Archive for December, 2007

Anti-Military Lawyer Damages Marine’s Car on Eve of Deployment

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Apparently some nitwit lawyer in Chicago spotted a car with military plates and military stickers on it.  Unable to control his anti-war sentiment, he proceeded to key the car and get caught – by the Marine owner who is set to leave for his second deployment in Iraq on January 2nd.

Anti-Military Lawyer Damages Marine’s Car on Eve of Deployment

The arrogance of some people never ceases to amaze.  What people are willing to say and do these days is absurd.  Call it arrogance, stubborn pride, or just sheer immature stupidity…  People used to have boundaries, now anything is possible if the cowards can get away with it.  We’ve got a nation of dittoheads who will happily nod and agree with any idea or action as long as they agree with it or are simply too scared to scream “BULLSHIT!”

In any event…  Best wishes and God Bless Sgt McNulty’s family, and please – make it home safe and sound from Iraq.

Gaming done right…

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Last night my buddy stopped over with a copy of Call of Duty 4 for the Xbox 360.  Over the course of 4-5 hours, on “Recruit” we beat it.  Let it be said that COD4 is quite possibly the best game out for the Xbox 360 right now.  While the prior versions pigeonholed you into yet another World War II mission with World War II weapons and World War II tactics…  COD4 brings the franchise up to date and yet again establishes dominance in the FPS genre.

Now in previous reviews I have discounted the graphics of the games for the simple reason that in HD, even horrible games can look amazing.  I need to point out though that in COD4, the gameplay was so good that the graphics have to be mentioned.  Lighting effects, textures, terrain and models – all come together to provide total immersion in the COD4 universe.  The graphics in this game are second to none and IMHO there is not a single title out for the 360 right now that can compete, and I cannot pick out a single aspect of the audio/visual experience that was not nearly perfect.

As for gameplay – it’s a COD title, what do you expect?  There’s a solid plot line taking you to various locales in the middle east as well as Russia.  This time, instead of participating in a war of the past, you’re working to prevent the next big war.  The imagery is awe inspiring as it is shocking in many instances.  You’re also not just tied to the ground in this title.  You take control of various airborne weapons including the mighty AC-130 gunship.  That mission is a personal favorite of mine.  You’re endlessly circling a select areas, using infra-red to identify and remove bad guys – with prejudice.  Ever seen one of those night-vision war videos that’s occasionally leaked out?  Same concept – only you’re the one pulling the trigger.

The normal FPS combat is also outstanding.  It’s bloodier than I recall the other COD titles being, but it’s just the right amount of gore to keep it realistic without being cartoonish.  I did discover a flaw in the gameplay engine though.  Some people are tactical.  They take cover, and surgically eliminate each threat in turn.  I’m more of a kamikaze.  I’ll make sure my guns are loaded and then storm out into the field.  I found that in instances where my tactical buddy was held up by combat, I could clear the area in less than a minute by storming out and nailing each target with a 12 gauge.  I see it as a flaw as there’s a major difference in the difficulty.  Simply charging the field should have made me dead faster, instead it consistently resulted in pushing the game along rather quickly.  Flaw aside – it was still tons of fun.

Now I’ve read several reviews for this game which all say the same thing – it’s too short.  I would agree if not for several factors.  The plot is solid, the gameplay is linear, and really – you’re never doing the same thing twice.  Each level requires fresh tactics to proceed.  Where previous COD titles were long and tedious, COD4 is short and to the point.  Honestly, I prefer a game where the goal is in sight.  Added value is in the “arcade mode” which allows you to replay previous levels and earn points, allowing friends to try and beat eachother’s high score – a very welcome addition for those of us who don’t do much multiplayer.  The multiplayer angle is also outstanding – like I said, this game is almost perfectly balanced.

Is it worth $60?  Without question.  Best FPS of 2007.

The lunacy of politics… Last word.

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

So there’s this girl on Myspace who on a fairly regular basis reacts to the latest political hotbutton. The other day, she went off about how Obama apparently called Hillary Clinton a “bitch.” Now truthfulness aside, she made it sound as if this was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and the outrage was indicative of feeling ‘betrayed.’ Her post follows.

he’s right up there with bush!
how dare he call hillary a bitch. i’m not sticking up for her but this guy is a damn child. he throws temper tantrums, he’s a fuckin bully, and by most he is INSECURE and IMMATURE. and this is who people want as president? not over my dead body. that’s a sign of a WEAK president. as the years go by, the system spits out arrogant whack jobs just so they can have the so called title “President” in front of their name. I am sick and tired of leaders who can’t handle their duty for America. I mean seriously all the next candidates for 2008 are all losers. Whatever happened to good people like Truman, Lincoln, Kennedy?

