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Archive for November, 2011

I’m in a Something Awful thread about Anime, so we’re talking about new Anime (i.e. new Bleach and the upcoming second season of High School of the Dead). Normally, people drop by to ask us a question about a particular anime. Maybe what the name of it is. There’s rules to how you do that, because we don’t necessarily want to become /r/.

Here’s the question that popped out of the blue, aimed at me (randomly I hope):

“McClaud* – I remember seeing a single scene from this anime a while back, and was wondering if you or anyone could tall me it’s name. Set in a school, under a sky that appears to be a swirling whirlpool, students are sleeping in sleeping bags on a classroom floor. A blue-haired girl begins to pleasure herself, and a purple-haired friend sneaks over and the two girls end up making love while a pink-haired girl nearby masturbates, all the time the soundtrack is full of ghostly whispers.”

I’m like “WTF? That sounds like an awful anime. Wait wait wait – that’s hentai. Totally something different than what we’re talking about BANNED.” Two guys in this thread are like, “I have no words to describe how obscure that description is.” No one knows the hentai.

Maybe you do, but I don’t really want to know what it is. Please. **

* That’s not my name on the SA forums.
** Well, maybe. If you know what it is, you might want to keep it to yourself, because then we’ll think you’re a sick mofo.

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Never Bet Crazy

We all know Frank Miller is crazy.

But the Republicans took a bet in letting the super-committee fail, stating they believed the markets had already compensated for the failure (via Cantor).

And they were completely wrong.

Nearly every economist said that the market would most likely tank on a failed super-committee. I’m beginning to wonder what economists the Republicans rely on for their info, because the info’s been wrong for the last four years. They are crazy, betting crazy. And what’s even worse is that people are betting crazy by betting on them.

It hurts my brain. I’ve given up there’s any intelligence in the GOP Congress. Much like there’s no courage in the Democratic one.

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Okay, damn that Skyrim. I bought it because all the other kids bought it and I was tired of listening to them wax on and on about it. I really wanted to play it, because my initial forray was positive.

And it’s only gotten better.

I don’t know what happened to Bethesda, because they usually put out a good game that has moderate disappoint. But I haven’t been disappointed yet. It’s a good game – I have had maybe two glitches at the maximum, and all my powers seem adequate (nothing nerfed or ruined). It’s beautiful, it’s detailed and it’s well done. I get hooked into another hour so easily.

But it’s not for people with AD.

Seriously, I wander aimlessly, sometimes tackling dungeons and sometimes taking quests. But I’m essentially trying to avoid being disappointed. Or doing something too soon. Which only makes it harder to actually go into a dungeon that looks important on the outside. Even worse, I find locations and move on to the next one that pops up on my compass, because I just want to fast travel everywhere and not miss anything.

So if there was a large complaint for me about Skyrim it’s that THE GAME IS TOO SANDBOX-Y. So much so that I can’t focus on what exactly I’m supposed to do that won’t hurt the main quest (or any other quest to join a group or something). Best Buy has this huge game guide, but I’ve bought like four of those in the past for Bethesda games and they are terribly indexed. Bleh.

But I have five shouts and nine dragon souls. That means I have four extra souls in case I level up my other shouts. Still, the dragons are getting harder to lure in close for a kill, which means I waste 15 minutes here and there attacking a flying beast that is only going to fly away later. >_<

Also, playing Saints Row the Third co-op spoils the single player mode forevar. I barely got anywhere and was having a blast last time we played. But I haven’t actually played it alone to get any farther. It seems to be less fun with just myself. Still a great game, but it’s so much sweeter with another player driving/shooting.

 

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So I got my pre-order of Saints Row the Third.

The plan was that I would get my copy, and my coworker Corey would get his, and we would get together to play for an hour or so together in co-op mode. Which worked out nicely, because I got through the opening, and by the time I asked to join his game, he just got done with the opening.

The opening is pretty much an epic tutorial. A bank robbery gone haywire, and then a shoot-out on an airliner, followed by a shoot-out in freefall. That entire scene is why I love this license – Saints Row can be over-the-top insane, and still be very enjoyable. I loved the dialogue, the cut scenes and how the story starts. Going from “I’m a rich asshole who’s gone soft” to “Holy shit now I’m broke in a foreign city” was very much interesting.

I joined Corey shortly after that. Together, we played for an hour and a half. Out of all that time, we only did two missions. The rest of the time, we mostly goofed off and explored Steel City. And that’s another great thing – I can pretty much get into as much trouble with gangs or cops while doing whatever I want and NOT RUIN THE GAME.  We rode around in every car imaginable, and on motorcycles. We escaped from many gang raids by torpedo diving into passing cars. We bought a few properties and ran away to our hide-out to get rid of our notoriety. We beat up pimps and stole from hookers. Listening to the K-12 radio station (which is all dubstep) and the Adult Swin radio station (which is pretty fucking funny).

