Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sauna (2008) dir Antti-Jussi Annila

I ordered this movie today, hope it's worthwhile:

Hey Hooliganyouth...

could you tell us how you feel when you get a new bad ass weapon in Borderlands 2?

Easy.  It feels like this:

I shit you not.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

IGN: Torchlight 2 Review

Sweet!  I really enjoyed Torchlight and now I have something to look forward once I'm done with Borderlands 2

Friday, September 28, 2012

Borderlands 2: Proposed Commando build with lvl 50 cap

Just making some notes on a build.  Nothin' fancy.  These are also how I have them planned in order of procurement.

  • Preparation 5 (+3% shield capacity per level; regenerate 0.4% health per second per level when shields are full.)
  • Ready 5 (+8% Reload Speed per level)
  • Impact 5 (+4% Gun Damage and +3% Melee Damage per level)
  • Willing 5 (+15% Shield Recharge Rate and -12% Shield Recharge Delay per level)
  • Expertise 5 (+14% weapon swap and aim speed per level; +7% movement speed when aiming per level)
  • Metal Storm 5 (Kill Skill. Killing an enemy gives +12% Fire Rate and +15% Recoil Reduction per level for a short time. )
  • Steady 5 (+8% Recoil Reduction, +5% Grenade Damage, and +4% Rocket Launcher damage per level)
  • Onslaught 5 (Kill Skill. killing an enemy gives you +6% Gun Damage and +12% Movement Speed per level for a short time)
  • Scorched Earth (Adds Multi-Rocket Pods to your Sabre Turret. 22 Rockets per Volley)
  • Grenadier 4 (extra grenade per level)
Of the three skill trees (one focused on turret, one on direct engagement, and the last defense) I'm least impressed by the defensive - at least for solo play.  The Preparation skill is pretty damned useful but I don't think I'd put any more points than that into defense.  I'm playing this as more of a hit and runner, with an emphasis on grenades, getting maximum reload and accuracy from weapons, and having a fast recharge on shields.  I am strongly considering Able (Damaging an enemy regenerates 0.4% of your Maximum Health per second per level for 3 seconds) in lieu of Scorched Earth and Grenadier 4 (then picking up those two when the level cap increases).  The main reason for considering Able is simply having the ability to stay in the fight (particularly in arenas or big fire fights) and unlike Quick Charge (Kill Skill. Killing an enemy regenerates 1% of your shield per second per level for a short time) you just have to cause damage.  Do or Die (Allows you to throw grenades while in Fight for Your Life. +10% Grenade and Rocket Launcher damage) would be nice to round out the grenade damage.

What fit are you leaning towards? 

Borderlands 2 progress report and assorted game news

Figured I'd post something and since I've only been biking, drinking, and playing Borderlands 2 - oh and going to classes - the only thing I have to post about is B2.  I did cancel my EVE Online account again, mainly for the reason I didn't have anything to do or any reason to do it - and don't yammer at me about null sec, I'd rather be bored than get my ass shot off.  More accurately, I didn't have anything to buy so I just had a big old pile of ISK.  Not like I'm saving my pennies for a BS or Titan or some shit.  I'm sure I'll get back into EVE but for now I'd prefer to have fun.

This game season looks like it's gonna be a good one - particularly for franchises I like:  Torchlight II, Far Cry 3, Hitman: Absolution, hell - even the new Assassin's Creed looks friggin awesome.  Having B2 kicking of the festivities is a good sign.

