Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Terrible Secret of Animal Crossing

So, apparently Animal Crossing is a game that people play. I've never played it myself, and haven't a clue what actually goes on in it. But whatever it was I thought, it wasn't anything like this:

Neither, apparently, was it what Something Awful poster Chewbot thought he'd find. So shocked was he, it seems, that he twisted his screen caps -- taking very few of them out of context -- into a narrative called "The Terrible Secret of Animal Crossing." He began adding his own artwork to the tale to provide depth and backstory, and the result is spectacular. He even brought in a choose-your-own-adventure aspect in the final act, giving readers a vote to make a choice for the protagonist (and then provided an alternate ending, showing the results of both).

I wanted to link to this a few months ago while it was still ongoing, but you wouldn't have been able to read it without a Something Awful membership. Now that's it concluded, though, someone has gone to the trouble of putting up a mirror. So you can enjoy the madness without paying for an SA account. A winner is you!

Seriously -- read it if you have the time. It's quite the chilling tale.

I love the internet.

(One note, though: you'll see mention of an audio track -- several readers are putting together a dramatic reading of the story, complete with sound effects and music. It isn't quite finished yet, so don't bother looking for it. Though the final part does feature a brief video.)

Now playing: The Tragically Hip - Inevitability of Death
via FoxyTunes

Monday, December 24, 2007


To those who celebrate Christmas, may you have a merry one. To those who don't, happy Tuesday. I will spend mine at home, enjoying a rare day off by playing games on my shiny new PS3 and watching my favorite Christmas movies -- A Christmas Story and Die Hard.

If you have a machine than will play it, I cannot give Assassin's Creed a strong enough recommendation. There will be those who say the investigation missions are repetitive; I cannot help but agree. There will be those who say the game's ending is less a resolution and more a setup for Assassin's Creed 2; I must bow my head and concur. (Though, make sure you see the credits -- if you haven't seen the credits, you haven't really seen the ending.)

There are those with complaints, and those complaints may be valid. But here's the thing -- none of that stuff bothered me. Sure, there are only four different investigations you can perform to unlock the assassinations -- I loved them all, and wish there were more of them. I love the combat, love the story, love the characters, love the graphics, the art, the assassinations, the music -- the game is fucking brilliant. EGM can kiss my ass. (X-Play, on the other hand, adored it, giving it a full five stars and giving it a slew of nominations at its end-of-year awards. That's more like it.)

Now playing: Paul Simon - Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The countdown begins

The countdown to awesomeness, that is.

Now playing: Modest Mouse - Parting of the Sensory
via FoxyTunes

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lucy actually held the football down this time


Me: Do you have any PS3s?
Them: Not right now -- we should have some next month.


Me: Do you have any PS3s?
Them: Not yet -- we're supposed to get them next month.


Me: Do you have any PS3s?
Them: Actually, no -- but they're supposed to come in at the end of this month.


Me: Do you have any PS3s?
Them: No -- should be next month.


Me: Do you have any PS3s?
Them: Not yet -- try the end of this month.


Me: Do you have any PS3s?
Them: Not yet -- should be in a couple of weeks.


Me: Do you have any PS3s?
Them: Not yet -- they're coming in for Christmas, so we should get them right after Thanksgiving.


Me: Do you have any PS3s?
Them: Not yet. Should be on the first.

DECEMBER 1, 2007

Me: Do you have any PS3s?
Them: Not yet. Should be in a few days.


Me: Do you have any PS3s?
Them: Not yet, but we've got the shipping order for them. Should be today.


Me: Do you have any PS3s?
Them: No. We don't know where they are.


Me: Do you have any--
Them: No! No, okay? Someone stole them off the back of the truck.
Me: ...
Them: But they were insured. So we've got replacements coming. Should be in a few days.


Me: ...?
Them: Not yet. Should be this week.


Me: ...!
Them: Don't know yet. It should be before Christmas.
Me: ...Okay....
Them: I hope.
Me: ...!!


Me: Anything?
Them: Don't know yet, man. Should be before Christmas. Should be.


[phone rings]
Me: Hello?
Them: We just got our PS3s in.


Them: You got here fast.

It's about goddamn time, huh?

Now playing: Arcade Fire - The Well and the Lighthouse
via FoxyTunes


Now playing: Amy Winehouse - You Know I'm No Good
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, December 16, 2007

And as we wind on down the road, our shadows taller than our souls

Last night at Pizza Place, Airfon and I were talking about a fan who paid $160,000 for tickets to the Led Zeppelin reunion concert the other night.

Him: "What the fuck is wrong with people? I mean, if I pay that much money to see somebody, it better be, fuckin', Jesus or something."

Me: "I wouldn't pay a hundred-sixty thousand dollars to see Jesus. [beat] Zeppelin, though...."

Now playing: Amy Winehouse - Rehab
via FoxyTunes

Friday, December 14, 2007

Can we promote him to Three-Star General Manager?

Every few days, for the last few weeks, either Stephen or myself have muttered the same sentence regarding Ed Wade, the new general manager for the Astros:

"This guy's not fucking around."

Our problems going into the offseason:

1. We needed more offense.
2. We needed another outfielder.
3. We needed to get rid of Brad Lidge while he still had some vague trade value.
4. With him gone, we would need another closer.
5. We needed a second baseman -- Chris Burke was clearly not going to work as the heir apparent to Craig Biggio.
6. And many fans would really appreciate it if we got rid of Adam Everett, even though he's the best defensive shortstop in the game -- the man just can't frickin' hit to save his pointy-eared life.
7. And another starting pitcher would be nice.

That's a lot of work, but then the Astros were atrocious last year. They clearly needed a lot of work, even to compete in the National League "Comedy" Central.

Well, Wade has been on the job for less than three months now. What has he done?

1. He traded Brad Lidge to Philadelphia, picking up speedy centerfielder Michael Bourne. Problems 2 and 3: solved!
2. He signed Colorado's stellar second baseman Kaz Matsui. Problem 5: solved!
3. He made a huge trade, sending five guys to Baltimore in exchange for power-hitting shortstop Miguel Tejada. Problem 1: solved!
4. With Tejada, Everett was unnecessary, so we didn't bother resigning him. Problem 6: solved!
5. And now, he's just traded more castoffs (including poor Chris Burke) to Arizona for Jose Valverde, the best closer in the National League. Problem 4, solved!

In addition to that, he's made a few other moves that shored up our bullpen, and built a nice, speedy lineup that should be a lot of fun to watch next year.

Problem seven still remains. So of course, I read a rumor today that he's going after Mark Prior. A risky move, yes, but it would be an answer.

See? This guy's not fucking around.

Now playing: The Strokes - Reptilia
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Last week, I posted Shades 0, so I guess it's only right to also show you our follow-up.

The YouTube description I wrote:
From the director of SHADES 0...

Did you know that illegally downloading music is not only unfair to the artists and a blatant violation of federal copyright laws, but can also get you KILLED? That Kazaa and Bittorrent are not just portals to free media, but portals to HELL? That while you may avoid buying the music, you'll still end up selling...YOUR SOUL?!

Watch BURNED, and have your eyes opened. Based on a true story, this "masterpiece of breathless relentlessness"* lifts the veil and shows you the real consequences of file-sharing. And I think you know what consequences I'm talking about. I'm talking about DEATH.

