Wednesday, February 27

what i've been up to - mid-week edition

- finished season 3 of Star Trek: TNG and have moved on to the fourth. let me just say this: the first few episodes of season 4 have been among some of the best, with the second episode (entitled "Family") just very well may be my favorite so far.

- why am i able to watch so much Star Trek? well it's because i'm hardly watching any real tv at all. right now it's just Sarah Connor Chronicles, No Reservations, and Law & Order. however, next week is the season (probably series) finale of Sarah Connor, and i think Law & Order is taking a break after next week as well, coming back when the rest of the shows do at the end of April. here's what i'll be watching starting next week:

- New Amsterdam
- Bizarre Foods w/ Andrew Zimmern
- South Park (starting March 12th)

those should tide me over until the old shows return. can't wait for House to come back... CAN'T WAIT!

- still reading World War Z. still loving it. the whole time i've been reading it i was wondering "what happened to Hawaii?" and i've finally got my answer. it actually surprised me. thought we'd be one of the first places overrun by the living dead. oh, and there was a chapter on what happened to someone from Waukesha, WI. not pretty. let's just say it involved cannibalism. it's actually one of my favorite chapters.

- learned the new Indiana Jones game isn't going to be coming out for another year. it got pushed back because they needed more people to work on the new Star Wars game. now, i'm all for a new Star Wars game (this next one looks super-cool), but the fact that Indy had to suffer for it makes me sad. i guess the LEGO Indiana Jones game coming out this summer will have to tide me over.

- PERSONA 3: FES IS COMING!!! (see last post)

- i finished a video game this past weekend. Naruto: Rise of a Ninja. i'll try and give it a writeup later, but let's just say the game did not disappoint. it was a good, fun game that took me about 15 hours to beat - just the right amount of time. in case i don't write it up, here's my score:

8.25 out of 10 (+/-.25)

- i'm now working on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for the 360. never read any of the books, only seen the movies - and this is the first Harry Potter game i've ever bought. the reason i bought it? it looked like it pretty faithfully created a Hogwarts that you can freely run around. also, i thought it would be like Bully - a game where you have to manage your time between quests and going to school. i was right about the faithful recreation of the school (well i don't know HOW faithful since i haven't read the books, but it looks like the movies to me) BUT it's nothing like Bully. in fact, the best way i can put it is that you're pretty much reenacting the movie while searching for hidden thing all around Hogwarts. i'm liking it, not loving it.

- finally, i'm going to have to end this on a sad note. this week my coworker Halo buddy and i decided to stop playing Halo 3 so religiously. for those that didn't know, i've been playing that damn game almost every single day since it came out back on September 25th of last year. that's almost 5 months. we're now only going to plan to play Friday and Saturday nights... at least until the new downloadable maps come out later this spring. :)


good week, and here's why

i'm having a wonderful week this week and here's why:

- Persona 3: FES is coming state-side! this is an alternate version of Persona 3 that includes an additional 30+ hours of gameplay with more story and more unlockables. at just $30, i'm gonna have to buy it. Persona 3 was probably my favorite game of 2007. it ought to be - i logged over 100 hours into it.

- one of my favorite authors, J. Michael Straczynski, is moving from Marvel to DC Comics. why is this good? well, he's stated that now at DC he's hoping to do some Babylon 5 graphic novels. YES!!!

- one of my favorite comic book series of all time, DEMO, is coming back this fall! slated for a 6-issue mini-series, the series will focus on everyday people discovering extraordinary powers. it's a more-real world X-Men. even though the series REALLY got good in the later issues that stared focusing less on powers and more on love and life, i'm still glad this series is coming back in some form.