Here's a quick rundown of schtuff I've been experiencing in B2:
  • I hit level 25 yesterday and am in the meat of the game however I'm in no rush to rip through the story.  Fortunately Gearbox set up a large number of optional side quests and all kinds of explory looty places as well as a brilliant challenges list (and their Badass Tokens rewards)
    • I'm beginning to obsess over the challenges though some of them make me want to say very bad words.  The hidden Vault icons are in some cases, challenging as hell to not only find but in some instances get to.  Truth be told the last day or two I spent more time wandering around picking up challenges than I have been playing side or story missions.
  • Played a couple of hours of multiplayer with a Gunzerker buddy the other night.  That shit was fun.  Like genuine crazy person fun.  The difficulty and mayhem level increased significantly with only two of us (having four players has got to be batshit crazy).  
    • I think I might start a Gunzerker once I finish everything with the Commando.  My buddy was just beastly in combat.  One of the high points was him punching a Goliath into my field of fire.  He's just a beast of a character.
  • One problem I have is sometimes dialogue or events will be happening when I'm in combat.  I have subtitles on (I usually have a box fan going) but can't catch what's going on.  Not a huge deal but since there's no journal replay I feel like I've missed some stuff.
  • I hate Threshers but love their design and the way they act in combat (and crushing them under the wheels of a vehicle).
  • Easy cash money!  Farming Crisilisks in The Fridge.  
    • Fun tip, use non-elemental weapons for more damage on Crisilisks.  They seem to sponge elemental effects.  
  • Finally found an assault rifle worth a shit.  Still not the greatest find in the world but I always keep an eye out.
    • I lucked out and found a number of fuckin' sweet pistols and sniper rifles.  Is this Pandora telling me to just stick with my standard go to weapons?  o.O
  • Arena combat is back - not as hell bent for leather insanity as Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot - but tough enough.  Gunzerker buddy and I went through a couple of rounds and it was a little nerve wracking.  Doable but still nerve wracking.
  • Looking for peoples to complete driving challenges with!  Either as driver or passengers.
  • Singularity grenades are frigging awesome.  Homing singularity grenades that DoT are so beyond awesomeI don't even know if there's an equation for that much awesome.
  • Jesper Kyd's score is as good as his other scores.  Top quality work but, how does one put this?, it's similar to other film and game composers, they're doing excellent work that I fully enjoy but I go, "Yup, that's a Kyd score."  or "Yup, that's Goldsmith."  or "Yup, that's Morricone."  I know, I know - nitpicky.

That's all for now.  Hope you folks are well.  Maybe I'll see you in game.  Have a good weekend.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Borderlands 2 (2012) Gearbox Software - 20 hour review

I have a tendency to be a marathon gamer, especially with games I like.  I'm not a power gamer during these marathons.  There's no sprinting for level cap or the end of the game.  I'm not compelled to have the big shiny game-breaker from the get-go.  Sometimes I just happen to settle in for the long haul (sometimes unintentionally).  Borderlands 2 caught me from around four a.m. Saturday morning until about two Sunday morning.  I had received the game in the mail Friday afternoon and I biked over to the Haven to let them have first look at it that evening.  Ended up drinking a bit so when I came home around midnight I crashed out.  Woke up a few hours later feeling refreshed and decided to give Gearbox's much anticipated title a quick test run before heading back to bed.  So much for that idea.

Out of the four current class choices I decided to go with Commando.  I figured it would be a good tester as a starter.  Normally I would have gone with the assassin/sniper but I had good luck with the Soldier in Borderlands and I do like being able to launch autoturrets.  

The intro to Borderlands 2 seems to sum up the game neatly.  It starts off familiar and then just kind of goes epic.  I have this strange feeling that this is the game they wanted to make in the first place but didn't know if Borderlands would draw in an audience.  The scope has increased significantly, not in a Skyrim kind of sprawling vastness where any feature could lead to adventure, think more along the lines of Arkham City versus Arkham Asylum.   Gearbox has expanded and built upon a great foundation while making a massive number of changes (many of which aren't apparent at first glance).

Level design is one of the first things I noticed, enemy design close second.  Some of the landscape areas have been deceptively large but chock full of things to explore and explode.  Before access to a vehicle (which happens fairly early on) you're in for a bit of a trek.  In this way it is similar to its predecessor.  However, in a number of areas I've been in, the instances have the quality and length of the later missions in Borderlands.  What could be a rail shooter is anything but.  One section I'm particularly fond of is a combo platter of claustrophobic and large scale combat that boasts cut throughs, over and under passageways, vast amounts of cover, choke points, and things that go boom.

This leads me to enemy design (and AI performance).  The rogues gallery from the first game are out in force but they are backed by a slew (and by slew I mean metric shit ton) of new baddies.  I don't know how many people Gearbox had working on creature and enemy design but they knocked it out of the park in style and AI.  The AI wants to kill you.  Correction, the AI wants to curbstomp your daddy bag into paste and then kill you.  I've been pinned down and flanked and charged and swarmed (on several occasions all at the same time).  In some areas I've been able to bug out and sprint, hellbent for leather, from combat and out of immediate danger.  In other areas, particularly open levels with enemies spawning and chasing (or flying) after me that's not so much of an option.  In one section I was charged by swarmers while the big bad tanked at me.  No big.  Downside was, there were numerous ranged attackers who were more than happy to pin me down at range and from different sections of the map.  Most of these mobs also feature a mixed bag of resistances and weaknesses making what could be a simple run and gun into a desperate fire fight.  One enemy, I won't tell you which, is particularly vicious and isn't all that rare.  Their appearance in combat reminds me of Boromir's, "They have a cave troll."  

