I Lied

Someone asked me the other day if I was going to buy Rock Band 2 when it came out later this year… I said “No, I don’t think so”  Rock Band just came out… why pay $170 for slightly improved instruments and some new songs.  Well… I may have lied.  If the instruments from the first are compatible with the second (and they are supposed to be), I’ll probably spring $60 for the new game only (or maybe slightly more if they have a game/guitar combo)  Why did I lie?  Well I hadn’t seen the rumored set-list yet.  Screaming out Silversun Pickups’ Lazy Eye would almost be worth the price of admission.  Harmonix gets tons of bonus points for making all the original tracks and your previously downloaded content playable on the new version.  Here’s an interesting inside look at how Harmonix goes about creating the tracks.

I just picked up The Orange Box from Amazon.com for $32.  I’ve heard bad things about the frame rate (EA did the port to the PS3, not Valve) but 5 games for $32… I decided to try it out for myself.  I’ll let you know.

The Website is Down = hilarious.  At least for the techs out there.

I forget what else I was going to write… something about set-back thermostats and how I knew the ‘tech’ was wrong with his statement of “You should only have it change a few degrees”  I did poking around the interwebs and found a 6-9 degree swing is perfectly acceptable.  Some people argue that your heater or AC has to work too hard to make up for the difference and it would take less energy to maintain a steady temp through the day (when no one is home)  I didn’t think that sounded right so I looked into it.

I still think I started this post intending to write about something completely different… huh… getting old, losing my mind.  So I’ll leave you with this (remember Show Biz Pizza?!)


Topiary – for reals, yo

I actually used the word ‘topiary’ in proper context yesterday. I was proud of that. And don’t anyone laugh, but I actually have flowers planted in my flower beds now. I got tired of just looking at dirt. If it doesn’t work out (and I don’t have high hopes) I’m out like $30. I actually have “before and after” pictures of one bed that I’ll post one of these days.

So a lot of yard work has been done. I actually had to mow my own yard for the first time in a year or so this weekend. It was a lot more work than I remember. Now granted, the yard was soggy and crappy so it was more difficult than normal… but still. It’s a POS mower that you can’t adjust the push bar on so you have to mow hunched-over the entire time. It only spits the grass out the side so I end up with long rows of cut grass in piles when I’m done. Soooo… I think I’m picking one of these up. I always made fun of people with self-propelled mowers – I apologize for that now. I’m not just getting it because I’m lazy, I’m getting it because the self-propelled one are supposed to last longer. Hopefully this thing can do a better job of mulching the grass too. We’ll see.

This is going to be an expensive year – have too many thing I need/want to buy for the house. I really only have one ‘toy’ on the horizon, and that’s just a new motorcycle helmet. Not much of a toy I guess, but more of an expensive toy accessory.

So other random things – my list of links at the right side of the page now has a ‘Movies’ subcategory when you can actually see the movies I’ve rented via Blockbuster and what’s still in my queue if you’re really that curious. They seem to be broken at the moment… I think Bloglines is screwed up. So here’s My Queue and My Rental History

Other random stuff: Driving to work today I saw a lady stop at a stoplight, open her door, and spit out a mouthful of water and toothpaste. I’m assuming it was toothpaste because it sorta looked like that and she had a toothbrush in her hand. How odd. I wonder what she would have done if she had gotten all green lights on her way to where ever she was going.
Another random funny: Earlier today I ran to the bank to get some cash. On my way out, I happened upon two young ladies with a stroller firmer lodged in the revolving door. I’m not sure how they got it wedged in there in the first place, but it was half-in, half-out, and the door wouldn’t move in either direction. As I got closer, I saw a passerby yank the door hard enough from the outside to actually break it…. I think. the doors can “fold in” on the hub. I’ve seen them do it before, but I’m not entirely sure the purpose – maybe it’s for just such an occasion. I’ve seen them intentionally do it before during fire drills and whatnot. Picture the revolving door turned into two open doors separated by the ‘flaps’ pushed into the middle … so from the top it looks like ( | ) instead of (+) Anyway, back to the story… they’re getting the stoller out as I get closer to the door, so I angle for the normal door next to the revolving door (the one with the big sign on it that says ‘Please Use Revolving Door’) and as I get to it one of the young ladies looks at the door and back to be and says “Excuse me, do you know how we can get this door open? We’re trying to get the stroller through here.” She didn’t really need to say anything, I was heading out the door anyway… I looked at her, looked back at the door, turned the handle and opened it. In her defense, the door only has a handle on the inside (they really want you to use the revolving door) but it’s not like it’s hidden or anything, it just only opens from the inside. So that was my laugh today.