*An actual quote from MaryAnn Johanson at Though she was talking about "The Bourne Ultimatum" when she said it, not this film.
Essentially, it's a cinematic Chick Tract -- one-dimensional characters, a token moral dilemma, shoddy research (check out those statistics at the beginning!), a ludicrous climax, and a message delivered with the subtlety of a photon torpedo. Chick's strips operate in an all-or-nothing universe, where there is no middle ground between right and wrong -- his world is black-and-white, just like his strips...and so too is this film.

If I had a chance, I'd go back and reshoot this one again -- or, hell, if I had another crack at the raw footage, I'd just do some minor editing tweaks. The entire film was shot in a single day, and some breathing space would have allowed for a few retakes of critical scenes. (If you watch me chewing René out after the credits, that's why I was so upset -- screwing up the dialogue forced us to shoot another take, and we didn't have time.) The music is also too loud in a few places, obscuring the dialogue. But at least the YouTube-sized video obscures one of the biggest problems -- you can't really tell, but my camera's auto-focus went berserk during a lot of the scenes in Ian's (my) apartment, causing everything to blur and clear up again quite randomly.

But even with all of that, I still think Burned is pretty funny, and certainly skewers the fanatical response to P2P downloading (and we made this in 2003 -- the fervor has not died down at all, has it?). I hope you enjoy it.

Now playing: Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins - 05/11/2007 Disparities
via FoxyTunes

Journalistic edifice? Huh?

Saw this headline at a few minutes ago:

"$$$"? Are you serious? Afraid people wouldn't understand if you wrote out "money"? Or "cash"? Are you writing the news, or a friggin' classified ad?

Now playing: Our Lady Peace - The Birdman
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Whoa, wait, was that Jack?

Here's my thing, though: if you're going to make a movie based on a cartoon, and you're going to make it in a style that looks exactly like a cartoon, why don't you just...make a fucking cartoon?

Now playing: Oingo Boingo - No One Lives Forever
via FoxyTunes

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Reasons We're Not Dead: The Demon Days Soundtrack, Vol. 4 (Lucy's Playlist)

Here we are: the last soundtrack for our Hunter game. This one is a little different: it's posited as a playlist Lucy put together on her iPod -- suitable background music for writing her handwritten memoir, The End of the World. So these songs represent the characters as she sees them. Too high-concept?

There's only one song per character this time around, with six overall themes to fill things out.

1. "Outsiders," Franz Ferdinand
Hell knows we ride alone

2. "Us," Regina Spektor
They'll name a city after us
And later say it's all our fault

3. "Burning Down the House," Talking Heads

Hold tight -- we're in for nasty weather

4. "Signal to Noise," Peter Gabriel [Dean's Theme]
In this place, can you reassure me
With a touch, a smile while the cradle's burning?
And all the while, the world is turning to noise

5. "Keep the Car Running," Arcade Fire [Lucy's Theme]
There's a fear I keep so deep
Knew its name since before I could speak

6. "Section 22 [Running Away]," The Polyphonic Spree [Laura's Theme]
I feel so excited and collided today
'Cause you decided to be in my life
It's like running away with the wind in my face
It's like flying

7. "What You Live By," Harvey Danger [Simon's Theme]
We can talk about the lives we've lead
Count the reasons we're not dead
Or maybe we could talk instead
About the ways in which we are
Always nothing or too much to say
Only so many sides of the record to play
And the song that got stuck in my head
Said, "You die by what you live by"

8. "They Never Got You," Spoon [Sunday's Theme]
Back in that place where you could fall
Did it pay to play along?

9. "Thief," Our Lady Peace [Evets's Theme]
I can't see the thief that lives inside of your head
But I can be some courage at the side of your bed

10. "Surf Wax America," Weezer [Dan's Theme]
You take your car to work, I'll take my board

11. "Black Swan," Thom Yorke [Caitlin's Theme]
People get crushed like biscuit crumbs
And lay down in the bitumen
You have tried your best to please everyone
But it just isn't happening
No, it just isn't happening
And that is fucked up

12. "Alcohol," Barenaked Ladies [Willem's Theme]
I thought that alcohol was just for those with nothing else to do
I thought drinking just to get drunk was a waste of precious booze
But now I know that there's a time and there's a place where I can choose
To walk the fine line between self-control
And self-abuse

13. "Wipe That Smile Off Your Face," Our Lady Peace [The Queen's Theme]
See, I'm not your friend
And I won't pretend
That I've come here for peace
Well, I'm not afraid
I'm gonna make you pay
I'm gonna wipe that smile off your face
This is war

14. "The Reflecting God," Marilyn Manson [Mozart's Theme]
I went to God, just to see
And I was looking at me, yeah
Saw heaven and hell were lies
When I'm God, everyone dies

15. "Truth Hits Everybody," The Police
The only certain thing in life is death

16. "Tentative," System of a Down
No one's gonna save us now
Not even God

17. "Land of Confusion," Genesis
This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we're given
Use them, and let's start trying
To make it a place worth fighting for

Hunter: a quick (?) and dirty recap

If everything goes to plan -- and there's no reason at all to suspect that it will -- our Hunter game's final episode, "The Beginning," should be concluded in about seventeen hours. There isn't much left to do -- our last cliffhanger left the Hunters climbing a long black stair that (presumably) leads to their final confrontation with Wilhelmina Mozart, the self-proclaimed Vampire Goddess of the World. Of course, robbing the world of the sun and casting all into darkness -- to which she can give form and substance with a thought -- certainly gives her credibility.

Of course, I haven't written a recap in ages, missing the end of the third season, the entirety of the fourth, and now almost all of the fifth. How quickly and concisely can I wrap up everything I haven't done? Let's find out!

