Friday, January 30, 2009

Monkeys Are Fucking Awesome

It was the last day of our gluttonous, binge-drinking honeymoon and we were soaking in what we could of our last few minutes in the Mayan Riviera. I was at complete peace knowing that we were leaving and had experienced all that we could during our stay. That is, until the dude with the monkey came strolling down the beach. I was not leaving until I had a picture with that god-damn monkey. And even though I had to kill the owner to get the picture, It was well worth it.

Obviously, Chronic is still in purgatory awaiting his fate, but I promise he'll be back shortly. Until then, enjoy this photo of myself and some dude's monkey... and a partial shot of my wife's right breast.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Public Issue Notice X39-2267.4-b:

Seek shelter immediately. Gas masks will be allocated to families at your nearest military checkpoint. Only Iris-ID certified citizens will be given access to these checkpoints.

If you believe someone you know is infected, please contact your local Minister of War. Possession of firearms or weapons of any kind will not be tolerated and is punishable by crucifixion.

The following infected sectors will be quarantined indefinitely until further notice: 11237.

And may the gods have mercy on all of us.

TRANSLATION: Chronic's internet is down and he'll be back on shortly.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack Obama Takes Office - Jan. 20th 2009

I dont know how great a president Obama is going to be. I dont have a crystal ball. But I do know that he is taking over an economy in the midst of a Depression; there are two wars and dozens of other military commitments he has to deal with, along with wholesale policy changes in the US regarding health care, the environment, and immigration. How much he can actually get done is anybody's guess. The job before him is positively monumental. Even if he can only accomplish a fraction of what he sets out to do, I think most people will consider his time in The White House a success.

The reality of this day, this historic moment, is that Obama's presidency represents both the closing of one of the darkest chapters in American history and the opening of a new one. America is a country steeped in racism, where only 40 years ago my parents and grandparents lived in a world of institutionalized segregation. Obama's election as president represents not just a watershed moment for the civil rights movement, but a historic moment for every American, and in fact every nation in the world which looks to us for inspiration.

Jan 20th, 2009. Today the world changed irrevocably when an African American man became the president of an overwhelmingly white nation - not because of the color of his skin but because of content of his character and the ideas he embodied: change, hope, responsibility, transparency, and accountability. Today is the day when ideas, and the ideals of America, grew larger than any one man. It is the realization of the dreams of the founders of this country and the men and women who have served that promise, such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, FDR, John F Kennedy, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Obama's inauguration represents a new chapter in American History, and in turn the closure of his predecessor's political legacy. George W. Bush was not just a bad president - many scholars already agree that he was the worst in the 200 year history of our union. He committed crimes, he changed laws secretly and without public consent, he made America less safe, contributed to its economic downfall, lessened the standing of our country in the eyes of the world, and abandoned his responsibility to protect the ideals of America.

Obama might not save the world, or even America from itself, but I can guarantee to you that he will not break the law. He will not recklessly jeopardize the lives of the brave men and women of our armed forces. He will act responsibly, and not in the best interests of himself or his cronies, but of the American people. Everything else is up to members of his Cabinet, the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Justices on the Supreme court. I dont think Obama will reinvent politics or government, but at the end of the day I think he will do his job and uphold his responsibility to the people of The United States.

America wants to move on, desperately, from the GW Bush years, his political legacy, and a chapter in our social history that some thought might never end. Today, every man and woman in the United States can look down at their sons and daughters and say "anything is possible in America." Thats why today is important. Our country isnt ideal yet, our Union still isnt perfect, but we are getting there, and today was a huge step forward. Not able to find a cleanly recorded version of Obama's speech from today, Ive included Dr. King's I Have A Dream speech from 1963, delivered on the steps of the Abraham Lincoln memorial in Washington. Today is the full realization of The Dream that Dr. King spoke of, The Dream that he died fighting for. Thats why today is history.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bush Farewell Song #2: Burning Down the House

One great Talking Heads song leads to another.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

GW Bush's Farewell Song: Psycho Killer

I can't seem to face up to the facts
I'm tense and nervous and I can't relax
I can't sleep cause my bed's on fire
Don't touch me I'm a real live wire

Psycho killer, qu'est que c'est?
Fa far better
Run away
Psycho killer, que'st que c'est?
Fa far better
Run away

You start a conversation you can't even finish it
You're talkin' a lot but you're not sayin' anything
When I have nothing to say my lips are sealed
Say something once, why say it again?


