November 28th, 2013
|08:48 pm - Wreck-It Ralph|
I just watched Wreck-It Ralph today. (I know, a year or so late.) It was a lot of fun. Good pacing, funny, actiony when it needed to be. 10 out of 9 points.
September 3rd, 2013
|09:17 pm - Super Metroid|
So I'm only 20 years behind the curve here. I finally played and beat Super Metroid. I had fun with most of it. There were... 3 places I think where I got kinda pissed off. The noob bridge (Look I didn't know there was a dash button okay?), this one crazy room with an acid floor in Norfair that took me forever to get past, and then the entire area of Maridia.
I'm not really a fan of one-way paths through areas.
But it was fun. And got kinda ridiculously hard. And I never managed to figure out how to wall jump more than one time in a row.
September 1st, 2013
July 25th, 2013
|11:52 pm - Organ Tail|
Ah the Oregon Tail, I remember playing that on an Apple computer at school one time. We didn't get a lot of time on th-- Wait, wait, Organ Trail?
Organ Tail is the Oregon Trail, only full of zombies, set after a nuclear horrible war.
The game opens with you picking up your friends in DC as the government announces it's being abandoned and nuked. And thus begins your trek to the west coast... in a station wagon.
You lose mufflers, starve, get shot at, bitten by zombies, and die of cholera. Every now and then there's a settlement to buy supplies at. Go foraging and zombie fighting. Fend of biker gangs. Dodge zombie deer. Get bitten by zombies and infected. Get radiation poisoning.
It's a pretty faithful remake of Oregon Trail, only reskinned.
It was a lot of fun to play, but it's pretty gimmicky. At least to me. I played a game of it for the twisted nostalgia factor, but now that I've done it, I don't really have any urge to go back to it.
|11:12 pm - Dead Pixels|
Dead Pixels is a pseudo-retro looking side scrolling action-survival game where you, the protagonist, have to battle through city streets to reach other survivors that are preparing to evacuate a zombie-overrun city.
When a zombie dies, it barfs up a coin. This reminded me of River City Ransom. That illusion went away very quickly as I found myself running out of ammo and had to run away screaming from zombies until I found a store with ammo to sell me.
The stock in stores is limited, and I don't think it ever refreshes, so you're stuck with literally what you scavenge up.
It was pretty good times, I enjoyed myself a lot. I think this is one of those games that's really meant to be played with a friend while you're both making bad jokes. I didn't really have that available, but I had a good time for the couple of games I played through. I got it as part of a bundle, so my net cost for the game is like $1, and getting an hour of zombie splattering fun for a buck? Not bad. If you've got someone to play it with, I think there's some great replay value in there.
July 12th, 2013
|09:17 pm - New York New York|
Went to New York again. Business trip went swimmingly until the returning home part.
First flight was canceled. Get hotel. Wake up at 3:30 AM to get to airport for 2nd flight. Check out of hotel. Go to airport. 2nd flight is canceled. Spend 9 hours in airport. Thankfully 3rd flight is not canceled.
July 6th, 2013
|08:40 pm - Team Homer's Odyssey|
So our very own Doman, my good friend, was busy graduating recently. Which means he had to work on a final project. This project was Odyssey by Team Homer (which he was obviously part of). As I understand it he did graphics-related programming. When you go play the game (you are downloading it right now, I hope), you'll be wowed by, well, the presentation. It's got mountains of it. Big piles of it. That's why I like it. If the embedding thing works, there should be a Youtube frame below with my LP of the game in it, so you can see for yourself.
The platforming action (it's a 3D platformer) is okay, mostly I kept playing it to keep seeing new sights! The bosses took some trial and error and being completely puzzled to kill. I think the boss fights made up about half of my time with the game, which is kind of a downer in a game where I kept wanting to see more and newer things. Overall it needed polish, and length, and ...I'd complain about the controls, but I think I got used to the way it handled after the first time I'd played it so it stopped feeling quite so stiff when I played it for my LP.