When we last saw our heroes, a Demon had just killed Edgar. The Hunters put him to rest, telling his sister the truth and fulfilling Edgar's last wish (that everyone team up to kick his brother in the balls). The rest of that season unfolded with the following bullet points:
  • The briefcase that they took from the ghoul ended up containing a book, filled with ancient lore on how to deal with demons. The Hunters use this knowledge to dispatch the Man in White. (It involved Lucy singing to him. No, really.)
  • Faith, the woman in white who arrived looking for Sunday, contacts the Hunters again. She claims to be Sunday's "niece," though Sunday has never heard of her before. But Faith says a password that Sunday only offers to close, personal friends (something about a monkey with a red hat, and I can't believe I forgot it). Faith finally reveals the truth: she's from the future, sent back by a "crazy, angry old mage." She needs Sunday to help her get back. Sunday eventually does, though not before Faith reveals something else about herself -- she's a fucking ninja, with preternatural speed and dexterity, and she wields a silver sword with stunning skill and precision. She's also "shy" -- she suddenly starts wearing a mask around Lucy and Simon, and will only talk to Dean on the phone. Hmm. In the season finale, she's finally sent home, after imparting a few nuggets about the future: humanity and the supernaturals end up in a full-scale war. Big surprise, huh?
  • The subway bombing? It gets pinned on the Hunters. The feds show up to take them into custody, but our heroes slip away, as expected. This creates a dilemma for Caitlin Graves, the FBI agent who showed up in town only trying to find her sister (Dan's former girlfriend Hannah, who was turned into a vampire). The Hunters tell her everything, which she doesn't believe, of course. But while they're talking, a pack of werewolves arrive to slaughter them, and that kind of visual aid goes a long away. (The Messengers speak to her during his fight, attempting to Imbue her, but in her terror she fails to answer the call; this makes her a Bystander.) In the end, she decides that the Hunters are fighting a necessary battle, and abandons her job to join them.
  • The political situation between the supernatural factions -- vampires, mages and werewolves -- becomes lethal. All sides blame the others for the escalation and violence, and everyone accuses everyone else of assisting the Hunters. Sunday and Evets lay everything out, and tell the Hunters that the only way to save them is to...kill them? The plan involves faking their deaths, and sending them way, way out of town. There are remote places in the world where the natural energies that run through everything have frayed (where the world has moved on, you might say), and it would be hard for even the Queen to find the Hunters if they hid there. So they implement Operation We Have to Kill the Hunters or They'll Die.
  • But not before a group of magical bounty hunters find Evets at Wal-Mart (he's a wanted criminal, sentenced to death, remember). The Hunters fight them off, but one of them unleashes a nasty attack spell on Evets, causing his blood to erupt from him in torrents and practically killing him on the spot. Sunday manages to use her magic to heal him, but barely. Before Faith left, she told Sunday to "eat lots of chocolate" -- apparently, chocolate consumption can help a mage's healing spells, and its only that boost that saves Evets. While she's trying to heal him, Evets starts shrieking about his parents, calling for his mother and apologizing for his father. In the aftermath, Sunday confesses the truth: Evets is her son. She doesn't let him call her "mom" out of fear that other mages can use that kind of emotional connection against them. As for his father -- Evets's awakening (the moment he learned magic) occurred when he was a child, immediately following a horrible car crash with his parents. Without even thinking about what he was doing, Evets picked up his mother, used his magic to commandeer a car, and took her to safety. Unfortunately, he left his father behind, and he died. Though Sunday has always tried to convince Evets that it wasn't his fault, that his father was already dead and beyond saving, he still carries the guilt. This bit of backstory isn't really important in the overall arc, but I really like it. So there.
  • The plan goes off without a hitch: Evets gives the Hunters his Hummer and they quietly depart, while Sunday and Evets pretend to have betrayed and murdered them. The Queen, however, is unconvinced.
In Season Four, the Hunters hide in a (very) small town in West Texas called Resurrection for several months, slowly going stir crazy. The main plot arc dealt with a cursed werewolf-like creature kidnapping pregnant women to use in a ritual to regain her original form. Of course, the Hunters found her and put a stop to her. Some other notable events:
  • In a secret lab beneath an abandoned military base, a group of scientists working for Privera (Privera being the evil, vampire-linked company behind a lot of bad, bad shit) are trying to create a zombie army. Why? 'Cause they were told to. By whom? Who knows. The important thing is that one of their experiments goes awry and starts a full-blown zombie outbreak, which the Hunters are able to stop. At some point during this plot, Willem blows up a silver mine and Dan gets an Army jeep. Dean puts the evidence of Privera's evil activities on the web, where it has an immediate impact.
  • They find a mage reading tarot in a trailer the next town over. Her name is Julia, but everyone (to this day) calls her by her professional name, Madam Shostakovitch. Evets spent some time in this town while on the run, and he and Shostakovitch are, erm, "friends." She supplies the Hunters with firearms and explosives, and gives Lucy an awesome silver sword. Hey, wait, silver sword?
  • Lucy starts writing down everything that's happened, a book she calls The End of the World. She's not sure if the title is a joke or not.
  • Dean learns an Edge that lets him use a flame to track down supernaturals. He, Lucy and Dan (I think?) follow a trail to an isolated house. Inside, they do indeed find a vampire. Unfortunately, they also find his terminally ill mortal wife and his precocious, adorable daughter Laura. The vamp emphatically demands to be left alone, and (if memory serves) the Hunters are about to comply, when his wife suddenly dies. The vampire, lost in grief and rage, frenzies and starts wrecking the house. The Hunters grab Laura to make sure she doesn't get hurt, but the vampire -- not within ten city blocks of his right mind -- thinks they're trying to abduct her, and attacks. The Hunters are willing to let him be, but he presses on, and eventually uses his vampire powers to summon a horde of brown recluse spiders. One bites Lucy, and she very nearly dies. Dean can be reasonable, but not when you try to kill his wife -- the vampire is destroyed. Laura is left behind, thinking that (surely) local law enforcement will show up to investigate soon, and they'll find her. Right?
  • Willem drinks. There's a story Stephen King tells in On Writing, about an alcoholic who goes to counseling. "How much do you drink?" the doctor says. "All of it," the man responds. Yeah, that's it, pretty much.
  • Hey, you know what we need? An unrequited love triangle: Simon likes Caitlin, but she likes Dan; but Dan is still recovering from the loss of Hannah (who, of course, was Caitlin's sister), so there's nothing happening there.
  • Lucy discovers she's pregnant. She and Dean do some math and some deductive reasoning, and confirm their suspicion with Sunday: Faith is (will be?) their daughter.
  • While doing, uh, something or other, Lucy spots Laura all alone in an abandoned neighborhood. Dean wants to leave her there, but Lucy puts her foot down. It turns out to be a trap set by that cursed werewolf-thing I mentioned before, but they fight their way out of it and rescue Laura. They take her to the sheriff with thoughts of having her sent to CPS, but in the short time they spend together, Dean finds himself enchanted with the girl. With Lucy's agreement, he asks Laura if she'd like to stay with them. She cautiously accepts. (They did kill her father, but Laura is smart enough to realize that her father was different, and not in any way that was good.) Over the next few months, the three of them become a rather oddball little family.
  • A vampire shows up one night to take Laura, claiming to be her uncle. Laura confirms that he is, but she doesn't want to go anywhere with him. Of course, the vampire (and his gang of Kindred) don't take no for an answer, and are slaughtered.
  • Remember the big red number on the wall in Bazemore? They find something similar in Resurrection, and Shostakovitch tells them that they're werewolf rituals -- "prophecy counters," she calls them. They, essentially, count down the events that must occur in order for a prophecy to come to pass.
  • The Hunters destroy the werewolf-thing, gather together their belongings, and return to Bazemore. (Just missing the battalion of vampires sent by the Queen, who finally managed to deduce their location.) Shostakovitch comes with them.
In Season Five, everything steamrolled to its conclusion. Here are the necessary events, in extraordinarily brief fashion.
  • In an effort to circle the wagons, Dean brings his parents to Bazemore, where he can protect them. Lucy and Simon's father comes along.
  • The Hunters go on television and kill a vampire, showing everyone definitive proof of their existence. War is more or less declared.
  • The vampires respond very quickly, with a televised announcement of their own. The Queen delivers a "If it's war you want, than war you shall have!" statement, and Mozart uses her shadow tentacles to turn an entire news studio into a bloodbath. Evets tries to teleport the Hunters to that studio, but someone has erected a magical shield to prevent exactly that -- a shield so powerful that the attempt to break it shatters Evets's avatar (the awakened part of his soul that allows him to do magic). Since then, Evets's magic has become completely unpredictable, often firing off spells without intending to, and occasionally casting spells he doesn't even know.
  • The vampires disappear. They can't be found anywhere. There are suddenly zombies on every street corner, though.
  • Crazy human bastards drop a biochemical weapon during a baseball game and kill thousands of people. They threaten to kill even more the same way if the vampires don't immediately surrender (with no food, obviously, the vampires would die). The threat is a bluff, of course -- the humans don't have that much of the virus. The Hunters discover that their leader is none other than Weathers, who was last seen madly waving a gun around a shopping mall. They make sure the bluff is nothing but a bluff, but Weathers makes a mistake common to NPCs is this chronicle: he tries to kill the Hunters. Well, so much for that asshole.
  • The Hunters find a werewolf, a young boy named Joey, who is incapable of controlling his shapeshifting. Dan takes him to the only werewolf they know of that hasn't tried to kill them: the woman in the parking garage who keeps the chingas. (From way back in season three.)
  • Dan finds a vampire, wandering alone. He kills it and steals its briefcase, which contains a program that allows them to decode those Byzantine e-mails between Bach and Mozart that they found months earlier. Essentially, they were plotting to overthrow the Queen. And the giant lizard monster under the subway tunnels? It was only the first of two -- the second is much bigger, apparently. The purpose of the creatures is still unknown, though. The e-mails also contain a cryptic reference to Edgar, which they don't understand. Also, Mozart is trying to acquire an object from the Queen.
  • Willem steals a military truck. It turns out to be a trap, left there intentionally for him to find and bring back to the Hunters. A squirrel, controlled by the Queen, hides inside, and it sneaks out and lets the Queen talk to Lucy's father (who, of course, is/was her husband). The next morning, Dad is gone. All that remains is the squirrel, who delivers a note from the Queen inviting the Hunters to "finish this" that night. When the time comes, the Hunters arrive to find the Queen waiting for them...along with her husband, who she's turned into a vampire. Without hesitating, Dean kills him. The Hunters gang up on the Queen, who fights hard, but ultimately falls. Hey, no more Queen -- that should mean it's all over, right?
  • Just as a side note, Dean has now killed the fathers of both his wife and his adopted daughter. No mercy, huh?
  • After the whole biochemical weapon thing, the mages apparently feel that the vampires are a liability, and kick them out of astral space. So there.
  • Several months later, Joey shows up at Dan's door. He says that the lady werewolf was killed by other wolves in league with the vampires. He also found the prophecy that the Big Red Number is linked to (the number having dwindled to zero), and it basically boils down to the world ending. Evets has a vision (or perhaps a dream) which focuses on Mozart and the phrase der schwarze vorhang steigt. Simon translates it from German to "The black curtain rises."
  • Laura finds something that helps Joey control his shapeshifting: bananas. As long as he needs bananas regularly, he's fine.
  • Mozart talks to Willem telepathically and offers to save his life in exchange for one thing: Laura. He doesn't accept the offer, though he doesn't really reject it, either.
  • The aforementioned Giant Lizard Monster -- the size of a Brachiosaurus -- emerges from the sea and starts stomping through downtown. The Hunters track it down and destroy it when it gets a giant foot caught on a subway track. It bites one of Dean's arms off, but he manifests another Edge that lets him grow it back.
  • Joey explains that to complete the prophecy, Mozart needs a few more things: a ton of captured souls, and a stone artifact -- the object she was trying to get from the Queen? But where would it be? They remember after the subway bombing, how Mozart's goons were trying to drill into the ground beneath the track. Could it be there? And -- wait, the GLM walked into the subway track...the trains have stopped...!
  • Sure enough, more of her goons -- including a few werewolves -- are already there, and they retrieve the artifact. To try to track them, they find a den of wolves. No one there can help, and when the Hunters find that the werewolves have several children locked up in cages (for various vile reasons), well, the violence starts and doesn't stop until there are no more moving targets.
  • Remember all those zombies? It turns out their undead nature is spread by nanomachines (probably created by Privera). Could the zombies be Mozart's way to capture those souls she needs? Maybe. The Hunters stop the zombies -- with the help of another Hunter, Bookworm55 -- but, again: too late. Mozart captures all television signals so that the world can watch her climb to the top of the tallest building in Bazemore -- in the daytime -- and cast her spell. Whoosh -- her inky black power flows from the artifact and fills the sky, choking out the light and covering the world in night. The skyscraper becomes a solid block of darkness, practically pulsating with evil.
  • To protect them, Dean has Sunday send his parents and Laura into astral space; Dan sends Joey along, too, with a bunch of bananas. Sunday wisely has Lucy stay behind -- she's nearly nine months pregnant at this point, and could go at any moment. Dean, Dan, Willem, Caitlin and Simon load up into their vehicles and head for the Very Definitely Final Dungeon for the final confrontation.
  • They battle their way through the tower, fighting off the various creatures with little difficulty. In the end, they dispatch Mozart's two werewolf henchmen and head for the staircase to the roof. As they prepare to ascend, Sunday calls Dean's cell phone: Lucy's gone into labor. 'Cause he needed to have that on his mind.
And that's everything. Sweet lord, that story is dense.

