Monday, March 30, 2009

Fallout 3: The Pitt (XBOX 360 DLC) 03/24/09

Fallout 3: The Pitt is the new DLC available.  It's pretty solid, actually I enjoyed it quite a bit though there were one or two points where I got turned around on the maps.  It's definitely worth the 800 points for more Fallout 3 play.

I think it is a better set of DLC than Operation Anchorage - I was more interested in the story and setting, plus I managed to get much more gameplay out of The Pitt than the previous DLC.

One thing I was pleased about was The Pitt played very nicely - RPG wise - with my new evil character.  My original character was pretty much a "look out for the little guy" type.  My new alcoholic, sociopathic, cannibal plays a little differently to say the least.  


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (2009) DS Lite

GTA: Chinatown Wars is completely and totally awesome. I don't know what kind of mumbo jumbo Rockstar Leeds wove to get Liberty City crammed into the DS Lite but damn it, they did it. I could totally goob out about the game and how it's a masterpiece of the DS and OMG it is soooooo awesome but you guys know how much I love Rockstar games.

Two things I do have to say:

  1. Liberty City - the current GTA IV incarnation - has been perfectly scaled down to the DS. All the parts of the city - except for Alderney - are in the game. Having spent *cough* a few hundred hours driving around L.C. on the XBOX 360 has made finding my way around in GTA: CW quite a bit easier.
  2. GTA:CW is intuitively interactive. The DS is an excellent format for this game. Zipping through the PDA, searching for information, and simply tooling around the "mini-games".

GTA:CW is great. If I didn't have GTAIV: TLAD and Puzzle Quest: Galactrix to take up my time I'd be playing GTA: CW right now. Of course there's this whole going to work and school thing and tests I should be focusing on.

By the by:

You heard it here first: I bet you that GTA:CW is going to be the template for the new DLC for GTA IV. Yeah, it's that expansive.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Honeymoon 3: Turistas



I figured a slide show would be a lot simpler than posting a jillion photos.  It was a good trip: beautiful weather, both of us were in good spirits - even though we were both sick, we got a lot of walking around the French Quarter done, we spent a lot of time at the aquarium, and much fun was had.  We're exhausted and need a few more days just to decompress and get ready for school but that is not to be. 

Honeymoon in New Orleans Part 2 - The Drunkening.

There were only three places we went exclusively to drink though we always seemed to been either drunk or hungover or both.
  • Chart Room, 300 Chartres St.  Great bar, decent jukebox, cash only.  Miller High Life on draught which definitely makes a world of difference in drinkability - $2.50 for a big frosty mug doesn't hurt either.  Small and pretty low key the Chart Room seems like a good chunk of the patrons are restaurant and hotel staff.  All in all a great time.  Beware the tea infused vodka.  Ask Amanda how they were.
  • Ye Olde Original Dungeon, 738 Toulouse St.  We were looking forward to finding a bar/club that played old industrial and goth.  We found an awesome bar with kick ass drinks, wicked, hella bitchin' atmosphere, fucking awesome staff, and a galactic wizard asston of Metal.  Metal played at very high decibels.  Pretty solid jukebox downstairs though.  We ended up there most nights.  Unfortunately we spent most of the night before we were going to leave NOLA at the Dungeon, let's put it this way - those of you who know me will get this joke - I got singing drunk.  Amanda and I were not in the greatest of shape Friday morning.  
  • One Eyed Jacks, 615 Toulouse St.  A music venue in the French Quarter.  We just sat in the front and hung out bullshitting with the bartender most nights while waiting for The Dungeon to open.  Nice quiet spot to lay low.  Solid jukebox.
Oh yeah - you can smoke in fucking bars in New Orleans.  Yeah, it was like Heaven to sit at a bar and smoke...of course it was Hell the next day.  OMG, so totally worth it though.

The Honeymoon in New Orleans Dining and Feeding Megapost Extravapalooza!

