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.