So I read this, laughed, and responded:

The whole thing is a dog and pony show, no move or word is not calculated here to exact a specific reaction from the useful idiots that abound our great society. There isn’t a candidate in the lot capable of running this nation, and discounting Obama for calling Hillary Clinton a bitch simply shows that you’re falling into line exactly where the powers that be want you to.

For God’s sake, we have real live KLANSMEN in Congress right now, and you’re concerned about someone calling Clinton a bitch? Maybe someone will get tape of a politico calling Obama a “Nigger” so you can shift your vote again.

If you’re happy being a sheep, then by all means continue to rabble on about the falling sky. Truman dropped nukes to end a war, Lincoln freed the slaves to end a war, and Kennedy ate a bullet to keep one going. Pick up a book, please.

So then I log in this morning and see that she’s put up another bulletin titled “No apology.” The kicker, the ability to comment has been removed. Whats this? A political novice removing the ability for others to dissent? Noooo… Maybe it was the “useful idiot” comment?

apparently i hit a nerve with my fuck obama bulletin and have received a lot of complaints, insults, or praises.
i just wanna say thanks for all the “love” mail.
i rather shoot myself than take any advice from any form or shape of a republican first off. afterall, look at the fool who you put in the white house. obviously the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
and to everyone who said i need to pick up a book and read. thanks i do-i have lots of books. maybe if you took your head out from your ass you would see things a lot more clear.
i am aware of other problems that is going on in politics but my little outburst was focused on obama for that split second because how he stooped to a level of a child by the name calling. what a great example to set. throughout the months i have bitched about obama and if you think that my last bulletin is what did me in on why i don’t like him, then i hate to say it but you’re all idiots – that’s why you’re all republicans! that’s the problem with you’s, you always jump in full speed ready to swing without sitting back to see what was said or going on in the first place. so who’s the idiot now? remember, you don’t judge a book by its cover.
take your own advice and read.
and i still say fuck obama.

Cliche cliche cliche rabble rabble, I get it, I’m a generalization and a stereotype. Definitely the result of not being a free thinker. So I drop her a response via MySpace email and leave it at that…

Looks like I struck a nerve. For starters, I am not a Republican, I am a registered Conservative – and a moderate on most issues. You’re right though, I did vote for Bush twice. Attack me with all of the generalizations you like, but your passion has made you blind to the truth. Your reaction has proved my point.

I would never expect anyone to apologize for their beliefs. Simply put, excoriating Obama over 1 word is as pointless as excoriating Bush over his lack of speaking ability. There is so much more to it – but a majority of your posts seem to focus on the surface instead of what lies beneath. If you’re happy with that, then by all means – continue.

When it comes to discussing politics, or bringing up the weak points of an individual arguments – I find the best method is to read as many sides of an issue as possible… not simply focus on those who agree with me. Gets rather boring that way. I was attacking the basis for your argument – not you. Suggesting that you pick up a book was merely constructive criticism.

Emotion is the enemy of independent thought, most of your posts are based entirely in reactionary emotion. Venting if you will. I can understand the frustration as just about everyone in our so called Government is a joke with little or no consideration for We The People.

I’m rather honored to be the subject of your latest blindly passionate and emotional rant. I don’t think you’re an idiot, but I thank you very much for proving the point of my original response by removing my ability to comment on this one.

So I finally get a response to my latest comment…

My message went to everyone. I got a lot of responses not just in the bulletin but email-wise with people starting out with I’m a republican and so fourth. That’s why I had to make my point clear that I am far from it. Now some people think I’m with Hillary now and to be honest I would never vote for her. That one word does do damage. Especially one who is running for President. You have him siding with Oprah and she has many female supporters. Since he used a derogatory term, female activists are squirming over this. Sometimes little things count but I don’t like him just because of that. I think the 2008 race is a joke and a lot of the candidates are lacking one thing or another.

I may not be a conservative as you are, hence that’s why there are different parties with different beliefs but when one is being attacked and automatically everyone is ruling out my opinion-I am just a little peon who knows nothing.
It’s not that my reaction proved a point, I am not one to take anyones shit. That’s who I am – I stand my ground.

I may post things on the “surface” here and there but people can’t simply judge me without actually having a conversation to get what lies beneath to get my full input. (Just speaking in general). Thats why you never judge a book by its cover.

