Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's Been a While

Moved to Laconia from Concord...it's better, still isn't the Apple.  What are you going to do?  I had a reading for my short story "Live Free or Die, Die, Die!" a few weeks back.  There is another one this Friday, Nov. 4, in Manchester.  I'll have to look up where...

Yesterday I dropped the dog off at day care and drove down to Sommerville, MA to take the Phase I test for the FBI to become a special agent.  I'm happy to report that I passed the test and will be contacted soon about moving on, meet and greets, interviews, etc.

I discovered a scar on my arm today that I didn't know I had, maybe an inch above the wrist.

Sommerville, I think that's how you spell it, I'm not going to bother to look it up, seems like a decent place for a college with a cool little downtown area, but driving in and out was such a pain.  Also, the building I was looking for was the end of the street because the street changed names three times in less than a hundred yards.  Who thinks that's a good idea?  It was a good thing I showed up earl for my test because I spent all that extra time just trying to find the building.

I have a training session for my new job today, from 2-9, then I start tomorrow from 8:30-1 as a telemarketer.  Because that's what all lawyer's really aspire to be, telemarketers.  I honestly don't know if I'm going to be good at it.  They want a positive, upbeat attitude all the time.  It's about energy, Energy, ENERGY!!! and I'm...not.  But whatever, I'm going to try it because I need some form of income, even if they don't provide health insurance.

I don't want to work Saturday's...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Occupy Movement

I've been reading a lot about the Occupy movement that started in New York.  Apparently it is spreading and there is now an Occupy Boston, LA, Chicago.

I've also been reading this website (http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/) and I recommend checking it out.  Some of the stories are heartbreaking, and unfortunately, all to easy to relate too.

Also, I found out there is an Occupy Albany campaign that I think I will look into.  One of my old college roommates, who lives in Albany now, is already there.  The next general assembly meeting is 5 o'clock on Sunday, October 9.

If you're interested in any of this, check out the following sites, as well as the one I mentioned above:


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Here's my Money, Now Where's the Rest of my Game?

In a recent interview Witcher 2 developer Adam Badowski told Rock, Paper, Shotgun that he didn't like to see "gamers treated like dairy cows."  What he's talking about is DLC, and to an extent, I kind of agree with him.

I'm not against DLC at all.  I think it's a great way to add something new to a game and get people back into it.  But Badowski is talking about studios that are, to keep with the cow metaphor, milking every dollar out of their fans to the point where sometimes players are having to pay around $80 to get the full game.

Not always a bad thing. For example, Fallout 3 released four new missions after the game had been on shelves for a while, allowing characters to reach higher levels, explore new areas on and above the Capital Wastelands, and giving players a reason to jump back on a game they probably already devoted way too many hours too.  But the added material was new, something developed after the release of the initial game, the genuine article.

On the other hand there's L.A.Noire.  I loved L.A. Noire, but before the game even came out it was common knowledge that some cases, for whatever reason, had been cut from initial release and would not be on any of the three disks that came with the game.  That was in May.  Not long after that I checked on Live and there were 4 new missions to do, none of which, of course, were free to download.  Now there is a "Complete" version of L.A. Noire coming out this November.  That's six months later.  See, this is where we have a problem...cutting material out of a game so you can sell it to me later is just grimy.

Don't even get me started on Marvel v. Capcom 3 vs. Ultimate Marvel v. Capcom 3.  While I didn't purchase MvC3, I would be pretty upset if I had.

But I guess what it comes down too is DLC, at least in my eyes, was supposed to be a way to add a new aspect of a game that may have already been played out otherwise.  More and more, however, it seems DLC is being used by studios as a way to drain you of your hard earned cash, holding back on giving you what should be included in the initial release in order to drain you of more of your hard earned cash later.  To me, that's a misuse of DLC.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Just a Thought on Bullying

I don't know if this is true.  It's just a theory.

In high school I saw first hand the difference a good principal and leader can make.  My first year at the school I got a 97 average the first quarter.  The second quarter I was walking down the hall and the principal said hi to the kids who were in trouble all the time and had no idea who I was.  For three years I watched as students would be sent to the office only to be sent back to the classroom.  Nothing got better.

My sophomore year Br. Paul Beaudin became principal.  Now when students were sent to the office they had a good chance of being sent home, sometimes for good.  It was a private school and Br. Paul had the luxury of expelling troublemakers.  I saw a lot of kids who had been trouble in the past turn themselves around.  The whole school was better for it.

But it got me thinking about schools where the principal doesn't have that luxury.  Where did the troublemakers go?  On top of that I heard stories about parents defending their kids bad behavior, and from an outsiders perspective, it seemed as if the public schools in the area were edging more and more towards a climate in which teachers were afraid to discipline students for fear of being disciplined themselves.  Eventually, it wouldn't be worth it, and the inmates, as the saying goes, would be running the prison.

Granted I come from Schenctady school district, and not too far from that is Albany, a school that  counts stabbings the way other schools count missed homework assignments, so my perspective of the public school system is a bit skewed.