I think GTA IV is working better.  They released some patch for it already and I haven’t had any more problems.  Fun game, go buy it (yes, I own stock in TakeTwo)

Nothing else too exciting at the moment.

The grain it takes to fill an SUV tank with ethanol could feed a person for a year.

The title really has nothing to do with the contents… just something to consider:  alternative fuels usually have alternative consequences.

What a week… busy, hectic, jam-packed with all sorts of stuff. Work was busy, had something going on every night through the week, sometimes work even spilled over into and screwed personal stuff up a little. Even put in a few hours on Sunday. Not bad though… as long as it only happens once every six months or so, I’m good 😀 I did discover that I can virtualize a system with ~ 15GB drive in about 30 minutes. On the downside, the weekend blew – 30 degrees and rainy. Was anxious to try out my new toy but the weather wasn’t going to let that happen.  I did watch a few movies / play some games though… and I haven’t done that in awhile.  Unfortunately, nothing really stood out.

Gone Baby Gone – I’ll give Ben some credit for his first time directing he did pretty good.  Casey wasn’t too shabby in the lead here either.  It was a good story – when you thought you knew what was going on, it changed.  One of those movies that seems to have 3 or 4 endings.  Not bad, but not great.  Actually haven’t seen a good movie in a long time.  I had high hopes for No Country for Old Men but was sorely disappointed.  I’ve been catching up on all the Harry Potter movies since they all just came out on Blu Ray.  I knew I’d never really get into the books, so I thought I’d at least watch the movies and see what all the hullabaloo was about.  They’re ok I guess… entertaining at least, but I never would have actually read through all the books.  In the past couple of months, the only movies in my rental history that have made it past 3.5 stars (out of 5) have been Run Lola, Run and The Kingdom.  They both squeaked out a 4 for either being different or for lots of explosions.

In more disappointing news, Assassins Creed wasn’t nearly as cool as I was hoping.  The game play was innovative, the story seemed to be decent, and the controls were tight.  The whole thing just got repetitive really fast though.  And slow.  Entirely too much talking in the game, and you can’t skip it.  And what’s with the walking around in the future so much.  I have to walk (you can’t even run) to my ‘bedroom’ to make the storyline continue?!  Meh.  The missions are decent, there’s just not enough variety – save a citizen, pickpocket (which is impossible), climb up all the lookouts, and sit on a bench and eavesdrop.  Everyone once in awhile run and hide from the guards.  I just thought it was supposed to be this epic game… but I was bored with it inside 3 hours.

Oh well… that’s it for now.

Playing the Blame Game

I’m assuming that at least two out of the three people that read this website know that I’m slightly into video games. Just a little. For the third… well… there’s actually a category here called “Games” and I talk about them a lot – try to keep up. As for the rest of you, I’ll just assume you stumbled onto this site by googling ‘balki’ or ‘broken leg’ (seriously, those are my top two search results referring people to this site)

I do have a point here, I’m just high on gun powder. (No really, I was at the gun range tonight)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23204875/ Finally! Someone gets it. Ok, so the end of the article strays a little from video games and goes onto blaming McDonalds for your kid being fat but the gist of it is pretty dead on. Jack Thompson is a media whore and video games are not destroying our children. If your child does something stupid, asinine, destructive, disrespectful, and/or illegal – take a good hard look in the mirror before you start looking for something to blame. I played more than my fair share of Doom, Duke Nukem, and Quake in my younger days – I never once thought about shooting up my school.

