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Category: Rant
Wednesday, May 25th, 2005 @ 04:57 pm
Posted By Brent

Dear Congress,

Please stop wasting your time on steriods. The last thing I want my government involved in is legislating sports. These are grown men who chase balls around for a living and I don't give a shit if they are injecting horse piss into their eyeballs in order to chase the ball around better. In fact, if you let this go unfettered, it might evolve into something like mutant football players with cybernetic legs, and that would be awesome.

If you're wondering what to do with all the spare time you will find once you've dropped this, here are a few helpful suggestions:

  • Stop spending all my goddamned money trying to pass stupid fucking laws.
  • Stop spending all my goddamned money trying to pass stupid fucking laws.
  • Stop spending all my goddamned money trying to pass stupid fucking laws.

Thank you for your time.


Category: Work
Wednesday, May 25th, 2005 @ 11:51 am
Posted By Brent

I have a manager at my company, let's call him Manager Doofus. Here's how a telephone call from Manager Doofus to me went today:

Phone: Ring. Ring.
Smarmy IT Dude (me): Brent here.
Manager Doofus: Hey, how big is three megs?
SID: Depends, what are you doing with it?
MD: Uh, it's from (client company).
SID: Well, is it being emailed?
MD: Uh, yeah, sure.
SID: Then three megs shouldn't be a problem from the office.
MD: Yeah, but how big is it?
SID: It's about as much as two floppy disks hold.
MD: But these are CDs (Editor: don't ask me).
SID: ...
MD: So how much is that.
SID: Three megs is about as much as two floppy disks hold.
MD: How many pictures would fit in that?
SID: That depends on a lot of different things.
MD: Well, they're small.
SID: If they're at a small resolution with low quality, you could probably fit well over thirty of them. If they're larger, could might only be able to fit a few, if any at all. It depends.
MD: So, it can fit about thirty, ok.
Phone: click.
Like most of these conversations, I can't possibly glean what he needs from the context, and directly asking is like trying to nail jello to a wall. So I simply hang up the phone confident that his ego is probably too big to allow him to call me back and ask me the same stupid questions all over again (not that it's stopped him before mind you).


Category: Misc
Monday, May 23rd, 2005 @ 09:37 pm
Posted By Brent

Today John and I were talking about his lack of cable television and how it impairs his knowledge of pop culture.

"I kind of pride myself on not knowing all this stupid shit," he said.

"Good, I rather enjoy being the pedant when I get to explain these things to you," I retorted, pronouncing pedant like 'pe-d&nt.

One of his eyebrows raised. This was baiting at its best. "I'm pretty sure you mean pedant," he shot back, pronouncing it pa-'dant.

And here's where the video game of my life pauses, and I have two menu options to choose from to continue the conversation:

  • Gallant would tell John that he had always thought it was pronounced that way too, but just recently Scott had corrected him and that he went and looked it up and found that he in fact had been mispronouncing it.
  • Goofus, being the opportunist he is, would stare John in the eye, then thrust out his hand in an intimidating manner and say, "I bet you fifteen fucking bucks I'm right."

I leave it as an exercise to the reader to figure out which path I chose.


Category: Games
Monday, May 23rd, 2005 @ 02:41 pm
Posted By Brent

Before I get into this let me explain something to you: I am not a fan of hip hop. Certainly there are a few songs from the scene I like, but in all I'm not sure how a genre of music that basically consists of someone talking about how cool they are for two and a half minutes has lasted as long as it has. Outside of the few of the more "kooky" players like Busta Rhymes, I am not a fan of hip hop celebrities either. Above all I am not a fan of a culture that looks up to people who flaunt the abject poverty of their childhood and the brutality of their adulthood in order to make a buck. With that said, Def Jam: Fight for NY is a bad ass game filled with hip hop celebs like Snoop Dogg and Ludacris (pictured) beating the holy shit out of each other. They even have Busta in there too.

I really haven't gotten into a fighting game since Tekken 2 (with the exception of a brief Soul Calibur stint on the Dreamcast), so I really don't have anything modern with which to gauge it against but the mechanics seem pretty unique. First off, you have five styles to choose from (kickboxing, street fighting, martial arts, wrestling, and submissions). You have your run of the mill punch and kick combos for each, and a variety of "grappling" moves. Each of these three can also be done holding your "strong" trigger down, which will make it perform a much more destructive, albeit slower, version of each.

The grapples are basically holds on steroids. For example, in the Street Fighter series, a hold could consist of grabbing someone, then throwing them halfway across the screen. In Def Jam, a grapple can consist of grabbing someone's arm, twisting it so they double over, then bringing your foot up and dropping your heel on the back of their head as they collapse lifelessly to the ground. Then you stomp on their face.

