obscenely cool it is, beyond initial impressions.

It is obscenely cool, even after a week, which is odd, given that most videogame systems (or, more appropriately, the games themselves) don't really keep my attention for this long. As I've stated before, it took me about twenty-seven hours' worth of gameplay to realize that Final Fantasy XII simply wasn't any fun. If nothing else, it seemed like work. As a counter-point, the four games that I got for the Wii continue to be fun, sometimes absurdly so.

Wii Sports went over exceptionally well at my sister's place on Thanksgiving. Everyone played, and my nephew bitched for over an hour, because everyone else wanted to have a bowling tournament and he doesn't like bowling. He prefers boxing, though he's exceptionally bad at it, as he doesn't listen when I tell him to keep his guard up or try to dodge the incoming punches.

Rayman Raving Rabbids, in particular, fits the bill for "absurdly fun," since half of the selling point on the game is the fact that it doesn't take itself seriously in the least. An entire section of the game is devoted to shooting toilet plungers at lunatic rabbits. Some sections of the game are almost obscenely difficult, and I say that because I tend to mumble obscenities about the enormous amounts of physical pain inflicted by those particular sections of the game, although men who jerk off with their left hands will find that God has granted them a much easier time in the level in which the player shoots carrot juice at incoming rabbits who happen to be wearing snorkels and goggles. Like I said, it's absurd, and it's still very fun to play.

Excite Truck is a very nice change for me, since I long since got tired of racing games like Gran Turismo and Forza, where they claim the physics are terribly realistic and you spend half of your time racing shitty little courses you've done ten times before so you can equip your Volkswagen GTI with a new exhaust system. This is to say nothing of the Pimp My Ride aspect that they've been growing into in recent years. No, instead, Excite Truck is simple, the physics are laughable, and it's actually fun. Playing Forza was a simulation to the point where I thought my accountant was trying to screw me.

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (hereafter referred to simply as Zelda) is a very good game. I think I'm fourteen hours into the game, and I'm still not sure if it deserved the scores it did, and I'm still sure I liked Wind-Waker better, but it's now gotten to the point where it's a good game. I've finally gotten the nifty stuff that comes standard with a Zelda game, like the boomerang and bow and arrows, which is to say that it's finally getting fun. It's just a good time, laying the smack down on countless bad guys, thinking your way through dungeons...

And I have to say this, because it's gotta be said: If you have to consult a FAQ or strategy guide in order to beat a Zelda game, your mind isn't analytical enough to make the minimum wage. We should just outsource you to foreign countries, where you can join their manual labor force for five cents an hour and no bathroom breaks. I feel very strongly about this, because the boss-fights in a Zelda game have never been very difficult; rather you just have to think your way through it. Sure, you might die once or twice, but it's generally very simple, and then you move on. But I hear about these people saying the dungeons are too hard to get through, and I just want to beat these people repeatedly about the head.

But I digress. Fourteen hours in, it's becoming a standard Zelda game, in which we get to see Peahats and Death Mountain, and other familiar aspects of the series, but there's one very freaky sequence in which the game earns its ESRB rating of "T," which is for "Teen." As we all know, "E is for Everyone," just like your mom. Bwa-ha! Anyway, freaky cutscene, the likes of which I wouldn't have expected out of a game in this series, not unlike dead younglings in Episode III, though a dead Jar-Jar among them would have been a nice addition.

I figure I'll probably get Trauma Center somewhere closer to Christmas, as my game money for next week is going to get spent on that Amazing Spider-Man DVD-ROM I was talking about a couple posts ago. I'd really like that big-ass 14-disc Superman box-set, but I have to sock away some dough and buy other people stuff for Christmas, which is no fun. Something else comes out on DVD this week, anyway, and I was going to buy that and watch it on Friday night over Chinese food, but dammit if I can't remember what the hell it was. ... Oh yeah, it was Clerks II.

AIM: therbmcc71

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Everybody's Workin' for the Wiikend [update 2]

It's all hooked up, and now I'm waiting for the update to finish. This is probably a lost cause and Nintendo's probably totally bogged down in their update pipeline, so I probably shouldn't bother trying to access the weather channel. I might add that it's terribly cute, and I now totally understand why the wrist strap comes attached to the Wiimote (no, I didn't accidentally throw it).

... After playing Wii Sports for about an hour or so, I have declared the Wii to be the coolest thing ever made. I might add that I also got Zelda, Rayman Raving Rabbids, and (because we didn't have any copies of Trauma Center) Excite Truck. I figure my niece and nephew can have a blast with the latter two of those, but Zelda is mine, all mine.

Also, my arms feel like they're about to fall off. Wii Sports for an hour is pretty much cardio for the day. That I've now been up for twenty-four hours is beside the point. It's all terribly exciting, and I don't know what I should do next. I'm thinking food would be a good idea, since I stayed up all night on Coca-Cola and coffee; you might say to me, "Well, if that was what you had, why not just drink Coca-Cola Bläk, or whatever it's called?" Answer: Because that is some foul shit that should be used as rat poison, if not for the fact that the rats won't go near it, either.

I'll be back after I take a break of an indeterminate amount of time.

EDIT: Oh yeah, I totally forgot to mention how it went, actually getting the unit. So anyway, as with any launch, there were more people than systems. Happens all the time. Now, most of the people who got there before the store opened got one, because the last ticket was handed out at 7:45, but that didn't stop a couple of guys from yelling at the manager, "We've been waiting here for three hours!" This didn't fly, because the guy would have had a ticket, had he only been at the store for three hours. He was a liar, so he didn't get any sort of consolation (so to speak) from the manager. The lady who was eighty-second in line demanded a system, because she got there right after the eighty-first (and last) person to get a ticket. She didn't get one, and said she was going to Wal-Mart, and they would get her $250. Yeah, good fucking luck there, lady.

AIM: therbmcc71

Everybody's Workin' for the Wiikend [update 1]

I got in line at 6:45, and they started handing out the tickets at a couple of minutes after 7:00, as expected. I got ticket number 56 out of 81, and I'm now typing this at the local Pantera Bread (where thrash metal meets sandwiches). Since my console is guaranteed until noon, I'm not going to hurry back. It's cold outside, and I need coffee.

And I've crunched the numbers, and I'll have just shy of a hundred dollars left to make it through the next two weeks, if I get the Wii and two games. This is probably a good time to trouble my brother for that tank of gas he owes me. Now I just have to figure out which games I'm going to get. Hopefully we'll still have some copies of Zelda, and I really want Rayman Raving Rabbids, but the last game is the big question. I'm thinking Trauma Center, but I might go with Excite Truck for the kids. I have no idea.

I wonder how many people in line felt guilty about skipping church for a Nintendo. Also, I wonder if those people who were in line for twelve hours felt stupid, since everyone in line got a reservation ticket.

By the way, if you're reading this and you live in the Aurora (Illinois) metropolitan area, the Gamestop in the Fox Valley Mall has a hundred and fifty units and only thirty-two reserves. The line starts at the doors between JCPenney and Macy's, so get there early, since it's probably your best shot at this hour.

More details to follow. Tune in for your semi-regular Wiikend updates right here, where there continue to be no boobies.

AIM: therbmcc71

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Everybody's Workin' for the Wiikend

Preface: I still hate Blogger's lack of support for Safari (the official Mac web browser, for you poor, unwashed Windows users), which forces me to use Firefox. Not cool.

So it's a little after ten o'clock right now, and there's about fifteen or twenty people camping out in front of my store, waiting for the Wii tomorrow morning. I'd include pictures, but I lack a digital camera, so you'll just have to take my word for the descriptions that follow:

There's a significant difference between the people waiting for the Wii and the ones who camped out for the PS3:
  • The Wii people are more unkempt after two hours than the PS3 people were after two days. Seriously. After two days, the PS3 people looked like they needed showers, but at least they were well-dressed. The Wii people are, by and large, sweatshirts and pajama pants. I think this may be their normal wardrobe for the outside world.
  • They set up a fire. That ended real fuckin' quick. Then they bitched when management told them to put it out, as though the words 'fire hazard' had no meaning to them.
  • They're fat. No, seriously, hear me out. The PlayStation 3 people looked like the sorts of people who lead active lives, with the exception of the forty-eight hours they camped out to get one. The Nintendo people look like theLinky need to stop going to McDonalds and play some Dance Dance Revolution. On the upside, at least the Wii essentially requires some physical movement from its users beyond sitting on a couch moving their thumbs. These people need to burn some calories, anyway.
I just watched one of my friends play the Superman Returns demo for the Xbox 360, and it's nice and pretty and all, but I'm pretty sure I still prefer Spider-Man 2 on the original Xbox, where I can be the King of Swing, as I like to put it. Also, it's pretty nice being able to swing through a generally accurate map of Manhattan.

Speaking of Spider-Man, if anyone wants to get me something for my birthday, feel free to get me the 43 Years of Amazing Spider-Man DVD-ROM, containing every issue of Amazing from its inception to earlier this year. I've already got the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and Uncanny X-Men discs, and they're quite phenomenal, as I've alluded to before, in a post that I won't go digging for, but they're quite good.