I tried to keep notes but somehow when I take notes about a restaurant on a scrap piece of paper and then put my seventh Abita Amber on my notes...well...they kind of fell apart.  So I'm working on receipts and memory.

  • French Market Restaurant, 1001 Decatur St.  This place was expensive (our big blow out meal of the trip) but it really wasn't that bad considering the amount of food we (I) ate and the quality of the oysters and crawfish.  The oysters were local and hardly had any grit to them.  The mudbugs were just shy of too spicy and had chunks of lemon in the boil.  The hush puppies were solid and plentiful.  I think the French Market was our best meal in NOLA. Plus the staff was cool and even though they were short handed they didn't drag ass or act like dicks.
  • Acme Oyster House, 724 Iberville St.  Acme Oyster House can suck it.  The oysters were extra gritty and bland.  The chargrilled oysters were decent - Amanda didn't like them because she has an aversion to charred food.  The "craw puppies" were okay, nothin' to write home about.  Personally I hated the atmosphere.  We were in the back section of the restaurant and it was wall-to-wall neon, mirrors, and ugly, noisy tourists.  With so many options for oysters within walking distance I recommend skipping Acme.
  • Cafe Fleur-de-lis, 307 Chartres St.  A small breakfast place that was pretty good.  It was breakfast.  In all honesty, I was so fucking hungry when we went there I would eaten a nutria raw and enjoyed it.   
  • The Alpine, 620 Chartres St.  This is the first place we ate when we landed Monday night.  It was open, we were hungry.  It wasn't bad.  Their "signature" BBQ shrimp was good but too thyme-y.  The corn & crab bisque was pretty good, not worth seven bucks for a bowl but it didn't make me angry.  
  • Coop's Place, 1109 Decatur St.  We were wandering down the street, being cranky because we were hungry and couldn't agree on a place to eat.  When we checked the menu and saw rabbit on the menu we were sold.  The rabbit was in a jambalaya and therefore didn't stand out against the rest of the dish.  Our meals were still damned tasty - except for their fried chicken.  The fried chicken was, I don't know, off somehow.  It was just texturally and flavorally skewed.  I take fried chicken very seriously so this was a major disappointment.  
  • Clover Grill, 900 Bourbon St.  I wish I had known that this place was open 24 hours after we - ahem - gracefully made our exit from a lovely watering hole into the balmy evening.  Clover was awesome.  It's the kind of place I would eat if I lived in the neighbourhood.  Burgers were solid, fries were piping hot, and my strawberry shake was just the right consistency.  Word of advice - don't waste your time with a Lucky Dog - get your hot dog fix at Clover's.  Big beef dogs, no fuss, no muss.  Damn I wish I could eat there now.
  • Evelyn's Place, 139 Chartres St.  This was another great place that we just kind of walked past.  We went the day after St. Paddy's.  I had the corned beef on french bread and Amanda had a muffaletta.  Both were awesome.  What was best was the old guy taking orders.  Another couple came in after we had been situated.  When they ordered the couple asked, "What can you tell me about the corned beef sandwich?".  The old guy started in on a bullshit history of corned beef and then said, "What the hell do you mean?  It's a corned beef sandwich."  Another place I would eat if I lived in the area.



  • Country Flame, 620 Iberville St. A Cuban/Mexican/Spanish joint.  I wanted a Cuban sandwich, I got a Cuban sandwich.  Amanda got some chicken in red sauce.  It was prefectly reasonable.  Bland but perfectly reasonable.
  • Cafe du Monde, 813 Decatur St.  The one, the only, the much touted Cafe du Monde. You know what?  I shut the fuck up once I had a couple of beignet and a large black coffee.  I normally don't go in for pastries or sweets but these hit the spot.  Here is a picture of me not enjoying my beignet.

  • Lucky Dog vendor, corner of Bourbon & Toulouse Sts.  I hate to say this because the vendor was such a nice guy but I know hot dogs Lucky Dog and you sir are a poor example of a hot dog.  Sure it was a massive dog but bleh, tasteless, blanched, blech.  No wonder they are slathered in crap - i.e. chili, pickles, etc., etc. - they need something to cover up the fact their dogs are weak.  Get a dog from Clover Grill - they taste better and are cheaper.