July 4th, 2013
|10:15 pm - EXPLOSIONS!|
From my apartment balcony, I had a decent view of the fireworks from four or five different towns.
June 26th, 2013
|06:22 pm - Technical Readout: Diesel Power|
So I've gotten the BattleTech bug again.
This can only mean one thing: Designing Mechs.
The theme of them? Diesel Power.
Giant hulking warmachines powered by the almighty internal combustion engine. Only have branth spleen oil for fuel? No problem, pour it in! Have high-grade diesel? Sure the engine loves that stuff! Burn anything you can to fuel your engines of war!
So far I've got a few mechs put together:
4/6 15-tonner quad omnimech for low-key security gigs (omni-tech is fluffed as modular turrets that can be dropped in or out)
5/8 20-tonner with an SRM-2 rack
5/8 35-tonner, uparmored from the 20-tonner and also packing a machine gun
4/6 55-tonner with a Heavy Rifle (the 'trooper')
3/5 70-tonner with 2 LRM-15 racks (a poor man's archer - 3/4ths of the performance at half the price!)
2/3 80-tonner that's almost but not quite an Awesome (1 PPC, 2 Light PPCs)
Not sure what else to build, but I'm sure I'll think of something. Maybe see if I can make an ICE-locust or something equally ridiculous.
June 25th, 2013
|11:02 am - Alien Breed: Impact|
Continuing from the alien carnage last night, while I wait for an appointment, I wanted to get in some glorious alien killing combat. I installed Alien Breed: Impact. It just won't run on my PC. At all.
|12:19 am - Alien Shooter 2: Conscription|
So I love shooting aliens. It's right up there with pumping a zombie full of lead from a double-barreled shotgun in things I like.
No telling where I got it from, but I own Alien Shooter 2: Conscription. It's a simple isometric alien-shooting action game that feels like it came out of the late 90's. I mean that in a good way.
There were explosions, at least a dozen different aliens, a conspiracy to unearth and fight, and a battle with a guy in a huge mecha suit. It was a great way to spend the hour or so it took me to play through it.
If you're looking for some mindless action, I recommend it. It's alien carnage in the finest tradition of old top-down or isometric shooters like Alien Syndrome. It's not Alien Swarm, but it doesn't pretend to be. And it sure is a whole lot more forgiving than the "Oh god we all died again" fest that Alien Swarm always turned out to be when I played it with Stephanie and friends.
June 16th, 2013
|02:26 pm - El Pastor|
Madison, like many other places that are not Berea, Kentucky, continues to disappoint me with its lack of decent Mexican food. Yesterday, as a sort of "pre-Father's Day" Father's Day dinner we had a late lunch at El Pastor on Park Street.
None of the good was any good. Well. The tortillas were good. They were nice and homemade and fresh.
The chips had been fried like two hours before we got there, so they were horrible.
The salsa that came with the chips was good. Lots of tomatillo in it. I could get down with it. Needed a whole lot more of it to go with the basket of chips we had. (To every silver lining, there is a cloud I guess.)
I ordered "Barbacoa (Lamb)". How could I go wrong? Slow cooked, shredded lamb, served with rice, beans, tortillas? It went horribly wrong right from the start. My plate came out 5 minutes later than the other two entrees, and that's after we waited probably 25 minutes. Keep in mind when I say "late" lunch I mean like 1:30, not 3 PM.
I should have known it was all wrong, because the restaurant stank. It was musty. There was a smell of old coffee, maybe stale cigarettes lurking underneath the fungal must. And there were other customers in there, who I assume were just as bewildered at their food as we were. One was a group of college-age people who didn't eat their food. That should've told me something there, but they didn't get their dishes until after we'd ordered.
My Barbacoa tasted like Arby's Roast Beef. Which while something I secretly and darkly enjoy (especially with Arby's horseradish sauce and curly fries - I love them curly fries I think they put drugs in them to make them addictive) is not something I ever expected to get at a Mexican restaurant.
So either the dark secret to Arby's Roast Beef is that it is in fact slow-cooked lamb... or I had a beef roast that was absolutely sad. It wasn't even properly shredded, someone had just put a fork in it and pulled it into a couple of chunks.
