Monday, November 9, 2009

Foo Fighters and G.I. Woe

Yeah I haven't posted in a while...

Anyways, Foo Fighters released a new song on their Greatest Hits CD. Maybe a whole new album soon? Yes, please!


On another note, I finally broke down and watch the G. I. Joe movie. I actually didn't imagine it as bad as it turned out being. Maybe never liking the franchise to begin with doesn't help, but this movie was just so bad. Poorly edited, VERY poorly acted, and please, I won't waste time on the story. A friend who liked the movie asked me if I like movies with one ninja in them. I said yes. He then asked me if I liked movies with two ninjas in them. Again I answered yes. But my friend, one million ninjas could not have made this movie better. Well, maybe a million...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Movies


We don't get to the theatre much these days, so instead we just rent them, or download them off Xbox Live. The latter was the case over the last week or so.

He's Just Not that into You was much better than I expected. The wife suggested we watch it and I was doubtful. I was wrong, there I said it. The stories were short, funny and sadly true to life.


Yes Man makes me happy. It makes me happy because it was Jim Carry being Jim Carry and that takes me back to the day (which was a Wednesday btw). He is hilarious. I just wish I could get the image of the Grandma scene out of my head.


Zach and Miri make a Porno is general Kevin Smith material minus Jay and Silent Bob, which was odd. The movies was funny enough and did provide some great new one liners to repeat over and over. Everything is funnier when it's repeated over several times; fact.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Road



I have to admit, the only reason I ever heard about The Road by Cormac McCarthy is because I saw the trailer for the movies version on Apple. The Road was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2007. This is not usually the kind of book I go for, but the trailer and other reading I did after seeing the trailer, peeked my interest enough to pick it up. I'm glad I did.

I don't want to say to much because if you haven't read it, you should and I have no intentions of spoiling it. It is a beautiful work of fiction about a post-apocalyptic America. The main character is moving with his son south, hopefully to warmer weather. Along the way they encounter other people who don't have as noble goals as they do. I don't want to hype it more than necessary, but I was very emotional when I finished the book, and I don't usually get emotional about books or movies. This book really showed me what good writing and story telling is and now I can only look at my own writing and feel disappointed.

If you have read this book, or read this book because I have suggested it, please comment your thoughts below.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Habitat for Humanity

In the deathly heat on Friday, I went down to Huntington, West Virginia to help with Habitat for Humanity. My company, along with several other regional business sponsors a house in the Huntington area and I volunteered to leave the office for a day and help with the build. The email asking for volunteers made it sound like the house was almost done, and only needed some general things like paint, door and other odds and ends. I guess they changed houses on us because the house we got to didn't have a roof.

The overcast clouds gave some shield against the sun during the morning. After a few minutes of organizing, the main builder climbed a latter and put down a few slabs of plywood on top of the rafters. When two pieces were nailed down, he asked if anyone wanted to work on the roof. I'm afraid of heights, but apparently not as much as I thought because I was the first volunteer up. He showed us what to do, and we started making a roof. He soon went to another project and we finished half the roof before lunch break.

We only ended up working for about an hour after lunch. The temperature spiked over 90 and the humidity climbed to 85% or so and they called off the rest of the build for the day. Even though we only finished half the roof, it was great to work all day and feel like you accomplished something. So many times at my work, there are no tangible results to my work. I just do the same thing every day and then go home. The work I did Friday was going to an end, and was helping someone get a home to live in. I also learned that the people who get those houses have to finish a certain number of hours with Habitat to get a house at all. If you haven't helped with Habitat before, you should. There is nothing like manual labor to make you thankful for your air-conditioned office and it feels good to help people.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A long Week

It was a long week, here's a video...



Here's another and it's really awesome!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Swords and Soldiers

So let this blow your mind. Swords and Soldiers is a 2d side-scrolling real time strategy game; whew! There aren't too many entries in the 2d Side-scrolling RTS world, okay this is the only game I can think of. The game is developed by the Dutch game maker Ronimo Games. It was released in Europe in May and finally came to the US on Monday. The game is exclusively for download via WiiWare.