Now there is a national outcry to stop bullying.  Has bullying gotten worse in the past few years?  I don't know, I'm not in school, but I do know this, at least when I was a kid I got to go home at the end of the day and what I didn't have to see was a bunch of nasty comments on my Facebook page.  Not everyone today has that luxury.

But that isn't really the point.  I don't think Facebook is to blame.  So who is?  Well, I already said it: The inmates are running the show.  Teachers aren't just supposed to discipline students, they are supposed to protect them, but the two often go hand in hand.  How is a teacher supposed to protect one student when he or she can't discipline another?

You want to stop bullying, or at least reduce it because kids are kids and some bullying is going to happen, but if you want to stop serious bullying then the schools need to stop pandering to the bad kids and even more so the bad parents and give the teachers back their power.  Administrations need to step up or things are never going to get better.

But like I said, just a theory.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Just a Reminder About Gears 3

My game is pre-ordered, my batteries charged, and my lancer polished...Gears of War 3 comes out tomorrow.  G4 gave it a 5/5 and Game Informer gave it a 9.5/10, saying it was the best of the series.

I will be doing a review of the game once it's actually here, but thought it would be nice to remind everyone of the big event.

And I get to post the Dust to Dust video, which, like all Gears promos, is awesome.  The song, by the way, is Into Dust by Mazzy Star.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

How Does This Guy Have a Job

There are 14 million unemployed people in the United States right now.  Why isn't Tom Coughlin one of them?

I thought for sure, if the Giant's organization had any self respect, that Coughlin would have been out of a job after that loss against the Eagle's last year in which they gave up 28 points in around 7 minutes to blow a huge lead in one of the most embarrassing losses in NFL history.  During the game the camera flashed to the sideline to reveal a coach being ignored by his players, ignored by his assistant coaches, looking utterly confused, lost, and hopeless.  "That just about sums up Coughlin as a coach," I thought to myself at that time.

The Giants, needing to win one more game to make the playoffs, sadly limped out of the season, playing like a team trying to make it home in time for dinner.  The Packers, the team the Giants would have kept out of the playoffs had they achieved a single victory in the closing weeks, went on to win the Superbowl.

"The pathetic way in which the Giants ended their season guarantees Coughlin won't be around next season," I told myself time and time again, hopeful the Giants would find a new coach, a new energy, a new life.

But no, as the season rolled near, Coughlin was still at the helm.  And today, the Giant's opening game of the season against the Redskins, saw the same old skipper driving the same old boat into the same old rocks.  The Giants looked pathetic, plagued by interceptions, blocked punts, and hanging heads, in their 28-14 loss.

From the looks of things it's going to be a long season.  14 million people in this country without a job.  Tom Coughlin is not one of them.  If you ever wanted proof life wasn't fair...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

We Have Nothing to Fear But Everything...

Here is a link to a segment on FOX News (are they still calling it that?) about how video games are promoting a left wing agenda by teaching kids not to pollute, and using fear to do so.  A few comments:

1) If not polluting and making environmentally sound choices is a left wing only platform, maybe the right should reconsider the stance they take on the matter.

2) One of the points the gentleman speaking repeatedly makes is that the game uses fear to scare kids into making environmentally sound choices.  The irony in this, villainizing the game people for using fear while at the same time using fear by telling viewers that games are propaganda used by the left to brainwash you child into... i don't know, not polluting...is amazing.  Hello pot, meet kettle.

But this segment reminded me of something that has been on my mind lately.  Roosevelt told us "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."  Today the message coming from our leaders is, "Be afraid, be very afraid..."  Of what?  Everything.

Now I'm not saying that there wasn't fear mongering and propaganda in Roosevelt's day, lord knows there was, but it seems like it would be a nice thing to have a voice at the top telling the nation that we would get through the hard times, if we keep our heads down and work hard we would get through this.

I say it seems like a it would be a nice thing because I don't hear that voice today.  Who is the leader at the top telling us we'll pull through?  Today we have reactionary pandering to what ever sensational story happens to be filling the gap between real news (Speechgate, really?).

Today our leaders seem like reactionary cowards, and I wonder, how many great leaders throughout history have been cowards?

Be afraid, be very afraid...or don't.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Locke and Key is Not Happening...but the Jersey Shore Lives On...

I have been reading Joe Hills comic Locke and Key since book one, and it is the only comic that I own both in floppies (individual issues) and in hardback (every six floppies is grouped together like a chapter in the series).  It is an amazing series unlike anything else I've read, and everyone should read it, comic book fan or not.

Anyway, those of us in my circle that have read Locke and Key always talk about what an amazing movie or television series it would make.  And apparently someone agreed.  Director Mark Romanek apparently filmed some of the television series!!! News to me.  Here's the trailer below - and take it from someone who has read the book, it is VERY well done, and for the most part spoiler free.