I couldn't taste it over the tortillas. I also got a nice half a lime and a bowl of cilantro and raw onions. I skipped the 'salad' such as it was.
The other two entrees fared only slightly better.
In short, do not eat at El Pastor.
June 8th, 2013
|05:38 pm - New York Story 12|
So we're done. We're going home. First we need a ride. How do we get a ride? Call a taxi company of course.
Now none of us have money. Well, one of us has 3 bucks and another has 20. So we don't have enough to get to LaGuardia.
So we need a taxi that takes credit cards.
We try calling cab companies. One that has "Bronx" in its name declares "We don't go to the Bronx." I guess they really hate taking money, like the restaurants in Manhattan do.
So 20 minutes later, I'm starting to despair. We're going to miss our flight. We're going to be stuck in New York. Game over man! Game over!
Then who would drive up but the Rastafarian from yesterday.
I sit in the pile of junk this time. He takes us to a bank so Drew can hop out and get some money to pay him and then we're off to LaGuardia in the black cab of awesome.
The airport terminal is amazing. It's got fancy bar stool seats, booths, iPads, and then I learn that I can use the wireless for free. Holla yall!
The airplane has no air conditioning when we first get on it, bringing back horrible memories of my trip home after I interviewed at my employer. But everything goes fine. The flight arrives a little early.
|05:19 pm - New York Story 11|
So I'm watching the news at the breakfast in the hotel on friday. It's Good Morning America, I think. At some point the news mentions "...and on this bridge, a car spontaneously burst into flames, setting other cars on fire."
Needless to say I'm hoping this doesn't bode ill for the trip, afterall, we fly out that afternoon.
Fortunately everything goes well this morning, except the taxi ride to the hospital takes a little longer than it had the previous couple of mornings.
|05:09 pm - New York Story 10|
So I figure, hey, I know the internet at the hotel sucks and I won't get any work done at all. Why not go out walk a little, get something to eat, and see some of New York?
I slam back a bunch of Tylenol. I know the back of my foot is going to start hurting and I want to pre-emptively make it shut its filthy painful mouth. I get out, I walk a couple of blocks up 6th, towards Central Park. I know I'm not going to make it, and sure enough around 42nd or 43rd my foot starts complaining a lot. I take a detour down one of those streets, thinking I'll just cut over to 5th, head back south, and then walk back to 6th and the hotel.
The street gets quiet, and dark, and frighteningly unbusy. If it weren't for the cop that was crossing the road about halfway down it, I probably would have about-faced and went back the way I came. I proceed to 5th, walking through something close to an alley. I was surprised by the number of store fronts that simply did not have a business in them. Eventually I make it to 5th, and start walking back.
I follow a Buddhist monk for a while.
Then I realize I'm hungry. I look for food. I see "Hearty Soups" and think "I could go for some soup!" It's closed. There are employees inside. It's closed. At about 7:30 in Manhattan. I think that businesses here just really, really hate making money.
I see a hot dog guy who has flames shooting up off his grill. I see a halal vendor with some kebab. They don't take credit cards. The cabbie has all of my money.
I settle on "Pax Wholesome Foods" where I have a "Pastrami Zesto" that was a pretty good sandwich. Pastrami, some kind of white cheese (I think mozarella? It wasn't strong like swiss), sauerkraut and mustard. I get to my table just as a crowd of a dozen late teens leaves.
I take my time eating.
Somewhere along this trip I sat in Bryant Park and went people watching for twenty minutes or so.
It was good times. I got to see lots of interesting things: The Met Life building, the Grace building, some college of optometry, real New York street vendors, and so on.
|04:35 pm - New York Story 9|
Let's see last time I'd talked about the cab on Thursday morning. I'm mostly skipping over things that happened while I was working, because they're not that interesting. Working in a conference room with between 4 and 11 people at any time is exactly as exciting as that sounds.