Friday, February 22

around the web - garfield edition

if you remember, a few weeks ago i was obsessed with Lasagna Cat. the folks at Fatal Farm put a great spin on some absurdly unfunny Garfield cartoons (which is the majority of them).

now, i used to actually be a fan of Garfield - i have like 20 of his collections. in fact, i still think some of the early Garfield strips are pretty good. but damn, Garfield hasn't aged well. i think nostalgia - mixed with just how absurd the Lasagna Cat takes on Garfield are - is why i find them so damn funny.

so it started with Lasagna Cat a few weeks ago...

and then just yesterday i found this picture on a forum that had nothing to do with Garfield (it was part of someone's signature)... and it both cracked me up and freaked me out at the same time (i mean, just look at Jon's face at the end there).

i just had to find where it was from.

so i googled "Garfield" and "real cat" (i think) and came across THE funniest thing from this week:

the "what if Garfield was a real cat" forum.

on this wonderful, WONDERFUL forum i found others like me that found making fun of Garfield to be, well, funny. it was on this forum i found:

- Realfield
- Arbuckle: Garfield through Jon's eyes
- The Garfield Randomizer (make your own Garfield strip!)

and much, much more (like the originals from the funny/freaky picture that started my search in the first place).

it was the first time in a while that i was actually brought to tears from laughing so much and so hard. that forum had my eyes watering and my sides splitting!

i have no idea if any of you will find this as funny as i do, but that's fine. nobody at work really found it as funny as i did, so you won't hurt my feelings.

now if you'll excuse me, i've got some Garfield strips to randomize. AHAHAHA!!! THAT DARN CAT!


Tuesday, February 19

around the web - 2/19/08

stumbled upon this site when another site featured their Oscars cards today. i just love the company's motto - "when you care enough to hit send." reminds me of Despair, Inc. and their demotivational posters:

computer stuff:
actual customer service call ("i gotta have speakers")
man makes music with just Windows sounds

ninja stuff:
ninjas on rollerskates (high-speed ninja/car chase)
best ninja movie ever (it's got the Miami Vice theme and swearing - lots of swearing)

do you like Star Wars?
not as much as this guy does

and finally, hilarious school science projects. sometimes they're funny because of the name. sometimes they're funny because of the quality of the presentation. and sometimes they're funny because of the kid presenting them. i just wish i could read a few excerpts from some of these projects:
41 hilarious science fair experiments


Monday, February 18

god bless american presidents

normally i'm only aware of secondary holidays like President's Day because places like Best Buy and car manufacturers decide to have sales. this year, however, i'm more than aware, as i got the day off. yay for presidents! yay for 3-day weekends!

that said, i'm writing this in the middle of working... so it's a working holiday. at least i didn't have to put in a full 8-hour day.

random things that have been going on in my life and/or stuff that i've been meaning to talk about for a while:

- the writer's strike is over! from everything i've read the writer's are pretty happy with the deal they got, but i think they had to give a few things up they were asking for. hope it was still a fair deal. anyway, half-hour comedies like The Office and 30 Rock and established, episodic dramas like House and Law & Order SVU will be coming back mid-April and air about 6 episodes a piece to try and salvage each of their respective seasons. newer shows like Chuck and Life and dramas that take longer to play out like Heroes and 24 will be returning next year. nowhere have i read how the strike is affecting summer shows like Burn Notice. i'm happy the strike is over, but hope the writer's got a good deal.

- finished reading the first trade paperback of Spider-Girl (DeFalco/Olliffe) this weekend. the editor of Marvel Comics told Spider-Man fans to buy books like Spider-Girl and Ultimate Spider-Man if they were unhappy with what's happening to mainstream Spider-Man lately - so that's what i did. Spider-Girl takes place in an alternate universe where Peter and Mary Jane got married and had a kid. this kid - May Parker - finds out she has the same powers as her now-retired father. she becomes Spider-Girl. it's a fun book that's total fan service. it's told in the 80s/90s style of writing where a lot happens in a single issue (as opposed to today's style where something may take 6 issues to develop), which i'm not a huge fan of, but it's still good. i'd still suggest reading Ultimate Spider-Man or Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane over this any day, but this is a nice alternative to mainstream Spider-Man right now.

- still watching Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. still not sure whether or not i like it. scratch that - i LIKE the show... i'm just not sure if i LOVE it. it's weird. the first episode was really great, and every episode after that has been a little worse. i'm just not sure if i like how much it's playing with established history. i wish it would just come up with all new characters not related to anyone in the movies, have the series stand on its own. oh, and it better not turn into a love story like Bionic Woman did. ugh. what's wrong with an powerful, independent woman that's single? anyway, there's enough here to like, but not to love. i can't help but feel that if the strike didn't happen and there were other things for me to watch, i probably would have dropped this.