This is awesome news!  Amazing news!  The best television news since The Walking Dead!  It's also not happening.  Why?  Because it was developed for FOX, the same brilliant people who canceled Firefly after only one season, put Fringe on Friday nights in hopes of killing it off, and is basically known as the place where great things go to die.  (BTW - Thanks again FOX for giving us Deadpool in the Wolverine movie and sewing the Merc with the Mouth's mouth shut.  Nothing like making sure the funniest character in the Marvel U can't talk!)

So basically a bummer, although the above trailer is so well done I'm hoping someone else picks it up or it goes straight to DVD.  Seriously, it would make an amazing series, guaranteed six seasons with each season having one big story arc and a bunch of little story arc's along the way, kind of like Dexter.

AMC, what was your highest rated show last year?  It wasn't Mad Men you say?  It was The Walking Dead?  The show based on the comic?  Well...if you're looking for another...I might know a good place to start...

And in other news - Abercrombie is paying the cast of the Jersey Shore NOT to wear its close next season...because that show is still on the air.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bad Weekend for the Yanks a Sign of Things to Come?

Sooo, where to start...

How about baseball?  Congratulations to the New York Yankee's for taking over first place in the American League East on Friday night with a 3-2 come from behind win over their rivals, the Boston Red Sox.

Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox for remember that you own the Yankee's this year and taking frist place right back.

This is ridiculous.  With last nights win the Sux are 10-2 against NY this year, making it the first time since 2004 that the Sux will win the yearly series between the two clubs.  I mean, it really is terrible.  Remember when the Sux started the year 0-6?  Then they got to New York and by they time they left that weekend their record was 2-7.  It got as bad as 2-11 before they got better.  But the point is, the only team they could beat at the beginning of the year was the Yankee's, and they haven't stopped.

Sabathia - 16-2 against all other teams in baseball this year with an ERA in the 2's.  Against Boston?  0-4 with an ERA in the 7's.  What is going on?  I tell you what, I think C.C. is having Cleveland flashbacks on the mound because he's pitching like he's afraid and won't throw strikes.  Of course teams are going to light you up when you start every count down 2-0.

And as for everyone else?  Everyone else who?  Burnett peaked in game 2 of the world series against Philly and has been a losing pitcher ever since.  Hughes? 18 wins last year...sure, but how did he do after the break?  A couple of old men are stringing together wins, but their both just above better than .500, and a rookie, Nova, who's 10-4, but the Yanks can't seem to find a place for him in the lineup.  Besides, you want to send him to the mound in game 2 of any round of the playoffs?  No, I didn't think so.

Everyone, myself included, said the Bomber's were going to need another arm to get anywhere, but Cash thought he knew better.  Now everyone's got Boston winning the east and having the Yanks take on the Rangers come October.  I'm not sure it matters.  Yeah, we're winning a lot of games, but baseball is different in the fall, and one reliable pitcher isn't going to cut it.  The Yankee's should know that better than anyone else.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This is Why it Pays to Know a Little Something About Pop Culture

And by a little something, I mean the bare minimum.  "Why?" you ask.  The answer is simple.  So that you can avoid falling for pranks like this.

I suppose it would also allow you to pull a prank like this...but only on those with minimal defenses.

Seriously, this is awesome.

And how can you not know Bruce Wayne or Gotham City...seriously...

Although I would like to point out Wayne is a billionaire, not a millionaire...

See, this prank wouldn't work on me...

I'm going to go start disk 3 of season one of BTAS now...because I finished disk 2 (again) this morning...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Captain America: The Frist Avenger Review

Last night I went to see Captain America: The First Avenger and I have to say, I think it is my favorite super-hero movie of the summer.  I thought Thor was okay and way over hyped, I liked Green Lantern more than most people seemed to, and I didn't see X-Men: First Class because I have had no association with the X-Men since a few years ago I was having the comics pulled and, despite Marve's continued promise that there would be no crossovers, one day I opened up my newest issue to find myself smack dab in the middle of someone else's story with no idea what was going on and no idea when they would get back to the story arch I was reading.  But I digress...

The first thing I want to say about Cap is that one of the reasons the movie works so well is that Steve Rogers is such a likeable guy.  Rogers is a true patriot and more than anything wants to be on the front line fighting the Nazi's, not because he want's to kill them, but because he doesn't like bullies.  The problem is he's small, a 90lb weakling with asthma, so the army won't take him.  But he keeps trying, and eventually finds himself in a special group of soldiers - candidates for the Super Soldier Serum.

It's important that Rogers is such a good guy, because as we learn, the Serum doesn't just amplify your muscles, it amplifies everything about you.  A good man becomes great, a bad man becomes worse.  But Rogers is just the guy for the job, having been a small, bullied man his whole life, he knows the true value of power, and more importantly, he knows compassion.  Also, he's the bravest guy ever, never backing down from anything.  "Once you start running," he says, "they'll never let you stop." 

The character of Steve Rogers is in such contrast to the recent run of hero's - Tony Stark being a billionaire playboy who becomes a hero only after seeing all the damage he has done; Thor a god and heir to the throne, a spoiled brat who loves himself more than anything and has some growing up to do, etc.  Rogers is different, he is a hero from the outset, a man who want's to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.  There doesn't need to be another reason for him. 

