Archive for January, 2007

Angel Season 5 Episode 14 – Smile Time

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

So every morning at around 6am, I wake up, get my cup of coffee from the Mr.Coffee, then park my tail on the couch as the medication kicks in allowing me to walk without screaming. I flick on the TV, and I watch 2 episodes of season 5 from the series Angel. This morning, I have to admit that I saw the best written, best performed, and most hysterical episode of Angel I’ve seen in my life. The episode is called “Smile Time” and I don’t need to explain much beyond the following pic:

Demons on a puppet show, turn Angel into a puppet, and here I am, sun barely up, in tears laughing so hard.

Video clip courtesy of YouTube:

Course, they brought back my favorite character, Nina the Werewolf in that episode. Didn’t care much about the Werewolf’s in Buffy or Angel before, but there’s a big difference between Seth Green and Jenny Mollen.

Any easier on the eyes and it’d be considered cheating.

Secondary Ticketing my ass, YOU ARE ALL FUCKING SCALPERS.

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

So I tried this past Saturday to land 2 tickets for myself and my girlfriend to see Daughtry perform in Troy, NY. At 10:00am the tickets went on sale. Before 10:01am they were gone. None available at Ticketmaster online or over the phone. Needless to say I was, and am, PISSED OFF.

I don’t go to many concerts, the ones I do attend I buy my tickets honestly from Ticketmaster (oxymoron there, as I firmly believe Ticketmaster is a fucking farce in itself) for the fair selling price. I decided to check 2 popular ticket sites on the net which resell tickets… StubHub and TicketsNow.

Now mind you, these tickets cost $20 a pop at Ticketmaster. If I was at the box office for the venue and bought these tickets, they’d cost me $20. StubHub had prices ranging from $123 to $165 for a SINGLE TICKET and TicketsNow had them for $105 a pop. How the fuck this isn’t opportunistic scalping I do not know, and I refuse to accept the ‘Secondary Ticketing’ line.

I guess you could call this business the dirty taint of the Capitalist machine.

Now as a fan of Daughtry, someone who has followed his career from Absent Element, through Idol, and now into his solo career, I want to see the guy perform live – as does my gf. Sure, I can drop $210 plus whatever other fees and taxes apply to buy tickets to the Troy show, a 2 hour drive from my home. I can also try to land tickets to the show in Philadelphia. It’s the principle of the thing though. These scumbags are denying actual fans the opportunity to see their favorite artists at a fair price for no purpose greater than the almighty dollar.

They don’t give a shit about the music, or the artist, and that’s fucking wrong. These people are the enemy of the music industry, but they’re too busy infusing their ill-gotten gains back into the industry for the big-wigs to realize they’re selling themselves – and the fans – up shit creek without a boombox.

It’s nice to know that if I’m standing outside a venue, trying to offload extra tickets for the same amount I paid – I can get arrested for scalping. However, if I’m a big business funneling millions of dollars back into the coffers of the greedy music industry scumbags, I can scalp $20 tickets at nearly $200 a piece without breaking a sweat.

The entire music industry needs a fucking enema with sulphuric acid, from the music distributors to the tour promoters. I LIKE the CD. I LIKE live concerts. Due to corruption, loopholes, and greed, I am forced to change my habits as a consumer to avoid getting screwed by the industry who blames their faults on my peers instead of their own crooked practices.

Fuck the stupid fuckers in their fucking stupid asses.

Coolest Thing…

Monday, January 29th, 2007

The Ultimate Shoelace.

Just grabbed a pair of these the other night, I don’t think I’ll ever tie my shoes again. Pretty simple setup, just lace your shoes with them, they’ve got collapsible knots which stretch when pulled then bunch up when released… Lace the shoes once, and that’s it – no tying required. Well, I guess you can tie them, I cut mine (ordering more for my other shoes shortly). All you do is set the tension by the number of knots through the eyelets, then slide the shoe on. If you’re a lazy SOB that slides your shoes on and off without untying them already, now there’s a way to do it WITHOUT wearing out the sneaker too.

Gravity?

Monday, January 29th, 2007

Latest (Feb 07) issue of MacWorld magazine has a letter to the editor with a user praising the wonders of the portable hard drive over the thumb-drive. Now while I admit a portable hard drive may cost less, work faster, and have more space than an equally priced thumb-drive…

You can drop a thumb-drive. Moron. Lets see how long your data lasts after that trusty SeaGate bounces off the linoleum at StarBucks.