Fortunately, to counter the screaming hordes, we have a number of elements at our disposal.  Yes, lots and lots of guns but Gearbox has ramped up the RPG elements and level of customization for your character.  By completing challenges you are awarded "Badass" tokens.  These tokens can be exchanged for boosts to skills of your choosing.  It's really quite a brilliant system that encourages experimentation in gameplay.  Moving away from the (now) familiar, "the more you use a skill the more proficient you are" - which I strongly enjoy but know how to game the system with - the badass tokens rewards aren't always the same choices.  You can't hoard tokens and then dump them all into one skill since that skill might not show up every time you use a token.  What's really awesome, and I think shows a kind of mad genius, the bonuses you get are shared with all of your characters.  I'm happy about this because I know that I am going to play each character class.  Another interesting factor in these challenges is the simple fact that you can't rely on one type of weapon (e.g. sniper rifles) because there's just not enough ammo.  Some instances are so long you'll be forced to switch out weapons simply because you ain't got no bullets.  I'm currently using SMG and pistols as my primaries (I have yet to find an assault rifle worth a shit) and I tote at least one of every type of weapon class available.  Shotgun?  Check.  Two different weapon classes of assault rifle?  Check.  Missile Launcher?  Check.  Three different classes of SMG, pistol, and sniper rifle each?  Check.  Pointy stick?  Check.  I'm sure this load out will change as skills and equipment limitations increase but for now?  Hell, sometimes I'll limp out of mission with about a dozen random rounds of ammo.

B2 has also done something that I found myself going, "Huh, that's pretty cool."  For ammo capacity, bank, and backpack upgrades - you can't just out and out buy them with cash.  They cost units of a rare mineral drop.  Fortunately since I'm a loot hound who will grab anything not nailed down I've been able to expand my carrying capabilities significantly (except for ammo).  I like this change in purchasing since it limits my ability to simply throw money into juicing my character.

The Commando is a lot like the Solider in Borderlands - on the surface.  At level 16/17 I'm doing okay for myself.  I've put most of my tokens into weapon skills (reduced recoil, increased reload time, accuracy, and  elemental damage) and shield recharge times.  I dumped all of my skill points into prolonging longevity - I just put a point or two in damage output.  I have yet to sit down and really give the skill trees a look but Borderlands 2 allows you to respec (for a cost).  Back when I was playing Borderlands I would respec depending on whether or not I was playing with other people or not.  I'm pleased with the build so far but really I'm just waiting for the Mechromancer.

And then we have the guns.  There are kajillions of variations and you never know what you're going to get.  Gearbox expanded on their Wild World of Firearms from the first game and now it's just insane.  To make life easier each weapon manufacturer has it's own style - nothing new - but Gearbox decided to tweak some of the weapon handling that I'm not sure if I'm a fan of.  Dahl only burst fires when using iron sights/scope (not to terrible but I've not found a Dahl worth keeping), Hyperion increases accuracy the longer the bursts (which fucking sucks), and Jacobs fire as fast as you pull the trigger but with a serious detriment to accuracy (realistic but sucks).  Maliwan are the weapons of choice since you're gonna want to be dishing out elemental damage as soon as you can.  What I'm unhappy about (and is one of my holy grails in the game) are the changes to the assault rifle and pistol/revolver classes.  This is nit picky and lord knows with so many variants in the game I'm bound to find something I like soon.  However, at this point in time, assault rifles have been "expanded" under a weird umbrella of carbines, machine guns, grenade launchers, and rocket launchers.  Okay, the grenade launchers are cool and useful.  Rocket launchers, meh.  Machine guns I never really use anyway.  Carbines are another story.  In almost all shooters I lean towards the carbine assault rifle.  Even at a low level, with entry level skills I can do solid work.  In B2 thus far they are crappy von Poopenstein.  Yes, I haven't found one I love, I know.  Dahl assault rifles used to be excellent weapons but with the burst shot with iron sights, meh.  Not a fan.  That being said, SMGs and pistols (not revolvers) fucking rock in B2, even at a range I would normally use an assault rifle for.  I have three Maliwan (corrosive, fire, and electro) which bring the noise.  While I'm not a fan of the Hyperion brand I do have an emergency Hyperion street sweeper with a sixteen round drum that is a beast when taking down overgrown Psychos.