While Roger's most endearing qualities could run the risk of making him appear naive, the movie does a good job of not letting the character come across that way (well, he can't talk to girls, but that's mostly because before he became Cap they wouldn't talk to him).  Rather, he is a man who knows what needs to be done and is willing to do it, no matter the challenge.  In light of the recent end of the American space program, with Kennedy's speech about America going to the moon and attempting other hard tasks "not because they are easy, but because they are hard," Cap's star shines even brighter. 

I don't want to spoil too much, so I won't get much further into the plot, but I do have a comment on the way the film was shot.  There is a point where Cap is going around fighting bad guys, and the movie jumps around from action sequence to action sequence.  It may seem like an unusual choice at first glance but the reason it works so well is that it is shot in the style of an old WWII propaganda film, the type of films where a voice over would read all about the brave men and women fighting overseas while showing you a collaboration of shots, tanks rolling, planes flying, someone raising the American flag.  The style wouldn't have worked for Spider-Man or Iron Man or Thor, but for Cap's origin, it is the perfect fit.

So that's my take on it.  I love a good redemption story as much as the next guy, but there is something refreshing and even inspiring about Captain America and the innocence with which he sees things.  Superman is called the boyscout, but as far as the movies are concerned, the boyscout hasn't had a strong showing since the 70's. It is great to finally see someone step up and fill the gap.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Umm, Maybe You Shouldn't Have Told the Post...Maybe

Morgan Webb of G4 has a new show called G4 Underground.  I am actually watching an episode right now.  It's abut a real life crime fighter, a guy going by the name Dark Guardian.  He's based in New York, seems to spend a lot of his time patrolling various rough neighborhoods in Manhattan, and mentioned in his interview that he was born and raised in Brooklyn.

The guys got guts.  He just approached a guy in Washington Park, an alleged drug dealer, and told him to take a hike or he was going to call the cops.  The guy left.  But Dark Guardian may have been able to hold his own if it came to blows, he's been studying martial arts for ten years and has a trainer, Mike, who helps him train every day.  Whether he's any good or not I have no idea since I'm convinced with the right editing I could look like Mike Tyson hitting a heavy bag, but I will tell you this, I wouldn't mess with him.

But here's something interesting.  Morgan Webb, who as far as I can tell only introduces the segments, I haven't seen her actually talking to anyone...but Ms. Webb said that Dark Guardian would only give G4 an interview if they promised not to reveal his "secret" identity.  I put secret in quotes because the guy doesn't hide his face at all, his only attempt at a disguise being a pair of very transparent goggles.  But there's more to it.  While the segment was still on I Googled Dark Guardian and found and article from the New York Post about a handful of New York crime fighters, Dark Guardian among them.  In the article, I learned that, as of April 11, 2010, Dark Guardian, aka Chris Pollak, was a 25 year old man currently living in Staten Island.  So really, preserving his "secret" identity was just a dumb something or other done by either him or G4 producers.  Either way, it's stupid.

Guardian isn't alone in the crime fighting business (I don't know about being alone in being dumb enough to tell your name to one major news source only to deny it to another later) and apparently there is a whole movement, which you can learn about at http://www.reallifesuperheroes.com/ and http://www.reallifesuperheroes.org/.  Say what you want about them, at least they're trying.

Yeah, that's him.  He wears a biker jacket.  At least he'll be safe if he trips on the sidewalk...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

And Now, A Word From the Captain...

And to show our appreciation...

Remember kids...if it moves, shoot it.  Unless it's the Captain.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Good News for ME!

I don't know how many of you know this, but I submitted a story for an anthology of crime/pulp/noir stories coming out this November.  The book, the second in the series, will be called Live Free or Die, Die, Die! and my story (hopefully) will be titled the same.  It is published by Rick Broussard, editor of New Hampshire magazine.

I say hopefully titled the same because I entered my story to be the title story, and to get that position would be an honor and extremely cool (as far as I'm concerned).  The good news is that Rick e-mailed me the other day to tell me that my story is definitely in the book (yay!) and that I am actually in the running for the title story (double yay!).  I don't know if I'll get it or not since I have no way of seeing the competition and therefore have no idea where I stand, but really it's awesome just to get in there.

For those of you unfamiliar with New Hampshire Pulp Fiction, you can check out their website here, and you should also check out the first book in the series, Live Free or Undead (did I mention he's editor of New Hampshire magazine?).  I know you can find it in Portsmouth (which is where I found it) or you can look around for it.  That's what the internet is for.  I'm not doing all the work for you.

Anyway, as I said, the book comes out this November, and whether I'm the title story or not I'll be in there somewhere, so show your support.  I'll be reminding people when the time gets closer.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

How Luongo Lost the Stanley Cup for His Team

First of all, congratulations to the Bruins for their first Stanley Cup since 1972.  I don't know if Boston fans could have handled another drought like a certain terrible baseball team once had...and you had to go through some pretty tough teams to put an end to the wait.  Also, cograts to Tim Thomas on being selected MVP, a trophy well earned.