So how do you play a 2d RTS? Well just like a normal RTS you mine resources, create armies and march them toward your foe. This game is a very simplified version of that mechanic. When you create a gold miner, it goes and mines gold, you don't have to micro manage it. When you create a soldier it marches toward the other side and tries to kill anything in its way. If you're looking for the complexity of Star Craft, this is not your RTS. That said, if you love RTS's you have to try this game, and for 10$ how can you not? If you haven't played an RTS before, this is a great way to try out the genre and see what it's all about.


The art style in the game is cartoony and hilarious; not to mention beautiful. The main camping has a story, but it doesn't really matter. I will say the text between the characters is worth reading for it's odd innuendoes about meat, among other things. The sound is solid and really brings the audio visual package together. Add in a Challenge mode after you finish the campaign and a simple yet fun split screen multiplayer mode and you have a very deep, lasting game for only 10$ and what ever the extra cost of batteries is, because the Wiimote eats them like crazy.



Monday, June 8, 2009

Weekend at Hocking Hills


If you've never been to Hocking Hills State Park in Hocking county Ohio, stop reading this right now and go! First of all, there is no cell phone reception within a twelve mile radius or so; it's great. There are few places in the world I know so well I would consider them home; this region is one of them. I spent many summers camping at Hocking Hills and hiking and generally being in nature, which I don't do enough anymore.

Thursday I returned to Hocking Hills to camp for the first time since high school. This time I had my wife and dog with me. It was very cool to be in a place treasured in my childhood, now as an adult with my own family. We stayed at the State camp ground which sits at the top of the hill from Old Man's Cave. Down the other side of the camp is Rose Lake and all around the area are trails of all kinds. We just chilled out Thursday night, relaxed by the fire and had some S'mores.


Friday morning we got up and decided to hike the trail linking Old Man's Cave and Cedar Falls. Round trip ended up being about six miles. The dog and I just about died by the end; then I had top carrie him up some high wooden steps. The wife had no trouble at all getting through the very rough trail (errr). A long nap in the camper was just what I needed to help recover from that trek.

That evening we just relaxed and talked and it was good. People always complain about being bored. We had nothing to do and it was glorious. I think we lose sight of the really  important things when we have the TV deciding that for us. Saturday we hit a few different places to hike but didn't do anything like the day before. I'm glad because I'm too out of shape for that nonsense again so soon.

By Sunday I didn't want to leave, I never do. Going back to the noise of modern society didn't seem like a good choice, but alas I had no where else to go. We popped down the camper and left. Before we started home we hiked Ash cave, since its on the way out. Out of all the days we where there our dog was best behaved on Sunday. Maybe he didn't want to leave. Probably he finally got comfortable with the new surroundings (It was his first camping trip).

I can't wait to go back.


Our Dog Winston

Cedar Falls

Rose Lake

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

E3



Despite rumors of its demise, E3 lives. I'm leaving tomorrow for some camping, but I thought I'd share some feelings on E3 so far, good and bad.

The Good

Red Steel 2, yeah can you believe it? I got Red Steel when Wii first came out, and I must of had three or 4 epileptic seizures before I gave up and sold it back to Game Stop for Zelda. I cannot believe this is even the same game. They have taken everything learned about Wii First person shooter in the last few years and applied it. Add the Wii MotionPlus sword fighting and call me pleasantly surprised. Oh, by the way it's graphics look great too!

The Bad

If you know me, then you will be shocked by this. I am putting Metroid: Other M in the bad, here's why. When news broke about it, I was at work watching updates on my cell phone. I about piss my pants when they said new Metroid. Then I got home and saw this trailer:


Don't get me wrong, this trailer looks great. But I have one question; where is the Metroid in this Metroid game? Team Ninja is great for action games and general badassery, but have they tossed out everything that makes Metroid, Metroid? I want to wander endlessly thru halls and caverns, find powerups for hours and explore awesome vistas. Not that I don't enjoy killing stuff too.

The Ugly

So, if you notice, I've only really talked about Nintendo so far. Well first off I'm  huge (but waning) Nintendo fanboy. So that's one reason. But really to talk about the other consoles is easy. Microsoft = Halo games. Sony = God of War III and Metal Gear.  Not that these aren't great games, but can get get anything actually new from these people. Yes I am aware Nintendo hasn't had any new IP's in years, but they did bring Wii so I've given them a pass for a few years, well, they have one year left and then I'll be calling them on it too.