Ce que j'ai fait, ce soir la
Ce qu'elle a dit, ce soir la
Realisant, mon espoir
Je me lance vers la gloire

We are vain and we are blind
I hate people when they're not polite

Friday, January 16, 2009

Street Fighter 2 HD Remix Impressions

The game is perfect. It is flawless in every way, no matter what the gametrailers guys tell you. Its the final build of a game 20 years in the making. All the other versions of Street Fighter were just early builds of this game. It has been tweaked and polished to perfection. They made all the art assets for the game only to throw it all out and start over from scratch because it wasnt good enough. They brought into tournament pros to get the character balance just right. They used the best netcode on the market. The results speak for themselves. What a huge win for Capcom and fighting game fans in general. Street Fighter 4 looks good and all, but its impossible for it to be better than this game, because this game is perfect.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dead Space Impressions

Holy crap this game is scary. I could just leave my impression of the game at that. Its easily one of the scariest games Ive ever played. I tried out Condemned 2 earlier this year, and F.E.A.R last year, and I just found those games to be gory and brutish, but not scary. This game is genuinely horrifying, at times I was so freaked out I turned on the lights and turned down the sound. Fear isnt a positive emotion, but it sure as hell is powerful.

The single experience I kept being reminded of was the first time I saw the film Alien. It starts off slowly, picks up speed and by the end you are scared shitless, screaming like a little baby, and loving every minute of it. This game is a lot like Alien in many ways. Initially a rescue and recovery mission, you get trapped on a remote mining operation that has become infected with alien lifeforms. You play the vast majority of the game entirely by yourself inside a desolate, broken down ship. Your goal is initially to explore and repair the ship, however it gradually escalates into a fight for survival. And the ending, as much as Im dying to talk about it, will blow your fucking mind. At some during during your playthrough of Dead Space, make sure you watch Ridley Scott's Alien, no matter how many times you've seen it before.

The actual game itself is quite well done, Im honestly surprised it hasnt gotten more nominations for game of the year. Its that good, its that well made and well executed from the start to the end. Its the Bioshock of 2008, and in many ways the game is better than Bioshock. The weapons, kit upgrades, and enemies, for starters, are far more varied and interesting than what you have in Bioshock, and its impossible to get everything in one playthrough, which gives the game a huge amount of replay value.

The graphics and sound meet or exceed those of any game on the market. The game is a technological masterpiece played in HD with 5.1 sound. The enemy animations and death scenes are some of the best Ive ever seen. If you've played Ninja Gaiden 2, this game will immediately have you thinking of it because of the insane amounts of blood, gore and dismemberment. Its easily one of the most violent and gory games ever. At one point I found myself trapped in a room full of human corpses, and the most clearly logical thing to do was to dismember the bodies and smash their heads into red paste with my steel boots. Its that kind of game.

One of the things that really sets Deap Space apart from something like Bioshock is you actually use your space suit to go out into space and perform missions in zero gravity; the suit has the ability to slow down time with a temporary Stasis Field (like in TimeShift), and it also has a built in Half Life Gravity Gun which you can use to move objects around the environment, and even attack enemies with their own body parts. These aspects combined with some very original weapons open up myriad gameplay possibilities.

In Bioshock you never actually left that stinking ship. It had a great story and all, but where were the undersea exploration missions for that Big Daddy suit? Where were the huge seamonsters? Where was the speargun to kill them? Although I think the story in Bioshock is unmatched in any videogame for its psychological intensity, other aspects of it left me wanting in ways Dead Space never did.