Speaking of tough teams, just about everyone had Vancouver picked to be hoisting the trophy, for what would have been their first time in franchise history, at the end of the season.  In a year where so many teams were so competitive, so close in skill level in both the Eastern and Western conferences, and the playoff contenders weren't decided until the final weekend of play, Vancouver was the one team that seemed to have separated itself from the pack.  In a season where any team could beat any team at any time, Vancouver was the one team in the league expected to win every game.  Led by the Sedin twins, Vancouver was arguably the most consistent (winning) team of the year.

So what happened?

The series came down to goal tending.

As NHL on the Fly analyst Craig Button argued before the playoffs began, Luongo is not a Stanley Cup goalie.

Let's start with consistency.  Going into game seven Wednesday night, Luongo had two shutouts in the Stanley Cup Finals.  He had also been pulled twice.  The amount of goals he had allowed in three games at home: 2.  The amount of goals he had given up in three games on the road: a staggering 15.  Talk about inconsistency. 

How could the Vancouver fans, or more importantly their players, have any faith in a guy who can blank a team one night and then let pucks by him like they were covered in anthrax the next?  I don't think you can.  From a players perspective, when your goalie can at any time and without a moments notice give up four goals in five shots, you start to think and react with a defensive mindset.  Instead of battling for a close loose puck at the blue line, you start to think "I need to get back and play defense."  You stop taking chances, you stop being aggressive, you start worrying what the other guy is going to do to beat you instead of what you can do to beat him.  In other words, instead of playing the game to win, you start playing not to loose, and as anyone will tell you, that is a surefire way to defeat.

Luongo's inconsistency didn't just have an effect on Vancouver's state of mind as a team, which of course I can only speculate about, it had an effect on Vancouver's physical state of being as well.  No need to speculate there.  I watched it happen with my own eyes.  Eddie Olczyk made a comment with about seven minutes to go in the game about the Vancouver defensemen looking exhausted and being beat to every loose puck.  Tim Thomas also made a comment in his on-ice post-game interview about the physicality of the series taking a toll on Vancouver.

How does that relate to Luongo's poor performance?  See, it isn't enough that Luongo won three games in amazing fashion at home, because the Stanley Cup Finals is a long, hard, physical, seven game series...and people get tired.  It doesn't take a doctor to know that the best medicine for being tired is rest, and that is exactly what Luongo's three goals in eight shots in game six gave the Bruins players.  With a comfortable lead, the Bruins first, second, and even third lines all saw a little less ice time than normal in game six, while Vancouver's star players were still out there, grinding out every shift, putting two on the board.  But two wasn't enough.  So in the end, game seven saw a rested Chara, Recchi, and Bergeron for Boston, and a set of twins and one Robert Kesler tired, beaten, and, again speculation on my part, lacking in confidence.

Let me stop and mention something about the confidence of the Bruins here too.  Do you know what else happened when the Bruins top lines were on the bench?  The fourth line for the Bruins came alive.  Congratulations to Thornton and co. for really stepping it up when it was most needed.  They played hard, they put a lot of pressure on the net, they stood their ground against Vancouver's second and third lines.  But the most important thing?  It gave Boston coach Claude Julien confidence that his fourth line could handle more ice time in game seven.  I don't know if you saw that stats after the first period, but the fourth line guys had at least four to six minutes each...more time the first line guys (or the second, or the third) don't have to be out there, more time they can rest.  No wonder then at the end of the game Boston was skating circles around Vancouver.  By the time Luongo went to the bench with around three minutes to play it was almost no challenge at all for Boston to get the puck to the other end and score that fourth and final goal.  The Canucks were out of gas.

Finally, I just want to mention Luongo's remarks.  He said he didn't mean them as an insult, and if you look at the comment as a whole you can sort of see where he's coming from, but here's the thing, it just doesn't matter.  You don't trash another teams goalie.  The only hockey I ever played was at the street level, but even there, you didn't attack the other teams goalie, verbally or otherwise.  It would be very painful for you, even amongst friends.  You think the Bruins treated the Canucks like friends?

Not to mention Thomas.   I think Thomas is a great interviewee because his answers are well thought out and he articulates them well, and as far as the media was concerned he seemed to have brushed the comment aside, even joking around a little (pumping the tires).  But rumors from the locker room suggested he was actually pretty upset about what Luongo said.  If that was true, do you think it broke Thomas' spirit, or made him play harder?  No way to know, mostly because I don't know Thomas' true reaction to the comment.  But what I do know is that Thomas led his team to 5-2 and a 4-0 victories after the comments were made.  So at best they had no effect and Thomas just played to his usual awesomeness, at worst, Luongo helped build the wall that stopped Vancouver from reaching it's first ever Cup.