I should mention the story.  B2 actually has one I'm paying attention to.  They dovetail a crap ending (sorry Borderlands had a crummy ending) with a solid intro and engaging characters.  You don't need to finish the first to play the second but really, you're not going to get a good chunk of the inside humor and the pathos in B2.  It's actually kind of impressive and unexpected.

I should also mention the humor.  It ranges from dick and fart jokes to non sequiturs and double-entendres to really fucking dark to goofy puns (one of my favorites is "I have Turrets Syndrome!" to the surprisingly clever.  Sometimes in rapid succession.  Normally, I'm not a huge fan  of humor in my games (except Double Fine) but Gearbox's writers did some solid work.  I also haven't heard a great deal of repetition in the lines so that's kind of impressive too.

Hell of an overlong first impressions post but I realize that I tend to goob out for the first few posts before my inner Zero Punctuation kicks in.  Gearbox has put out a solid game, despite a few quibbles, and more importantly brought something to my game experience that I don't normally have - fun.  Oh I have fun gaming (EVE isn't terribly fun anymore) but most games I've played lately seem to be either serious or I seem more to appreciate them for the craft (Limbo, Bastion, Amnesia, Stacking).  Not to imply that Borderlands 2 isn't a well-crafted game but damn I'm having fun.  Visceral crazy-person fun.  Like headshotting a charging suicide bomber psycho in the midst of his friends.  Driving over and backing over (repeatedly) a pack of skags while whistling the Love Connection theme song.  Shooting the limbs off an attack drone and letting it crawl while acid melts it.  Punching a flaming psycho midget to death.  Getting into a batshit crazy firefight while low on ammo and singing Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler".  Tagging a Marauder with a Longbow grenade.  Yelling "Clean up, aisle twelve!" when an explosion turns something into a red smear.  

Jeez, and people thought Grand Theft Auto was fucked up.  

Multiplayer review coming up.  Holy shit, we can split-screen this time?                      

Friday, September 21, 2012

Me and Big Blue: Relearning bicycling week 1

Yeah, there are gonna be quite a few bike posts in the upcoming weeks and months (in case you couldn't have guessed from all the junk I've posted on FB).

This is gonna be a random recap of my first week back on a bike:

  • Starting off with a heartfelt "I hope you get throat chlamydia!" to the SUV full of hey bros who made absurd barking noises at me when I was biking home during my first solo night ride.  I didn't wipe out (thank god) and got home safe.
    • Lesson learned, fuck a bunch of Pearl St at night, even if it is only for a block.
  • Nacogdoches has a shit ton of hills, not great big bolshy yarblocko hills (well some) but these sudden increases in gradient that look deceptively flatish (and would be fine on foot) but all on a bike I'm suddenly swearing and sweating and ready to punch baby kitten Jesus in the face.
    • Trying to bike up to the video game store on the North side of town yesterday was a friggin nightmare.  I gave up about two-thirds of the way there and turned around.  On the upside the return trip was pure coasting.   
  • In the last week I think I've traveled about twenty-five miles hither and thither. Very rough estimate, figuring four miles downtown and back and assorted wandering.  I know it doesn't seem like much to the big kid cyclers but for someone who just walked to campus and home, it's kind of a big deal.
  • I've already felt my posture improve, if only because I need to sit up straight because slumping over at the computer kind of hurts.
    • That being said I'm on the verge of starting to figure out how to exercise at home.  Maybe I'll just start powerlifting Moxie.
    • "How to" stretching videos with yoga/bike ladies are not for children.
  • I hate my school bag.  It burns, it freezes.  It's un-fucking-comfortable.  Good thing I'm lucky enough to have crafty friends who can help me DIY panniers.
  • I need to have my head measured for a helmet.  Considering I found the most apropos helmet (and I need to get a helmet) who's got a cloth tape measure?
  • I named my bike "Big Blue" in part because it's a big blue bike and in part that was the name of my Voidwalker in WoW (seems like a million years ago since I pissed about with that game).
  • Fuck this, I'm gonna go ride.
I hope that all of you are well and in good spirits.

p.s. Don't forget about the design contest.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cabin in the Woods (2012) dir Drew Goddard

I laughed, I cried, I jumped out of my skin, and generally had a rollicking good time during Cabin in the Woods.