The Fantastic

Perfect Dark on Xbox Live!
Turtles in Time remake for Xbox Live (not really E3 but close enough)


Okay, I'm going camping. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Night at the Museum 2 and Moon

Do you hear that screaming? That's the sound of the one guy in Hollywood who said it would be a bad idea to make a sequel to the fantastic Night at the Museum. Every sequel like this makes me cry a little. Apparently the first movie was based off a children's book by Milan Trenc. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is not based off a book and it shows. It sprang forth from the great minds of the movie industry trying to find more ways to suck the American wanker until it spews a huge load of money all over them. Judging by the film's weekend numbers, they achieved their goal.

If you don't care about my views on this movie, at least watch the Moon trailer at the end of the post.

*Spoiler Warning* (If you can spoil a movie like this?)

If you've seen the first film you know the drill. An ancient Egyptian tablet makes the whole museum come to life at night. Ben Stiller returns as Larry Daley in the second movie. Since the last movie he has quit as night guard at the Museum of Natural History in New York and started an As Seen On TV company selling his many terrible inventions. To a make a ridiculous story short, the tablet is moved to the Smithsonian by accident and he must go retrieve it.

When he gets to the Smithsonian he finds the tablet in the hands of the villain Kahmunrah (Hank Azaria) who is determined to use the tablet to open a gate to the underworld and take over our world. All of this is really far fetched, even for a movie where Egyptian relics bring wax figures to life! Kahmunrah is also the most annoying character I have seen on screen for a while. Every time he came on screen I wanted to tear out my ear because of his terrible lisp. At one point wax figure Oscar the Grouch and Darth Vader come to join the fight. My biggest complaint of the whole film is that Vader's force choke doesn't work and Kahmunrah simply turns them away. I would have loved to see Vader choke the lisp out of that little A-hole.

Also, Ben Stiller makes out with wax figure Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams). While common sense says there is no way they end up together, my mind had to wonder. What if they did get together? Do the wax figures become fully human or are they still wax inside? Would it have been possible to pork wax Amelia or would Stiller undress her only to find a blank Barbie like crotch? This is where my mind goes when a movie slightly bores me.

As in all good movies, huge stone Lincoln Memorial Statue comes, smashes through a stain glass window and saves the day. Then Amelia flies Larry and the tablet back to New York where everything gets neatly tied up. Did no one in Washington notice the huge mess left from the battle at the Smithsonian? (see what I did there ;) At least in the first film when there is a mess after the nights events, Larry has to clean it up and he gets in trouble. He should go to jail for breaking into the national archives and letting a giant, fake, wax squid into the Reflecting Pool at the Washington Monument. And I'm not even going to get into historical accuracy (General Custer) because it may just send me into convulsions.

So, kids will undoubtedly love the movie and as much as I complain, it was way better then lots of other movies I've seen recently (Paul Blart: Mall Cop!). But why did there need to be a sequel? Why? This is my problem will all Hollywood these days. Sometimes they should just leave some movies alone, they don't need more installments. (Indiana Jones!) But money rules the world, I guess I should have realized this by now.

Moon

I saw this preview a while ago and really haven't heard much about it since. This is one of the few movies I'm really excited for. Unfortunately it looks to be low budget and therefore will never make it to a theatre near me. If you like science fiction, or great movies, I suggest watching this trailer. If you know a theatre that is going to show this, please let me know where!




Saturday, May 23, 2009

Game Night

My wife and I rented Guitar Hero: Metallica tonight for our 360. Generally when we rent GH games I just sit back and enjoy the music while she plays. I prefer it this way because I really suck at the game and its more fun to watch and just listen to the music. I have to say I'm pretty lucky to have a wife that rocks out to Metallica. It's even cooler when Enter Sandman opens up and she freaks out, plays it and sings along. The game has a great play list, probably my favorite track list of any GH game. We probably got through most of the game before she got tired and we switched to the movie we also rented.

