Sunday, July 26, 2009

Totally Randomatic

Here is one of my least favorite commercials.

Here is one of my favorite commercials.

One has a horrid song. The other has a talking dog. Yeah, I'm shallow. Suck it. But that song...it's just so...suck. Actually, I've heard the original and ther commercial makers must have butchered it because, while it still sucks donkey nuts, it sounds a bit better on its own.

Just thought I'd throw that out there. You know, because it was on my mind and stuff. Honestly, that's about all that's on my mind. I can't seem to must a worthwhile thought at the moment.

Except that I think that my Guitar Hero controller is going bad...again. Ugh.

So we'll continue with...

SyFy Saturday Presents: Malibu Shark Attack

I don't really know where to begin with this one. It stars no one and was probably written and directed by no one. Think "Baywatch colliding with a train carrying sewage and dead hookers." It's a conundrum because I'm not sure which part of that is the worst--the Baywatch part, the sewage part, or the dead hookers part...but it's probably Baywatch. Seriously, my dogs have dug up cooler things in the backyard.

We've seen it before--one or more sharks terrorize a beach filled with retarded but tasty humans. Sharks attack, sharks eat, then the humans fight back somehow and the poor sharks are decimated. Then all is well in beachland again. Is this one of those movies? Well, it's on SyFy; you take a guess. But if you're not sure, then the answer is "Yes". Except that SyFy adds an underwater earthquake, a tsunami, and supersharks. What more could any one person want?

So there's this underwater earthquake, right? And it's all "rumble rumble...rumble rumble." And this underwater earthquake produces a tsunami that's all like "I'm gonna flood the beach, yo!" And the earthquake is all spitting supersharks out of the ocean and the supersharks are all like "I'm hungry, dude. There's a beach ahead, so you know what that means, right? Smorgasboard!!"

So, yeah...the earthquake produces a tsunami which floods the California coast, allowing the sharks to go apeshit all over the place. So you would think this might mean sharks are swimming around downtown, shopping at boutiques, cruising the streets, and eating at cafes. Nope. They stick to the coast. The reason? Read further.

In theory, this doesn't sound like a bad idea, and it's not, actually. But it's implemented with all the skill and precision of a feral monkey trying to perform a colonoscopy with a bowling ball.

Why do the sharks stick to the coast? Well, the food is easy to obtain when every character in the movie couldn't poor piss out of a boot if the instructions were on the heel! Literally, half the cast essentially threw themselves at the sharks. "Wait! They won't expect us to just jump in their mouths! It'll confuse them!" One chick was all "we need to preserve these sharks! They're supposed to be extinct!!" Guess who's the first main character to die? Bingo...the bimbo!

Normally, movies like this start out promising and then eventually derail and spiral down the proverbial toilet and into the septic tank where they are left to rot until they're picked up by the SyFy network...except this one started there!!

Stupid lifeguards and victims aside, there are plenty of other problems, like the fact that it takes approximately 10 freaking minutes for a chainsaw to cut through a shark. I should also mention the fact that, in a building that is currently under construction, there are apparently no stairs at all! Maybe it's some new age project where, to get to a different floor, you have to think yourself there. If that's the case, none of these people could have thought themselves out of the bloody bathroom to begin with.

Also, the so-called "tsunami" looked to be about three feet high and made of crappy CGI--like some intern sneezed and accidentally hit some random keys on the computer and said "Look! I made this!" Also, it miraculously flooded the coast with about 30 feet of water, but didn't engulf or destroy any buildings...not even a sand castle!

We may as well get to the Drive-in Totals:
Dismembered limbs: 2
Really bad ideas: I lost count
Poorly stocked emergency supplies: 1
Indestructable lifeguard towers: 1
Really stupid people: The whole cast...except the sharks. They were pretty bright, rivalling the intelligence of your average chatroom user
Flaregun-fu
Gas-powered circular saw-fu
Blood-spurting
Bonechewing

2 stars. Mostly because, while I expected it to be bad, I expected it to be at least entertaining in a comedic way, and it wasn't even that. Fail.

Lead me on into the door

Thursday, July 23, 2009

One Crazy Night

I take it for granted every night. And I never notice anything until the out of the ordinary happens. Just like you don't really feel thankful you have both feet until suddenly a train runs them over, causing you to lament the fact that you lost a game of "Chicken" with an inanimate object.