Wait, no I didn't.

Now before you get all uppity and assume this is going to be a full on snark review, it isn't.  Cabin in the Woods was not a bad movie.  Technically and conceptually the movie is pretty solid.  Drew Goddard is a capable director and his script (co-written with producer Joss Whedon) is workable.  There were a number of moments I was pleasantly surprised by the asides and references.  It's a clever movie that managed to do something I hadn't seen before or thought of in a horror/comedy (sort of).

The two main reasons I'm not jumping on the Cabin wagon are:

  1. Hype fatigue.
  2. Cabin suffers from "too many notes".
I'm sure all of you are familiar with "hype fatigue".  By the time a movie comes out we've pretty much seen most of it through marketing, blogs, teasers, trailers, reviews, ad nauseum.  How many times have you seen a movie and that awesome part in the trailer didn't make it into the movie?  Now, yes I realize this is not a new phenom. Watch old trailers for horror movies and a good chunk of the time you know what's gonna happen before you buy your ticket and take the ride.  With Cabin a good deal of my fatigue came from digital word of mouth (facebook and twitter) fangirlism (of varying degrees).  I had a number of people tell me I wouldn't like it (probably for the reasons I'm expressing now).  I did my best to avoid reviews or spoilers because I was interested in seeing what the hype was about and wanted to at least attempt to go into the movie cold.  Unfortunately from the preview and catching blurbs that said something along the lines of "Evil Dead meets Truman Show" I kind of knew what was going on before I watched it.

"Too many notes" is a criticism Emperor Joseph II has for one of Amadeus's operas in Forman's Amadeus (1984).  It's akin to adding too many ingredients to a dish or blending to many colours on a palate. The end result is muddy and whatever elements of greatness there are get lost in the jumble.  For Cabin I feel the same sensation.  If Goddard and Whedon had allowed certain elements to develop or expanded on others while tightening a few bolts here and there then perhaps it might have been a stronger movie.  The way it is though feels like they took all the different themed LEGO and slapped them together based on what they thought would be awesome.  

Here's a few random thoughts of what I liked and didn't:
  • The monster design and execution was awesome.  I wanted more of that.
    • Yes, I know the extended uber-cut has more monsters.  I didn't watch that one.
  • It really wasn't that funny.  Moments of humor but not funny.  Tucker and Dale vs Evil is funny.  Trick or Treat is funny.  It didn't even have the psychotic "what the fuck" humor of Evil Dead II.  I'm understand why people are making some of the comparisons but ehhh, it's a stretch.
    • Most of the humor I took from the movie happened in the office - a humor of mundane, disenchanted, and desensitized employees in the face of horror - gallows' humor.  I bet coroners are fucking hilarious.
  • I appreciated that the characters were actually decent people.  I didn't feel connected to or particularly engaged with any of them but they seemed like perfectly reasonable folks.  
Ultimately, I guess I'm not sure what many of you fans are on about and there were moments during the movie I caught myself wondering that.  I found that I couldn't really get into the movie and by the end I thought (to paraphrase Peggy Lee), "Is that all there is to Cabin in the Woods?"

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Borderlands 2 (2012) Pre-order Jitters

I don't pre-order games anymore.  I don't particularly cotton to dubstep.  I don't even really let myself get too "squee" about games anymore.  That trailer is fucking sweet.

I don't think I've ever done a "review" of a game before it's been in my hands either.  I know in the past I've done some trailers and heads-ups but I'm not sure if I've done a "jitters" review.

I'm a pretty hardcore fan of Borderlands.  Not panties get wet at the mention of TARDIS fangirl level but I really dug the first game.  Here's the intro:  

I skimmed one or two of the lower rating reviews of Borderlands 2 today and one of their complaints was along the lines of, "More of the same but better executed".  Personally I want that.  Plus I preordered to have  access to the Mechromancer - a young woman whose skills are all about mechs and turrets.  This character was available 09/18/12 as a DLC for ten bucks so I figure I saved myself a bit from the get go (sort of).  