Unfortunately we rented Paul Blart: Mall Cop. How far Kevin James has fallen. This movie is so disjointed and absurd I can't even find a redeeming quality in it, and I can always find something about a movie I like. To quote my wife "This movie's stupid; not funny stupid, just stupid." I agree dear, I agree. Now I see why it came to DVD so soon.

Anyways, as we all get into the long weekend, I do think everyone should remember it is Memorial Day weekend. Whether you visit the grave of a relative who served or simply watch a great war movie, Saving Private Ryan for me, do something to remember those who have served. They made it possible for us to play great games  and watch terrible movies if we choose.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Star Trek *Spoilers*


Let me get this out of the way before I begin. I've always considered my self a Trek fan. I haven't seen every episode five times over and I don't know Klingon, not for lack of trying, but I do consider myself a mild trekkie.

For the most part the new Star Trek is a fun, fast paced summer hit that will surely make ton of cash for Paramount, which will in turn spawn sequels for years to come. When I remove myself from knowing anything about Star Trek, it's probably going to be my favorite movie of summer 2009.  Non-trekkies like my wife will probably enjoy it in ways the old trek faithful never will. This isn't a bad thing for Paramount, taking Trek out of the niche zone and into the main stream has always been their goal and I think this movie will do that.

It was really hard for me to see Kirk and Spock Played by different actors; Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto respectfully. Pine made no effort to mimic William Shatners portrayal of Captain James T Kirk. I feel like it was both his and director JJ Abrams decision to do this and was a great move. Intentionally attempting to mirror The Shat would only have ended in disaster. Pine did a great job with the character that was written for him, which may or may not be the Kirk I remember; then again this IS literally a different Kirk than we have seen before. Nero altered the future, or created a parallel universe depending on who you talk to, when he killed Kirk's father, thus creating a new version of Kirk with different motivations and pains.

I give Quinto real props for having to stand face to face with Leonard Nimoy and managing to not be over taken by his simple presence. He did a great job with young Spock, a version we haven't seen in any Trek before. His struggle with being half human and learning to cope with this was great. However, I do hope in later films he can get back to the Spock we know and love from the show and movies and lose the temper tantrums. The relationship with Uhura was something I didn't see coming. It seemed an odd choice at first, but if they handle it well in the future, it could be a real great story thread going forward.

I loved Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy and the only negative I have with him is that he wasn't on screen enough. All the supporting cast was there and for the most part they felt right. One spot that I can't quite figure out is how they made Scotty into a stereotypical bumbling Scotts man. He was funny, yes, but I hope they do more than comedy relief with him or I'll be really disappointed. Not to mention when did Scotty come up with beaming from a planet to a ship traveling faster than light half a quadrant away?

All that said, I cannot forgive this movie for what it has done to the Star Trek universe. I will now spoil the entire movie. Nero, the villain for the film, blandly played by Eric Bana, is another in a long line of bad Trek Villains. I understand every Trek villain can't be Khan, but really this is getting bad. So in the present time, sometime after the events of Star Trek Nemesis, but I'm not sure how long, the Romulan sun begins to go supernova. Spock tries to save the Romulan home world, fails and it get destroyed. Anyways they both end up going back in time. Nero decides the only way avenge his lost home is to destroy Vulcan, Spocks home plant and then try at Earth as well. So a natural disaster wrecks your pad, and you go planet decide killing? How does that save your planet Nero? Why not head over to Romulas and warn them all so they have 200+ years to prepare?

But that's nothing. When Nero comes back he changes all Star Trek history when he nukes Vulcan. Official word from Trek land is that the movie was based in a parallel universe to what we know and Spock and Nero jumped from the one we know to this one. Lame. This is the writers way of clearing space for sequels without having fanboy's breaking down the door. I don't get why they couldn't have played in the existing universe accept that they were to lazy to research the extensive Trek lore. But I guess I can live with there being two Star trek universes, one with all the characters i know and love, and another with young versions of some of those characters, going on much sexier adventures.

My one nip pick. I write, and I understand that sometimes things just happen because you say so. But Kirk went from Academic Probation to Ship Captain in about a week, I just think that's lazy, and my wife would have a big problem with him if she had been in his class at Starfleet.

So there, I'll return my inner Trekkie to it's little hiding place for a few years until we get a sequel.