Now my friend's playing Raw vs. Smackdown 2007, or whatever it's called; the new wrestling game, as I prefer to call it, since I've no intention of playing it at any point, since I don't think any of these games have improved since the WCW Nitro game for the Nintendo 64. However, between the weekly shows, apparently the player has to put together the docket for the weekly show, including various matchups and promotions, be they advertising or spots for upcoming pay-per-views and such. This would be generally interesting if it was a "tycoon" type of game unto itself, but the rest of the game looks pretty retarded.

I found out after about twenty-seven hours that Final Fantasy XII just isn't any fun. It's a good game, as Japanese-style RPG's go, and the story's generally compelling, but it's not any fun. By comparison, Final Fantasy X-2 was a joke by comparison to the other games in the series, but it was almost all fun, and I think it spoiled me. This is sort of like how, with the exception of the boss-fights, Spider-Man 2 is one of the most insanely fun games ever. Like I said: King of Swing.

My friend was all upset because I told him Red Steel would never be played on my Wii. Ever. He's not so terribly upset about this, since I informed him that the game got a 5.5 (out of ten) from Gamespot. The new Zelda, on the other hand, is getting insanely good reviews from pretty much every outlet, registering (currently) a 96.6% on Game Rankings, which is even better than the score for Gears of War, which I decided I hated after about ten minutes. Even Wii Sports is getting substantially better scores than Red Steel, and Wii Sports is a fucking pack-in. There's just no excuse for any game to be worse than a pack-in, unless that pack-in is a Mario game. This would not necessarily be true if Luigi's Mansion had been a pack-in for the Gamecube, but the Cube lacked a pack-in, just like every system of that generation.

The PlayStation 3, getting back to that, probably had next to no games sold for it on its launch day, as many people probably learned from last year, where the Xbox 360 went on eBay for thousands of dollars. This year, it seems to be slightly different, where the market, only two days after launch, is already beginning to equalize, and not at the multi-thousand dollar values everyone was thinking it would.

It seems that the legitimately high valuations on PS3's seems to be floating around a thousand dollars, and they're starting to go for even less than that. I looked at one auction that just closed for four thousand dollars, but the bidding was really suspect, since one guy bid $3,999.00 several times over the course of several hours, only to retract the bids. Then, just prior to the auction's close, someone else bid $4,000.00 for the unit. None of these people have any feedback, which kicks my bullshit detector into overdrive.

However, another auction that should be finishing within the next couple of minutes is currently at $1,111.00. The one behind it is around $1,300. One that starts at $2,500, which is coincidentally the "buy it now" price, has no bids, and it's closing in ten minutes. The get-rich-quick notion of waiting in line for two or more days to get a PS3 seems to be totally mistaken, and the people who took days off of work to wait in line probably could have made more by actually going to work. The market got saturated almost immediately, and so the system now only commands a premium of a few hundred dollars, which is going to shock a lot of would-be sellers.

And I have to laugh at them, because it's a fucking videogame system (apologies to Sony and their silly Blu-Ray idea, which hopefully just won't pan out). I don't have a high-def TV, and I don't see that well anyway, so what the hell do I need a PS3 or Xbox 360 for? I want my Wii, and I want it now, but I'm just going to have to wait another seven and a half hours.

AIM: therbmcc71

Friday, November 17, 2006

Night in my Veins

I've gone and switched over to the new Blogger software, which has since killed all of my counters and various other links. Please comment if you feel you've been slighted by this technical difficulty, because I don't remember more than about three people's sites. But I can tag stuff now, just like the cool sites. Losing my counters is kind of a downer, but I think I actually saw them ticking backwards recently, so I guess I can't complain that much, and at least blogging here is still better than Myspace.

Anyway. It's time for the Playstation 3 launch, and people have been waiting outside of Tarzhay since Wednesday night. Now, call me a jerk, but I think these people have it entirely too easy. For some reason, they're allowed bathroom breaks and trips to get coffee in the store, and they don't lose their place in line. In fact, the only thing they've been told they're not allowed to do is pitch tents. Personally, I think they shouldn't be allowed any of this, because it'll weed out the people who don't really want the system from the ones who do.

The bathroom breaks are my big sticking point. I mean, they should have to stew in their own feces for a couple of days if the system (or, more likely, their eBay profit) is that important to them. A nice case of diaper rash is nothing compared to the beholding this system in all of its glory, which I daresay might border on 'stuponfucious.'

Actually, not really, because the $600 price tag is more than double the Nintendo Wii, which comes out (in dramatically larger numbers) on Sunday. I'm very excited about the Wii, as it will afford me the opportunity of offering girls the chance to play with my Wii and not be sued for sexual harassment. Unfortunately, I'm poor, so I probably won't be able to afford more than just the system and one other game (that being either the new Zelda or Rayman game). Beyond that, I probably wouldn't be able to afford gas or smokes for the next two weeks, because work is totally screwing me on hours.

In any event, it's a fairly exciting weekend, and I have to go to sleep if I'm going to wake up early enough to laugh at the poor bastards who don't get their PS3's. Honestly, I doubt we'll have more than ten, and I'm pretty sure there are more people than that in line right now. And I think the movie Freaks is the movie of the night on the TCM Underground show, hosted by Rob Zombie; the description of which is (no joke), A lady trapeze artist violates the code of the side show when she plots to murder her midget husband.

Honestly, it doesn't get better than this. I mean, it does, but I'm single and poor (and pretty sure the two are related). But we won't go into that. Maybe one of these days I'll get around to commenting on Final Fantasy XII and some other stuff I've been playing lately, but now isn't the time, and I usually have better things to do.

EDIT: Oh yeah, and the best porno title that I've heard in the last week has got to be Spain in the Ass. That one's gotta be awesome.

AIM: therbmcc71

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Losing My Religion

With the holidays approaching, I have taken a long, hard look at the notion of Intelligent Design, and I have found it to be perfectly plausible. As such, I've decided to take up religion:

I am going to become a Pastafarian.

Further information on the Pastafarian religion and the Flying Spaghetti Monster (which created everything) can be found at venganza.org

I just thought I'd clue you all in before you start wishing me a Merry Christmas, and I respond to you that you cannot irrefutably prove that Jesus Christ is not the son of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

And then, if you're a girl, I might try to convert you by having you touch my noodly appendage.

AIM: therbmcc71

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I had this post all written up about why I haven't updated this blog, but it went all emo, and I don't get emo in front of other people. I'll update again someday. Maybe. Depends on whether I can ever dredge up something coherent to say.

AIM: therbmcc71

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


No, not the Van Morrison version. I was dicking around on my guitar a couple of days ago, playing A and E chords, and I found myself suddenly playing "Gloria" by Laura Branigan. And I really enjoyed it. It's terribly catchy, even twenty-four years later.

Today, some dickwad decided it was in the public interest to place a sticker on one of my fixtures at work. This is bad enough, in and of itself. However, the sticker read, "AMERICA IS NOT A NATION OF MASS IMMIGRATION," and when I read that, I just about hit the roof. I was seriously about five seconds from walking into the security office to look at the tapes and see who put that sticker there, so I could kick the guy in the head a few times while he was, no doubt, on his way to a Ku Klux Klan rally. I mean, I'm all for free speech in the home and in public, and I have no problem with the notion that this guy might be putting placards on his front lawn, come election season, advertising his intention to vote for Strom Thurmond on the segregation ticket. What I do have a problem with is the fact that this xenophobic suburban honky decided that he was going to spread the word of whatever misguided political sect he happens to by defacing things where I work.

Fucker, you live in an area where the median income is $68,656, and the racial makeup of the city is ninety-three percent white. I don't think the Mexicans are jumping the border to take your job, so fuck you, you socially retarded, very likely inbred, Oberweis-voting, closed-minded motherfucker, and don't ever let me catch you putting that sticker anywhere near me, because, unless you're a Native American, you're a goddamn hypocrite, because somewhere back in time, your ancestors came over on a boat, and I will kick you in the fucking head.

AIM: therbmcc71

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Human Touch

So I haven't posted anything in a while. I still really don't have anything to say, since I haven't seen any good movies, played any new games, or done much of anything with the sort of entertainment mumbo-jumbo that I tend to talk about here. As such, I'm going to entertain you with a relatively lengthy bit of prose from Neal Stephenson's book Cryptonomicon, which I found fairly entertaining today, for reasons that I won't go into.