Normally, I go to sleep and maybe wake up once or twice during the night but quickly fall back asleep. Then I wake up in the morning, wishing I had about five more hours to sleep. Once I find out how to incorporate sleep into my job, I'm totally there. But I digress.

Last night was just plain batshit weird. T woke up last night, wide awake, for about an hour. She went to the bathroom (some of which I had to clean up) and wanted a drink. But then she stayed awake for a while longer. She is normally a very good sleeper--out like a light five minutes after we put her down and doesn't wake up until the morning.

G fell out of bed--something she hasn't done for years. T fell out of bed a couple of weeks ago...also something she doesn't normally do. Nevertheless, it was odd. Then K couldn't sleep for most of the rest of the night after everyone else woke up.

I also woke up several times during the night--times that had nothing to do with kids. After I dealt with T's bathroom break, I fell back asleep almost instantly and dreamt that the dog had peed on the floor and the kitchen sink was overflowing. And then I woke up and truly believed that it had all happened. The rest of the night was spent dreaming about a zombie invasion. Even when I woke up briefly and fell back asleep, the dream continued. I guess the times spent awake were commercials?

At one point in the dream I was wrestling with a zombie and told a dude nearby to shoot the zombie. He didn't want to because "shooting zombies is getting tiresome." What a dick.

Loaded I will walk alone

Thursday, July 16, 2009

All you need is...a really badass space flight sim, pew pew pew?

I have lots of videogames I can play. I've got a few titles on my Xbox as well as a few on my PC that I have yet to either touch or play to my own satisfaction. Some are really long games and I'm taking a break (Fallout3) and others are just really simple, almost children's games (Lego Star Wars). Still others don't really have an end (Team Fortress 2). When I look at all these games I have around to play, I continuously notice a genre that is missing.

Space Sims. Gone are the days of the classic Wing Commander series or the X-Wing and TIE-Fighter series. So what am I to turn to so that I can get my spacey, flying fix? (Please note that I am avoiding all references to using a joystick...it's taking great restraint, but I'm doing it.)

I long to fly through the vacuum of space, shooting everything that moves and asking questions later--lauching barrages of missiles and just generally blowing shit up. And the absence of these games is no recent development--I haven't seen a space sim released in years...many many painful, vacuous years.

Of course now all of the games I once loved aren't really playable in Windows XP. Sure, I can get DosBox and jury rig them...and I just might. But I'm looking for something new...not something 90's. Gimme, dammit! I don't even really care about plot...just give me some flying action and I might be happy! These days it's all MMORPGs, I think. Heck, I might actually try out an MMORPG that was based around a space sim. I doubt I'd have the time to play it regularly or the money to pay for it regularly, but I might try it for a lark. But, alas...nothing.

On a related note, have you seen the video for the new Mechwarrior? If the game is truly as good as this trailer, I'm totally in. Seriously, that game looks good enough to eat! Well, if steel and explosive bits are the kinds of things your into, that is. The last one I played was Mechwarrior 4, I think, and it was a lot of fun. But that was also 7 or 8 years ago? Maybe longer? It's about time a new one came along. I was, however, never quite 100% happy with the weapon firing schemes they had on the older iterations. So hopefully this new one (which has no publisher yet...hopefully soon) will remedy that for me. I think it was just personal taste. And since I now have a joystick with about a billion buttons, it shouldn't be a problem, as long as I can remember which button does what. The words "premature ejection" come to mind.

Thus far, my game list includes Halo: ODST (which I've preordered), Starcraft II, Diablo III, and probably Mechwarrior and Bioshock II. There are several games that I will most likely pick up on the cheap, but they have to get cheap in order for me to do that. And they will...in due time.

There's a tease

Monday, July 13, 2009

Reinventing the Wheel

Recently, I was given a copy of "Wheelman" for the Xbox 360. This is a driving game in which you are a CIA agent who looks like (and is voiced by) Vin Diesel. You are tasked with...no, it's your job to...um...actually, I don't really know. I'm certain that you have an overarching goal that will be reached at the end of the game, I just have no idea what the hell it actually is.