Moments of epic humor:
= Pierce and your character start singing along to Sublime’s “What I Got” adding their own personal touches to the song. Corey and I were singing along on our headsets, so it was like four guys singing. Badly. LOL
= Upon changing our outfits at Planet Saints, Corey came out wearing a gold blazer jacket and tight gold shorts. Nothing else. I said, “Dude, I am NOT going anywhere with you dressed like that.” And then a little bit later, found myself riding behind him on a police motorcycle, my arms around him as he did a wheelie. I had to say, “I hope no one can see this – this is incredibly ghey.” Cue Corey laughing hysterically.
= Fighting the Deckers, Corey grabs a thunder hammer thing. We found that one hit to a Decker car causes it to explode violently. “Let me know when the next car’s coming!” Corey tells me, “I gotta rape some bad guy ass with my hammer!” Cue massive explosion as Corey hammers a car full of Deckers. “Boom goes my dynamite! IN YOUR FACE!”
= The Pink Light District. There’s a building with a huge set of boobs on the front with neon stars over the nipples. I struck a Micheal Jackson pose in front of it, while Corey snaps a screenshot. I do the same. “Did you get my junk in that picture?” Corey asks, “Well? I’m waiting for you to shoot my junk!”
= After crashing headlong into a police car on a motorcycle (Corey driving), I went flying two blocks down. I stood up almost dead, and promptly said, “I am NEVER riding with you ever again!” “Aw, you’re a pussy,” was Corey’s reply.
= We found and stole the Gat Mobile. That’s right – a vehicle with a giant Gat bobblehead on the front. It’s a three wheeled car, and Gat’s cigarrette is a flamethrower. Corey banked it in his garage. SCORE! 
= Looking at our cellphones, Corey said, “Hey, I got mail. Wow, I got $5k!” I promptly said, “KA CHANG CHA CHANG!” and dove out of the car to buy the Rim Jobs garage we were passing. “Road rash never felt so empowering,” I told Corey, “Now if we can only get out of that shithole they call our hideout …” to which he replies, “Hey, I happen to like our little shithole.”

Seriously, if my entire experience with this game is as fun as that hour and a half (which I’m told it probably will be by other people) then this is the greatest sandbox gangster video game I have played. More games need co-op like this.

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Not sure if I wanted to actually buy the newest Elder Scrolls game from Bethesda, since they tend to be (a) buggy and (b) disappointing. I learned my lesson from Oblivion. Or at least I thought I did. Fallout 3 wasn’t that disappointing, and I actually loved it. Although it was more stable than Fallout: New Vegas.

Anyway

I rented Skyrim from a RedBox for 24 hours. I thought, “Okay, this will break my need to play Skyrim, and show me how buggy and disappointing the game will be.” I had roughly 12 hours to test it out, and I did. However, instead of disappointing me, it did the opposite.

So I went through the intro part, which was pretty good. Pick my race and name. Next thing you know, I’m walking down a mountain with this guy who escaped with me. What’s really interesting is that I keep seeing little markers to places nearby that I haven’t visited yet. I really want to deviate and go hit these places up so they’re on my map, but I decide to escourt this guy to the next village to warn them about the dragon. We hit up the three “companion” stones, which are really just shrines that give you blessings until you use another stone. All the stones in the game you’ll find like this are based off the Elder Scroll constellations that used to determine what kind of one-time bonus you got. Except in Skyrim, you can change that bonus by taking a blessing from a new stone whenever.

Which brings me to my first real love of the game. No classes. You do whatever you want, and it usually levels up a skill. After awhile, your skills reflect what kind of style you’re using. For example, if all I want to do is sneak around shooting things with bows and not wearing heavy armor, I will probably level up Archery, Sneak and Light Armor. If I make a lot of potions and enchant a lot of items, I’ll level up Alchemy and Enchanting. The first three stones I come across help me level up my character according to one of three old heroes – the thief, the warrior and the mage. Picking one means I’ll level up the skills most commonly used by those old classes. However, I can come back later and choose a different one (which shuts down the old one and activates the new one). Anytime I used a standing stone, I get a new benefit. Yay.

Anyway, I enter the village and take the very first mission, which is kind of a social one. I work out a love triange. Woop. So then I go into buy some stuff because I’m supposed to move on to Whiterun and warn the Jarl (pronounced yarl). The dude in the shop sends me on a quest to return with his stolen claw thing. Which ends up being something more than just a claw heirloom thing. I tackle the Barl up on the mountain and hey! I got this mysterious thing called a Word of Power. That’s cool, but I can’t use it yet. So I return the claw thing to the guy in the store and move on to Whiterun.