DMS evinced skepticism as to moral fiber of Yours Truly, commenced with a series of probing questions aimed at establishing my commitment to Mission, fiduciary resp. to Epiphyte shareholders, level of physical & mental vigor, and overall level of "serious"-ness (being "serious" is some kind of umbrella concept strongly correlated with my fitness to live, to have the privilege of knowing DMS, and to go on dates with his daughter. This gives me an opening to mention what would normally be no one's business but my own but which in these circumstances it is ethically mandated that I disclose, namely, that i am infatuated with daughter of DMS and that while not exactly reciprocating these feelings at full strength she finds me sufficiently non-loathsome to have dinner with me from time to time. It has only occurred to me at this very moment that my pursuit of rel'nship w/the female in question, one America (sic) by name, would in context of modern U.S. society be classified as SEXUAL HARASSMENT and that if desired culmination is achieved it might be classified as SEXUAL ABUSE or RAPE owing to "power imbalance" existing between me and her. viz., Yours Truly is on Management Team of Corp that has retained Semper Marine for large job & provided them with majority of their revenue during last fiscal year. Anyone with thoughts of summoning federal authorities to apprehend me upon arrival at SFO & expose my misdeeds & subject me to public disgrace & compulsory consciousness-raising workshops is advised to acquaint himself with the Shaftoes first & to at least remain open to possibility that Dad's martial prowess in combination with traditional feelings of psychotic protectiveness toward his female offspring, combined with Daughter's habit of carrying large Palawan stabbing weapon known as a kris, and Daughter's overall psychic fierceness & physical fitness & courage exceeding that of Yours Truly, mitigate any perceived power imbalance particularly given that most of our interactions take place in settings which lend themselves admirably to discreet homicide & corpse-disposal.

I'm not sure if it's irony, per se, that's been bothering me all day, with the fact that I read that particular passage today, but I find it strangely comical, given the situation, which, again, I will not be informing you of. The fact that I've bothered to speak of it at all should make you feel particularly good, that you've been let into my little covenant of personal privacy, despite the fact that you'd have to know personal details about people and events that, statistically speaking, you're simply clueless about, because the chances that you know these particulars and have read this book, thereby understanding the significance of these particular characters with regard to real-life counterparts, either real or perceived, and then, by following my own particular twisted logical path, upon which I have left you these breadcrumbs, are quite slim. If you're reading this, you either know certain particulars, but don't follow the literary significance, of which there is a great deal, or you've read the book, but simply can't figure out why the hell I would quote precisely this section.

That's just how I work.

AIM: therbmcc71

Monday, August 14, 2006

God Only Knows

By and large, I can't stand Beach Boys music, but I've been listening to Pet Sounds for the better part of a week now, and I can't stop.

My ten-year high school reunion's coming up, and I've been having trouble coming up with a cover identity. There are really precious few people who know what I've actually been doing for the last ten years, which comprise of jack and shit, and so I've been thinking about the episode of Mad About You where Paul and Jamie are at a party and they just start lying about what they do for a living, because nobody's going to know.

Now, the way I figure it, the secret probably lies in subtlety, as it does with any good lie. I mean, you don't tell your boss that you can't come in because you've been abducted by aliens and they have a probe scheduled for 10:30. No, of course not, you sniffle a bit, tell the guy you've got a temperature and a raging headache, and your eyesight, though blurry, only returned ten minutes ago. So you tell them things that there's no possible way they can verify you're lying. Right now, the best I can come up with is that I took my federal service exam, got my clearance credentials, and now I can't actually tell them what I do, other than that I work for a part of the State department. I could probably sell this pretty well if I invented a light European accent that I could claim to have picked up while on the job, but am unable to provide further specifics, because if I did, good men could die.

Of course, you have to alter the story to fit everyone else, which is to say that you can't play your cards until they've played theirs. This is to say that if you're talking to someone who works in the Sears Tower, you have to go to your backup work location, because they'll start asking what floor you work on, and possibly want to have lunch or dinner at some point. And then you're backed into a corner. And then it always helps a great deal to have sparse, useless little details about your place of work, like the coffee shop across the street, where they seem to be completely unable to make a triple tall mocha taste like anything but what you'd imagine the pavement probably tastes like after a car peels out.

At the same time, though, it's about ninety bucks to go see people that I really haven't wanted to see at all in the last ten years. I've managed to stay in contact with most of my friends, and could probably find the others fairly quickly through a series of internet searches, most notably through that evil creation that is Myspace. I prefer blogspot/blogger because it provides me with a certain degree of anonymity, which is further obfuscated by the fact that my profile says I'm from Burundi. At this point, were I to alter it, I'd probably choose Burkina Faso instead. It's just more fun to say.

So, yeah, I don't know if I'm going to go or not. I mean, the real draw is seeing the cheerleaders and prom queens and so on, because you know they're not particularly good-looking anymore. I mean, that's just how it happens. The girl voted most likely to succeed probably put her dreams of curing cancer or inventing the longer-lasting light bulb on hold so she could take care of her alcoholic, factory-working husband. So, that's the nice thing about not having anything expected of you: Any success is a huge success.

Which gets me back to subtlety. You don't want to be a huge success. Claiming that you directed the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie is a bad idea. There will inevitably be someone who knows that's not true, despite your backtracking, claiming that Gore Verbinski stole the credit from you in a DGA arbitration hearing. However, if you claim to have directed a small independent film with some people who played secondary roles on WB shows that nobody watched, your classmate might buy that, especially if you claim that you're still shopping around for a distributor, because your post-production financing fell through when the producer ran off to the Caymans with a woman who wasn't his wife; so, now you know why even small, independent films that are shot for less than half a million dollars need completion bonds.

It's tempting; it really is, just to see how far lies can be taken with people you actually know, though not that well, anymore. And the real question is, who's bullshitting you while you're bullshitting them?

AIM: therbmcc71

Saturday, August 12, 2006


To recap what's been going on prior to this week, I picked up the VH1 Behind the Music: The Go-Go's Collection disc off of iTunes; a whopping $7.99 for eighteen tracks. I'm always quite happy when I find a deal on iTunes, and I certainly was in this case, because Belinda Carlisle was the first great love of my life, at the age of six. Girls in bands are just cool; oh, it's true.

This week, my friend and I went halvesies (halfsies?) on Dead Rising for his Xbox 360, because we were both terribly curious to see a zombie-survival game that takes place in a shopping mall. Think Grand Theft Auto 3 meets Resident Evil meets Dawn of the Dead (the original, mind you; not the recent remake) and you've got a pretty good idea of how it all breaks down. I've got some minor complaints about the game, such as the fact that it's fucking hard, the human A.I. is just as bad as the zombie A.I., and the play controls tend to be a bit wonky. Beyond that, though, is a veritable cornucopia of zombie-killing implements which, unlike Resident Evil, can often be utterly fun. Let me tell you this: The first time you kill a zombie with a shower head, you'll laugh for a good ten seconds. And the lawn mower? You bet it's just as fun as it sounds. Too bad the difficulty (which is not adjustable) ranks right around Metroid Prime, which is the only game that ever made me so mad that I threw my controller in anger.

So, this week, my truck decided that it was going to fuck up. I take that back, it was last week, but it was only this week that I was able to get it into the shop. Anyway, the symptoms basically entail driving the truck for a seemingly-arbitrary distance without any issues, until such time as the idle suddenly decides to get rough and it has problems with acceleration, with the RPM's oscillating anywhere from 1000 to about 3000 RPM, as the truck takes about twenty or thirty seconds to get up to ten miles an hour in first gear. Stopping the truck results in the idle RPM's dropping to 750 or lower, at which point the truck basically stalls out. The first time this happened, I restarted the truck about ten seconds later, and everything was behaving fine again. Okay. Maybe it's a glitch. The second time, the truck decided to wait about thirty seconds before it wanted to restart, and then it's running fine again.

So I take it into the shop this week, and it runs fine, getting it to the shop. They do a ninety dollar diagnostic, which I'm fairly certain entails hooking up a computer to the computer in my car and fixing whatever it says is broken, which they did to the tune of about $200, which means I'm down about $300 overall to fix the throttle position sensor.

So I pick it up on Thursday and drive it out to work, so I can pick up my copy of Dead Rising, as my store seems to be the only place for at least ten miles that still has a copy, and right outside of my place of work, the truck decides to go back to the problems I listed above. For three-hundred dollars, they didn't fucking fix my truck. Apparently, in the automotive industry, diagnosing a problem involves turning on the engine, looking at it briefly, then looking at a computer, and turning the truck off, replacing a part or two, turning the truck back on, looking at the computer, looking at the engine, shrugging, and then taking the majority of the money I have in my bank account.

For the trip home, I put a bottle of Gumout in the three-quarters full gas tank, which means it's going to take a long time to work through the system. As I write this, I'm fairly certain it's probably a placebo, because it ran okay the fifteen miles back to my friend's house, but after my several hours of running over zombies with a shopping cart, my truck fired up and barely made it the 400 feet back to my house.

So now I can't get the truck back into the shop until Monday, because I had to work on Friday and didn't feel like walking three or four miles home from the shop, only to have to go to work afterward, and they're not open on Saturday. To make matters worse, on Monday I'm going to have to get it towed to the mechanic, which is only going to cost me more money, unless they decide to do the nice thing and waive the towing fee for not fixing my car. And I'm not paying the diagnostic fee again.