- still making my way through Star Trek: The Next Generation. i'm about 1/2 of the way through season 3 already. each season gets a little better, but there are still episodes here and there that are pretty ho-hum. and again, i can't stress enough that this show would not be greenlit for television today. that said, i still like it.

- i'm buying figures (not toys dammit!) again. actually, i started late last year. haven't collected for a good 3 years now. it's something i really hate getting into because it can get expensive FAST. last time i spent probably $200-300 in just a couple of months before i quit. so far this time i've kept it to a minimum, only spending around $100 in 5 months, but i'm dangerously close to going all-out again. one thing stopping me? i don't have much more room! haha. anyway, i'll post about what i'm collecting right now later.

- finally, i started reading the novel World War Z (Max Brooks) this weekend. i'm only 60-some pages in and i can already say that it's one of my favorite books of all time. it is the fictional telling of the war with the zombies some ten years after it happened. it's told from a number of different perspectives (so far none of which have been revisited, so i think there will probably be over 100 one-shots when its all said and done) from around the globe and it's VERY grounded in reality. the manner in which the zombies come about and destroy the earth is just so well written. for instance, one of the outbreaks happens in China, but no one outside of China knows about it because they cover it up by threatening World War III and diverting attention. could happen. one of the reasons the zombies spread so far is because of the smugglers in Eastern Asia that smuggled infected out to Europe and America where they thought there was a cure. could happen. another reason it spread was infected black market organs that came from third world countries. could happen. one of the reasons it takes America by surprise is because we were sold a "wonder drug" that would vaccinate us against it (in truth, it was a placebo) and thus we weren't worried. could happen. IT COULD ALL ACTUALLY HAPPEN. in fact, sometimes i forget i'm reading a zombie book and am just thinking of the plague as a new virus that wipes us all out, a new AIDS or whatever. it's scary - not because there's zombies, but because the future described in it could be a very real one. not a future with zombies, but a future with death and destruction nonetheless.

now, back to work.


Thursday, February 14

around the web - 2/11/08 to 2/14/08

first Indy 4 trailer. comes out May 22! i'm trying to keep my expectations low, but this trailer raised them just a little...
Indiana Jones and the Teaser Trailer

The Onion asks the tough question "do we really want another black president?"
given what's happened when Morgan Freeman and the Allstate guy were president

so that's how Hollywood works:
5 ways Hollywood tricks you into seeing bad movies

i love craigslist. on it you can find some winners and some losers. here, my friend, is a winner just trying to sell some cement blocks for $1:
"you want the blocks? come get the blocks"

they've got candles, we've got MANDLES:
now available in "duct tape" and "Micky Mantle"

THE funniest thing i've read all week. it's a rip on how artsy and pretentious movies like "Garden State" and "Juno" are (don't get me wrong, i like those types of movies, but i know the formula and know how to laugh at it):
fake screenplay from the creator of "Juno"

cupid's arrows (video)
cupid's arrows (comic)


Monday, February 11

new to my stomach - reese's peanut butter & banana creme cups


there's a 7-11 near where i work, and me and the engineers head over there maybe 2-3 times a week. well, going to 7-11 and getting the same thing all the time can get a little boring. so, when we see a new food stuff, we buy it.

this new post type will be where i document the new food stuffs i try. strap in, because it's time for the first installment of "new to my stomach."

what's new to my stomach today?

reese's peanut butter & banana creme cups

actually, this was new to my stomach a few months ago, but we're cheating a bit for this first post.

let me start off by saying i'm not a huge fan of reese's peanut butter cups. the only time i've been known to eat them is if i got them while trick or treating or as candy from Christmas or Easter. they're good, but not great. i prefer reese's pieces better, but even those i'm not a huge fan of.

all that said, reese's peanut butter & banana creme cups are TO DIE FOR. they're so damn rich and creamy, with just the perfect blend of peanut butter and banana. warning: you will probably only be able to eat 2 of these cups at a time, and even that's pushing it.

VERDICT: seek it out and devour it. now. i'm not sure if it's a limited-time variant on the classic peanut butter cup, but all i can tell you is that the local 7-11 hasn't had them in stock for a while now. and i'm sad because of it.


around the web - 2/5/08 to 2/8/08

since i didn't have time to post at work - and since there really wasn't that much funny - here's the best of last week, all wrapped up in one post.