So there you have it, my take on how Luongo lost the Stanley Cup Finals for his team.  You could argue that players win as a team, lose as a team, that he needed more goal support, Raymond was out, blah blah blah...but don't, because in the end, Luongo, who so aptly pointed out that HE was one win away from the Stanley Cup, not the team, he very much said "I" in an interview before game six, let the team down.  HE, apparently, was two games away from losing it as well.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark Comes Out Today...Save Your Money, Watch This Instead

I haven't been covering it, but it isn't exactly a secret that the Spider-Man Broadway musical Turn off the Dark has been something of a comedy of errors over the last few years...long story short, the new and "improved" version (certainly new, don't know about improved) version comes out today, minus Julie Taymor.

I am a huge Spider-Man fan and even went as the web-slinger for Halloween once...and I don't mind me a good Broadway musical.  That being said, I don't think this is going to be a good Broadway musical, or even an okay one...

So I propose you watch this instead.  It accurately sums up the Spidey musical and you get to watch muppets...what more could you want?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The More Lunongo Speaks...the More I Dislike Him...

We all know about Luongo's comment about how he would have made the save Tim Thomas failed to make in game 5, allowing the only goal of the game.

Is it a big deal?  Maybe, maybe not.

If you look at the entire comment Luongo also says that there were saves Thomas made that he wouldn't have.  The statement, according to Luongo, was more about the different styles of play, the different approaches of each goalie, than an insult.  Should we believe him?

Does it matter?  It's the Stanley Cup Finals, are teams supposed to be nice to each other?

Besides, the numbers speak for themselves.  Boston, while down 3-2 in the series, has outscored Vancouver 14-6, including 8-1 and 4-0 routes by the Bruins.

On the flip side, Luongo has two shutouts in the Finals.  Know any other goalies in Stanley Cup Finals history with two shutouts with rumors of being benched hovering over him?  I can't think of any either.

The point is, I don't know anyone that would take Luongo over Thomas if they had their pick, and all of Luongo's stupid comments, intentionally insulting or not, don't mean a thing.

No one was questioning Thomas' ability to bring home the Cup before the series began.  Can't say the same for the Big L.

But that isn't the only comment of Luogo's that reveals he may be more in love with himself than we are.  If you watch interviews with the players in Vancouver, you hear a lot of statements like this - "We're only one win away from the Cup" or "We just have to keep playing our game" or "We have to play whistle to whistle."  A lot of "we's" - as in this is a team effort.

Luongo on the other hand - "I'm one win away from the Stanley Cup."  Notice a difference?  Luongo's interviews are filled with "I's" and "Me's" - not exactly a team player.  Maybe it's because the focus is on him and his statement at the moment, but that isn't the kind of self-centered mentality I want from anyone on my team, let alone my goalie.

Who does Luongo think he is?  LeBron James?  Congrats to the King on yet another championship season by the way...

Tim Thomas doesn't need to pump Luongo's tires...Lungo does plenty of that himself.

Something Luongo could have thought about from the bench in game 4.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Question: What do DC and Digital Comics Have in Common?

Answer: I don't read either of them...

So I'm sure you've heard the news.  Big DC reboot and all...and if you haven't, well, you can read about it at DC's website.

You know, I have taken multiple surveys from Marvel about digital comics, and my answer has always been the same - I don't read them.

I don't want to read them.

Call me old fashioned, but I''m not alone.  There are a lot of people out there who don't want to trade in their cardboard boxes for an ipad...at least as far as their comics are concerned.  I don't like to read off a screen.  I want the book in hand.

Some people are saying this is the death of the comic book store.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I don't read much DC, a rare book on occasion (although I do enjoy Vertigo), so there isn't a comic store surviving off of my sales.  But obviously comic shops are going to take a hit if they can't put one of the top two comic producers on their shelves.  Thanks DC for all your support...

But comic shops won't be the only one's taking the hit.  How many people out there are like me in that they don't want to read digital comics, but unlike me in the fact that they read DC?  Answer: I have no idea, but my point is this, if I was reading DC comics and I was forced to go digital...I would stop reading DC comics.  Who takes the hit then?

Talking about taking hits, on August 31, DC is going to do a sort of universe overhaul with a bunch of new #1's.  Do you know why Superman and Batman #1's sell for millions of dollars?  Because there aren't many of them left.  Who's going to pay a million dollars for a digital copy of anything?  Nobody.  I read an article once about five things to invest in that are better than gold.  Number five on the list was comic books.  Say what you will but the numbers are there...can you name anything else bought for 10 cents and sold for almost $2 million?  Think that would still hold true if there aren't any paper copies?

In the end I don't see how anyone wins from what DC is doing.  As I said, stores are going to take a hit because one of the biggest names in comics isn't on the shelves, and DC is going to lose sales because of people like me, purists (as far as comics go) that don't want to go digital.  Ever.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Oh China, You Crazy Cats are at it Again...

Guards at a labor camp in northern China were forcing some 300 prisoners to farm.

Okay, you say, in your way, today, yay!  Farming might be expected at a labor camp.  What's the big deal?