While wonderfully brutal, it doesn't hold a candle to what happens when you grapple someone near the edge of the "arena." Depending on what the fight area is bordered by, you end up doing any number of horrible shit to the other guy. Are there people standing around the fight? Well, if you grapple near them, sometimes a spectator will hold the guy up while you kick him in the nuts. If the guy next to the spectator holding your opponent up has a beer bottle in his hand, he'll take the opportunity to smash it over the helpless fighter's head. If it's a wall that you end up grappling the guy against, your options are plenty and include sitting the guy down against the wall and repeatedly stomping his face against it. And it doesn't stop there, the environmental elements that you can use in a fight are as numerous as they are varied. Car doors, chain link fences, pool tables, neon signs, the list goes on and on. But the game's sadism doesn't stop there.

Taking the cake for sheer wince value are what the game calls your "Blazin" moves. Basically you have a "momentum" meter that increases the harder you are beating a person's ass. When this meter tops out you can perform a "Blazin Move," of which there are many. Like a hundred of them. Anyway, these moves range from the pedestrian (running up someone's chest and kicking their head like a freaking soccer ball) to the down right repugnant ( knocking someone face down on the ground, placing one foot on their back, pulling both of their arms back and repeatedly stomping on their back of their head).

The visual style is crazy with everyone all thuggish and thick-necked. When you play in single player story mode you get to choose what your guy's going to look like, and then you get to dress him up in liberally licensed accoutrements from labels like Sean John and Reebok. There's even a tatoo artist that can ink you up and a jeweler that you can purchase bling from. These all effect your "charisma," which in turn causes your momentum meter to fill up faster during a fight. Unfortunately, your dude's voice sounds kind of like Emenim, which you might think is cool, but when your trading words with someone like Busta Rhymes before a fight, you just sound like a whiney little white kid (which I guess is what Emenim is anyway.)

Oddly enough, along side the hip hop stars, they have a few sore thumbs like Henry Rollins and Danny Trejo. I'm pretty sure these guys have about as much to do with hip hop as Pat Boone does.

All in all, the unique fight mechanics make this a solid beat 'em up outside of all the cross licensed crap and celebrity appearances. It's one of those games where everyone in the room collectively says "Oooohhwww!" every thirty seconds in reaction to some move that would permanently disable any mere mortal. Thumbs up.


Category: Media Reviews
Saturday, May 21st, 2005 @ 09:48 pm
Posted By Brent

Please allow me to explain how to fuck up an easy novel. First, take an established universe with loved environments and characters with an ambiguous history. Within this universe, select a character that the reader was never asked to identify with and was never explained their motives. A character where you can leverage their mysterious past to turn the reader's opinion of this character on its ear. Once you have these two elements, throw them on the ground at your feet, unzip your fly and take a big steamy piss on them and then go and write some boring ass shit about the most uninteresting person in existence.

Here it is: The Wicked Witch of the West is a fucking nerd. That's it. End of story. She's born and her parents are embarrassed that she's green. Then she goes to college and people are more critical of her clothes and attitude than they are about the fact that she has green fucking skin. She acts above it all yet hasn't a single interesting thought or opinion (besides the inhumanity to Animals, which I will get to later) shared with the reader. Then in her mid-twenties she joins a terrorist faction bent on deposing the Wizard. This is where it seemed to get interesting, but right before it does it fast-forwards a decade and she's in her thirties and she's fucking boring again.

Without going into too much detail, at this point she goes on this contrived journey to apologize to someone she wronged in her revolutionary phase, but ends up owning their castle because they get kidnapped. I could explain this better, but I hated this part of the book so much that just thinking about it again will probably make my nose bleed.

Ok, she has a castle (with flying monkeys at this point, although to the author's credit, he does explain this one), then the horrible tornado happens and drops a house on her sister, who incidentally ruled Munchkinland. But get this, she doesn't even like her sister. Whoa, what a twist. I can just hear people in book club meetings now, "Man, the movie totally made you think she was mad about Dorothy killing her sister."

So, she gets involved in trying to get her sister's shoes back from Dorothy because the Munchkins viewed the shoes as an icon of her rule and the Witch didn't want the Wizard to have them and thusly be able to control Munchkinland (good plot point). Then, after the Wizard sends Dorothy off to kill the Witch without taking the shoes, she even admits she's confused as to why she's still after Dorothy (really bad plot point). I'm not even going to touch on how much everything that happens in this time frame contradicts the movie. I suppose it's too hard to actually show interesting but overlooked facets of a old and much loved story (zing!).

On the upside, there was an interesting sub-story that ran throughout the book (kinda). Apparently in Oz, there are animals (like the ones we know), and there are Animals, the kind that can walk and talk, like the cowardly lion from the movie. In the book the Wizard had begun a sort of retraction of Animal's rights and tried to relegate them to the fields as beast of burden, like their kin, the (lowercase) animals. This was the reason the Witch joined the terrorist force against the Wizard. Also, the reason this sub-story couldn't save my opinion of this book is because it seemed to last about as long as this paragraph.

In summation, this book was written for goth kids who are enamored with the thought that although they are ostracized because they lack any social skills, they are so much deeper and their misplaced convictions are so much stronger than anyone around them.