Politics is always gonna be a part of me cause I come from a family who was in Congress. Not that it matters but talking about it or whatever the case may be, it’s just always there being a part of me. I may not talk about it a lot on here cause I get enough of it at home but to think my passion has made me blind than so be it.

Cough, Sniff, Whimper. I’d love to know who the other people were who said the exact same things I did. I nailed it on the head, they didn’t care for it – and to end it all they send me this whiny, tear soaked, cliche ridden final response.

Last but not least, I have the last word.

As a side note – do you have a link to the story where he actually was tagged for saying it? I was looking around and couldn’t find anything…

I still literally have not found a single instance where Obama labelled Clinton a ‘bitch.’ Makes me wonder if this girl on MySpace is just a shill for the Clinton campaign working to pump MySpace full of unverifiable misinformation to make us feel bad for Clinton and dislike Obama. Really. Pathetic.

Mind you – I do not dislike political discussion, but I’m long past the days where I would simply smile and nod, and let this shit stand. If you’re stating your opinion – more power to you – but have it verifiable with FACT or don’t even bother.

Angel – After the Fall

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

I think the last comic book I picked up was V for Vendetta after seeing the film.  Over the years I wouldn’t call myself a big fan, but I’ve got a fairly decent stack of Terminator and Superman comics in the closet that I’ll pick up and read every now and again.  Angel of course, wasn’t always a comic.  It was and still is my favorite television series of all time – born of the mind of Joss Whedon.

Sadly, I never actually saw the show when it was on TV, I barely even caught on to Buffy until near the last season… But I caught up real fast via the DVD market.  5 seasons of Angel were wrapped up in a rushed episode where a team of heroes, broken and exhausted, unite one last time in a dark alley to battle the legions of hell.  I could only imagine the torment of fans who had actually tuned in for each episode as they were shafted one last time by the networks.

Anyhow, enough rambling.  After the Fall is a 4 part comic series which apparently picks up where the tv series left off.  It’s been labeled as the 6th season – a misnomer in my opinion.  The artwork is excellent, the story is in line with a Joss Whedon tale, but it again – seems rushed.  Unbenounced to me apparently they’ve been publishing Angel comics for years, and while this new series is in part tying up the aftermath of Season 5  – it really seems to be establishing the baseline for the comics.

Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed reading issues 1 and 2, and will readily pick up 3 and 4 – however it just seems like too big of a jump.

**SPOILERS**

Wolfram and Hart have brought about Hell on Los Angeles as a result of Team Angel annihilating the circle of the black thorn.  Angel is back, still utilizing the resources of Wolfram and Hart as well as caring for his extremely large dragon.  Remember the dragon from “Not Fade Away?”  He tamed it.  Wesley is still dead, and now a ghostly representative for Wolfram & Hart due to some mystery contract.  WHAT CONTRACT?!  It hasn’t been explained yet.  Gunn is now a Vampire.  Apparently in the heat of battle he was dragged off and sired, and blames Angel for it.  Not entirely sure if he’s a total good guy or bad guy yet, as he has no soul and particularly ruthless.  Connor is NOT ANNOYING, continuing the trend from Season 5 where the character was redeemed and stopped being a reason to change the channel.  He’s in charge of a safe area partnered with Nina the werewolf (who now hates Angel) as well as Gwen Rayden (the shocking little lady from Season 4 I believe).  Oh, the moon and the sun are both out – which allows Vampires to walk outside as well as causes both of Nina’s “personalities” to be active at once.   Spike?  He’s ruling Beverly Hills, residing at the Playboy mansion, surrounded by beautiful women and protected by Alleria who still considers him her pet.

I’m hoping that they catch up in Issues 3 and 4, but I may just start ordering angel comics online now to try and fill in some blanks.  If they DON’T catch up, I really hope people stop calling it Season 6.  They should call it 6.5 to be fair.  In the TV series, the transition from LA to Hell on Earth took an episode or two.  I need to see that, to fill in the blanks.  You can’t tell me a comic series is Season 6, then hand me Hell on Earth, a telepathic fish named George (Johnny Mnemonic anyone), and LA split up into different factions ruled by various demon lords… and not expect me to be confused.

It’s good for fans of the television series, but expect to be confused, I sure was.

Pointless bullshit…

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Deadly shooting outside Newark diner

Both victims were bouncers at a club I frequent down in Newark… This pointless bullshit has got to stop.  Killing someone because they kept you out of a club?  Are you fucking serious?  Good to see that the mayor’s improved policing has had some real significant effect on the murder rate.  Maybe he’ll run for President in ’12.

My prayers go out to the families of the victims.