I'm sure the throttle position sensor probably was going bad or something, but the real culprit's probably something that actually requires physical inspection or some form of a test drive. Not that it's driving anywhere right now, because the engine now sounds like it's choking to death, trying to idle at 750 RPM, when normally it's around 1000. It's probably a vacuum leak in the intake, which runs counter to my initial thought that it might be a clogged fuel filter, because the effect from that would be more noticeable at high speeds than low, and I never noticed anything until the truck tried to idle or accelerate from a stop.

I couldn't tell you if it's knocking or not, because I have no idea what a knock sounds like. Is it like a knock on a window? A knock on a wooden door? A metal one? ... I know it's not pinging, because I know what a ping would sound like, but there's about eight billion different kinds of knocks in this world, although the one that I'm currently most familiar with is the hard-knock life that I'm living right now, because I don't have anyone to scam money off of to get this fixed, in the highly likely event that it costs more than I've got. Sure, Friday was payday, but I took a day off two weeks ago so the check is noticeably lighter than usual.

In short, I'm really mad right now, so I'm going to cook myself a Tombstone pizza (yes, at 6:30 in the morning), and watch a movie that involves a great deal of senseless violence. Really, I'd like to watch Se7en, but I can't find my nifty double-disc copy. Instead, I figure I'm probably going to settle for Matrix Reloaded, followed by a helping of Unforgiven, because you have to balance out the mediocre with the good. ... Maybe I'll watch V for Vendetta again, because, yes, it's that damn good.

And then I'm going to sleep, and then I'm going to wake up, and then I'm going to sit around and mope, because I really don't have the money to do anything more extravagant than that, because I dread what it's going to cost to fix my car... provided they actually fucking fix the goddamn thing this time. ... I'm so fucking mad.

AIM: therbmcc71

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Living After Midnight

I have to work in four hours. Stupid days off screwing up my sleep schedule. I've spent the last forty-eight hours doing as little as humanly possible, with the exception of watching movies, eating, and playing videogames. This is how everyone should live, but, sadly, I must go back to work. Stupid work.

V for Vendetta was pretty good, though I'd have never pegged it as being a Wachowski Brothers production if the marketing people hadn't shoved that down my throat. As it stands, it's really how an Alan Moore adaptation should be done, despite the fact that Moore's name appears nowhere in any of the credits, by his own request. As such, should anyone ever make a Watchmen movie, he might want to think about changing his lack of a title-credit to something more along the lines of 'Not based on any sort of work by Alan Moore; do not believe anyone who says otherwise.'

I've also been playing MLB 2k6 for my friend's Xbox 360. Playing it on a widescreen 19" LCD, it's pretty obvious that there are significant graphical improvements over the current generation of consoles, but it mostly gets lost when being output to NTSC. Given the fact that it's going to be six or seven years until I can afford a high-def television of at least twenty-five inches, being able to output to an LCD monitor is certainly a welcome thing, but it still tacks another two hundred dollars on to the pricetag of a unit that's already four-hundred. Top that off with the fact that the games cost sixty bucks a pop, and you're looking at a significant dollar investment that I'm not personally willing to make. Bring on the new system, Nintendo.

I've been playing Simcity 4 again, and I've no idea why. The game is totally devoid of any fun, whatsoever. It's gone in fifteen or so years from being a game to being a full-blown urban-planning simulation. And, while it's certainly interesting to monitor funds, lay out streets, and place various city services, it's simply not fun. It's as though my brain says, "I need a workout, so just think of boobs for a while as I decide optimal placement for this commercial district."

Finally, I'm really excited about the next episode of Half-Life 2, for the simple reason that the Portal movie I saw a couple weeks ago is a marked improvement on Half-Life 2 as it is. Shooters, by and large, are similar to the point where they're just reflex-exercises. Portal, on the other hand, appears to turn the Half-Life 2 engine into almost a puzzle-game, which piqued the hell out of my interest. I note this, because Joystiq (and later Slashdot) pointed the way to an interview over at IGN (excuse me while I vomit, briefly) with Kim Swift of Valve. I'm not sure which I found more interesting: Portal in general, or the fact that this is proof that women actually work in videogame development in roles other than marketing, clerical, voice-acting or anything else along those lines (note: you cannot use the Stevie Case card against me, because she's not in the business anymore). One can only hope that eventually we'll get back to a sort of Sierra-esque heyday, where women will be back in lead design roles, but that day ain't here yet.

Very Nearly a Postscript: New Nina Gordon album on the 8th! Four songs are up for listen at her Myspace locale, so you should go check that out. Maybe you could be her friend... God, I hate Myspace, but I've mentioned that several times before, but I can't totally hate it as long as Nina Gordon's on there. Yeah, also like I've said before, I'm a sucker for girls with guitars.

AIM: therbmcc71

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Tonight and the Rest of My Life

So anyway, it was karaoke night, and I'm tremendously drunk; so drunk, I might add, that I was surfing iTunes for something to listen to while I go to sleep, and I came across some startling knowledge of such paramount importance that I thought you all have to know. Yes, both of you have to know:

The new Nina Gordon album comes out on the 8th. Yes!!! After six years, I've finally got the new Nina Gordon album I've been waiting for; Bob Rock production and everything. Oh, sure, you can slag Bob Rock all you want for being just a producer for Metallica and Motley Crue and the like, but you probably didn't read his little credit in the liner notes for Tonight and the Rest of My Life, did you? No, certainly not. I will accept your apology, as I did about seven years ago when I was saying, "No, seriously, Belinda Carlisle's gotta still be hot," and then she posed for Playboy. I was right then, and I'm right now.Link

In the event that you didn't pick up on my hint to go dig up Nina's cover of "Straight Outta Compton," I'm sorry, because I don't know what to tell you, because I'm not sure that I could find it at this point. However, four tracks off of her new album are up over at her site on Myspace, which I will link to, despite the fact that I believe Myspace is a cancer and reminds me entirely too much of a high school hallway, completely bereft of information; merely full of comments like, "Hey, man, what's up!" "How ya doin', man!" "Didn't see you at the bar last night!" "I'll be at the bar next week!" And so on.

But I digress.

I reckon you should go listen to at least one of the songs over at Nina Gordon's Myspace ... um, space, because my taste in music is impeccable. Well, maybe not so much, as I'm still reeling from that Black 47 incident about fifteen or so years ago. But seriously, this shit's good. Go listen, then go buy it on the 8th. And buy me one, too. And, should you buy me one, and someone else has already bought me one, then give mine to someone in need; preferably someone with poor musical taste, who has been buying CD's by people who won the American Idol competition or some shit like that.

AIM: therbmcc71

Friday, July 21, 2006

Back In Time

All righty, and it's been something like a month since my last post, and I'd desperately like to say that I've been terribly busy with new, important, and fantastically interesting things, but I'm sorry to say that's not the case. I've been doing karaoke on Saturday nights, and pretty much playing videogames, working, and sleeping most of the rest of my time.

That said, here's a rundown of the media I've been checking out for the last month:
  • Pulse, the recently-released DVD of a Pink Floyd concert from the Division Bell tour, circa 1995, showed me exactly why it is that Floyd concerts have such a stunningly awesome (one might call it "stuponfucious") light show, and that is because the guys in the band play huge arenas, and they don't move. They don't play to the crowd; they pretty much just play, and the audience is so fucking baked that they don't care. All the audience wants is flying pigs and shit. ... I should clarify that: There is not flying shit, just pigs and various other sundry oddities.
  • I powered up my Gamecube for the first time in over a year, because my nephew rented Cars, which really isn't bad, as movie adaptations go. However, since I had the thing plugged in and running, I decided to get back into Metroid: Prime 2, which is the only game that's ever made me so angry that I threw my controller. It's still one of the best games I've ever played. Today, I bought Super Smash Bros. Melee, and it's a very nice fighting game, though the only reason I'm remotely competent at it is the fact that it basically rewards button-mashing, which is the bane of any fighting game fan's existence, as there are no ten-string combos to master, and there is essentially no meaningful health meter. True fighting game fans apparently hate the notion of a "ring out," and that's all you get in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
    • I hope my niece grows up to be a badass like Samus.
  • I've been watching Neon Genesis Evangelion again. Next to Robotech, which I've adored since my childhood, it's easily my favorite Japanese animated series of all time, even though Shinji, the series' protagonist, is a total pansy. I don't know, maybe it's the girls.
  • I saw Superman Returns ... twice. Seriously, it's that damn good, and y'all are missing out. It's not quite as good as the second X-Men movie or Batman Begins, but it's certainly a far cry better than Daredevil or the first X-Men movie. It's good. Seriously. Go watch it before it's out of the theaters. I liked it so much, I got the soundtrack. But then again, I've always been a sucker for well-done superhero soundtracks (read: Danny Elfman's Batman score, not that fucked up disc Prince put out).
  • I've been anxiously awaiting the Nintendo Wii. Again, I no longer hate the name, but I think that's only because it's fun to say Wii-mote. New Mario, new Zelda, new Metroid... oh, it's gonna be a fun Christmas for me.
In any event, that's probably not all I wanted to get to, but I have to be at work in three and a half hours, so I'm going to take a nap. Next time I take a look at this page, I'm going to take a look at what links I've got on the right side and check to see which ones are dead, and which ones are still worth having. If yours is absent, yet worth having, please leave a comment by the end of July, and I'll consider you for a prestigious link on the right column. Yes, wouldn't it be nice to be linked to from a site that used to get fifty hits a day? Now all I get are people looking for things like Ben Affleck's underwear and pictures of Jenna Von Oy naked. I don't know how that happens.

