*groan*

Thursday, 18 December, 2008

Just when I seem to be hitting my stride, blog-wise, I lose my internet connection.  I am currently out of work, and can no longer afford the connection bill.  It just keeps piling up!  I will try to make posts, now and again.  Hopefully more along the “again” side.


Jones’ Big Ass Truck Rental & Storage

Sunday, 14 December, 2008

This video was pretty funny.  I don’t usually share YouTube videos, for some reason, but this one I had to share.  The idea of it is ridiculuos and hilarious.  Especially…well…just watch!


I will never be a “Guitar Hero”

Saturday, 13 December, 2008

notguitarhero

Yes, folks, it’s true.  I do NOT have what it takes to be a Guitar Hero.  As much as I enjoy the game, and can pluck out a little of a song, I cannot sit long enough to actually make anything of it.  Seriously.  The whole thing makes my tendonitis act up, too.  That is not a good thing.  Numb hands are not a guitar controller’s friend.

That and I do lack the basic coordination needed to play it.  It makes me feel…well…inadequate.  Plain and simple.  I can mold clay, paint fine lines and draw, but, this it too much for me.  I turn into someone who is coordination-ally impaired.  My fingers fumble for the fret buttons like a Ticonderoga police officer fumbles with an under aged girls bra fasteners.

My sister bought the “Guitar Hero World Tour” band-in-a-box set.  It’s got another guitar (I say ‘another’ as we already have one of the older models from “Guitar Hero: Legends of Rock”), a multicolored drum set, and a microphone.

Upon seeing these things I figured I would be able to pick up, at least, one of the new items and play along.  Wrong-O!  The drums are awkward, especially the “purple button” that is the foot pedal.  I wound up looking stupider playing the drums than I did playing the guitar.

The mic is a pretty cool addition to the game.  It’s fun to play around with, but, my singing voice leaves a lot to be desired.  And some of the songs I didn’t even know.  It’s not that the words don’t show up for you.  They do!  But, you need a magnifying glass to read some of them.  I suppose if we had a bigger TV…

I do, in all honesty, like the game.  I just don’t play it well.  It’s hoot to pick it up, on occasion (read when alone) and pluck at it.  I also like watching others play it.  Maybe I am just fascinated by all the pretty colors?

There really hasn’t been much for me to play, lately.  There are many games I want to try (“Star Wars: The Force Unleashed”) or know that I can play (“Lego Indiana Jones), but, money is tight.  Even for rentals.  My mom is buying me “Animal Crossing: City Folk” for my birthday.  That is a pretty hands-off kind of game.  I guess I’ll just have to wait for that.  And cheer everyone on as they are crowned “Guitar Heroes!”


A blog about old blogs

Saturday, 13 December, 2008

Still, my hand hovers over the “Add New” link in the dashboard.  For what I want to add is something that isn’t truly new.  I thought about this long and hard, and the decision always came out the same.  I had some- and I’d like to say this without sounding like I am tooting my own horn, here- good blogs over on the other space I used.

I don’t know if they are truly as good as I think they are, but, Dan likes them.  And he really is the audience I seem to be catering to.  I would like to give these blogs a new place, away from the horrors of the myspace.com “blog” section.  Especially this one, which was fairly recent.

After playing “Guitar Hero” last night, with my sister, it made me think of this blog.  And thinking of the blog made me want to post it.  Again.  In this shiny new space.  So I just might.  Maybe Saturday nights will be the time for oldies.  Oldies in blog form, of course.  And, maybe as I post it, it will take on a new life.

So you can think of it as a “special edition” blog.  With shiny new features, even!  The special effects won’t blow you away, but, they will be there.  That is, if I can think of anymore to add to it… or change in it.  Then again, new audiences won’t know what’s new unless they managed to read it before.  Ah well.  Here it goes.  The next post will be an old one.  I apologize to you, my loyal reader!


The Dark Knight

Friday, 12 December, 2008

I didn’t have a chance to see “The Dark Knight” in theaters.  Last night, I bought a copy of the DVD (you’ve got to love those first week DVD sales!).  I really wanted to see it, but, I didn’t have the money to buy it earlier in the week.  Luckily, thanks to some early birthday and Christmas money, I finally did.

As far as the movie goes?  I loved it.  Absolutely the best Batman movie out there, hands down.  From the opening bank robbery to the ending scenes, I was riveted.  Though, I did stop the movie about halfway, to come upstairs to watch it, I couldn’t really look away.

As much as I like Christian Bale as Batman, Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker was the best character in the movie.  As my sister said to me, so I say:  You cannot see a trace of Ledger in the character.  He is purely Joker.  Insane and frightening.  Just as he should be.

Maggie Gyllenhal being cast into Katie Holmes’ role was a decent choice as she filled in pretty well.  The other character in the movie I was enamored with, though, was Harvet Dent.  Aaron Eckhart played the part rather well.  Dent’s white knight, the savior of Gotham (even with Batman around) was charismatic, as any good politician should be.

The one thing that I really disliked about the movie was the death of Two-Face!  He would have been a great villain if a third movie is to be made.    I would have liked to see him at odds with Commissioner Gordon  in another film.  More than what was seen in the film, I mean.  I guess we’ll just have to see what there is in store.  If they do a third movie, that is.