Japan loves to bring over Hollywood stars and have them star in outrageous commercials. found a website devoted to cataloging all of them. make sure to check out the Kiefer Sutherland, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Tommy Lee Jones ones: brings the funny

David Spade did something funny? and it's not 1996?
There Will be Oscars (parody of There Will be Blood)

stop doing drugs!
10 funniest anti-drug ads

Indy 4 is coming out in a few months. this guy is ready.
Indy theme performed on an organ

what's sad is i could only identify half the people on this list:
Muppets for President

and, in honor of the Grammys tonight (just one of the many award shows that i don't watch), here's the 7 most unbelievable / unforgivable Grammy snubs of all time. every single one is unbelievable EXCEPT for #3. Christopher Cross for the win!
greatest Grammy snubs

let's hope this week brings back the funny. maybe Valentine's Day will inspire some humorous videos or articles.


Friday, February 8

thoughts from a busy week

haven't been writing/commenting because i'm really busy at work this week. that and not much is going on - either in my life or on the internet (no really interesting links). i'll try and put together a "best of the week" tomorrow after work. here's what's on my mind:

- added a shit-ton of pictures to my blog earlier this week, and it wasn't an easy task either. i was scouring the internet for hours for just the right pictures, at just the right sizes. i'm glad it's over for now, as it turned from something to do into an obsession rather quickly. in retrospect, i may have gone overboard just a bit, but it pretties up my blog and for that i'm happy.

- bought 2 new games last week that arrived in the mail this week. they are Naruto: Rise of a Ninja for the 360 and Civilization IV: Gold Edition for the PC. Naruto i picked up for $38 (list price is $60) and Civ IV for $20 (list price is $50). i was actually going to wait to pick up Naruto when it was a little lower, but i was buying Civ IV from amazon and needed to buy something else in order to get the free shipping - and Naruto was on sale, so i bit. why did i buy these 2 games? Naruto - never been a fan of the anime, but the game intrigued me with its blend of open world and fighting. it's like a mix of Grand Theft Auto and Dead or Alive. add that to the fact that the game follows the anime somewhat from start to where it is now and well i'll get most of the story. oh, and it's a beautiful looking game. Civ IV - always felt i should try a Civ game, and at the price point it was finally worth picking it up. we'll see when i have time to play it. Naruto i MADE time for. just finished Assassin's Creed, so i had a slot open. it was either Naruto, Heavenly Sword, or Harry Potter. i went with Naruto.

- halfway through season 2 of Star Trek: TNG. i can't stress enough that this is a show that simply would not make it on television today - there's just not enough going on in each episode to satisfy today's audience! i kinda like it, but maybe it's a nostalgia thing. season 2 is better than the first season, but it still has its faults. oh, and they sure are focusing on Data a lot. if he's not the main character of an episode i'd say he's the secondary focus in probably 9 of the 12 episodes so far of season 2. it's almost overkill. there ARE other characters to focus on.

hope you're all having a good week, especially all you in Wisconsin. damn that's a lot of snow you guys got!!! all i've got to complain about this week is the humidity from the rain - and it's not even that bad!


Monday, February 4

no reservations: new orleans

i didn't really think i'd find myself writing about another episode of No Reservations, but here i am, writing about the New Orleans episode i just watched.

Vancouver i wrote about because the episode really hit home for me. i thought it summed up nicely what Vancouver is and why i love it and miss it so much. this New Orleans, well, it was a real reminder. a real eye-opener.

that place, more than 2 years after Katrina, is still in shambles. every place Bourdain went to eat in this episode told another story of the tragedy, another story of the rebuilding and healing. it was a poignant episode of a show that i never really thought could be poignant.

i urge you all to see it. the scenery is unbelievable, the stories unheard of, and the anguish, pain, and suffering still all very much in the faces of everyone. i was almost brought to tears a few times during the show. powerful stuff.