Now playing: Harvey Danger - You Miss the Point Completely I Get the Point Exactly
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Haven't posted one of these in a while

Now playing: Harvey Danger - Why I'm Lonely
via FoxyTunes


I started writing the next Revolver episode about, oh, four months ago. I didn't like how it started, so I ditched it and started over. That file became corrupted, so I had to start over. That file got lost in the cracks when I switched computers, so I started over. This time, to avoid all that, I started writing it out by hand. And then I left my notebook at Pizza Place on accident, and Big Boss threw it away. So now I have to start over again. Again.

Defeated, I offer you only this meme.

Go to the Wikipedia home page and click random article. That is your band's name.
Click random article again; that is your album name.
Click random article 15 more times; those are the tracks on your album.

Band: KRVA
Album: Deschamps
  1. It Don't Matter
  2. Dragon's Mouth
  3. Fictional Actuaries
  4. Delčevo Municipality
  5. Kishti Tomita
  6. Hilda Toledano
  7. Course Deviation Indicator
  8. Skagway, Alaska
  9. L-Plate
  10. Zombie Island Massacre
  11. Eucatoptus
  12. East Brooklyn
  13. Walter Dandy
  14. Satellite (Moth)
  15. United Nations Security Council Resolution 53
Somebody has to write a song called "Zombie Island Massacre." And "United Nations Security Council Resolution 53," for that matter.

Now playing: Bloc Party - Luno
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Planet Hates Tomatoes! -- the best of Penny Arcade

In a recent news post over at Penny Arcade, Gabe noted that both he and Tycho were working on "best of" lists, attempting to compile their favorite strips. A normal person could resist the temptation to make his own list, but I think you know me better than that.

I present these without commentary, because they're mostly so brief that there's not much to say. I'll note that most are from the last two years, and all from 2002 or later -- they've simply gotten better with experience. And of course, it's very possible I've forgotten a few -- this list is, at best, an impression of how I feel right now. My preferences are subject to change without notice.