I'm actually excited about this game.  Much more excited than I am for the latest installations of Hitman or GTA (though I am pretty keyed up for Far Cry 3).  What's peculiar, from my gaming experience, is that I'm excited about playing with friends.  Last Christmas my friends and I tore up Borderlands and gave me a renewed interest in a game I thought I had clobbered and was done with.  I look forward to a new gaming experience with those same friends but with a game I've not whomped the shit out of.

There aren't any worries I have about the quality of Borderlands 2.  From what I've read it's the game that Gearbox wanted to make in the first place.  Considering the strength of not only the game, game play, and stunning DLC I have no idea what's in store for me with this new release.

I'm going to do my best not to fangirl or heap glowing praise in the first ten hours (and then do a final pragmatic, disappointed post at game's end).  I'm also not going to giggle insanely when I get my copy in the mail.  OK, I might quip, "Look at me!  I'm dancing!" but then I'll go for a bike ride and when I get back do homework.  

Fuck that, I'm gonna squee and roll around on the game like a dog on a deer carcass.  

Calling all designers, artists, and admen...adwomen...adpeople...

A few weeks ago I started tinkering around with some design ideas for business cards on vistaprint but haven't been able to come up with something I really dig.  None of my sketches or photo collection really has anything workable either.

The reason I want something to distribute is because I want to start getting my name out for spice blends and cooking/catering.  My lack of marketing material really hit home this last Saturday when I was out biking with a friend and a photographer stopped me and asked if she could borrow my bike for a bridal shoot (which I did).  As I was standing there I said to my friend, "Fuck, if only I had some cards."  The next evening I went back to vistaprint and poked it with a stick but nothing really worked.  Then I realized I know a slew of excellent artists who could probably come up with something far more awesome than I could.  So I have decided to hold a design contest with either a $50 cash or trade prize.  If you're local it'll be a really fancy meal or I'll Magic Mike you.  If you're not local I'll send you spice mixes in pretty packaging or some such frippery.

Additionally I will fully promote - and support - your site and your work on (if I don't already) and mad props will be given.  Like Caesar entering Rome props.

I'm not sure how contests work but I have a general idea.  First entry guidelines:

  • Deadline: October 31, 2012 
    • All are welcome to participate.
  • Submissions must be sent to my email address (if you don't have it, hit me up on
    • Clearly marked in the address line: Hooligan Youth Contest Submission
    • In a high res format.
  • Submissions must be:
    • Original designs
    • Safe For Work (I don't want to scare the squares)
    • In keeping with the "Hooligan Youth" style - that is, no "Wild Style" graffiti-esque designs, nothing stuffed shirt, nothing Euro-trash, nothing "hipster", nothing anime, nothing Steampunk, and nothing too abstract (stylized is awesome but oblique is not).  If you're unfamiliar with the site or the "Hooligan Youth" ethos let me know, I'd be more than happy to fill you in.
    • Submissions should be ready to print upon selection.  
  • I'm looking for a design that will look as good on a business card as it will on a 5"x3" oval sticker or a product label.  Truth be told I'm leaning more towards an oval sticker than a business card for marketing - mainly because I want something to slap on my bike and be all, y'know like awesome and stuff.
  • I will take up to two designs from each entrant.  One is cool.  Three is not.  
Preferred style:
  • A sharp design.  Classic with just the right amount of panache combined with some punk rock/Two-Tone sensibility.  If you know me then you know what I'm looking for.
After October 31, 2012:
  • Once I have gotten all the submissions in order I will post all of the designs on this site as well as
    • Throughout November, with the help from you fine folks voting/liking/commenting, I will narrow it down to three selections.
    • Thanksgiving Weekend I will post the final three for a vote, get drunk, and play the hell out of Borderlands 2.
    • The Monday after Thanksgiving Weekend, I will post a winner on as well as the winner's preferred social media site.
  • Don't try to coerce your friends/coworkers/pawpaw and meemaw to vote for you.  I can see your friends list and this ain't selling candy bars in elementary school.
  • If you don't like someone's design, don't fucking troll.  I like to think I know good people who wouldn't do this but this is the internet so I have to make this caveat:
    • You troll or act like a dick - you're taking a walk down wash-out lane.
  • Don't be afraid to send something out-of-left field.  This is why I'm allowing two entries per person.  