So anyway, leaving the hospital, I'm like "I can barely walk!" because the back of my left foot is still sore and injured from some really gnarly dress shoes I wore before the trip. So we're looking for a cab. There is, of course, one parked at the main entrance of the hospital. It's a black Crown Victoria with a Rastafarian driver. At least he looks like a rasta, he's got the dreds, the talk, and the chill attitude.
He doesn't take credit cards, which is worrisome, and the front seat of his cab is a pile of debris. So anyway, we all pile into it, and off we go. I think I'm basically the only one with any money, so during the drive I worry if I'll have enough (I know I have about 40 bucks).
It was awesome. We have the windows down, it's hot. But that means we get to hear all the people screaming obscenities at each other. Like this one place, there's auto garages all down the street, and they're trying to back two garbage trucks into one (I guess this is where they store them when they're not out working?). Some jackalope in a SUV keeps creeping up on them, so the garage has like three guys out in the road to stop him. Creep... backup... slam on breaks, yell, more yelling... it was a very New York experience and I liked it.
Anyway, we get to the hotel, or close enough (the cabbie thought the hotel was on 38th near 6th not on 6th at 38th) and I ask the cab driver how much it would be. I was expecting 60 bucks, maybe more, and dreading having to tell him I was going to have to hit the ATM at the bank next to the hotel. But he says "Oh 40, 45 dollas." So I give him literally every dollar in my wallet, 43 of them to be exact.
As I exit the cab, the rubber lining around the door falls on me.
June 2nd, 2013
|08:02 pm - New York Story 8|
Oh this is just sort of a quick, "This was silly." So there we are Thursday morning, 4 of us, ready to pay 50 bucks to the first cab that will drive us out to the Bronx.
We go out from the hotel and bam, there's a cab. We pile in. We get situated. We tell him where we're going. The driver utters something to the effect of "I don't know how to get to the Bronx." I mean, keep in mind, where we're going is right on one of the major roads that run through the Bronx, it's not like we're asking him to take us to 142 Nowhere Drive, off of Nondescript Road. It's like saying, "Yeah, we need you to drive us down the interstate and stop at this exit."
So we all pile out of the cab. The next cabbie just looks right at us then keeps on driving after shaking his head.
A few minutes later we find a most excellent cab driver, whose name makes me think he was a recent immigrant from Africa. He takes us around the west side of Manhattan (as opposed to the East like we'd done Wednesday). It was great, looking out over the Hudson, at the traffic on Washington bridge. Lots of great sights.
Addendum: So what that first cabbie did was illegal? Awesome. I bet the person paying for the million dollar taxi medallion on the car is glad. Wish I'd gotten his info so I could get him in a world of investigative pain.
|07:57 pm - New York Story 7|
So Thursday, my foot hurts, it's like "DON'T TREAD ON ME" so I'm like "Let's get a taxi, guys!" So we get a taxi, or rather a car from a limousine service. The driver is a Rastafarian, or at least he's sporting a proper amount of dreadlocks, it's very irie mon.
The ride back to Manhattan is awesome. People yelling and swearing at each other, traffic almost turning into gigantic car crashes every five seconds. We've got the windows rolled down to properly appreciate it's fine je ne sais quoi.
In particular, there's this road. It's supposed to be two lanes on either side, but of course one lane is entirely devoted to people parking their cars on the road. We're passing a whole bunch of auto shops at this point, I find it a little ludicrous that there's like 10 garages in a row. Really, you expect me to believe you're not all owned by the same guy and pretending to be in competition with each other? Bull.
One of these garages has two garbage trucks trying to back into it. I guess it's the locked down area they park the things at when they're not used? I dunno. Anyway, there's this ridiculous idiot in an SUV feeling entitled, so instead of just hanging out, letting the trucks get into the garage he keeps inching forward, preventing the trucks from going backward. So what should have been a 60 second process for him, the trucks, the men in the street yelling curses at him and his family for seven generation turns into a five minute long battle of wills between a retard who should have his license revoked and some guys just trying to get their job done and go home. Hint: The guys in the large trucks win.