The big deal, I say, irritated by your stupid interruption, is that they weren't doing regular farming, they were gold farming.  For anyone who doesn't know, gold farming is the practice of playing an online MMO such as World of Warcraft, collecting as much gold as you can, and then selling it to gamers for real money.  Yes, people do that.

WoW has a policy against gold farming, but really, you think the guards who were hawking the online gold for cash really care?

According to Liu Dali, who was imprisoned between 2004 - 2007 for "illegally petitioning" federal authorities about corruption in his local government, said that after a long day of having to carve chopsticks and toothpicks by hand, he would be forced to spend hours farming for gold online, and if he failed to meet either his day or night quota he would be beaten with plastic pipes.

Dali said that the online farming was more profitable than the physical labor they were doing, turning in around $770 to $925 a day.

You can read the article here.  Thanks to Jessy for the tip.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

COWABUNGA!!!! Kevin Eastman to Co-write New TMNT Comic for IDW

Kevin Eastman, one of the original creators of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has signed on to co-write, help with layout, and alternate covers for a new TMNT comic being published by IDW.  For anyone not familiar with IDW, they have been gobbling up IP rights over the last few years and publish Dr. Who, Transformers, and G.I. Joe titles, among others.  They are also responsible for the popular 30 Days of Night (which I have to say I wasn't a huge fan of, although I did enjoy Vol. 8, Red Snow) and one of my personal favorites, Locke & Key, written by Joe Hill (aka Joseph Hillstrom King, son of Stephen King).

I think this is exciting news, although admittedly I haven't read any of the original TMNT comics since I was a kid.  But it may mean a return to the turtle's grittier, darker roots from their Portsmouth days...

And red bandana's for all!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

GI Asked if Hitting the Reset Button is Cheating - I Answered

Last night, May 23, an interesting article was posted on Game Informers website by Ben Reeves.  Reeves asked readers if they thought hitting the reset button in a game was considered cheating, and it focused mainly around L.A. Noire, as many people apparently aren't happy unless they get a perfect run on a case and a lot of resets are occurring.  You can read what people had to say about the subject in the comment section to the article.

While I subscribe to GI and frequent the website, I decided write my answer here instead of in their comment section.  My answer, the most lawerly of them all - it depends.

I know, seems like a cop out, but I really do think it depends on the game.  For example, in L.A. Noire, once a mission is complete and a case solved, you are allowed to go back and replay any case you want for the purpose of trying to achieve a perfect score.  In this case, no, I don't think hitting the reset button is cheating, it is just a faster way of doing what the game will allow you to do anyway.  How can it be cheating to do what an in game mechanic allows you to do?  I don't think it is.

On the other hand, when a friend was recently about to be eliminated in a game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals in NHL '11 he was quick to quit the game and give it another shot.  Is this cheating?  I would say so.  The player was going to lose so he took himself out of the game in order to give himself another shot.  There was nothing in game that would allow him to do this, so essentially he had to go out of game, and what do we call not playing by the rules of the game?  Cheating.

What I worry about more when I am debating whether or not to hit the reset button is not cheating, it's cheapening.  Hitting the reset button takes you out of the game, and in a day and age when gaming isn't just a plumber squishing a mushroom man, when the story and the characters matter, nothing breaks that fourth wall faster than resetting because things didn't go the way you wanted them to.  I don't think anything demonstrates this better than the Fallout series.  In Fallout 3, for example, the game plays entirely different depending on whether you save or destroy Megaton.  While I don't begrudge anyone from multiple saves, seeing how things play out first and then making a final decision, it does take away from the game experience.  A big aspect of Fallout, as well as many other games, is that the player doesn't get game over when they make a decision, but instead has to live with the consequences.  It's what makes the decisions matter.  If you can just reset, then what's the point?

So that's what I think about hitting the reset button.  I personally don't like to do it, but I know a lot of people do.  In the end though remember it's just a game.  Play how you want.

Another Crappy Amy Adams Romantic Comedy...Or Is It?

Have you seen the trailer for "Green With Envy" yet?  No, well, maybe you should, even if you dislike Amy Adams as much as I do.  Jason Segal's a plus.  And the cameo(s).  I'm going to see this movie.

Monday, May 23, 2011

No Seriously, Shut Up!

There are a lot of dumb reasons to get arrested but today I think I read about one that has to be near the top of the list.  Lakeysha Beard, was arrested last week for talking on her phone in an Amtrak quiet car.  Talking on your phone on the train may not seem like much, but here's the thing, it was during her trip from Oakland, CA to Salem, OR, and when I say during her trip, I mean the ENTIRE trip, all 16 hours of it.  That's right, this woman spoke on her phone, nonstop, for 16 straight hours.  You can read about it in the Village Voice here.  I'd also like to mention I agree with Jen Doll (real name?) the author of the article when she says if it had been on the east coast we would have put an end to it after 5 minutes...just saying...

Actual Dead Island Gameplay Footage

So here is some actual gameplay from the upcoming Dead Island.  Similar to Dead Rising in it's open worldness and Left 4 Dead in that it is a first person shooter.  I think it looks like fun, and when he was talking about the fast travel he said the island is so huge that if you tried walking it would take you forever.  I don't know about you, but that's a great thing to hear when on the subject of open worlds.