around the web - 2/4/08

i missed the Super Bowl (didn't tune in because i figured the Patriots would win like they always do - boy am i mad i missed it now!) which means i missed the commercials. after some web surfing, i found a few lists that brought most of the best together. as a whole, they sucked. big time. however, there were still a few good ones. i liked the Bridgestone Tires commercials, Bud Light "Fire Breath," Tide "The Talking Stain," FedEx "Carrier Pigeons," and - i don't know why - the Tmobile "My Fave 5" with Charles Barkley and Dwayne Wade. oh, the Planters Peanuts one is kinda funny too:
a blog that has a bunch of the ads
FHM's 10 funniest ads (some repeats from first link)
the racist Super Bowl ad

Superman had a musical in 1966 that lasted for 4 measly months on Broadway. then ABC decided to film and air a reproduction of it in 1975. here is the story:
It's A Bird... It's A Plane... It's Superman
a scene from the musical
original soundtrack now available on Amazon!

i wrote last week that Cheeseburger in a Can was the greatest invention since Water Joe. i may have been too hasty in my claim, because we've got a new contender:
Bacon Salt - the salt that tastes like bacon

finally, something about video games. a list of 7 adver-games - advertisements thinly disguised as video games. let me just say that Cool Spot and Yo Noid! were the SHIT! Yo Noid! just because how ridiculous its premise was, but Cool Spot because it was actually a good game:
7 advertisement video games (thanks Jess)


i beat it! - Assassin's Creed

i did the unbelievable this weekend. i beat not one, but two games. Halo 3 Campaign (see the post below) i had been working on beating for a couple of months now, and Assassin's Creed i played in November and December (until Christmas break), then didn't touch it until yesterday, at which time i played for 2-3 more hours and beat it. i guess i was close to the end. you can read what i thought about Halo 3 in the post below. here's what i thought of Assassin's Creed.

Assassin's Creed. i had been waiting to play the game ever since it was first announced that it was being worked on by the same team that did Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (an all-time favorite game of mine). then it came out, and reviews were mixed. i would have bought my own copy after a fashion, but ended up receiving it for my birthday. even though i had tons of other games to play that i bought before it, and even though the mixed reviews were getting to me, i couldn't wait to play it.

in the game you play as a man abducted by a big corporation because you have an ancestor that knew the whereabouts of an ancient treasure. how do they get the information out of you? well they have something called the Animus that they strap you into and you "relive" the life of your ancestor in a digital world. so there's story on 2 fronts - what's happening in the past to your ancestor, and what's happening to you in the future.

it's a pretty well fleshed out story (in the past moreso than in the present), albeit a bit confusing at times because of all the names and places being thrown around. what i didn't like is that it ends on a big-ol' cliffhanger in the present. the story in the past has one too, but it had more of a conclusion than the story in the present. i mean, of course there's going to be a sequel (like you can expect with almost every game nowadays), but couldn't there have been a little more closure?

the gameplay is a MUCH more simplified version of Prince of Persia - in fact, i'd go so far as to say that the controls are TOO simple. they're fluid, intuitive, but simple. it's hard to describe here, but one thing that bugged me is that there's no jump button - you simply run to the edge of a building and the jump happens automatically (think of 3D Zelda games). this means you're almost guaranteed to make the jump unless it's far too long. now, i don't mind the mechanic in some games, but in a game where jumping is KEY... to make it so EASY... i don't know.

the structure of the game was the other thing that bugged me. it got too repetitive too quickly. here's how it breaks down: you get your target, go to the assassin's guild to verify, go around town and find out about your target, return to the guild to say you're ready to strike, go assassinate the guy, then escape back to the guild. rinse and repeat. 9 times total. it got to where i couldn't play the game for more than an hour or two because i'd get bored. i think the total length of the game was around 12-15 hours.

for all my complaints, i did like how beautiful the game was. sure there were graphical hiccups (it could have stood to have another 3 months of QA done on it to polish it even more) but it was gorgeous walking around ancient Jerusalem, Acre, etc. oh, and the animation in the game was so... fluid. it was amazing. absolutely beautiful. i also liked how detailed the game was in its history. a lot of work was put into making history come alive.

so while the game disappointed in some ways, it delivered in others. overall i liked the game a lot, but didn't love it. if it's any measure, i'm sure i'll be getting the sequel.