Dear Hollywood…

Wednesday, 10 December, 2008
Goku (bah!) and Bulma (WTF!?) in Dragonball Evolution

Goku (bah!) and Bulma (WTF!?) in "Dragonball Evolution"

(this post will contain some foul language.  I try not to work blue, but it must happen in this blog)

What the fuck is wrong with you, Hollywood!?  I mean, seriously.  You take a great story by a wonderful manga writer, and you do this to it!  I mean, sure, it was probably time to do a “Dragonball” movie, but, do write by the story.  It makes me sick just looking at Justin Chatwin’s soulless eyes.

“Dragonball Evolution”, the aforementioned movie, just turns my stomach.  Firstly, there’s Chatwin as Goku.  Not a good choice, in my opinion.  That, and he’s too old!  Goku is just a young kid in the series.  Goku is NOT a high school student.

Another bad thing about this movie (hell, if I was listing all that was bad, we’d be here forever) is the casting of Chow Yun Fat as Master Roshi.  The only thing they got right with him, was the Hawaiian shirt.  Master Roshi is an emaciated-looking (it belies the power he has) old lecher!  C how Yun Fat is none of these things!

I will agree that Piccolo looks half-way decent.  And he is greener (now) than he was when they first showed pictures of him.  But, I will definitely not see this film, because it spoils Toriyama-san’s vision.  Plus, they axed my absolute favorite character, ever.  That would be Krillin.

I will spare you all a look at the trailer.  I think the poster image is enough to warn people away from my blog.  If you really want to see it, go to YouTube, I am sure it’s there.  But be warned, you can’t unsee what you have seen.


John Lennon Oct. 9th, 1940-Dec. 8th, 1980

Monday, 8 December, 2008
John Lennon standing in front of the Statue of Liberty

John Lennon standing in front of the Statue of Liberty

Today is a rather somber day.  Twenty-eight years ago, today, John Lennon was murdered in front of his apartment building in New York City.  The following day John’s wife, Yoko Ono, issued this statement:

“There is no funeral for John. John loved and prayed for the human race. Please pray the same for him. Love, Yoko and Sean.”

This day is close to my heart, even though I wasn’t even in the world when it happened.  Because of John Lennon’s death, and my birth eleven days later, I was named in his honor.

John was a peaceful man, and I am taking time today to honor him.  His music, his art and his life mean very much to me, and I wished to pay him this small tribute.


SNOW!!!

Sunday, 7 December, 2008

dscf1187

I absolutely love Winter.  The snow, the cold, everything!  It beats Summer-time, hands down.  It snowed pretty heavily today, so I wanted to get out and take pictures.  So here are the rest.  All are thumbnailed, so click to see them in their glory!

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Animal Crossing: City Folk

Thursday, 4 December, 2008

Almost all of the reviews available on the web for the latest in the “Animal Crossing” series, “Animal Crossing: City Folk”, seem to come from those who aren’t really die-hard fans of the games.  So, I thought I would give my opinion on the third (as far as US releases are concerned) game in the, casual-gaming friendly, series.

THE GOOD

  • Familiarty/Ease of Play:  Those who haven’t picked up a game in the “Animal Crossing” series will find it very easy to pick this game up, and play it.
  • Open-ended Game Play: This game is great for those who are very casual about their gaming.  Granted, I can undertake quests for Triforce pieces with the best of them, but, sometimes I just want to kick back and do little.  But, still be playing a game (if that makes any sense).  I look at AC:CF as a way to unwind.  Do a little shopping.  Fish for awhile, then when I am done…that’s it.
  • Inclusion of “Wild World” Elements:  I am grateful that Nintendo included some of the better elements of the Nintendo DS game in the series, “Animal Crossing: Wild World”.  The rotating, drum-like world is a big step above the GameCube game’s top-down approach.  Also, seeing animal villagers that debuted in WW returning is a big plus.
  • The City:  The city is there for those who don’t want to spend all day milling about town fishing.  It’s nice to have somewhere to go (though there might not be a ton to do) when your town gets to you.  Also, the animals that spend their time in the city will tell you of the comings and goings of people on your friends list.
  • Wii Speak: Nintendo finally takes the Wii a step in the right direction.  Wii Speak allows those that have it (currently only working with AC:CF, until tomorrow) chat with those they are playing with.  Live!  Having this chat is a wonderful feature, since typing in AC:CF (without a USB keyboard) is not a fun process.
  • Friends Lists: Granted, this is where it’s usually a pain with most Wii titles.  Having to register friends, etc.  But, with AC:CF, you don’t want just anyone running loose in your city.  There is a great site out there to meet people, too.  Animal Crossing Community.  With this feature, those on your friends list can only come when you open your town’s gate.
  • The Animal Path: This is a rather innovative change to the series.  With your constant running about, sometimes you use a certain route that you prefer.  In AC:CF, the grass will eventually wear down, and create a path that shows where you travel the most.
  • Wii Controls:  This is where the Wii shines.  AC:CF, and other games in the series, have a few actions that have been made more realistic thanks to the Wii-mote.  Want to fish?  Flick the controller, and your character will cast out.  Swing the bug-catching net the same way.  Sadly the shovel doesn’t use any manner of controller swinging.  These actions actually make it easier to perform a net or fishing pole swing, with a animal nearby.  Usually it’s a push of the A button to swing (which you can still do), but, if the animal is close, that just triggers a conversation.
  • Ability to Port Over “Wild World” Characters:  I started my game fresh with a character named “John”.  Exciting, I know.  Soon after, my sister had a character she started.  Then I decided to bring over a character that I had in “Animal Crossing: Wild World”.  The sad part is, he comes with nothing.  No money, no items.  Nothing!  The good thing is, though, that he brought over his catalog, which is a list of items that you owned in the previous game.  Now I can order some things that I have yet to see in my day-to-day playing.