Savegames…

Monday, January 29th, 2007

Used to be you played a game to a certain point (era before the veritable savegame) and you’d get a special ‘code’ to continue from that point on – if you got one. That was pretty much the start of being able to stop one of the long new games and continue later on IMHO. Course there was Zelda with the battery powered cartridge as well, a real savegame there. Time progressed, consoles got memory cards, new ways to save your progress and catch up whenever you wanted. Then consoles got hard drives, and the trend continued.

Now it seems that more producers are getting into making the savegame part of the gameplay. No longer can you save on the fly – you’ve got to save at specific portals in the game (its well done in games like Grand Theft Auto or poorly done in games like Dead Rising). Other games offer an auto-save feature (it’s well done when you can disable it, poorly done in games like Need For Speed: Carbon or Test Drive: Unlimited where the choice to buy / sell a car can pretty much wreck the game and leave you broke with a slow car and no money left to customize it).

If you’re going to use the save portal method, make it so that there are enough of them to allow a save without getting taken out in the process and eliminating the usefulness. If you’re going to use autosave, leave the capability to disable the feature so that if say… I want to sell all my custom cars and buy a Lamborghini, I can without being stuck with it at the end-boss and not enough money to mod the car so I can win… I could just run through a couple dozen races at 500 a pop until I get enough money to mod the car, or I can start over.

Keeps the game in my system longer, but I’m not the kind of guy whose life is irrepairably harmed by not being able to beat a game I like – it’s a game. I’m just as likely to toss the thing – I’m renting, not like I invested a full $60 into it.

Unlockables are NOT cheat codes.

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

Ok so a while back I went off on how cheat codes take away from a game, the ability to exploit a design flaw – takes away from a game. Now something I’ve managed to do in the time I’ve owned an Xbox 360 is not cheat on a single game. While MOST of the games I’ve played on it haven’t required cheating, the last 2 I’ve played could have benefitted from a little God Mode action – which apparently no longer exists.

I’m sure developers came to the same realization I did, and so be it. I didn’t cheat on Super Mario Brothers and after 18 years I successfully beat it for the first time. Still, I looked, and for most of these games when I look at the supposed “Cheat” or “Code” list, I find nothing but information on what can be unlocked at various points in the game.

Cheats aren’t earned, they offer unfair advantages. Unlockables are achievements, the player did SOMETHING and as a reward, something got unlocked. They should just say that there are NO cheat codes for a given game instead of even populating the frikkin list.

God Code, I miss you.

Dead Rising [*—-]

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

I’m on a roll with stinkers lately. Just Cause – I may give it a second go round, but not until I manage to find another engrossing game that isn’t absurdly fucking difficult from the getgo. Not to mention, there aren’t any cheat codes, nor cheat devices for the 360 – so there’s no satisfaction of cleaving my way through undead masses with no concern for my own well being.

So it seemed like a good idea – a mall full of Zombies and 72 hours to cover the story while saving the day. Well all the tough-guy talk I ever had about the zombie genre went out the window as I have re-started the damned game 3 times so far due to an idiotic interface.

For starters, save points are in the mens rooms as well as the security stations. Security station is fine, you start at one, only its a pain in the ass and a waste of time to head back there unless you’ve got some survivors in tow. Then all the johns I looked for ended up behind locked maintenance closets to which I didn’t have the key. Then the first big mission you have is the DHL agent who is cought in a firefight with some mysterious Hispanic. Wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have the cross the zombie filled courtyard and then dump 60 headshots into the bastard before he finally drops while I’m avoiding hand grenades.

The aiming system is absurd. Swinging makeshift weapons, bats, pipes, and nightsticks are one thing, but how many years has it been since the art of the 3rd person aim and fire was perfected? You’ve got to hold down the right trigger to target with a gun, but when you do – the direction you’re aiming in is seemingly random. No matter what I try, when I need to shoot at something with precision, I’m normally pointing in the wrong direction – not fun.

Graphics are great in the game, the whole immersion in a zombie movie is great, unfortunately after 3 tries and repeatedly getting obliterated without an opportunity to save – I’m pretty sure this is headed back to Gamefly this week unless I get THAT fucking bored.

I need to get into a game fast and be hooked just as fast. No amount of great graphics or neat effects is going to keep me interested when I’m forced to save every 5 seconds due to the difficulty of the game or I can’t even make it that far due to a cumbersome interface.

Looks like the next inbound game is Gears of War. It’s gotten rave reviews. It better be good.