So, mostly, I just drive around Barcelona, accepting missions and blowing shit up. Basically, if you've played any of the Burnout games, it's a lot like that except there are a few key differences.

First of all, someone thought Vin Diesel would be great for this game. As far as I'm concerned, they could have had Lisa Simpson voicing the main character and I would not have cared. Mostly this is because I haven't really been paying much attention to the cutscenes, since I already established that I have no idea what is actually going on in the game.

Yes, there are guns. You can lean out your car and shoot your gun while driving. Or you can use a special aiming mode where you simply shoot through your own windshield at other cars. You can drive any variety of automobile--from a semi to a motorcycle (or, even more humorously, a scooter!). also, you can use "vehicle melee" attacks, which are a fancy way of saying "ram the other guy so far into oblivion so that even his mother feels it, and several kittens cry." You can also airjack cars which means you basically jump from one vehicle to the next in a stunning display of Batman'esque manuevers, only without the nipples on the costume.

There are plenty of side missions to keep you occupied. They range from your basic "Rampage" (a.k.a. "Trash the Entire City") to "Made to Order" where you airjack one or more cars and take them back to a certain spot. These I find to be much more fun than the actual plot-related missions. Quit talking so much and let me blow shit up, already. If you rank high enough in any of these missions, you get bonuses like upgraded vehicle toughness or free valet parking at your local crime lord's estate.

The game is not without its flaws--the plot being one of them. The controls can sometimes be a little loose and tough to control and I still have not yet gotten used to drifting around corners yet. This is not a game I traditionally would have bought but since it didn't cost me anything, I can't complain. All in all, I'd probably give it a "B".

Next review:

SyFy Pictures Presents: "Sand Serpents"

Oh wow...this movie had "standard SyFy movie formula written all over it." It stars all your favorite celebrities like..."that one dude" and "that chick with the hair" and...yeah, who am I kidding? The cast is riddled with a bunch of nobodies who were hoping that this movie would be their big break. Guess what? It's not!

I know nothing about Army ranks and units, so I'm can't adequately use Army terms. You'll have to bear with me. So this Army unit is in Afghanistan, trying to kill lots of Taliban dudes and they get captured. Then the Taliban dudes mysteriously disappear, leaving the Army dudes to escape on their own, having no idea what happened but suspecting the Taliban dudes were eaten by something (the gigantic burp didn't give it away, of course).

The short of it is that a Taliban blast awoke these gigantic sand worms from deep beneath the surface and now they're hungry or pissed off or bored or something. All I know is, I kept waiting for a "Dune" or "Tremors" reference and never got one. Boooooo!

The movie is actually rather entertaining and follows SyFy's "army goes in and finds something unexpected" formula rather closely. Bullets obviously do no good against the worms (big surprise) and, in the end, they have to lob explosives at the worms.

There are several holes in the movie, the biggest of which was when the Afghani child runs out in front of the Army's stolen truck, causing it to flip. She was trying to stop them from driving down the stretch of road that was mined. Yet, later, they drive down that same stretch of road! Also, why aren't any of these worms setting off mines? I'm sure that would help the situation a bit. Maybe the mines were set to "don't kill worms".

Anyway, the movie is predictable, the Army guys are whiny and unlikeable (I include the chicks in this group as well) and the Taliban dudes are stupid and evil. Also, with all the gunplay in this movie, it's astounding that nobody can hit the broad side of a barn...er...worm. They all may as well be playing Laser Tag.

Here are your Drive-In Totals:
Full-body chomping: Lots
People actually shot: 2
Whining: Constant
Choppers yoinked from the sky: 1
"Graboids" jokes made by me: several
IED-fu
Grenade-fu
Worm-fu

3 1/2 stars

He can manipulate the action

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Settling In

Life is finally calming down. Summer is in full swing so things like trips to the pool and swim lessons are quite plentiful. These days, I feel like a fish--a big, pruny fish. But I enjoy swimming, so I don't mind unless the water is cold. Then I mind. A lot.

This is the first year that I am not in the pool with one or both of the girls for swim lessons. It makes me a little sad. Even though swim lessons were getting a bit tedious, doing the same things over and over, year after year, it is still something that I enjoyed. It was good interaction with both daughters. Now I can sit and watch while reading or using the ol' iPhone. Soon, the only thing I'll be good for is hunting down lousy ex-boyfriends and giving them the business.