THE BAD

  • Few Changes: While familiarity is all well and good, there is more that could have been changed.  Little things, really.   Town layouts are rather stale.  I think there should have been a few new features involved.  Though Nintendo does promise some downloadable content, so time will tell here.
  • Lack of Animal Tasks:  Whereas the original “Animal Crossing” had you completing tasks for the animal villagers, AC:CF doesn’t give you that option as often.  Doing tasks for these critters was a great way to collect furniture and build your catalog at Tom Nook’s store.  There are occasional tasks, but, they are rare.
  • Designing Clothes:  I should be thrilled that you can now design every part of your shirt (sleeves and back, as well as front).  Frankly, though, this is very tough with the Wii-mote.  It was fun to do this, in WW, because you had the stylus, and could easily draw what you wanted.  It’s tedious to do it with the Wii-mote.  It’s a shame, because I like visiting the Abel Sisters (the town’s hedgehog tailors).
  • Dwelling Size:  Maybe I am just spoiled by “Animal Crossing: Wild World” and it’s HUGE house, but, the houses in “City Folk” are just too small.  Yes, I know that all four playable characters lived in one house, in WW.  You did need the space (large single-room downstairs with 3 medium rooms off of it, 1 medium-sized floor above, plus the attic/bedroom that functioned as the save room) if everyone wanted to decorate.  AC:CF hearkens back to the house in the original game.  Large room, middle floor and basement (as well as the attic, which is brought over from WW).  But, I wanted ALL the rooms.
  • Amount of Time Between Nook Upgrades:  Tom Nook, resident entrepeneur and tanuki (sans the HUGE testicles), runs the only shop in town, that sells furniture.  That is, at a reasonable price.  There is “GracieGrace” (run by giraffe fashion-icon, Gracie) in the city, but, her furniture is so damned expensive.  Back to Tom, though.  His shop expands as you pay off your house loans/buy from him/sell to him.  It seems to take forever in this game, though.  And as his shop is small at the start, he only carries a few items.
  • Frequency of Certain Items: It may just be me, but, I keep managing to get the same certain items over and over.  Be they from the animal villagers, or found by me in trees, they are always the same.  And they never seem to be what I am looking for!!
  • Mii Mask: Part of the reason I enjoyed “Animal Crossing: Wild World” so much, was that you could customize your character, a bit.  This was done at “The Shampoodle”, a beauty parlor run by…well…a poodle.  She would change your hairstyle, and color, based upon some answers given to questions she asked.  In “City Folk”, Harriet (that’s the poodle) offers a total makeover option.  With this option chosen, she allows you to choose one of your saved Miis (Nintendo’s avatar system on the Wii) and she makes it into a mask you can don.  I actually do not like them, really.  I think they look hideous!

This really is a good game.  Whether you are an “Animal Crossing” virgin, or veteran, and you are looking for something that isn’t necessarily “hands-on”, you might enjoy it.  I play it every day for however long I feel like it.  That is as long as someone else isn’t looking to play.


崖の上のポニョ

Wednesday, 3 December, 2008

崖の上のポニョ (Gake no Ue no Ponyo), or “Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea” is the latest feature film by Hayao Miyazaki, and his ninth with Studio Ghibli.  Since it was announced, I have been eager to see it’s release.  Fandango has given the movie a US release date of July 19th, 2009.

Though a cast list has already found it’s way to the internet (inluding Matt Damon, Liam Neeson and Tina Fey), I do not wish to see this release.  I am a stickler for a subtitled animé over a dubbed one, any day!  The cast list is from Ain’t It Cool News.

The story is Miyazaki’s take on a “Little Mermaid”-style story.  Ponyo is a mermaid who runs away from her home in the sea, and is rescued by a five year-old boy.  Leaving home, she has angered her father, and he sends demons after her.  He wants her to return to the sea, but she doesn’t want to.

The story seems as if it can be heartwarming if, equally, heart-rending in it’s own way.  If I know anything about Miyazaki’s work (I love his work, so I do know a bit) it is a story about an unbreakable friendship.  Even when faced with adversity.

Stills from the movie, as evident by a regular Google search, show breathtaking animation.  Miyazaki at his best since “Spirited Away”, in my opinion.  Here is a trailer complete with the film’s endearing theme song.  I can’t wait for July to come!