My only real criticism is that the main character never speaks, although he engages in many "conversations" where people talk to him, so I simply assumed he was an android, given a paucity of evidence to the contrary. The game has other smaller flaws, but they are so minor or short in duration that they never really bothered me.

If you havent played Dead Space yet, and you arent afraid of extremely violent or scary games, do yourself a favor and check it out. Combining the best atmospheric aspects of the film Alien, the enemy diversity and dismemberment of Ninja Gaiden 2, with weapons and bosses that would make Gears 2 and Left 4 Dead blush, its hard to see how anyone could be disappointed in Dead Space.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bob's Game DOA

So Bob of Bob's Game has thrown in the towel. After 5 years and over 15,000 hours of development, he is moving on to greener pastures without ever releasing the game. Simply put, he couldnt get Nintendo to sell him the Software Development Kit for their DS handheld device, which would have enabled him to finish, publish and sell the game at retail stores, even though he met all of Nintendo's qualifications. Its truly a sad story. As Bob himself puts it:

In reality, if Link approached the castle gate, a guard would just throw him out. It doesn't matter how much courage he has. It doesn't matter how talented he is with his sword, or how pure hearted he might be. He's wearing a dirty tunic and he has no credentials. "Get out of here, you stupid kid." The evil kingdom of Ganon spreads across the land, Zelda dies, and the credits scroll. Game over.

Personally, Im very disappointed in Nintendo. It costs them nothing to sell this 1 man development team the DS SDK so he can publish his game and earn a freaking living, yet they refuse to do so. The number of pure shit games on the Nintendo DS boggles the mind, every day a new freshly baked turd like Homie Rollerz is squeezed out into the market, and yet gems which have tons of care and time put into them are disregarded because they arent perceived as marketable enough. How do you market a game that mimics real life? Shenmue was one of the greatest games of all time, yet it failed to save Sega because it was a "life" game that didnt resonate with American gamers - at least not in sales. Rather than take a chance on something like Bob's game, Nintendo is content to milk its cash cows and allow larger 3rd party developers to flood its handheld with licensed fluffware and shovelware.

Shame on you Nintendo. You should be going out of your way to support independent developers like Bob, just as Microsoft has done with their XNA software and Community Games service. I dont own a Nintendo DS, but if Nintendo ever decides to give Bob his due and sell him the DS SDK so he can release his game, Ill buy one. Otherwise, they can take their stylus and shove it where the sun dont shine.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Game Over: Pirates Win

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A Saudi-owned supertanker held by pirates off the coast of Somalia for two months has been released for a ransom of $3 million delivered by air drop, according to one of the pirates and residents of Xarardheere, a pirate town on the Somali coast near where the tanker was being held.

The tanker, about the length of an American Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, is the largest ship to have been seized in the history of piracy, and it was fully loaded with two million barrels of oil.

The pirates were due to leave the ship after they received the money, paid by the ship’s owners, on Friday, according to the pirates and residents, who later said the ship had moved away from the coast where it had been anchored since November.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

Joke of The Day

Knock Knock?

Whos There?


Bernie Who?

Bernie Madoff With All Your Money!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

8080 Terminal - Still Alive

This was a triumph.
I'm making a note here:
It's hard to overstate
My satisfaction.
Aperture Science
We do what we must
because we can.
For the good of all of us.
Except the ones who are dead.
But there's no sense crying over every mistake.
You just keep on trying till you run out of cake.
And the Science gets done.
And you make a neat gun.
For the people who are still alive.
I'm not even angry.
I'm being so sincere right now.
Even though you broke my heart.
And killed me.
And tore me to pieces.
And threw every piece into a fire.
As they burned it hurt because I was so happy for you!
Now these points of data make a beautiful line.
And we're out of beta.
We're releasing on time.
So I'm GLaD. I got burned.
Think of all the things we learned
for the people who are still alive.
Go ahead and leave me.
I think I prefer to stay inside.
Maybe you'll find someone else to help you.
Maybe Black Mesa
Anyway, this cake is great.
It's so delicious and moist.
Look at me still talking
when there's Science to do.
When I look out there, it makes me GLaD I'm not you.
I've experiments to run.
There is research to be done.
On the people who are still alive.
And believe me I am still alive.
I'm doing Science and I'm still alive.
I feel FANTASTIC and I'm still alive.
While you're dying I'll be still alive.
And when you're dead I will be still alive.