So, yeah. The new job is going very well. I'm settling into the duties and the atmosphere, taking it in like a fine wine...or a crappy wine. Hey, I don't profess to know the difference. But, with work, I don't have to take a breathalizer, so it's all good. I'm busier at work now than I probably have ever been, but my time is still not 100% taken every day. Sometimes I wish it was, sometimes not. But it seems to be a really good balance. I doubt I'll ever find the "perfect job", if one actually exists. But I think I can come close. I've never been sure what it is I actually enjoy doing for a "job". Even playing videogames as a QA person would get tedious.

Hopefully, this means that I can get back into writing. I've got a story primed for solicitation but I need to do a bit of editing still. And I really drop the ball when it comes to editing. Editing is like pulling one's intestines out their nose and then replacing them with rubbing alcohol. I hate it. But it's necessary, unlike the intestine and nose operation...which is purely optional surgery, should you want it. If this sounds appealing, I know a guy who knows a guy.

I had a funny idea yesterday. At least, I thought it was funny...in a very nerdy, "only 20% of the world would get this" sort of way. I thought of a huge Broadway production called "Chatroom: The Musical". Seriously...I think it'd be hilarious. Imagine people sitting at computers, typing (and talking as they type so everyone knows what they're doing). And then there would be people dressed up as these users' usernames or avatars (my representation would be a raw steak with a pointy sword). Every so often, someone acting as a 10-year-old kid would run across the stage yelling "I LIKE PIE!" or "PENISPENISPENIS!" See? I told you...at least I found it hilarious.

Yeah, well, screw you.

So I drew a new face and I laughed

Monday, July 6, 2009

The HOA, Redux

I am pleased to announce that I have officially resigned from the Board of Directors for my Homeowners Association. Doing so is akin to cutting off a vicious parasite from your own body--one that you somehow thought may be beneficial at first but, as it turns out, it exists solely to make your life miserable. But I have cast off that parasite now and feel a weight lifted from my shoulders--a weight that, for a while, I didn't even know I was carrying. But that could explain the neck and shoulder pain, the nervous twitch, the inexplicable diseases and possibly the swine flu...but I'm not ready to take the blame for that one just yet.

It became apparent that the time to exit was quickly approaching. I spoke of this once before. It has since been resolved but not necessarily in the best way possible. See, once upon a time, this lady built a rail in her front yard along with a sidewalk. None of these was actually approved by the HOA board (including me)--in fact, nobody knew about them until they were built.

Needless to say, none of this went down well with many neighbors. Complaints were filed and followed up on, lawyers were consulted, there was crying and yelling on doorsteps, and even a few flaming bags of poop were involved (okay, that last one is a fabrication, but flaming bags of poop are really funny, trust me). In the end, this lady got to keep her rail and her sidewalk and the HOA spend a little over $2,000 on a lawyer to investigate the whole complaint which, of course, this lady mentioned as being a waste of money etc.

Anyway, the last meeting/picnic for the neighborhood was quite the 3-ring circus, with accusations flying and arguments abound. I, as president, sat back and watched the sparks fly for a while until I felt everyone had let fly their opinion, then cut it short and moved on. The point being, there was only one person at that meeting on this lady's side (besides her...oh, and her husband...so three out of, um, 30 or so?)

The irony is that this lady, through proxy votes, a sob story, and possibly bribes or threats (which I may have just made up, and probably did) won a spot on the Board of Directors. I know that nobody at the meeting voted for her besides herself, her husband, and the other lady in favor of her...I know this for a fact because I saw the vote tallies. So, yeah, she's now on the board so we'll see just how things are handled.

One thing's for sure--I'm tempted to start filing complaints directly to her just to give her a taste of what it's like. Of course, this would screw over a lot of people, so I'm not really willing to do that. But hopefully she'll have as bad a time on the Board as I did. The good news is that the other two people on the board are vehemently against her, so I doubt, when it comes down to a vote, she'll win any headway.

There was no Scifi movie this weekend, due to their July 4th Twilight Zone marathon (those two things naturally go great together, right?). I believe there is one next week, however, so I'm primed for some awfulness!

But I ain't got wings