So then. The best twenty-five strips ever produced at Penny Arcade:

25. Claw Shrimp! - 06.19.02
24. Advertising in the Future - 10.19.06
23. Sitting in a Tree - 03.11.02
22. We Accept PayPal and Most Major Credit Cards - 02.10.07
21. Treachery Manifest - 06.16.06
20. The Next Generation - 06.17.05
19. Resident Evil, Addendum - 05.03.02
18. Mysteries of the Deep - 09.26.06
17. This Is an Allegory - 08.25.04
16. 'Tis the Season (for Deceit) - 12.04.06
15. Whence Wii - 04.28.06
14. Hell Yeah, It's Odd - 11.26.03
13. Splinter Cell: Adjective Noun - 05.26.03
12. I Hope You Like Text - 04.10.06
11. Torment Unyielding - 02.22.06
10. The Lidless Eye - 05.02.07
9. The Money Problem - 11.06.02
8. I Have the Power - 12.16.05
7. Our Old Tricks - 03.23.07
6. The Merch - 01.05.05
5. Definition Theatre- 12.15.06
4. Addendum to the Manual - 05.20.02
3. May Not Be Spelled Correctly - 09.27.02
2. The Broodax Imperiate - 05.04.07
1. His Diminutive Master - 05.05.06

Now playing: Butthole Surfers - Dracula from Houston
via FoxyTunes

Friday, December 07, 2007

Mona said, "I wanna leave Bennigan's"

You know Pearl Jam's "Yellow Ledbetter," right? It's probably their best song, and despite being relegated to existence as a b-side on the "Jeremy" single, it achieved massive airplay success and popularity. Here's the thing, though: the lyrics are completely unintelligible. It's impossible to understand what Eddie Vedder is mumbling about, a problem magnified by the fact that he changes the lyrics around every time the song is performed.

But this guy thinks he's figured it out:

Sounds good enough to me.

(Huge thanks to Steve, for letting me know about the video.)

Now playing: Bright Eyes - Another Travelin' Song
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, December 06, 2007

What's in the (orange) box?!

Obviously, there were things I could've been doing. But this is too much fun.


This is the end of Seven, of course, with Dr. Eli Vance as Morgan Freeman as Somerset, some random guy as Kevin Spacey as John Doe, and Gordon Frohman as Brad Pitt as Mills.

In the shot, you can see Somerset's discarded pistol, the infamous box, the van that delivered it, and the helicopter that's observing the whole thing. In fact, here's a shot from that helicopter, just like in the movie:


Yeah, the chopper is tough to aim. But maybe I'm getting better: this one only took an hour and a half.

This is the last one I'll do. Probably. For now.

Now playing: Jim Rome - Wed, December 5th, 2007 Hour 1
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Here I am, stuck in the middle with you

The coolest thing in the world: Garry's Mod, a Half-Life 2 mod that lets you spawn, pose and manipulate characters and objects from HL2 however you please.


That's the ear removal scene from Reservoir Dogs, with Dr. Kleiner as Mr. Orange, a random extra as Mr. Blonde, and the G-man as the cop. Or, it's as good as I could get it, anyway -- that took almost two hours.

The manipulation is pretty tricky.

(Other shots from my Reservoir Dogs scene can be viewed here.)

Now playing: Jim Rome - Tue, December 4th, 2007 Hour 3
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Note to self: don't ever piss off Hiro Nakamura

Heroes -- "Meh" +3. A fortunate lack of Why are you doing that, you goddamn moron?, and it will certainly hold up better, I think, than last season's clustered, rushed finale. My only real problem is just how inevitable it all felt -- I was a good three or four steps ahead of the entire predictable enterprise, including its "shocking!" conclusion. (Well, ahead of everything other than the sheer volume of viciousness revenge can extract from otherwise decent people. A dish best served cold, indeed.)

Though there's an interesting discussion to be had regarding time travel mechanics, paradoxes, and certain Irish women.

Now playing: Five for Fighting - Easy Tonight
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Shades 0

Hey, look -- it's Shades 0, the short film I directed eighty years ago! (Actually, it was five years ago, according to the calendar. But I don't buy it.)

The YouTube description I wrote:
Vacant Studios presents...SHADES 0!

Bad acting! Bad editing! Worse sound! Questionable camera work! 'Shades 0,' the homemade no-budget prequel to another homemade no-budget movie of which no copies still exist!

In 'Shades,' we met Stephen Howard, a visionary filmmaker struggling to succeed despite rampant incompetence (his own, and those around him). We heard only tales of his previous glory. But now, the full story can be known. 'Shades 0' follows the younger, idealistic Stephen Howard as he films his first smash hit, 'Atom Smashers 3: The Return of the Noble Gas.'

Watch as he assembles his cinematic dream team: Wu Chang Tcran, the Taiwanese screenwriter who ends up filling in wherever he's needed (because Howard forces him to)! Academy Award-winner Val-John Pierce, whose talent doesn't even come close to overshadowing his egotism, homophobia and racism! Nathaniel Stonesmithson, the man in the movie with the most ridiculous name! And the director's secret weapon -- his brother, Clint Howard! (Not that one!)

You're guaranteed to leave 'Shades 0' laughing! Well -- okay, maybe not *guaranteed.* Okay, you probably won't find it funny. Unless you were in it. And even then, maybe not.

(Filmed at our various homes sometime in late 2002/early 2003. Preserved here for all to see, thanks to the magic of the internet.)
I'd say more, but it really should stand on its own. Enjoy! I hope!

(And it's over thirty minutes long, and filled with profanity, so make sure you've got the time and the proper viewing environment.)

Now playing: Cake - End of the Movie
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

If you're going to savagely attack someone, you don't knock politely at their hotel room door first

Heroes -- "Meh" -1. Naught but a massive setup for next week's big finale, the events of which seemed to be largely given away by the previews. But I could be wrong. (I better be wrong about one particular plot development, anyway -- the demise of the show's only truly great character would not endear me to future episodes.)

But this episode seemed a huge exercise in "How stupid can we possibly make our characters act all at the same time?" The Idiot Ball was passed around all over the map, from Peter to Mohinder (who owns the ball and keeps it in his satchel when not in use) to Micah and...uh, whatever his cousin's name is, to Alejandro (wait, could you speak English this whole time?!) to Elle. (Why'd she take the car keys out of the ignition in the first place?)

But seriously, people: kill who I think you're about to kill, and I'll never watch the show again. Especially if the worst character on the show does the deed. Don't you dare.

Now playing: Randy Newman - Burn On
via FoxyTunes

Friday, November 23, 2007

I wrote ten pages of Revolver script, that should make somebody happy

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. I...did not. We'll leave it at that.

I meant to post this on Wednesday, but I got distracted by things and didn't get around to. So here's some belated turkey humor, courtesy of the greatest drama in television history.

Now playing: Jim Rome - Thu, November 22nd, 2007 Hour 1
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Buzz can suck my [radio edit]

Remember the Mystery Band concert I mentioned the other day? The Buzz finally made the announcement today.

Who is it? Kid Rock.


There's already something like a hundred tickets up on eBay.


Well, I was right: their sales plan made no sense...unless they were ripping you off. Fifty bucks for a Kid Rock concert? You hath been ripped off, says I.

Serves you right. Asshats.

But props to the Buzz: they got their money. Gotta do what you gotta do, right?

Now playing: Regina Spektor - Prisoners
via FoxyTunes

Monday, November 19, 2007

Goddamn you, Suresh -- I hope you die in a car crash

Tonight's Heroes -- "Meh" +5, which scores as "Great." I didn't think they still had one this good in them, frankly.

Of course, now they've hit a high note...and there are two more episodes left. Good timing, fuckwads.