Not-so-funnily enough, while Thompson’s misinfomation-laced pronouncements claim that the shooter — Seung-Hui Cho — had a passion for violent video games, a governor-ordered review of that horrific incident found no connection whatsoever with games. Instead, what the review panel found was a young man with a long history of psychiatric illness and a student who fell through the cracks of a deeply flawed mental health system. In fact, according to the the extensive 260-page report, it’s unclear if Cho — who was passionate about books (gasp!) and not video games — ever played anything more aggressive than the kid-friendly “Sonic the Hedgehog.”

When did everyone stop taking responsibility for themselves (or their children) and start looking for crap to blame?!  I first starting to notice it when “D&D” was responsible for anything bad that happened.  Anyone remember that?  Maybe we should blame 9/11 on Microsoft’s Flight Simulator.

“Why did I run from the cops?  Well, I watched too much Dukes of Hazzard when I was a kid, and thought I could jump a bridge and hide my car behind a tree”  And G.I. Joe taught me that I could just do cart-wheels and no bullets would touch me.”

Who wants to start a Rock Band?

Ok, so this whole setup is going to be like $300. Who wants to go in with me? You can come over anytime and play. Really, anytime. I may even give you a key to my house.


Edit: The video keeps getting pulled off YouTube… I’m not sure why.  If it breaks again, try this 

RB6:LV Is on its way

And not a moment too soon.  The WarHawk beta that I’ve been playing nonstop ends next week.  I can’t wait for the retail version – they’ve made a good number of changes from the beta.  Hopefully the freezing problems will be completely resolved.  We’ll see.  Anyone with a PS3, I would suggest you pick this bad-boy up – it’s hella fun.

While waiting for the flood of killer games to finally come in for the PS3, I decided to try something with a PSP.  I finally bought one – the first hand-held gaming device I have ever owned (unless you count the little LED football game from years ago)  So here’s my setup, and damn is it cool:
1. Tivo Desktop “Auto-transfers” whatever shows I want to my PC  (500GB external drive)
2. Every night I have a batch file run that strips off the Tivo encryption (don’t tell the authorities)
I had this setup from before so I could play my recordings on my Hauppage MediaMVP on another TV in the house (I’m sorry, but I’m addicted to being able to time-shift my television watching)
3. I installed TVersity on said PC to stream my MP3 collection, pictures, and Tivo’d shows to my PS3
4. Remote Play – yes kids, I can play all my music and videos over the interwebs.  Anyplace there’s wireless internet access, I can get to all my media content I have stored at home from my PSP.  It’s not restricted to just what’s on my PS3’s piddly 60GB drive, it’s everything.  This is decidedly cool, and would probably piss off Senator Stevens.  So yesterday I spent my lunch hour watching Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

It actually works very well – the quality is decent and it hardly chops at all.  The only thing I need now is a way to turn my PC at home into a bluetooth PS3 remote so I can turn it on remotely.  As it sits now, you have to leave your PS3 on in “Remote Play” mode all day so you can connect to it.


Ninja Gaiden Sigma – Oh. Hell. Yes. If you have a PS3, you must go to the PS Store this moment and download the demo. This is on my ‘must rent’ list already, just from the short level the demo gives you. It’s beautiful. In true Ninja Gaiden fashion, it’s just plain fun. The controls are just complex enough to not be a “button masher” but you also don’t have to worry about a stupid-long combo of buttons to perform a single move. Check out some of the vids over at IGN and just pretend you’re watching in HD.

I tried the Armored Core 4 demo. Meh. This isn’t a “next gen” game, and there’s absolutely nothing spectacular about it. Don’t tell me “It’s just not your kind of game” because it’s close enough to the Battletech/Mechwarrior series that I’ve loved for years.

I also grabbed the Super Rub a Dub demo from the store. For $7, I might actually buy it. It’s one of those I can see the controller getting passed around for everyone to try. Remember the little maze games where you tilted the whole thing around to get a little metal bearing into a hole? Same concept – you tilt the whole board on your screen with the Playstation’s Sixaxis controller tilt function.

While I’m on about games, I can’t wait for Little Big Planet – if this doesn’t make you giggle with excitement… well, you have no soul. Sorry.

Odd… I thought I used to be able to edit the html of my WordPress entries… I’ll have to figure out where that went. Anyway, couple of movie reviews coming up later and my review of the MediaMVP.