As for the shooter and his asshat cohort, I hope they see it coming and even get a chance to scream.

Pretty cool…hot…well…oh nevermind.

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

One of my Christmas presents which I have used more than once a day since I got it is the Keurig coffee pot.  Now my fiancee had been raving about it for months, I’d seen it advertised at Le Gourmet Chef at the mall, as well as in my own office.  I’ve had a Mr.Coffee for 6 years now, and it was good enough – so I thought.

Every night I’d clean the pot, fill the reservoir, put in a new filter and load it with coffee.  Every morning at 5:45am, it would start brewing and the scent of fresh brewed coffee would usually wake my ass up before the alarm clock.  It was ritual, it was tradition – it was good enough for me.

I laughed when I tried the pod maker, a first challenger to the mighty throne beneath Mr.Coffee.  The amount of maintenance that thing required to actually use, as well as a lack of any sort of timer, ruled it out.  Then came the mighty K.

I tell ya folks, this has got to be the greatest invention for coffee lovers since Juan Valdez said “Hey, what happens when you boil the stuff we hide the cocaine in?”  It’s simple enough to use.  Fill the reservoir, and plug it in.  That’s it.  Want a fresh cup of coffee?  Slide your mug into the machine, pop in a k-cup with a pre-measured dose of joe, then hit the brew button.  THATS IT.  A perfectly measured, heated, and tasty cup of coffee every time.

There’s also an adapter that’ll let me use fresh ground as well.  Pretty cool…hot…well… oh nevermind.

Consider Mr.Coffee defeated.

Definition of Insanity in 2007.

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

Playing an RPG and expecting to have a POINT.

I thought I finally found something WoW like that actually had a point.  I’m talking about Overlord of course.  I found myself in the same exact hole I was digging in WoW.  Doing the same thing, over and over again.  Kill some bad guys, lose some minions, jog back to the spawn point for more minions.  Kill some bad guys, lose more minions, jog back, etc…

I guess after playing the genre for a couple years, learning my lesson, I needed one last test to see if I was really dumb enough to waste my time again.  The maps are huge, the graphics are gorgeous, and I’m sure for some people the game play amounts to more than beating ones head into a wall repeatedly – but for me, I’ve lost interest.

Time to sort my Gamefly queue again and yank anything resembling an RPG.  I’m not even going to bother anymore.  To each their own, but I’ll stick to racecars and machineguns, thankyouverymuch!

It’s beginning to feel a lot like yawning…

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

I tell ya, the Christmas spirit is exhausting.

The past few years, I’ve been Scrooge.  Didn’t like the holiday, didn’t care for it.  I’d buy a slew of gift-cards and booze just to fit in, but overall I didn’t really care much.

Not sure what it is about this year, but I felt it.  Maybe it’s being in love and ready for that next big step.  Maybe it’s being accepted into a new family – future in laws – and experiencing new traditions.  Every time I tell someone that we’re doing it in Spring of 2009,  we’re just a little bit closer.  I’ve got a feeling that the day will be here sooner than I expect.

Back to the Spirit.  Now I don’t know what Christmas means to you – but to me, it’s a time where everyone can have a moment of peace and joy – and share it with others.  This year I vowed not to do the gift card thing, and I stuck mainly to immediate family, and tried to come up with gifts that I believed they would like.  That’s the trick, the reason that gift cards are so easy – too easy – it doesn’t require actually KNOWING someone.  Just hand them a piece of plastic and let them buy their own gift.  Anyone actually remember the last thing you bought on a gift card?

Anyone remember the last really good gift they received?  Exactly.

One of my favorite hobbies is cooking.  This year, I baked.  I baked all last weekend, nearly 160 cookies in different varieties.  Chocolate Chip -w- Pecans, Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip -w- Pecans, Snickerdoodles (cinnamon/sugar coated sugar cookies), and an experimental hybrid of my own design – the Gingerbread Oatmeal Raisin cookie.  Just about everyone got a selection, plus a gift.  My cookies never last long once they’re made available for eating – I rarely get to sample my own fare.  Not that I mind, I always get a kick when the requests come in for MORE!