Oh, wait, yes I do. It's called Google bait. Unfortunately, the people that it reels in are illiterate.

AIM: therbmcc71

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Twistin' the Night Away

I'm on a Sam Cooke kick tonight, probably because tomorrow night is karaoke night, though I'm fairly certain there isn't any Sam Cooke to be had in the Saturday Night Music Club catalog. However, tomorrow night at the bowling alley, I will be singing my usual Eric Cartman version of "Come Sail Away," though I'm fairly certain that I'm going to preface this with "Kyle's Mom's a Bitch," as well as a couple of other songs I generally wouldn't sing (read: 1960's soul music).

I'm pissed off, because I put a quarter-inch ding in my laptop screen, which I'm going to see forever. It's like a focal point once you know it's there. I can't help it, but my eyes are just drawn to it, like a reminder of how I managed to fuck up my screen. Oh, sure, I could fix it, but it's not worth the $300 to completely replace the screen. It pisses me off, but I have my limits.

The World Cup is on this week, and ... yeah, I really don't give a shit. Yes, I am American, which means my love affair with soccer (note: not football, futbol, or any other spelling of such) ended when I was about ten years old, at which point videogames effectively took over my life. That America is now officially out of the World Cup tournament isn't much of a shock, nor am I terribly disappointed, given that Brandi Chastain isn't on the team. Yes, my happiest memories of soccer involve the U.S. Women's World Cup team, particularly the part where Brandi Chastain whipped her shirt off (stupid sports bra).

I'm about halfway through season five of X-Files, and it's all part of my plan to watch all of the episodes (nine seasons' worth, plus the movie) and determine precisely where it was that the show jumped the shark, if at all. Now, since I'm not one of those people who gets particularly attached to stars of a show, I think that I could probably evaluate it strictly from a writing and production standpoint, and might possibly come to the conclusion that the show was still good at the end, when David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were no longer on the show. For the time being, though, I'm really quite happy with the series, as I'm about a dozen episodes from watching the movie, which takes place between seasons five and six.

I've spent about the last week being sick. I'm getting better, but for a couple of days, I seriously thought I had mesothelioma or black lung or something along those lines. I've gone from having stuffy sinuses and a dry cough to a wet cough with dry sinuses, and I'm trying to figure out which one is worse. At this point, I'm still not fully convinced that I don't have tuberculosis (or, as I prefer to call it, consumption).

I've been playing Galactic Civilizations II for the last couple of days on my PC, and it's eating my life. It's a very nice game, but I'm not all that happy with the tech-tree, which is more like tech-lines, since there are never multiple requirements for advancing a piece of scientific knowledge. This was one of the things that Civilization 4 got absolutely right (along with most everything else). I mean, I can't really say it's a bad tech system, since everything makes sense, but I find that I haven't been getting into knock-down drag-out brawls with my opponents. I've just been winning the game too quickly, and that's not satisfying. That I've been working my way up from the lowest difficulty setting is probably a good part of this, as I understand the opponents' AI gets to be a real bitch around the Tough difficulty level.

Anyway, it's late, so I'm going to get some sleep and go do karaoke in about eighteen or so hours.

AIM: therbmcc71

Friday, June 09, 2006


So, no shit, there I was (all stories become ten times better when started with this phrase) at the bowling alley after work. I occasionally go there after work for a beer because it's the quietest bar around, but tonight I was drinking in the bowling alley proper because there was a private party in the bowling alley bar. Yeah, draw your own conclusions about that. But I digress.

Anyway, I'm standing at one of the tables, drinking my beer, smoking my cigarette, and this elderly woman walks up to the right of me and says, "Mind if I look at your balls for a second?" and immediately reaches toward my crotch. Now, the fact escapes me momentarily that this is the most action I've gotten in a long time, so I jump back a good three feet as I process the words I've just heard, attempting not to cough up my Rolling Rock while this processing is going on. It's not an easy task, let me tell you. She goes about fondling the bowling balls near where my crotch was until only seconds prior, while I attempt to hold in all of the comments I'd have said to her if she'd been about half a century younger. Instead, I stand about a yard away, still holding the sort of look of revulsion on my face that Butt-Head would get upon watching a Richard Marx video. Finding no balls that will satisfy her, she moves on.

I just thought I'd share that story with you before I sober up and forget it.

AIM: therbmcc71

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Stuck in a Movie You Can't Get Out Of

I will preface this post with an excerpt from Roger Ebert's review of North:
I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.
In a nutshell, this is my exact opinion of Underworld: Evolution. It is quite possibly the most tremendously awful movie I have ever seen in my life, even worse than Arlington Road, and that's taking into account the fact that Kate Beckinsdale spends the entire movie traipsing around in a tight black leather outfit. I sometimes see masterpieces of cinema and can't think afterwards of any way that the film could have been improved upon, and I felt much the same way with this one, short of perhaps throwing the script out and setting the production team out in the desert to be picked off by vultures.

One of the quotes I found on Rotten Tomatoes (the aggregated score for Underworld: Evolution being a whopping 15%) was from Paul Arendt of the BBC, who said, "So dedicated to its ludicrously convoluted plot that it takes half an hour to explain what the hell is going on." I watched this movie for an hour and forty minutes, and I still don't know what the fuck was going on. Maybe I forgot some huge details from the first movie, and I was tempted for a moment to watch it again, and then I realized that doing so would only cause my brain further injury, quite possibly leading me into my kitchen to find various cutting implements with which I could take my own life.

About an hour into the film, I made various observations, including, but not limited to:
  1. If not for the vapid fight sequences, this movie would be five minutes long by now.
  2. Derek Jacobi is in this movie. He's one of the great Shakespearean actors (as well as a Knight of the British Empire), and he's been reduced to this.
  3. This movie follows absolutely none of the usual rules of werewolves or vampires. More on that in a moment, though, as the tangent I'm about to go on is far more entertaining than this movie.
  4. The director really has a thing for cutting people's heads in half.
  5. What the hell is the monster from Jeepers Creepers doing in this movie?
  6. I wonder if it was in the script that Scott Speedman has to rip off his shirt before going into battle as his half-werewolf, half-vampire self. Like the Incredible Hulk, he does nothing about his pants, and they're still quite intact after the fight, but his shirt must be removed before he can begin fighting werewolves, vampires, or Creed fans who think he's Scott Stapp.
Getting back to point number three, it really annoys me when movies can't establish general rules for vampires and/or werewolves (or various other types of monsters) and then follow them. I mean, as much as I dislike Lost Boys, at least they set down the rules. Oh, sure, the Underworld movies have this thing for ultraviolet ammunition that's built to kill vampires (which means 'goodbye humanity' if they ever get their hands on good sunblock), and I'll admit that separating the head from the body is a generally accepted means of killing vampires, but I don't think dumping bullets into werewolves quite cuts it. Seriously, what ever happened to the basic tenet that you had to use silver for werewolves and wooden stakes for vampires?

This led to other questions about basic vampire vulnerabilities:
  1. Why do some vampire stories or movies do the whole "vampires hate garlic" thing? Why do they hate garlic? Is it the smell? Does this make Olive Garden a safe place to hang out when you're being pursued by the bloodthirsty undead?
  2. And then there's the matter of vampires who can't enter your home unless they're invited in. This was one of those Lost Boys things that didn't seem to go anywhere but Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This begs the question, what qualifies as a home? I can see how owning a house would keep the vampires out, but what if you've got a mortgage, making the house technically the bank's? How about if you're renting an apartment; does there have to be a lease, or can you just go month to month? Better yet, if you've checked into a hotel, can they just bust your door down? Do you have to stay in the room for a few days before you're (in vampire legalese) living there, or do you just have to unpack your bags? Can a vampire just hypmotize you and get you to take three steps out of the room? What about the hotel hallway; is that a general common area, or is the vampire unable to wander the halls unless he, too, has stopped by the front desk and gotten himself a room? Why do vampires always resort to trickery to get people out of their houses, when throwing a molotov cocktail or a tear-gas grenade through a window would do the same thing and probably in less time? No one has ever made any of this clear.
  3. If you play up the damnation angle, holy water against vampires makes perfectly good sense. At the same time, though, the only time this has ever been used effectively was when the master thespians Coreys Haim and Feldman loaded up Super-Soakers with the stuff.
  4. Is it innate vampiric nature that every vampire has to be a morose motherfucker? I mean, look at Interview with the Vampire: Sure, Lestat's having a pretty good time, but everyone else is like, "Oh, god, it sucks to be a vampire; cursed to walk the night, preying on humanity, blah, blah, blah..." Perhaps their great depression is caused by a lack of Vitamin D, which we all know is magically created by the human body through exposure to sunlight. At the same time, I'm sure vampires could probably take supplements for that.
  5. In the Underworld movies, the vampires often take the moral high-ground by not eating people who don't deserve it; rather, they enjoy a nice blood cocktail out of a transfusion bag, due to the fact that apparently vampires run blood banks all over the world. Anyway, they never suck the blood out of even recently-dead people, but there they go with their refrigerated blood-packs. Do the blood-packs have an expiration date? If the blood donor was a heavy drinker of Vitamin D milk, would that help make the vampire more chipper?
  6. Has there ever in recorded history (albeit fictitious) been an overweight vampire? Why is it that their hair is always so nicely moussed, even during mortal combat?
  7. Scott Speedman is half-vampire, half-werewolf, and at one point has sex with Kate Beckinsdale. Does the werewolf half of him like it doggy-style? ... Oh, you know you made that joke the last time you saw a werewolf movie, just just get down off of your pulpit.
Yes, I know I spelled 'hypmotize' incorrectly. This was for comedic effect. Your mileage may vary.