Now playing: Tool - Rosetta Stoned
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I hope it's Neil Diamond

In the classic Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "I, Borg," Geordi and Data cook up a way to finish off the Borg once and for all: an insidious computer program. What is it? Just a picture -- but one that is illogical and impossible to properly reconcile in real three-dimensional space, like an M.C. Escher drawing. The theory is that once the image is uploaded into the Borg's hive mind, the Collective will start trying to figure it out. When they can't, more and more combined brain power will be devoted to it. And when that doesn't work either, even more RAM will get eaten up by this thing, until the Borg's CPU Usage meter hits 100% and they get a Blue Screen of Death.

My brain works like that sometimes, as you probably know. I hit something illogical and impossible to reconcile, and I obsess about it until...well, until my cerebral hard drive locks up.

Check this out: local radio station 94.5 FM (or "The Buzz," as they'd like me to call them, I'm sure) is sponsoring a trio of concerts over the next month, all three of which are sold out. The first is Jonathan Davis, who you might know as the frontman for Korn. The second show features local Texas band the Toadies, who haven't had a hit in about fourteen years, but have a passionate following.

The band performing at the third show? I don't know. I don't mean that I haven't heard; I mean I don't know because they're not telling.

Tickets went on sale last week. Tickets for a concert for which no band had been announced. The tickets were fifty dollars. Again, fifty dollars for a ticket to a concert with no announced act.

The Buzz then declared they would name the band...after tickets had sold out!


There's an old adage in pro wrestling: if they announce that an upcoming event will have a "mystery guest," you're going to be let down. Why? Because if they had anyone worth talking about, they'd tell you to make sure you bought a ticket. If they've got a bona fide superstar that everyone would pay to see, they'd say so.

If they had a band worth a fifty dollar ticket, why wouldn't they just go ahead and announce it? What the hell kind of sense does it make to keep it a secret...unless they're ripping you off?

I've been bouncing this around in my head for the last couple of days, trying to piece it together. It's been a common topic of conversation among the bored at Pizza Place. The common theories:

1. "They're trying to build up buzz and excitement by keeping it a secret." Great -- except they're not announcing the band until after the tickets sell out. What good will any of that buzz and excitement do them? They'll already have all the money.
2. "It's a huge band that would normally sell out in seven minutes. By keeping it a secret, they slow that down, so everyone gets a chance to go." Except big fans of whatever band it is are still going to get left out, because they don't know their favorite band is playing! And again -- since they're not talking until tickets have sold out, what difference does it make how fast those tickets sell? They're the same price, whether they're sold out in seven minutes or seven days.

Not only does it not make sense from a business perspective, it doesn't make sense from a fan service perspective, either. Since the band is a secret, the people buying tickets are clueless. I mean, say My Chemical Romance puts on a show. Sure, My Chemical Romance sucks hardcore -- but there are people out there who like them, and they'll buy tickets to the concert. What you probably won't have are MCR-haters clogging up the seats and desperately trying to get rid of their tickets. And with the act a mystery, that's what you're guaranteed to have at this show. Even if the band is hugely popular -- like Incubus or the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the two guesses that seem most popular at Pizza Place -- you're going to have a large percentage of people who would rather die than drop fifty bucks to see their show. And those people are going to feel completely screwed and ripped off by this scheme.

Want it to get more interesting? The tickets have sold out -- they sold out Saturday, as a matter of fact. Have they made the announcement? No! On Saturday, they stated that they'd make the revelation later in the day...and then, instead, delayed it until Tuesday. So now they're getting jerked around with the grand reveal, too? And keep in mind, the concert takes place on December 9 -- just a few weeks from now, giving the inevitable percentage of ticket-buyers who hate the Mystery Band precious little time to unload their ducats on eBay.

So: the scheme makes no sense from a business perspective, it makes so sense from the audience's perspective. Why the bloody hell would anyone do this? Well, I have a theory. And it draws back to pro wrestling again. (Hey, I used to work for a pro wrestling company; I have to use that business experience somewhere, don't I?)

In 1990, World Championship Wrestling introduced a villain to act as foil for their champion, Sting. He called himself the Black Scorpion, and addressed Sting decked entirely in black. A hood covered his face; his voice was distorted to further hide his identity. He tormented Sting for an entire year (!), all the while leaving fans guessing as to who he really was.

Why all the secrecy? Because WCW didn't have anyone. Their original candidate -- some schmuck no one had ever heard of -- fell through. So they just strung it along for as long as they could, keeping the Scorpion under his hood while they frantically tried to find someone to take the role.

I think that's what the Buzz is doing. I imagine the concert was a last-minute ploy, so last-minute they had to start selling tickets before the contracts were signed. And in true American style, their PR department came up with this "It's not a bug, it's a feature" scheme to make it look like an inventive idea.

Either that, or the entire company is on acid. Or they're really, really stupid. Or both, frankly.

Now playing: The Police - Synchronicity II
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The fact that the lead singer bears an unfortunate resemblance to "Weird Al" Yankovic actually doesn't help me

After playing -- well, attempting to play -- DragonForce's "Through the Fire and Flames" on Guitar Hero III, I started to wonder how legitimate the band was. Was this a band making music that was actually supposed to be serious? Or were they a satirical effort, a sort of speed metal Spinal Tap? I downloaded the song and listened to it many times, and came no closer to understanding. What am I to make of lyrics like:

Now here we stand with their blood on our hands
We've fought so hard, now can we understand?
I'll break the seal of this curse if I possibly can
For freedom of every man!

So far away, we wait for the day
For the light source so wasted and gone
We feel the pain of a lifetime lost in a thousand days
Through the fire and the flames we carry on!

Are they for real? Were they actually trying to capture the emotion of some sort of epic battle? Or are they making fun of all the other bands who write songs just like this? Surely, the redundancy of saying that they'll carry on through the fire and through the flames is a gag, right? What about the cartoonishly flashy guitar work -- that kind of fingertip gymnastics couldn't possibly be taken seriously. Could it?

I found the video on YouTube, and I'm now less sure.

The close-ups of the fingers for the solos? Close-ups that appear to have been sped up? This can't be serious. Can it?

You tell me.

[The lyric I quoted isn't in that video, of course -- that version of the song is half as long as the better (?) full version, featured in the game. Which you can see here:

Yeah, I still have no idea.]

Now playing: Chrono Trigger - Tyrano Lair
via FoxyTunes

Friday, November 16, 2007

Santa did get my letter!

Barry Bonds has been indicted on federal charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

Derek Jeter may be a tax cheat.

My name remains at the top of the waiting list for PlayStation 3s over at Partners. Should be within a couple weeks.

And the Rock Band people have finally announced the pricing and release schedule of some of the downloadable content. Available within the first month of release:
  • "Ride the Lightning," Metallica
  • "Blackened," Metallica
  • "...And Justice for All," Metallica
  • "Can't Stand Losing You," The Police
  • "Roxanne," The Police
  • "Fortunate Son," Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • "Bang a Gong (Get It On)," T-Rex
  • "Heroes," David Bowie
  • "N.I.B.," Black Sabbath
  • "War Pigs," Black Sabbath
  • "My Iron Lung," Radiohead
  • "Buddy Holly," Weezer
In the first month.

Christmas is early this year, huh?

Now playing: AC/DC - Hard As A Rock
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I guess "Jump! Jump!" wouldn't have worked as well

Company inspirational slogans amuse me. I recall once sitting in McDonald's and reading a sign over the drive-thru window that said something like "S.D.F.U. -- All the time!" FRINAN and I spent several minutes trying to decode that acronym. Most involved uncomfortable things done with unicorns and umbrellas.