Anyway, our driver mistakes where we're going and cuts up 38th, literally right before the hotel's block. We get him to pull over and I asked him how much it'll be. He says "Oh 40, 45 dollars." I give him quite literally every dollar in my wallet. This amount was somewhere between 40 and 45 dollars. I know there was at least 40, but less than 45. I get him to write me a receipt. Then the rubber noise-lining thing around the door falls on me and accosts me as I try to escape the limousine service vehicle.
This may make the ride sound horrible, but to me it was actually quite excellent. It was exactly the sort of New York experience I wanted to get - all the fun of New York traffic with none of the headache of having to actually drive in it or feel threatened by the overheated morons trying to get into fist fights with each other over it. It helps that the driver was cooler than a cucumber while driving, I don't think anything on the street would have bothered him. I can't say the same about some of the other cab drivers we had.
|07:45 pm - New York Story 6|
So it's the next morning, Thursday. It's a bright wonderful day.
Lunch rolls around. I don't have time to go out, but I saw that in the break room nearby there were pastries. I declare "I WILL HAVE SOME STALE PASTRIES FOR LUNCH."
When it comes time to get some, the pastries have vanishes and instead a group of people are in line for salad and sandwiches. I, of course, being a skilled agent provocateur get in line and blend in. No one suspects anything, except for that lady that gave me a funny look.
I get me some pasta salad and some regular salad. I decide to leave the sandwiches for people that they're meant for. A Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry accompanies me back to the conference room table. I nosh, I work, I discover that the salad, which had a sheen as if it had been covered in oil and vinegar, had, in fact, no dressing at all. I eat it anyway because I'm hardcore.
|07:40 pm - New York Story 5|
So it's Wednesday night. My Lisa's Special from the excellent M&R Deli is wearing off. I'm hungry. It's like 9 PM. Okay, no problem, I'll go hit that pizza place Terrence and I were going to eat at. That's my plan. I go down to street level and start walking. It's not far, it's just a block.
Now this is 9 PM in the City that Never Sleeps, or so they claim. In Knoxville, TN, I could still get a meal at many restaurants, that's Knoxville, We Close at 8 PM, Tennessee, hardly a paragon of places being open late and it certainly never claims to go 24/7 like New York likes to. The pizza place is closed. The Indian restaurant has its shutters down but door open, making it somehow even shiftier than before. The pizza place across the road is closed. The coffee shop on the corner is closed. The Tim Hortons (and soup stand in the same inside area) is closed.
Well. Balls. (As we say in the business. I'm not sure what the business is, but that's what we say in it when we're in New York and literally every restaurant that we know the location of has closed.)
Yes, the donut shop is closed at 9 PM or 10 PM whatever time it was I got down there. Donut shop. Closed. I don't know how you Canadians do it with your donut shops, but down here in the South they tend to be open 24/7 and wanting desperately to have people-- Wait I'm living in Wisconsin now let me try that again. But down here in Wisconsin they tend be open 24/7 and wanting desperately for people to come in and spend money on coffee and donuts at the strangest possible hours of the night so the store clerk working there doesn't get bored to tears.
I could go to the hotel bar, maybe, and get something. I'm not sure when they close the kitchen. I don't really want to, though, I want something New York-y. I decide to try the deli on the corner. It's still open, and by God that's the only qualification a restaurant needs right now get my business, and a deli can be a restaurant. I figure I'll get a 3-hour old sandwich and bag of chips. Humble, New York-y kind of fare.
The deli has a salad bar and Chinese buffet in it.
So I load up on Chinese food, get some Quaker rice-cracker things that claim to be "Kettle Corn" flavored and a coke. The Chinese man manning the register was very polite, he thanked me three times, I thanked him once, and we had a very amicable transaction.
10 bucks and a lot of food later I'm back in my hotel room eating okay Chinese food that's been in the steam bath for a few hours too long. I'd eat it again.
I take a moment to marvel that the pizza yesterday hadn't killed me, and wonder if old Chinese food will be the dish to claim me instead.