In short, Underworld: Evolution makes Cursed look like The Howling. It makes Tales from the Crypt: Bordello of Blood look like Near Dark. It makes movies like Tango & Cash look good. In the immortal words of Geena Davis, "Be afraid. Be very afraid."

At least there's good news, and it has nothing to do with saving money on car insurance: I bought The Complete U2 through iTunes for a whopping $150, but it's 446 songs, clocking in at over thirty-five hours, including albums, EP's, b-sides, rarities, unreleased stuff, and it's just phenomenal. No, you can't have a copy, because that would entail way more work than you're probably worth, and everyone's already asked, anyway.

AIM: therbmcc71

Friday, May 26, 2006

Workin' for a Livin'

The only thing that came out this week that was remotely worth buying was the Huey Lewis & the News Greatest Hits album. This has left me sitting at home over the course of my two days off this week with little to do other than surf the internet and covet the black MacBook and sneer at its $1500 price tag. I mean, seriously, it's an awful week for a media addict, such as myself.

Def Leppard rolled out an album called Yeah! this week, and it's all cover songs from groups like Blondie, ELO, T. Rex, Sweet, Roxy Music... acts like that. And, if that does it for you, great, but I'm not going anywhere near a Def Leppard album that wasn't produced by Mutt Lange. Furthermore, Yeah! features a cover of "Rock On," which should have been the primary test for Yucca Mountain's ability to contain toxic shit when it was covered by soap opera actor Michael Damian about fifteen or twenty years ago, back when Coreys Haim and Feldman could headline movies that would achieve actual theatrical release.

I still haven't picked up a bunch of albums off of iTunes, such as a John Denver box-set that's inexplicably priced at $9.99, or Bryan Adams' Unplugged album for $5.99. There's a bunch of other stuff, too, of varying levels of quality and general acceptability, all of which I chalk up to the fact that this whole Huey Lewis thing this week has left me with a bizarre urge to pick up a bunch of 80's music, possibly to counter the fact that absolutely nothing worth buying came out on DVD this week (with apologies to World Wrestling Entertainment; I will not be buying Wrestlemania 22).

I have no closer for this post. Sure, I could talk about how the two Enron guys have been convicted, but that's just not any fun. And, I could go on a rampage about how the Justice department raided a Democratic congressman's office, but won't because, according to an Associated Press story, "the FBI said it had videotaped Jefferson last summer taking $100,000 in bribe money and that agents had found $90,000 of that cash stuffed in a freezer in his home."

The FBI has stated that there is apparently no need, as the investigation goes on, to freeze the assets of Congressman Jefferson, as he's already done so for them. Yeah, that's right, if this was the Apollo, they'd be yanking my ass offstage with that big hook for making a joke that bad.

AIM: therbmcc71

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Build Me Up Buttercup

By and large, my night of karaoke... was shit. I mean, it was garbage from beginning to very nearly the end. The Commitments' version of "Hard To Handle" is generally pretty easy for me, but I couldn't hold it together until the last part of the song. And then I was going to sing the Barenaked Ladies' "If I Had a Million Dollars," but I apparently, being relatively drunk, wrote down the wrong song number and ended up singing "Ice, Ice Baby." I wasn't bad. "If I Had a Million Dollars" ended up being a duet with the karaoke guy, and it was okay. And then came The Foundations' "Build Me Up Buttercup," which was fitting for the time, but still not very good.

Ah, but then came the piece de resistance, the Eric Cartman version of "Come Sail Away." Oh, god, was I good. I got a standing ovation, though I'm not sure of whether it was because I did a good job, or because no one else would ever have the balls (or the blood alcohol content) to attempt it. Regardless, I'm pretty sure I was damn good.

I'd bitch about the rest of my night, but I make it a habit of not talking about my personal life on my blog. I'd say call me for details, but I'm not planning on picking up the phone for about a week, unless I can be pretty sure that you're you, and not one of the people I don't want to talk to. Basically, if you didn't see me tonight, go ahead and call, but don't expect much, because I'd just as soon put it all behind me. Except the Cartman thing, because I was fabulous.

AIM: therbmcc71

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hard Times

So it's been a while since I posted, and that's ... as much as I'd like to say that I've had a social life, that's largely untrue. I went out to see Five Year Jacket, and bookended that weekend with weekends of karaoke, in both of which I set new standards for bad renditions of Wilson Pickett songs.

I got my 40 Years of Avengers DVD-ROM, and it kicks considerably more ass than the Fantasic Four anthology I got several months ago. While the Avengers series went through its ups and downs, like any comic book, I can unequivocally say that it's a generally good series, whereas Fantastic Four hasn't been consistently good since the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby administration. As a whole, I rate it as being on par or slightly above Uncanny X-Men, as a series, though it never really hits the emotional points that the past ten years of X-Men, given that the latter has always been a book about tolerance, and they've really been hitting that point in the last decade, though occasionally to the point where it almost gets annoying. Next up is the reissue of 40 Years of Amazing Spider-Man, which is even more consistently good, with the exception of anything having to do with clones or non-Venom symbiotes.

Yeah, eat that, fanboys.

In technomological news, the Nintendo Wii (a name I will never like, but will unfortunately have to use) looks terribly nifty, with a new Mario game, a new Zelda game, a new Metroid game, and a couple of other games that look very interesting (and several I can do without). The special secret of its controller turns out to be... yeah, it's got a speaker built in. Ooh, ahh... If not for the fact that the games and the controller kick so much ass, I wouldn't be terribly excited. Well, then there's the 'virtual console', which will have Genesis and TurboGrafx games, so at least I'll be able to play some Altered Beast between games of tennis and golf. Wise fwom your gwave....

Meanwhile, the Sony Playstation 3 is slated to cost five-hundred bucks for the model with a twenty-gigabyte hard drive, and six-hundred for "the good version," complete with a multi-card reader, sixty-gig hard drive, and HDMI-out for running 1080p televisions, which are so absurdly pricey that $600 is pocket change. Sure, it'll have Final Fantasy XIII, but that'll be out around the time "the good version" is down to $400.

In other E3 news, the Xbox 360 still sucks.

In movie news, I picked up Final Fantasy: Advent Children, and it's still astounding, though I pretty much just watch the last forty-five minutes over and over again. Fuck the plot. Seriously, it's like Titanic, where you can watch the first half and get all of that plot mumbo-jumbo, but the real movie starts when everything totally goes to shit and Bahamut comes out to rain hell on everyone's day.

I picked up Munich tonight, because Tarzhay didn't have any copies of The New World. I haven't watched it yet, but I'm really hoping for a movie that I can sit back and absorb, as opposed to most of the stuff where I feel like I'm sitting on a ride.

There's this album on iTunes, Us and Them, which is symphonic Pink Floyd, which only occasionally resembles Floyd's original work, and I can't figure out whether or not I want to spring the ten bucks to buy it. I mean, one of my primary reasons for wanting it is because Pink Floyd, for me, is better than Valium, and I figure that a symphonic version would be even better, but this album is very brassy. I don't sleep well to horn sections.

If I ever have a son, I want to name him Lord Kelvin, because that's just a badass name.

I'm drunk right now.

If you're an MMO player, and you know if you are, you should read this blog, because this is seriously what the GM's think of you. I recommend starting with the oldest posts in the archive and working your way up. If you don't know what 'MMO' means, this paragraph does not apply to you.

Last night, David Blaine attempted to beat some kind of underwater breath-holding record. Not only did he fail, but he couldn't even bump the ratings up a few points by drowning in his eight-foot snow-globe.