BS.

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

So tickets went on sale today for Daughtry up in Troy, NY. At exactly 10am when the on-line menu switched to ‘find tickets’ I hopped in and tried to grab 2. None available. WHAT THE FUCK!? I smell Bullshit.

Insult to injury, the idiotic CAPTCHA image that Ticketmaster uses to guard against automated ticket scripts is so illegible half the time that even me with my superior 20/20 vision couldn’t make it out.

So I’ll have to wait out for tickets to come available or hope the guy expands his tour. This SUCKS.

I really dislike being sick.

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

So the verdict is in on the mystery bug that has kicked my ass these past few weeks…

Talk about a comedy of errors.

So I get a cold, in fact everyone I know got this cold. Kicked all our asses in swift succession. The week after I beat the cold, my left foot starts hurting. Nothing severe, just a slight ache. I go to the gym that Wednesday, do my workout, and just notice that I’m exceptionally more winded than usual. Figure I’m still a little sick so I take some more time off from the gym.

Saturday morning I wake up, my feet are so sore and swollen they won’t hold my weight. No pain reliever seems to help, I can’t even get my shoes on. Despite the flu shot I received a month or two earlier, I took a guess that due to my aches I caught the flu. I go to the doctor, his two guesses are Gout and Lyme disease. I get some anti-inflammatory medication and antibiotics… Neither has any effect. Lyme test comes back negative and I’m then prescribed Prednisone, a steroid, to combat the swelling and joint pain. While this is going on by the afternoon I’m exhausted, and everyone is telling me I have lyme disease.

So I finish my steroid 5-day pack and within 2 days my ankles are again swelled up and aching – bad. I go back to the doctor, get another anti-inflammatory which doesn’t work (rapidly switched over to Prednisone again) and 3 more blood tests. This time, one more Lyme test, one for Arthritis, and lastly something called Parvovirus. No, it’s not just a dog virus.

Gout is out because it usually attacks just one limb, specifically the foot / big toe. Lyme is out because it tends to migrate from joint to joint. Tests come back negative for Lyme again, Arthritis, but Parvovirus is positive.

Absolutely NO idea how I got it. Only thing I can think of is that it piggybacked on the cold I had, or it was the cold I had. Why my friends didn’t have as severe a reaction as myself I do not know, but then again I doubt any of them was leg pressing an obscene amount of weight while sick either. So I’m still on steroids for another 10 days, hopefully when I finish them the pain/swelling won’t come back and I’ll have kicked the virus.

Figure I’ve been sick for over a month now, held back by various complications. My doctor is telling me I need to lose weight, and while I could stand to lose a few pounds most of my weight is muscle. So here’s to hoping when my pills run out I’m back to normal and I can get back to the gym. I have enjoyed the extra time to play video games, but just the same I’d rather be throwing around weights at the gym instead of straining my rear end on the futon playing Xbox.

Just Cause [***–]

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

Ok, so the benefits of my Gamefly account are starting to pay off. On the surface, Just Cause looked like a cool game, and to a certain extent – it is. Still, it was $50 at most retailers and I wasn’t ready to take a change when it meant hard earned money – and time – wasted on a game I may not completely like. That said, Just Cause takes the GTA style open-ended mission driven environment and cranks it past 11. Past 20. Past 50. Simply put, there’s too much area and not enough depth to the missions to really keep me hooked.

Content? There’s tons of content… planes, helicopters, cars, motorcycles, guns, etc… See, the problem with a GTA type game in a jungle as opposed to a city is… It’s a damned jungle. Sure, there are small populated areas everywhere, but there are vast expanses of non-navigable terrain (unless you’re flying). On top of that, the moment you land, police are on you. You can’t quite outrun them, and they only pile on more by each moment. Picture starting out in Liberty City with 1 star, and getting an additional star every 5 minutes, and the only way to get back down to 1 star is to complete some baseless cookie-cutter mission that is repeated all over the island.

The graphics are outstanding. One thing I’ll say about this new generation of gaming consoles is that they can make even bad games look great. Honestly though, once you’ve completed a few missions, and gotten tired of grappling on to low-flying helicopters to kick out the pilot and sail through a mission that’d otherwise be frustrating without – all the pretty pictures, weapons, vehicles, and missions just look plain.

The game has potential, but IMHO it’s just too damned big, and not nearly deep enough to keep a gamer like me interested long enough to actually beat it. Maybe I’ll pick it up from the used bin if I go on a tare and beat every game I can get.