8.75 out of 10


i beat it! - Halo 3

Halo. the video game series i've played the most of (by far). i've been playing Halo 3 multiplayer almost every single day since it came out last September, and before that i played hours upon hours of Halo 2 and Halo multiplayer. however, there is also a single-player portion of the game - well, it's not single-player per se, since up to 4 people can play... it's called Campaign mode. it continues and wraps up the story of the Halo trilogy. we all know the multiplayer is good (or i wouldn't be playing it as much), but how is the Campaign?

first off, let me start by saying i beat the original Halo with my friend Jake, but skipped playing through the Campaign in Halo 2 (or i played through some of it, but never beat it). to be honest, i've never been a huge fan of the story - it's a space opera where you're playing as Earth's super soldier, protecting it against 2 main enemies. pretty standard stuff.

so Halo 3 continues with the events that happened in 2 (in fact, 2 could be looked at as "Halo 2: Part 1" and Halo 3 could be "Halo 2: Part 2" in my opinion), wraps the trilogy up rather nicely, and leaves us with an impression of what Halo 4 might be like.

the gameplay was pretty solid for a first-person shooter. i played with my friend Jake again, and we played it on the highest difficulty setting. there were a few parts that had us dying again and again, but overall it was pretty easy. whole game took us maybe 12-15 hours.

no real complaints, but then again, no real commendations either. it was a solid experience that delivered but didn't astound.

my rating for Halo 3 Campaign:
8.75 out of 10 (+/- .25)

my rating for Halo 3 overall (Campaign, multiplayer, map editing toolset, video sharing):
9.75 out of 10


Saturday, February 2

movie review - Transformers

well, i finally got around to watching the July 4th summer blockbuster movie of 2007. i missed my opportunity to see it for free when i was on vacation in Arizona last year and my work decided to take an afternoon off and go see it without me. bastards. however, i still didn't have to pay to see it, as my roommate purchased it and i just watched his copy.

boy am i glad i didn't pay money to see it.

let me start off by saying that my expectations of this movie were LOW. about as low as they can get short of me going into a movie and not hearing one word about it. i had heard that if you went in with an open mind and just went along for the ride, it was a fun movie. and hey, i've gone into other Michael Bay movies with an open mind, just along for the ride, and i ended up liking them ok (well, not all of them - i'm looking at you The Island). so i figured i'd be ok. also, as i was never a HUGE fan of the Transformers (short of having some of their toys), i wasn't worried about the movie raping my childhood memories.

all that said, this movie was an abomination.

they basically took the plot of Independence Day and added in aliens that were on our side. there are so many problems with this movie that i can't even begin to describe them here. and i'm not talking logistical problems, or problems like "why don't the bad robots just smash the tiny humans, why do they insist on shooting at them like it's a fair fight?" or "why did they feel the need to sex up the movie with the young, hot Australian blond that's some sort of communications expert?" (though there are plenty of those problems) - i'm talking about writing problems, pacing problems... just PROBLEMS. all i can tell you is what i liked:

- seeing and hearing the Transformers come to life
- seeing the battles between the Autobots and the Decepticons
- the out-of-place humorous sequences in the movie that actually made me laugh despite how ludicrous they were (like the scene at his parents house with the Autobots in the backyard)

everything else i hated.

i almost turned the movie off several times along the way, including as early as about 10 minutes into it and as late as an hour and a half into it. i hardly EVER dislike a movie so much that i want to turn it off, especially when i've devoted an hour and a half to it.

what continues to amaze me is that i went in with an open mind and STILL hated it. if Ghost Rider didn't come out last year, Transformers would have easily been the worst movie i saw of 2007.

all that said, the movie was still an exhilarating ride. i might not say no to watching it again if i absolutely had to.

1/2 star out of 4


Friday, February 1

around the web - 2/1/08

follow-up to Cheeseburger in a Can:
man purchases and eats Cheeseburger in a Can (it's in a forum, so scroll up to see the first pictures)

my favorites are #11 and #10:
the 11 most pointless celebrity products

first Seinfeld-inspired scientific study i've heard of:
you dipped - and then you dipped again (thanks Jake)

a novel, albeit somewhat confusing idea (i'd be on board if there weren't so many different lines and symbols to learn):
Visuwords - the online graphical dictionary

and finally, perhaps my favorite link this week. i have an affinity for poorly produced rap songs by sports teams. here are 6 by NFL teams, with the Rams song being the most unbelievable:
there are worse songs than the Super Bowl Shuffle

have a good weekend all.