The season finale for Veronica Mars was even better than expected. It's the best show on television, you should have watched it. I say this, because I know you didn't. Shame on you. Yes, I know House is a very popular television show, and I'd like to be Dr. House almost as much as I'd like to be Simon Cowell, but Veronica Mars is one of those shows that's just surprisingly really good. The first season might still be $22.99 at Tarzhay, but I'm not sure. I think there's a massive sale on Warner Bros. television box-sets through around the 21st or 22nd of May, so pick it up if it's still on sale. No, I'm not sure, because I don't work in that section.

There are apparently a large number of people at work, including people almost twenty years older than myself, who have no idea that Poseidon is a remake, let alone one that had no good reason for being made.

All righty. I have to be at work in six hours, so I'm going to go to bed. I'm quite sure I've forgotten several links that I've found over the past several weeks, but they'll just have to wait until such time as I remember them..

AIM: therbmcc71

Friday, April 28, 2006


So you say you want a Revolution? Well, you're not going to get it, because Nintendo made the bizarrely questionable decision to name its new console "Wii," which is pronounced the same as "we," which also functions as British slang for urination. Oh, sure, it's also pronounced the same as the French word for "yes," but that doesn't make it any less stupid. No, it makes it even more stupid, because it's French.

In any case, let me just state for the record, in case you couldn't tell already, that I hate this new name. I really, really hate it. And I'm pretty sure that the reason I hate it stems from the fact that I'm American.

See, if you're from another country, you have to realize that we in America love the word revolution. We wrote the book on it. We have a holiday commemorating it. Oh, sure, the French had their revolution, but they were just copying ours. Other countries have revolutions, but usually they're just coup d'états of the military variety, after which nothing really changes, except for maybe the person in charge of the country, replacing one corrupt regime with another. As such, I really liked the name Revolution. It had moxie, or whatever the appropriate word is, ever since Tarzhay invented an overpriced chocolate brand named Choxie, which made me hate the word "moxie" forever.

I mean, seriously. How are people in the business of videogames supposed to sell a console named Wii? "What do you want to play with this Christmas? A Playstation 3? No, you want to play with your Wii." Seriously, even trying to sell something with such a stupid name to people who don't know what the fuck you're talking about will be damn near impossible. I mean, I'm a big fan of the concept of the console, given that the Happy Trees guy is supposed to have a painting game for it, but this is a marketing clusterfuck on the level of the Atari Jaguar claiming to be a 64-bit machine (it wasn't... not remotely, unless you know nothing about computing, whereas you could make a case for it being a 224-bit system).

But I digress. Nintendo, you're being retarded. Could you please change the name back to Revolution, at least in America? I don't want to walk into a store the day after Thanksgiving and, when asked what I'm going to be buying, I'm going to have to reply, "I'm taking a Wii."

AIM: therbmcc71

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Combat Drop

Still alive, but there's really not a great deal to talk about. This week I bought the score to Aliens, my Avengers DVD-ROM still hasn't shipped, and nothing came out on DVD this week that was worth buying. "What about Hostel?" you ask? Get the hell out of here, I don't know you!

The band's playing at the Venice Tavern tonight (Saturday), and then next Saturday at the Tiger Club. Both should be a good time, but I really have to get to the Venice Tavern earlier, because it took me a couple of hours to get a seat the last time. If you're in the Aurora metropolitan area, you should really go.

I've also gone back to playing World of Warcraft on a semi-regular basis, focusing primarily on my priest, Father Karras. Yes, it's an Exorcist joke, but it's not nearly as clever as naming my Tauren druid Cowardly, or my Tauren warrior Cowasaki. Cowasaki, I think, is the best World of Warcraft name ever; it's just a pity I fucking hate playing warriors. I also started a warlock, but really haven't found myself that enthralled with it yet. Maybe I just don't like playing squishies.

I just took an air compressor to my friend's computer, eliciting a massive gray cloud as soon as I hit the CPU. And he wonders why his system was seizing while playing World of Warcraft. It's bad enough that he runs his rig with the case open and has something like four cats. Thankfully, that's mitigated by the fact that the only cat that ever comes downstairs anymore is Yokozuna, the fattest cat I've ever personally seen.

The big electronics boat reset at Tarzhay is supposed to happen next week, and I'm really hoping that we start carrying the Nikon D50 digital-SLR camera, so I can give people an honest answer when they ask me what kind of camera they should get. I'm still considering getting a Canon Digital Rebel XT, but I'd almost rather take that eight-hundred bucks and throw it toward getting a dual-core laptop later in the year. To think that I've had this laptop for about six months, and I'm already considering replacing it. Damn you, cult of Apple! Damn you and your ever-improving technology! ... Now, if they can just make it in black, I'll be really happy.

Final Fantasy: Advent Children is still coming out on Tuesday, and all of the guys in the electronics section at work are very excited. Most of us have seen it already, having watched the release date slip time and again, ultimately resorting to downloading copies of it from the internet. My copy is astoundingly good, but it takes up a couple of gigabytes of storage on my laptop that I'd really like to have back. It's the most phenomenally badass movie I've ever seen in my life, though. Maybe I'll watch Appleseed later and some other anime tomorrow (probably Ghost in the Shell 2) just to start preparing for its release.

AIM: therbmcc71

Monday, April 10, 2006

Come Pick Me Up

I really don't have much to update with, other than the fact that the Pirate Radio set was every bit as good as expected. That is to say that it's nothing short of fantastic, given that this is the Pretenders we're talking about. In other news, my 40 Years of the Avengers disc has been delayed yet again, going from 3/31 to 4/7 to "mid-April." Fuckers. I haven't yet gotten a digital-SLR, either, as the Canon Digital Rebel XT currently has a mail-in rebate that doesn't require my purchase until the end of July. One of my friends has one, so I'm going to fiddle around with it sometime this week and see how I like it. I'd still prefer a camera that's got some heft to it, but don't really want to spend the extra $400 for a magnesium-alloy body.

I haven't been back to That's Just Not Right since my world went into total-clusterfuck mode, and I've been turning off my instant-messaging utility for extensive periods of time, because I just don't feel like dealing with people on the internet for the time being.

Ooh, big news at Tarzhay. So, yesterday I missed some fun (they always have fun on my day off) when one of the service-desk guys got taken out in handcuffs by the cops. He'd apparently been picking up receipts somehow and keying in the items as gift-returns, which thereby put the amount on to a giftcard, which he then pocketed. In small amounts, I'm sure this would be hard for the company to trace, but he decided at one point to return a $150 chair, which the store doesn't carry, which meant the back-room probably noticed that it never got back there for shipping back to... wherever that shit goes. Anyway. So then he makes the mistake of taking these giftcards and using them to buy stuff with his discount, which sets off all sorts of flags in asset-protection, because the giftcards were the result of returned items for which no employee discount was ever used. It's a hard rule to explain, but it doesn't set off any alarms if you do it the way asset-protection asks you to. Unless you're a dumbass like this guy and you're returning things you never bought, all while you're standing under a fucking camera. Dumbass.

So, yeah, he got taken away in handcuffs by the police, because they checked how much he'd bought with giftcards that were issued by himself, and it was a lot of money. Not sure if it's like felony-level kind of stuff, but I think they're going to be telling stories about this guy for a few years as an example of what not to do when you're thinking about how you'd like your job to be more financially rewarding.

Anyway, I'm going to go to bed, because I'm probably going to head out for coffee in the morning or early afternoon. Yes, I'm quite the social butterfly lately, going so far as to actually singing at karaoke night on Friday. Yes, it was "Mustang Sally" again, and I really should have done "In the Midnight Hour," but my singing was pretty lousy, regardless; sort of like the time I made the very unwise decision to try and do "Try a Little Tenderness," which I can't hold together at all. This wasn't quite that bad, but it was bad, nonetheless. Was I as bad as the guy who seemed like he'd never heard "Walk This Way" before? No. Or the guy who sang "Luck Be a Lady" so badly that Frank Sinatra actually walked in and gave the guy the finger before returning to his grave? Certainly not. But, by my exacting standards, it was pretty bad. Another two or three beers, I would've been great. I would've probably fallen to the floor halfway through the song, but I could've just written it off as a James Brown kind of performance.

Anyway. I'm going to go now, and watch the remainder of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, which is a wholly unremarkable film in virtually every respect. I'm sure that one of these days, I'll dig out my copy of the book and come to much the same conclusion. I also bought the special-edition version of Crash (Haggis, not Cronenberg), and I've yet to watch that. I figured I might as well pick it up, given that it won a few Oscars. This week is the special-edition Mission: Impossible, which I have to get, because I still think the first movie is fucking awesome, thank you very much, Brian DePalma. Okay, so the helicopter chase through the chunnel leaves a bit to be desired, but it's still a pretty good suspense film for about three-quarters of the movie. The following week is apparently the HD-DVD release of a couple of movies, for those three people who will have HD-DVD players by that time, and then the following week is the release of Advent Children, which will have me absolutely giddy.

In the meantime, though, I'm going to bed. No, seriously, I am. And, if nothing else, my laptop is going to make me go to bed, as it's down to about a ten percent charge, which gives me about ... another twenty or so minutes to fuck around on the internet, but I can't do that if I'm busy telling you about my day. So there. Go read something interesting, like videogame news from Joystiq.