That's the long and short of the matter.  I had a massive list of places to eat but we just kind of wandered and ate where we felt like stopping.  New Orleans is a good town for food but I have to admit I left a little disappointed - like I missed some crucial feeding experience.  

Coming soon...reviews for the bars we went to.

Stumbled across an excellent Jamaican music site:

Been spending the morning catching up on the Internet and found JJ Loy's skablahblah.com.  It's a top notch site re: Ska, new Ska, podcasts, well written essays about the history of Jamaican music, and all sorts of good stuff - including a piece about Cadence St. John (NSFW).

It's definitely a site worth checking out - especially if you're getting into Ska for the first time.  I've been enjoying it but have yet to check out the podcasts - though I plan to ASAP.

Check it out.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Massive posts pending:

Just a quick heads up - there will be a couple of mega posts on the way.  We're digging through pictures and I have to organize my notes about where and what we ate.  Yes, I took notes about where and what we ate.

Would like to thank everyone for their support and best wishes and etc., etc., etc.  It made us feel all squishy and filled with emotions that are the opposite of the way we (I) feel.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I retract my previously positive review of "No Line On the Horizon".

While No Line On the Horizon is a solid album - for any other band that is not U2 - it's a disappointment.

Let me just say that I think that U2 hit their stride not with Boy, War, Achtung Baby, or Rattle & Hum but with Zooropa and Pop.  What can I say?  I heard Joshua Tree too many times on the radio growing up.  When I blasted - on my Sony Walkman - Zooropa stomping around the streets of D.C. I felt that album was made for me.

Years have passed.  I'm sixty pounds heavier than I was nearly a decade ago.  U2 is a band I had given up on.  All That You Can't Leave Behind was a tragic disappointment.  

All the elements for a successful U2 album are present in No Line On the Horizon.  Bono's plaintive cries, Adam and Larry's pulsating heartbeat intertwined bass'n'drums, and the Edge's soaring riffs are where they need to be...

But damn it, there's no...there's no heart in this album.  Maybe U2 found their breaking point.  I dunno what that is supposed to mean but there's no thunder, no dance beats, no anthem, no drift off into afternoon smoke, and no trouble maker involved with No Line On the Horizon.

I would give their latest release another (another) chance but I figure I might just dig out an album when U2 gave a shit.

A Better Tomorrow 2 (1987) dir. John Woo

This is quite possibly one of the greatest action movies ever made - if not the greatest action sequence. I first saw a clip of it in True Romance many, many moons ago. Mike showed me the light.

Exile (2007) dir. Johnnie To

It's been awhile since I sat down and watched a Hong Kong (HK) bullet drama that wasn't Bullet in the Head or Better Tomorrow II. Since I'm kind of going beserk with downloading stuff on Netflix and catching up on a stack of movies I figured I might as well try Johnnie To's Exile. Okay so a big selling point for me was Simon Yam - an HK actor I've loved since Bullet in the Head.

Exile is not a masterpiece of HK cinema - however it hits all the right marks and is a genuinely enjoyable experience. The cast is solid, the story is familiar, the directing and gun battles are all sharp. Let's put it this way, if you're hankering for an HK fix then watch Exile. If you could care less about HK movies then don't bother.



Paprika (2006) dir. Satoshi Kon

Satoshi Kon is my favorite anime director - Perfect Blue, Millenium Actress, and Tokyo Godfathers are all in my top ten favorite anime. I had been pretty disappointed about missing Paprika but finally sat down and watched it last night. Paprika is an excellent anime, on the par with Kon's other works and far superior to other releases I've seen in the last few years.
It's difficult to sum up Paprika - the official press kit synopsis reads:

Dr. Atsuko Chiba is a genius scientist by day, and a kick-ass dream warrior
named PAPRIKA by night. In this psychedelic sci-fi adventure, it will take the
skills of both women to save the world...
In the near future, a revolutionary new psychotherapy treatment called PT has been invented. Through a device called the "DC Mini" it is able to act as a "dream detective" to enter into people’s dreams and explore their unconscious thoughts. Before the government can pass a bill authorizing the use of such advanced psychiatric technology, one of the prototypes is stolen, sending the research facility into an uproar. In the wrong hands, the potential misuse of the devise could be
devastating, allowing the user to completely annihilate a dreamer’s personality
while they are asleep. Renowned scientist, Dr. Atsuko Chiba, enters the dream
world under her exotic alter-ego, code name "PAPRIKA," in an attempt to discover
who is behind the plot to undermine the new invention.


That's the long and short. Paprika is typical of Kon's work - you can analyze his movies until you don't know which way is up or you can simply enjoy the spectacle. The animation is top notch and Kon's art design is as strong as ever. Susumu Hirasawa's score is exceptional - a blend of atmospheric electronics, classical elements, and some bizarre techno-layering that gives Daft Punk a run for their money.


Saturday, March 07, 2009

Body of Lies (2008) dir Ridley Scott

Holy shit, Ridley Scott made a good movie again.  Now before you get all hot and flustered by that statement you have to take into account that Ridley Scott has made some suck movies over the last twenty years.  I am reserving judgment on American Gangster - aka the movie we've rented about a dozen times and never watched - but that's about it.

I wasn't expecting much of anything from Body of Lies - I downloaded it because I figured it would be better than Bangkok Dangerous.  Lo, Body of Lies was a perfectly reasonable CIA thriller.  There were some twists and turns and some shit blowing up.  I liked the non "USA! USA!  FUCK YEAH!  USA!" feeling of the movie - there was a good amount of character development that involved differing Middle Eastern views and opinions.  

I like DiCaprio as a grown-up.  He plays a fairly decent thriller/action guy.  It's nice to see that he moved out from River Phoenix's shadow.  Russell Crowe is Russell Crowe but he has a weird American accent that made me think - where are you from again?  Texatuckyginiaolina?

Body of Lies definitely worth watching, downloading, or buying out of the trunk of a car. 

Friday, March 06, 2009

Sharpie Pens rule!

Dear Sharpie,

Thank you making awesome pens.

xoxoxo

Joshua


As nerdy as it may seem I have a hard time finding pens I really like. I'm not a fan of ballpoint. Lately I've been taking so many notes in class pens just have a way of running out of ink very quickly. I've given the new Sharpie Pen a trial run and really like them.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I don't know where to begin...

This question and answer from chow.com's Table Manners kind of seriously pisses me off to no end. I'm exactly sure why - maybe it's because I've been without my meds for a couple of days - but poster Fear of Frosting's question brings out my inner Al Swearengen.

Minor edits to layout and a kind of neat widget addition:

I plugged in a Facebook widget and reshuffled the RSS button and few other fun things - new additions to blogs I am following as well.

Have fun checking out the new links and assorted goodness. Remember to tip your bartenders generously.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

"We're gonna grab 'em by the nose and kick 'em in the ass!"

Okay folks here's a preliminary list of potential feeding locations on Amanda and my honeymoon. Any suggestions/recommendations/ideas/warnings/etc are welcome and appreciated:

  • Voodoo BBQ
  • French Market Farmer's Market
  • Bennachin
  • Creole Creamery
  • Casamento's
  • Tommy's Cuisine
  • Parasol's
  • Joey K's
  • The Joint
  • West Indies Cafe
  • Boswell's
  • ACME Oyster House
  • Cafe Du Monde
  • Mother's Restaurant
  • Deanie's Seafood
  • The Rusty Nail
  • Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop
  • Aunt Tiki's
  • Dong Phuong Oriental Bakery
  • Clementine's
  • Kim Son
  • Pho Quang
  • The Red Sea
  • Verti Marte
  • Praline Connection
  • Jamila's
  • Galatoire's
Nom nom nom.

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