But here's an interesting one from Pizza Place. I came into work the other day and found that Airfon had fixed upon a new inspirational message:

That's just inspirational as hell, isn't it?

If the reference eludes you -- as I imagine it would -- this video should refresh your memory.

Now playing: Peter Gabriel - Solsbury Hill
via FoxyTunes

Something to tide you over

After promising them for years, ABC and the Bad Robot staff finally made good: the new Lost "mobisodes" are here. The first is now on for your viewing pleasure. And it's amazing how in just over two and a half minutes, Lost manages to be more compelling than most of this new season of Heroes, which has been branded with an Official Suck Sanction, as we previously discussed. (Of course, it probably only resonates like that for dedicated fans, so your mileage on the mobisode may vary.)

I'm invoking the new "Meh" scale to describe new episodes of Heroes, since I no longer want to be all spoilerly and blog about it directly. (I know René reads the blog, see, and I don't want to give anything away before he gets a chance to see it later in the week.) The scale sees "Meh" directly in the middle, representing a run-of-the-mill, mediocre, bland episode. We can then assign positive and negative numbers, showing how far to either side the episode goes. I'd say five points on the plus side brings us to "Great!"; five points on the negative side takes us to "Garbage!" It's very scientific.

Tonight's episode? "Meh" +1. The Wonder Twins are so painfully boring that they might just become a new slang term.

"Man, they're showing old Next Gen episodes on G4."
"Yeah, but right now, the rotation is in season six. All the good writers left to do DS9, and the whole show went all Maya and Alejandro."
"Yeah, but at least it's better than Voyager."
"Well, yeah."

It's been a few months, so I updated my 100 favorite songs list, as though you cared. The most interesting thing about it? My 1 and 2 songs have flipped. And it's now been fortified with three times as much Regina Spektor!

In the meantime, I have entered into a sacred pact with René. My part of the bargain: to finish the new episode of Revolver in the next two weeks. We'll see about that. (Hey, I've managed to update A Great Disservice consistently, right?)

Now playing: Dave Matthews Band - Warehouse
via FoxyTunes

Monday, November 12, 2007

Inconsequential nonsense

There is a gray area that lies between "everything is nominal" and "this problem needs to be solved immediately." When problems arise in this space, it can be weeks (or months) (or years) before I get around to solving them. Is it because I'm lazy? No. No, it's because...actually, yes, it's because I'm lazy. Or, in this instance, it's because I'm broke. And lazy.

The morning after the Regina Spektor concert, I retrieved my iPod from the pocket of the pants in which they'd been left, and found it damaged: the display was cracked. Not the outer transparent part; the actual LCD underneath that was shattered. (How this occurred, I have no idea.) The liquid crystal was leaking from the crack, creating a bruise-like purple spot on the face of the display. When turned on, the bruise turned black, and random black lines appeared in the window, rather than the usual options.

"Oh -- fuck!" I yelled. My iPod was almost certainly no longer under warranty (though I honestly don't know; I bought it over a year ago, and I think it's only a one-year deal), and I can't fix this. And I have nowhere near enough cash to buy a new one.

But then I took it out to my car, hooked it up to the car stereo, works. It works just fine. And since the interface goes through my car stereo's display and not the iPod's, the functionality isn't hindered at all. Once disconnected, of course, it becomes much more cumbersome, but 95% of the time I'm using my iPod, I'm using it in my car.

So: it's a problem. But it falls directly into that glorious gray area. So don't look for this one to get fixed anytime soon.

Now playing: The Decemberists - The Mariner's Revenge Song
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The first step is admitting you have a problem

It's no secret that, by and large, Heroes has been less-than-stellar this season. Want to know something surprising, though? The creator of the show, Tim Kring, is willing to admit it.

Of course, it's really too late to do anything about it, since this "volume" of episodes ends in less than a month, and who knows what happens after that with the Writer's Guild strike. But they've admitting mistakes, and that's a step in the right direction.

Poor little Regina

Remember that train wreck that happened when Regina Spektor tried to play "Poor Little Rich Boy" the other night? Here's a video:

And here's "Hotel Song," with talentless douchebag opening act Only Son providing the human beatbox.

Hey, he is good at something!

Also, René asked me to tell you about the game we were playing before the concert (and while Only Son was drowning on stage): basically, we tried to think of the most wildly inappropriate songs Regina could cover. The best ones I remember are:
  • "Killing in the Name," Rage Against the Machine
  • "Kim," Eminem
  • "How I Could Just Kill a Man," Cypress Hill
  • "The Metal," Tenacious D
  • "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," Iron Butterfly
  • "Born to Be Wild," Steppenwolf
  • "Misirlou," Dick Dale
  • "Welcome to the Jungle," Guns N' Roses
For the record, she could pull all of those off. And I'd pay to watch her do it.

Now playing: Bruce Springsteen - The Rising
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, November 08, 2007

For you, Brad? I've got five

So, the Astros did what people have been screaming at them to do for a year and a half now: traded Brad Lidge. In this case, along with Eric Bruntlett to Philadelphia for five players. Take up thy gascan and walk, Mr. Lidge. Don't let the bullpen door hit you in the ass on the way out.

But I'm sure he'll do well in Philly. I mean, it's not like they've ever had a problem with longball-prone closers before.

Now playing: Regina Spektor - Fidelity
via FoxyTunes

Regina Spektor Concert, Part 2: The Conclusioning

Now, I don't think any of those present would let me get away with only highlighting the excellent part of Ms. Spektor's concert last night. Make no mistake: she was phenomenal. Everything else, though...
  1. The crowd was idiotic. Whooping and screaming and going "Yeaaaaaah!" in the middle of a song for no reason is horrendously obnoxious whenever it happens, but when it gets to the point where the performer has to stop and ask you to shut up, you know it's bad.
  2. Bonus points to the guy standing a few feet behind me, who got good and plastered well before the show started. He sang along, at the top of his lungs, to every single song. Nice to see you're a fan, buddy, but shut the fuck up. When the performer has to stop -- in the middle of a song -- and tell you, personally, to shut the hell up and go away, you've reached a new level.
  3. The opening act. Oh, sweet fancy Moses, the opening act. Boring folk songs, with refrigerator-magnet poetry lyrics, and a backing band that consisted of his iPod. "This is my iPod," he said, pointing to where it sat on a stool. "It has something to say." He pressed play, and proceeded to engage in a scripted conversation with his own voice on his iPod. Your Junior High Talent Show called, they want their gimmick back.
  4. Am I the only one bothered by all the people who chose to watch most of the concert on the video screens of their digital cameras?
  5. The interminable wait for the doors to open, the interminable wait for the opening act to start, the interminable wait for the opening act to stop, and the interminable wait for Regina to come out. Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't been locked in a battle royale for floor position with drunk idiots who felt entitled to a closer spot. But I did, so it sucked.
So, yeah: it was far from perfect. But you know what? She got this look on her face as she sang the vocal run on the chorus to "Fidelity." The slight curve of a smile, a shining look in her eyes. Without all the other instruments, the song is even bouncier, even more fun. Under those lights, singing that wonderful song, with that look...

Everything else was worth that. So says I.