I'm a fan of the more melee style gameplay.  I never understood why just because the world ended your character suddenly became an expert marksman and there were tons of guns lying around everywhere.  Seriously, as much fun as I had playing Left 4 Dead there are only a handful of places I would expect random piles of M-16's lying around (Baltimore, I'm looking at you), and I certainly wasn't expecting it at a carnival.  Plus, this is an island resort...why would there be a surplus of military weapons?  There wouldn't be.  So you use a baseball bat.  Word to the wise though - dude uses nails in his bat.  Nails stick.  Last thing  you need is not to be able to pull your weapon out of a shattered skull when ZED is on your tail.

I'm also all about a fatigue system.  Just because you need to be in good shape to survive the ZA doesn't mean you can mow down an entire island of ZED.  Stop, take a break, smell the roses, and the corpses I suppose...

Four player is another bonus.  I thought one of the biggest downfalls, as did a lot of people, to Dead Rising is the lack of multiplayer, even in the second one.  While I still haven't decided on whether or not I'll be picking this game up (slapping ZED on a box just isn't enough), if the reviews are good, multiplayer might be the deciding factor.

Anyway, enjoy, and let me know what you think.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Death of a Legend

Macho Man Randy Savage died today when he had a heart attack while driving and his car hit a tree.  He was 58.  I don't know if it was the attack or the accident that killed him.  Either way this is a tragic event and a sad day for wrestling, as Randy Savage was one of the greats.  He will be missed.

Maybe This is Old But it's Noob to Me

I don't know how old this is, but it made me laugh out loud.

If you want to see the original, without subtitles, it's here.

It's Time for Batman...to start filming...

Apparently principal shooting has begun on Christopher Nolan's final installment of his Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight rises!  You can read the details in the press release here.

I don't know about you, but these are very exciting times for me.  I am a huge fan of the first two movies, as I think most people are, and have full faith and confidence that Nolan will be able to complete the hat trick and deliver another amazing Batman film.  I'm also excited to see that all the key players, Bale, Caine, Oldman, and Freeman, are returning, and am really excited that Joseph Gordon Levitt has been added to the cast, slated to play a cop by the name of John Blake, as well as Marion Cotillard, who will be playing Miranda Tate.

One thing I'm not excited about - Anne Hathaway (as Selina Kyle).  Just not a fan.  Everyone keeps telling me how great she is but I have yet to see the performance to make me believe it.  I'm not saying she's bad, just, enh...at least to me.  Whatever though, I wasn't thrilled about Katie Holmes or the other Gyllenhaal either, but neither of them detracted from the movie.  Like I said before, full faith and confidence in Nolan.

Anyway, I know it's just starting and we have a long way to go before we see an actual movie...but good Batman news is always worth posting.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nice to See Noire Hit Gaming Consoles

As a reader, writer, watcher of all things Noire, I'm happy I can now add player to my list of Noire enjoyments.  Yesterday, May 17, Rockstar Games released its long awaited title, L.A. Noire, in which you play the character of Detective Cole Phelps trying to make a name for himself in 1947 Los Angeles.

When I originally saw the trailer for this game back in 2007, it literally made me salivate, and I'm happy to report the game lived up to expectations.  L.A. Noire borrows from all aspects of the genre, from spinning newspaper headlines to shadowy dark alley's,  and blends them together nicely, and while the game isn't lacking in action sequences, they aren't the main focus, or draw of the game.  Most of the game, from what I've seen so far, is not about using your gun, it's about using your brain.  Gathering clues, interviewing witnesses, putting the pieces together, that's what L.A. Noire is all about.

Speaking of interviewing witnesses, that is where L.A. Noire shines brightest.  The developers of the game created a new technology in which they film live actors performing their lines for their character and use the footage in the game.  The result is the ability to actually read a characters facial expressions and body language, which the game puts to great use in it's interrogation scenes.

As Detective Phelps interrogates a witness, it's up to you to decide if the person is telling the truth or not, and whether or not you make the right decision effects the information you receive as well as your ability to discover clues later on.  It's nice to see new gaming technology used to enhance the plot, not just make a game look better.  It was fascinating to see a character shift their weight and avert their eyes when you changed the line of questioning to something that made a witness, or suspect, uncomfortable, and maybe, not as truthful as you would like.  But don't think it's easy to read the game characters.  Believe me, it isn't.  Well, sometimes it is.  See, that's the thing, different actors playing different characters means that each character has their own unique triggers and tells.  Mrs. Brown might look away when she's lying, Mr. Jones might shrug his shoulders.  Each character is as unique as the person playing them.  The result was a player glued to the screen during an interrogation the way I would be during a shoot out or car chase in most games, perhaps even more so.

I've only played a short amount of time, but already I'm hooked.  Any gamers out there who are fans of crime drama, you owe it to yourself to pick up L.A. Noire.  You won't be sorry.