AIM: therbmcc71

Monday, April 03, 2006

The First Cut is the Deepest

I've had a really rough last couple of days, so I don't have any funny to spare anyone, outside of my little instant-messenger club. I've been watching Grey's Anatomy for the last couple of days, and I find myself looking up medical terminology like 'central venous catheter' and 'Seldinger technique' on Wikipedia. This is yet another category of Wikipedia that I'd never previously tapped into.

Because of the degree of severity with which life has slapped me around this week, I have found it necessary to spend money, and so my PC should be finished downloading the Pretenders' Pirate Radio box set (fifty bucks from iTunes), and I placed my order for the 40 Years of Avengers DVD-ROM from Tales of Wonder. Hopefully that ships soon, since it's been delayed a couple of times already. I'm still hoping that, sometime in the next couple of weeks (though it'll probably be more than that), Tarzhay starts stocking the Nikon D50 digital SLR, because I really want one.

This week, I've met people that range from terribly interesting to deserving to be knocked da' fuck out, and I've seen things that I simply don't understand in the least, and I've seen on a television screen what is the single coolest thing that I have ever seen in my life. I've lied to members of my family, or at least gave them the Soviet version of the truth.

I've myself contemplating the forces of the universe, ultimately waxing poetic on the nature of lightning, and I don't understand how I hadn't done so prior. I've found King Kong to be one of the best movies I've ever seen in my entire life. Twelve-minute doses of Robot Chicken can get you through most bad days. Chrissie Hynde is the only person in the world who can do a cover of any song in recorded history and make it better than the original. The random article link on Wikipedia is the doorway behind which the secrets of the universe are kept.

AIM: therbmcc71

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Trapped in the Closet

This thread has been edited for the purpose of making it easier for people to find the information that they're actually looking for.

In other news, I've declared war on the front-page management over at That's Just Not Right, because the front page hasn't been updated in over a month. The war would be ongoing, but unfortunately a cease-fire was ordered by said management, since they can lock down threads at their leisure. In the meantime, though, I'm kicking around some ideas for layout and timing for release. Notes are as follow, and are a substitution to my original statement that the front page needs either a superstar or boobs in order to get people to look at it again.

This is my call for the head of John the Baptist, or whomever happens to be responsible for running the site into the fucking ground:

I like the way The Escapist releases once a week, and then tacks on another couple of articles for good measure, if they feel like it. The articles are terribly informative, and the site doesn't get bogged down with trying to report ultra-current news. Current news doesn't work with a weekly publication, because people who are interested in that news have already read it somewhere else. So the site is pretty much entirely editorial (much to the dismay of Trip Hawkins). I also love the design of the front page at The Escapist, given that it fits perfectly into a 1024 by 768 browser window. I don't necessarily care for their navigation system on the bottom-right corner, but it's standardized throughout the site, which probably a good thing.

And it's got ads. Advertising revenue is necessary to any major endeavor that involves pushing massive amounts of bandwidth. However, because of the nature of the site and its attempt to be similar to an actual magazine, you flip through ads in much the same manner that you would in a paper magazine. Flip the page, "Oh, look, there's an ad for Ford Racing," and you move on after you briefly look at it. It's obtrusive, and yet it's not, and it's so slick that you actually look at it for a second, as opposed to those Google ads, or banners, or anything like that. This is one of those cases where advertising on the internet works.

So I think, and not strictly because of The Escapist, but more because of logistics and overall look, that TJNR should release weekly, setting deadlines of two to three days beforehand so that someone (or multiple people) can handle layout and graphics. I think that Movable Type is crap, and it needs to die, as far as that site is concerned. The downside to layout is the amount of front-end that it needs, which reminds me of updating and then archiving my blog manually, back when I was running it through AOL. Of course, that I was on dialup, trying to update a blog that had an index file that routinely exceeded 100 kilobytes was half of my problem (that the layout was totally unoriginal was the other half). Yes, a weekly release effectively kills any notion of doing movie or DVD reviews, but everybody does that. Nobody wants more reviews, because reviews suck. Actual, genuine criticism is far more interesting.

So we're talking deadlines, which I don't think most people are probably terribly happy about the notion of. I think that a lot of people are probably thinking, "Well, we aren't getting paid, so why should we be subject to deadlines?" Well, when you consider trying to do a layout that flows like a magazine or a newspaper, you can't just have people posting to it all the time. The layout person has to look at things and flow them all together, and the most recent article doesn't necessarily end up in the front or in the back. Essentially, you're looking at a whole editorial staff and layout crew, let alone trying to figure out what program to use to put it all together.

A few years ago, I considered the notion that someday websites, as such, would be done in PDF format, since it's universal and grants you total control over the look of the page, regardless of what type of computer it's being viewed on. At the time I said it probably wouldn't happen because of a lack of widespread broadband access, but now it's more feasible. I'm not saying that TJNR should do that, but it's a means by which the site can actually look like something other than a giant clusterfuck of design, which has less pizazz than the movie My Dinner With André. So, maybe the deadline for stories should be a week or so prior to publication.

And then it needs direction. It's my thinking that a lack of assignments was partly to blame for the stagnation and ultimate demise of TJNR's front page. I mean, I hate writing. I hate coming up with topics, and tend to only do so when I've got a point to make, which is a rarity, as you may note from my less-than-daily updates to this particular site. There are a lot of writers who can't be told, "Write about something cool," as was the case under current TJNR front-page management, and then a few days later come back with something. Furthermore, a real sense of direction would allow a general message for the issue, such as politics, movies, television, or even less specific topics like apathy, regret, crazy people, et cetera. Give the writer 24 hours to come up with a topic, then if he comes back without one, give one to him.

So what do writers get out of posting for the front page? Just a link to their blog, myspace account, or whatever. It's not much, but it used to get me a lot of hits back when Justin was running the site and it was clocking an obscene number of hits per day. Today, it gets only three times as many hits per day as this blog, and that ain't much. However, if the front page is popular, you get popular, at least as far as the electronic masturbation that is a hit-counter is concerned. If you're not writing for the front-page on a regular basis (or contributing an inordinately large number of hits to the site), your link is gone. So, all of the fucking patronage and indulgence links (*cough* Kia *cough*) need to be removed.

Anyway, to sum up, it needs to totally get away from everything that it currently is. It needs eye-candy, it needs a schedule, it needs content, and it needs a coherent layout. Most of all, though, it needs someone who's willing to be in charge of things and get resources together, which we clearly don't have right now. If we did, then we'd be trying things and we'd be updating the front page with the glut of articles that have been stagnating for weeks and weeks.

It is a goddamn shame to see that site go from being as popular as it was into being the fucking joke that it is.


Can I just say that R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet might be the funniest (albeit probably unintentionally) thing I've heard in my entire life? Here, if you're on broadband, go watch Part 5 of Trapped in the Closet. It's totally retarded, and R. Kelly should never be allowed to write a one-man hip-hop opera ever again. Actually, R. Kelly should probably just disappear anyway.

Anyway, with that out of the way, I read a very interesting quote from the developers' rant at the Game Developers' Conference, which is like E3, but without the booth babes, which I hear aren't going to be at E3 this year, anyway. Chris Crawford, one of the curmudgeons of the gaming industry (most notable for desigining 1986's Balance of Power) and the guy who started the GDC, had this to say about the current state of the industry:

Chris Crawford:
I’m a bit nervous here. I don’t have a rant to give you here. A rant presumes that there’s something to rant about, that’s there’s something wrong that needs to be righted. I have to tell ya, there’s nothing better that can be done because the games industry is d.e.a.d.

Now when I say dead, I don’t mean totally dead, I mean brain dead. The product is going out the door, money is coming in. But what’s up here? Nothing. There’s no creativity. There’s no creative life in this industry at all. It’s just a dead creature. We put food in, shit comes out.

So it’s kinda like… EA really isn’t very diff from Proctor and Gamble. Put something in a box, sell the box. Write new and improved on it. Sell the box. That’s all they ever do. This panel is like a group of doctors standing around the bed of a brain-dead patient all talking about what we can do to restore her to life and vivacity, and I’m here to say there’s just green goo inside the skull.

So I can only offer two thoughts. The most charitable thing is.. rest in peace. The second I’ll just mention that I’m going down the corridor to the maternity room where there’s an infant that has a better future than the games business and it’s called interactive storytelling.
I wouldn't have quoted it if I didn't happen to agree with him, particularly on the Proctor and Gamble analogy. I've been saying for a while now that the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 are, "Same shit, better graphics," and that's the only functional difference between the current generation and the next. At least Nintendo's got the stones to try something new with a console, despite the fact that it won't be as powerful, but then again, it also won't cost as much as either the Xbox 360 or the Playstation 3, which leads me to hope for a VHS-style win over the superior hardware of Beta. I'm analogizing again, so you'll have to excuse me.

AIM: therbmcc71