Once the baking was done, I set to install my fiancee’s gift in her car, a new stereo.  Holy cow.  I haven’t done a stereo install in years, and the folks at Chevy are BASTARDS.  Strong language for this time of year, I know.  See, most cars all one has to do is remove a plastic cover, some bolts, unplug a few wires, and swap in the new deck.  Oh no, not the Chevy.  First, you don’t just get the radio, you also need a special wiring harness which enables the chime and a few other dashboard functions which was conveniently included in the factory head unit.  Also, you need the antenna adapter because Chevy  radios have a special plug.  That’s not all!  No simple install here – you need to unbolt the dash board cover, remove it, then unbolt the entire front of the dash board and remove it or slide it out of the way.  Last but not least, put everything together while trying to wedge the new radio into the small opening with all the added wiring…  How hard is it for manufacturers to allow a little extra space for wires?  I’m half a mind to take it all apart again and Dremel out a larger opening so the radio isn’t wedged in so tightly.  In the past, it’s taken me about an hour to do a radio install.  This took about 6.  The happy bouncing Mi made it all worthwhile though. 🙂

The spirit was back, stronger than I’d felt in years.  Speaking of feelings, what is the deal with people at church?  Last night I headed off to midnight mass with a few friends.  I saw girls wearing skin tight cleavage shirts, hip hugger jeans, mini skirts and hooker boots, you name it.  What happened to young people dressing respectable at church?  Jeans, sweaters, long skirts, button down shirts.  I know the stores are selling sexy for anyone old enough to walk, but is nothing sacred?  I honestly felt disgusted walking out of church after seeing the equivalent of a Seventeen magazine fashion show while trying to celebrate the day with friends and loved ones.  So much for the Roman Catholic church.  The parents should be ashamed of themselves.

That aside, it was the only real rub for the past few days…  Everything else was joyful, peaceful, and fun.  Didn’t think it was possible that I’d find the holiday spirit again.  In short – thank God I did.  To everyone, regardless of denomination, faith, or lack thereof – Merry Christmas.

Cheers!

For those of you that think Coca Cola invented Santa…

Friday, December 21st, 2007

Wrong, sir! Wrong! Under section 37B of the contract signed by him, it states quite clearly that all offers shall become null and void if — and you can read it for yourself in this photostatic copy — “I, the undersigned, shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and licenses herein and herein contained,” et cetera, et cetera… “Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum,” et cetera, et cetera… “Memo bis punitor delicatum”! It’s all there, black and white, clear as crystal! You stole fizzy lifting drinks! You bumped into the ceiling which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get nothing! You lose! Good day sir!

Coca Cola Invents Santa

I’ll admit this was the first year I heard the myth perpetuated, and I almost bought it.  In comes Snopes.com with a rescue in the last few moments of the game.  Santa rules.  Some people who think too much would like to remove Santa from the scene just as much as they’d like to eliminate Christianity, Judaism, and other religions that hold special celebrations around this time.  Santa is secular, but he is a source of belief, if not faith – in something greater than ourselves.

That’s the threat.

Honestly, if you’re threatened by a fat man in a red suit that brings joy to anyone who believes in him…  You’re pathetic.  Get over yourself and let the kids be kids, heaven forbid they have some fun before they realize how cold this world really is.

Overlord, it’s like WoW, but it makes sense.

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Been playing a new game called Overlord the past few days.  It’s a 3/4 RPG where you play an evil overlord, resurrected to restore your empire.  You get little minions under your control that look like tan evil gremlins to start.  Not only do they do your every bidding, they gladly sacrifice themselves to restore your health and mana.  Be mindful of the minions and their skills however, as they are key to strategy and moving ahead in the game.

Progressing through the game, you get quests like any other RPG.  You slowly explore greater areas of the virtual world, just like an RPG.  The advantage this game has over the MMORPG?  An end.  I know I’m working towards something here.  I know that I’ll finish the game, and move on to something entirely different, instead of spending $15 a month to do the same exact thing over and over again… The definition of insanity, right?

The graphics are outstanding, a good mix of Fable and WoW with a leaning towards Fable.  Kills result in life-force which lets you create more minions, and various destructables are scattered over the landscape offering armor to your minions as well as gold and powerups to your character.  The gold can be used to buy new armor and weapons, and you can toss your minions into the forge as well to boost your stats.

I do wish there was a map in the game, as currently I’ve got to work on my memory to discern where I am and where I’m headed next in order to complete quests.  Still, there’s always something cool about setting a wheat field on fire to kill the good guys as opposed to taking them all on one by one.  There’s no good or evil in this game, only less evil and Dick Cheney.

Fear not players, this RPG stays true to the fantasy genre without being too cliche’ and unlike most other RPG’s out there – a light is at the end of the tunnel and it has nothing to do with wasting time on endless reruns of the same old shit.

If you’re a fan of the RPG, as well as the MMORPG – try it.  Even if you hate RPG’s like I do – try it.

Gamefly RULES.