Now playing: Jim Rome - Wed, November 7th, 2007 Hour 3
via FoxyTunes

Falling with style

Poor little rich boy, all the couples have gone
You wish that they hadn't, you don't want to be alone
But they wanna kiss and they got homes of their own
Poor little rich boy, all the couples have gone
They've gone, they've gone

And you don't love your girlfriend
You don't love your girlfriend
And you think that you should-- you think you -- you --


She puts her face in her hands and giggles for a second. "Okay, okay..."

And you think that she -- you should --

"Fuck! What the fuck is it?" She turns to the audience. "Does anybody here know the words to the song that I fucking wrote?"

She spends a few minutes trying to get suggestions from the front row. Then: "Who would write that? What kind of song is that?"

She returns to the piano, cues it up, and...screws it up again. "Oh, fuck it!" she cries with a laugh, and continues the song, pounding her drumstick with a fervor that even Lars Ulrich could appreciate.

The chorus comes around again. And...

And you think that you should but she thinks that she’s fat
But she isn’t but you don’t love her anyway

She nails it! She pauses for a second, looks to the ceiling, and yells "Yes!" The crowd erupts.

Regina Spektor botching the living shit out of "Poor Little Rich Boy" is a million times more entertaining than most artists playing their songs correctly.

The songs she didn't mess up were great, too.

Now playing: Regina Spektor - Sailor Song
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

You know, Mohinder, for such a smart guy, you're a goddamn moron

[No real spoilers, 'cause I know René won't get to watch it until later in the week.]

Against all odds, last night's Heroes was actually really, really good: Parkman grows a set, the Hiro stuff is revealed to finally have a point, and Peter Petrelli didn't annoy me nearly as much as usual. (Claire Bear continues to be dull as dishwater, but they can't all be winners, can they?) I'm just glad that they seemed to actually have a plan all along -- they were just following the Lost playbook of foot-shuffling, as I suggested before.

And did you see the trailers for next week? Holy awesome, Batman.

Now playing: Franz Ferdinand - I'm Your Villain
via FoxyTunes

You can blame Airfon for this, if you're looking for someone

So I get lots and lots of stupid customers at work, as I may have mentioned one or two thousand times. My manager, Airfon, has told me repeatedly to write them down.

For some reason, I listened to him. So yes, I'm asking you to read more of my crap. Blame him.

As it says over there, I'll update three times a week. If I actually pull that off for a month, I think I should received some sort of prize.

Now playing: DragonForce - Through the Fire and Flames
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Never mind -- this is too funny not to mention

No shortage of Star Wars videos on YouTube, is there?

Now playing: The Who - The Seeker
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

One of these actually is the reason for the zombie infestation in my Hunter game

From The 5 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Apocalypse Could Actually Happen. Awesome stuff.

Now playing: Chrono Trigger - Frog's Theme
via FoxyTunes

Come align for the big fight to rock for you

Important things you should know about Guitar Hero III:
  1. They improved the graphics of the arenas. This means dick while you're trying to play a blistering solo, but it's nice to see they tried.
  2. They added a two-player cooperative career mode, which is cool; it has a completely different setlist setup and different songs, which is cooler.
  3. The boss fights are awesome, even if Tom Morello is a pushover.
  4. No matter which guitarist you pick, he/she won't show up in the cut scenes.
  5. Yes, there are cut scenes.
  6. Just because a song sucks, that doesn't mean it isn't fun to play. Case in point: "Same Old Song and Dance" by Aerosmith.
  7. To be honest...Guitar Hero II was better. At least, so far. I haven't been all the way through the list. I started a career on Hard and told myself I'd stop and go to bed once I failed a song -- I got as far as "The Metal" before dying. Oh well. There's always tomorrow.
  8. "Cherub Rock" is much, much harder than it sounds. Damn you, three-note chords!
That is all.

Oh, wait: have you watched Heroes yet? Let's just say that what Peter found in the apartment in Montreal was the very last thing I wanted him to find. "Hey, an impending catastrophe that threatens New York City, and only I can stop it! Boy, I'm glad this has never happened to me before!"

Hey, if you can't remember it, it's new to you!

Now playing: Smashing Pumpkins - Cherub Rock
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I heard Game 6 was awesome, too

So Major League Baseball has the most awesome thing I've ever seen on their website: for two bucks, you can buy complete videos of old baseball games. World Series games, playoff games, important milestones -- two bucks gets you the whole thing. Cool, huh?

But here's an interesting one:

Yes -- that's Game 5. Of the 2005 World Series. Which only lasted four games. No, really it did. Trust me, I remember this one vividly.

I'm downloading Game 1 of the 1988 Series as we speak. Not much of a surprise, huh?

Now playing: The Beatles - I'll Be Back
via FoxyTunes

Yeah, pretty much

Your Score: Haughty Intellectual

You are 85% Rational, 0% Extroverted, 42% Brutal, and 85% Arrogant.

You are the Haughty Intellectual. You are a very rational person, emphasizing logic over emotion, and you are also rather arrogant and self-aggrandizing. You probably think of yourself as an intellectual, and you would like everyone to know it. Not only that, but you also tend to look down on others, thinking yourself better than them. You could possibly have an unhealthy obsession with yourself as well, thus causing everyone to hate you for being such an elitist twat. On top of all that, you are also introverted and gentle. This means that you are just a quiet thinker who wants fame and recognition, in all likelihood. Like so many countless pseudo-intellectuals swarming around vacuous internet forums to discuss worthless political issues, your kind is a scourge upon humanity, blathering and blathering on and on about all kinds of boring crap. If your personality could be sculpted, the resulting piece would be Rodin's "The Thinker"--although I am absolutely positive that you are not nearly as muscular or naked as that statue. Rather lacking in emotion, introspective, gentle, and arrogant, you are most certainly a Haughty Intellectual! And, most likely, you will never achieve the recognition or fame you so desire! But no worries!

Link: The Personality Defect Test written by saint_gasoline on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Now playing: T.V. Carpio - I Want To Hold Your Hand
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, October 27, 2007

If you don't understand why it's funny that Prudence comes in through the bathroom window, this movie is a gigantic waste of your time

My sister and I saw Across the Universe last night. It was...uh...interesting. To say the least.

Of course, it's the musical that uses the Beatles catalog as its songbook. The plot itself is pretty throwaway, so the film has to sell you on its musical sequences. The ones that work are spectacular: "Revolution" becomes a snarled missive to self-righteous war protesters, and "With a Little Help From My Friends" is the perfect soundtrack for a montage of drunken college debauchery. The best, though, is a moment near the beginning of the film, when "I Want to Hold Your Hand" is turned into an unbearably sad and poignant expression of longing. Several of the other tunes are used to good effect, as well.

But when they don't work, it just gets silly. Bono and Eddie Izzard join the film about halfway through to pad the running time with utterly pointless (and boring) renditions of "I Am the Walrus" and "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!", and a draft sequence set to "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" was working just fine without the absurdly heavy-handed symbolism grafted to the end. (Seriously: the draftees, still in their underwear, carrying the Statue of Liberty and moaning, "She's so heavy!")

I highly recommend the movie if you're a big Beatles fan, because it might help you through the movie's slower sections. Dr. Robert's psychedelic bus ride won't be any less childish and boring, but die-hards will at least understand why it's there. If you don't like the Beatles, I'd stay far away.

Call it ***.

Now playing: The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows
via FoxyTunes