And there we go.  It's not rocket surgery, well apparently it is because if it wasn't that difficult I could have done this myself.  I look forward to hearing from you folks and seeing what you bring to the table.

Friday, September 14, 2012

"Did I just see Josh on a bike?"

Yes, yes you did.

I finally bought a Giant Simple-3 cruiser from The Bike Shop this afternoon and spent the last couple of hours tooling around, sweating out a couple of pints of liquids, exploring Nac, and getting sun-burnt.  It was a lot of fun and I found a bunch of cool places I've never seen before.  I also managed to get from campus to downtown with minimal effort.  Downtown back to campus was a little more challenging since I thought I would bike up Lanana Creek Trail.  Yeah, fuck that.  Maybe if I was "Doing the Dew".  Trail is a misnomer as well, this was some Bear Grylls shit.  On the upside, I did find an awesome place - Tucker Woods - off of Raguet St. that I had never even heard about.  I didn't get to the SFA Arboretum yet.  Maybe tonight or this weekend...if my legs work.

Other assorted amusing stuff:

  • Oh, you mean 1 for hills, not 3?  Fuck, that makes more sense now.
  • I nearly wiped out (twice) when I lost control of the front wheel and the edge of the sidewalk (not the curb the grassy part).  I didn't get hurt or anything but the second time a cop slowed down and asked if I was okay.  I could the tell he was laughing at me.
  • Dickies suck for riding bikes when it's in the high 80s.  Time to make some shorts out of the them.  Yes, I bought a bike and I'm gonna wear shorts.  Suck it.
  • Nailing your finger with the snapping end of a bungee thingy hurts, like, a lot.
  • I genuinely had fun just kind of puttering around.  Outside my apartment.  Sober.  Wait, what?
  • Coaster brakes are fuckin sweet.  Less worry of a bike-endo with Joshua getting more head injuries.
  • Found a Two-Tone helmet online.  
  • I cracked myself up at the concept of slapping a metric shit-ton of lights and mirrors on the bike - all Modly Mod style.
  • Oddly enough I can now fathom how people ride for twenty miles plus.  I certainly won't be doing that this weekend.
  • I'm trying really hard not be scared of cars.  I suck at riding and I know people are dicks (not you guys though).  I don't wanna get door checked by some "hey bro" popped collar in his rape truck.
Yup.  Gotta bike.  If you wanna go for a bike ride let me know.  If you're in a car, please don't hit me.  

Yeah, that's kind of how it is.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Yeah, more Seeed.

Seeed "Beautiful" Official Video

Bioshock 2 (2010) 2K Games - First Impressions

Waaaaaay back in 07 I did a first impressions of Bioshock and then in I tore through the game (along with several others) in May '09.  I never wrote a final review of Bioshock, not sure why - probably because of the massive amount of disappointment I felt with the last chapter.  It was a complete disappointment for me and marred an otherwise excellent gaming experience.  Three years later I'm still very annoyed by the finale.  That's probably why I didn't give Bioshock 2 much thought or attention.  I borrowed a copy of the game this past weekend and got around to giving it a go last night.

After about three hours of single player (I haven't looked at multiplayer yet and I'm not sure if I will) I'm left with a kind of blase feeling about the game.  Which is odd because there's nothing wrong with the game.  It's good to be back in Rapture where things are not better where it is wetter.  It's still a visually brilliant game with a decent amount of tension, oodles of atmosphere (the best part of the game), an engaging story line, startlingly good voice work (a welcome change from the eventual Bethesda repetition weariness), and some pretty gnarly visceral combat.

As I write this I have to wonder why I'm not straining at the leash to play it.  This is due to several factors:

  1. It's not Borderlands 2.  A trite reason but at least I'm honest.
  2. I hope the level size expands because right now exploration is awfully straight forward and since I'm a fanatical explorer I'm picking up all kinds of loot and mods and I'm only at the third area.
  3. The third section can be farmed to certain extent.  I need to unlock another area on the map during my next game session to continue farming.  However, without doing that I spent an hour last night just running and gunning through the open section of the map.  I'm filled to the gills on ammo, cash, and sundries.
  4. Some of the tension in combat is due to the poor handling of the character.  Granted, this is part of the design and makes for some fun tactical engagements (which are awesome) but at one or two points I found myself stuck on terrain or flailing at incoming enemies slap-fight style.
  5. This seems like a pretty linear experience and one that could be knocked out in a marathon weekend (>20 hours).
These are all nit-picky points, I'm fully ready to admit that.  Bioshock 2 is a really well executed game especially in regards to story and presentation.  I'm just not "feeling" the game.  That's doesn't mean I'm not going to stop playing and I look forward to what later gameplay might bring.  Right now though, I might just go read a book.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Awwwwww yes.