Still Alive

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Eternal Pain of a Jets Fan

When the Jets took off with a torrid start to the pro football season, I told my friends "Wait until they go 8-3, then Ill get interested." After years of watching the Jets, I knew that to make the playoffs, they didnt just need a good shot, they needed to be a shoe-in. They needed a lay-up. They needed to have the bases loaded with nobody out and the top of the order up. They needed pocket aces against 7-2 offsuit.

Despite years of brutal losses at the end of the season and in the playoffs, I actually thought the team had a decent shot this year. And then, to my utter amazement the Jets actually went went 8-3. Im not sure how much 8-3 means to people who dont follow football. While its not my favorite sport, I have been watching it for my entire life, and I know this: 8-3 in a 16 game season means you are in the playoffs. It means you are very likely winning your division. It means, you only have to win 2 of the next five games to be an absolute lock for a playoff spot, and only winning one will still do the job. I dont know what the exact statistical chances of the Jets making the playoffs are after starting 8-3, espcially given their weak opponents in the second half of the season, but browsing some websites it appears all the computer models rated the Jets as the #3 best team in football after week 11 with a projected win-loss record of 12-4.

What is there to say really? What happened, can you even describe it in words? The horror! The horror! To lose four of the next five games and have the entire team and coaching staff meltdown and explode in a ball of fire? How? Why? "No! Its not true! thats impossible [Luke Skywalker voice]!!!" This cant have happened again! Not only did the team miss the playoffs on the last day of the season, they lost in such gut wrenching fashion that ownership saw it fit to fire the 2nd year head coach Eric Mangini the next day. Watching the Jets is really like a recurring nightmare, it just gets more surreal and horrifying with every sleepless moment.

When the Jets lost to Oakland 13-16 in overtime on October 19th, Farve called the game "one of the worst losses of my career." When I heard that comment from the 39 year old NFL Hall of Famer who was traded to the Jets from the Green Bay Packers during the offseason, I had to laugh. All I could think was, Brett, "Welcome to the Jets."

Friday, January 2, 2009

Portal: The 2D Flash Version

I had considered posting a link this this for a while, but never got around to it when it was originally released. However, replaying the original 3D Portal this past December made me think about this 2D one, so I went back for another go and its just as incredible as I remember it. Needless to say, this Flash version of Portal is presented entirely in two dimensions, is playable on any computer with Flash installed and an internet connection, and is totally free.

The thing that really strikes me about this remake is how perfectly the concept of portals fits into a 2D environment. Think about how many 2 dimensional games were made between 1980 and 2007. Thousands upon thousands. Yet not one of them struck upon the pot of portal gameplay gold at the end of the 2D rainbow. It took someone working in 3 dimensions to truly appreciate the possibilities of a physics based portalling system, and then someone equally talented to realize those concepts could be seamlessly applied to the 2D realm. Needless to say, although its not entirely original, there are many new ideas presented in this 2D version that even the developers at Valve would be impressed by, and it is certainly one of the best free to play Flash games ever created.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Doyle Brunson - Tales of a Poker Legend

Phil Ivey might be the best all around living player, Phil Hellmuth might have the most bracelets, Daniel Negreanu might get the best reads, Matusow might be the best bluffer, Antonious might be the best at trapping, etc. etc. etc. for all the great players in the world, and there are many more who you've never heard of. But all of them, every single one would agree they would not be living the life they are today were it not for Texas Dolly. He always was and always will be the ultimate class act, the face of professional poker for half a century, and one of the main people responsible for popularizing Texas Holdem and bringing poker out of the backroom and into the bright lights of television and respectability.