Slow cooked pork and roasted vegetables

A friend of mine told me he wanted me to make Abuelita J's slow cooked pork yesterday and asked if some other folks could join.  I had absolutely no problem with this but one person is a vegetarian.  Easy enough, I can roast veggies for tacos.

The pork recipe is the same as usual but for the veggies I used:

  • Tasteful Selections purple passion potatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper - julienned
  • 1 yellow bell pepper -  julienned  
  • 1 vidalia onion - rough chop
  • whole lotta garlic cloves - like over a half dozen cloves
  • whole lotta of pureed ginger
  • juice of one large lime
  • kosher salt
  • splash of olive oil in the pan
I boiled the potatoes whilst doing prep work (took less than ten minutes) and then everything went into a cast iron skillet and then into a 350 oven for about fifteen minutes[ish].

Turned out pretty good.  I'm really digging the look of the purple passions.  They look great on the plate and they are tasty.  This combo can stand alone or can be combo'd with the pork (which is what I'm eating a bowl of right now).

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Another new writer!

Welcome Tink712 - a very nice lady from Nac.  That is all.  Carry on.

Today's Lunch Special:

  • A hearty portion of Manda Corned Beef (Baton Rouge, LA), thinly sliced Baby Swiss, sauerkraut, and a double-fried egg with Creole mustard served on a gently toasted bolillo
I love how something simple can sound fancy-pantsy with the right spin. This is one of those random sandwiches I sometimes throw together at random. It's basically a bastardization of a Reuben and absurdly easy. Bolillos are just Mexican rolls (which are kind of damned tasty) that you can pick up from your local Mexican bakery or just from your supermarket. Hell, any old kind of roll would work. Just so happens bolillos were on sale at Kroger's. It takes about five minutes to make one of these sandwiches and about two minutes to eat it.

Here's the gist:
  • 1 large egg 
  • a couple of slices of corned beef 
  • a slice or two of swiss 
  • a good solid forkful of sauerkraut 
  • a roll of some kind 
  • spicy mustard 
Heat frying pan or griddle at medium-high, lightly oil, fry egg for about two minutes, flip egg, press with spatula, put cheese on top of egg, put corned beef on top of cheese, put sauerkraut on top of corned beef, cover for about a minute or so. Toast roll and slap on mustard. Remove cover from pan, spatula the whole thing onto roll. Eat one, decide to make another one.

See, not exactly rocket surgery. Hell, you don't even need to wear pants to do this.

Hope that you all are well and happy and eating something good.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Attack the Block (2011) dir Joe Cornish

Finally got around to seeing this yesterday with a buddy of mine.  I had heard a lot of good stuff about it but had avoided reviews and most of the trailers.  Must say that it was worth the wait.

At the base level, it's a British teen gang vs aliens movie.  What could have easily been a shite movie was anything but.  Cornish's big screen directorial debut was quality across the board from the acting to the action to the creature design.  The pacing is tight and Cornish manages to maintain the tension even through "down" moments.  There's a great deal of humor throughout the movie as well and though I normally am not a huge fan of horror/comedies, I felt it worked nicely.  The development of empathy for teenagers (who at first I didn't really like at all) wasn't overwrought.

What set Attack the Block apart from some of the American gangbangers vs monsters/aliens/vampires movies I've tried to watch was simply the high quality of Attack.  It wasn't amateurish and I'm not sure if I would even put it in the B-Movie category (though I wouldn't put it on the level of some of Kubrick's better films).  An unexpectedly pleasant surprise that I'd recommend to action/horror fans.  It does have a R rating for some solid gore (one effect was particularly hardcore) so if you're expecting something Goonies-esque or a family movie you've been warned.

Oh, and the soundtrack was an awesome blend of classic reggae, OG rap, and a couple of tracks I didn't recognized but liked.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Greatest Hits

Blog Archive (s) It's like a Wayback Machine!