This is where things get interesting, because now the Jarl wants me to go find this dragon stone in the Barl. Hey, already found it, here you go. Great, but now the dragon is attacking Whiterun tower, so off we go to fight it. After a long battle, I manage to take it down with some frost magic and my sword. The dragon’s soul is absorbed by me, and one of the guards is like, “OMG a dragonborn,” and the captain of the Whiterun guard ( a dark elf ) is like, “What? That’s just a bedtime story.” So the guard encourages me to shout, which I do, and it literally stuns everyone. Okay, back to the Jarl pronto. Fast travel activate.

As I’m entering Whiterun, I hear a loud cry that I don’t quite understand. I’m informed that the other Dragonborn priests on top of this giant mountain just shouted back to me in unison, which means I gotta head up that giant mountain and meet with them. Great, where’s the path up this mountain? Well you have to travel to this town at the base and go up the Seven Thousand Stairs. Uh, okay. Meanwhile a woman comes up to me, since I just became the Thane of Whiterun, and introduces herself as my Housecarl (pronounced hooscarl). Man, this game is sticking to a Scottish/Viking/Danish convention. Basically, she fights with me if I want, and carries my excess stuff (which is awesome because I can barely carry anything right now). I get arrested once for loitering. No, you heard me correctly - loitering. I was in this shop, reading books (not buying them) and I ignored the shopkeeper’s warning to leave because he was closing. After getting into a shouting match, I left the store and ran right into the Whiterun guard. Gotta pay a 5 gold fine. Alright, sure, whatever. Here’s your gold. Can’t the Thane get any love?

 I’m level 6, so it’s looking good for a long stroll to the Seven Thousand Steps. Except that it’s a long, long, long trek on foot. Should have bought a horse (1000 gold holy cripes). Had I know, I would have. Because horses are a MUST.

I got lost twice, but I found out you could mine ore from various deposits found in caves and in veins sticking out of the rock. So I got some iron to turn into ingots. The trip is basically this – along a river, past a few ruins, up a short mountain, through a small pass, past another watchtower, around a lake and we’re in that town. I hit up every little symbol on my compass, unlocking three dozen locations for later visits. I went into two caves and did some crazy stuff. Not enough room to carry all my loot.

I get to the town before the Seven Thousand Steps. I get four more miscellaneous quests (one being get rid of a ghost in a nearby tomb and take some supplies to the Dragonborn on the mountain). I kill the guy pretending to be a ghost and grab his journal. Get a sapphire claw for my trouble (ah-ha!). I can now unlock the new Word under the tomb. I try once to climb the steps, but die due to a powerful Frost Troll. Blast, reload and head back to Whiterun.

I did a few more quests, like restore a temple’s tree and killing some vampires to become a member of the Companions (and learn their secret). I just spent my remaining time clearing out a few caves and mapping the vast plains west of Whiterun. I went up to Fort Sunder and was attacked by yet another dragon. Poof, two souls, two shouts! This is kinda cool.

I ended my time by mining a ton of gold ore and then treking back to make gold ingots to make gold jewelry to sell. Earned 5000 gold, so I used that to buy a house in Whiterun. Even had it fixed up a bit. Then I had to quit and take the game back.

Pros:
- A million things to do, so you never really get bored.
- No bugs that I can tell, no glitches that sent me plunging to my death.
- The shouts are awesome, the spells are cool and smithing is a must!
- Weapons and armor do not degrade. Finally! You can update normal weapons and armor by fortifying them.
- The game is beautiful, and the sound/music is pretty good.
- The story seems to be pretty complicated.

Cons:
- A million things to do. My miscellaneous quest list was twenty one tasks big when I quit. I’m not sure what to do in what order or if it matters.
- The map is so big that you need a horse to explore it. I only got maybe an eight of the map revealed (most of the south). I haven’t really explored the west, the north, or the far north yet. There’s at least five major cities I haven’t seen.
- OMG inventory. Too much loot, not enough strength!
- The map will not zoom in enough, so you can see trails and things. This is how I got lost twice. It’s kind of “follow the obscure stone trail/dirt road until you find it” type deal. Which may be a bonus to some people (but not me).

This game is huge. I know I have to wait to buy it or I’m going to never play any of my other games (Saints Row the Third comes out TODAY). I only hear praise from the PC guy, as well. Only one crash at the beginning, and after updating a driver, no crashes after 6 hours of play. That can only be a good thing.

RECOMMENDED BUY

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I’m Getting Real Tired

Of people overreacting to everything.

Here’s an example:

Today we were working on improving the network for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It’s an SRF/RFC thing. Anyway, we’re sitting there, and there’s this guy named Corey who likes anime. His favorite kind of anime? Young girl anime, or more appropriately – loli anime. Which is a lot of fun to harass him for it.

This other guy – John – is an overreacter. He also reads into things waaay too much. So when we started poking at Corey because he likes loli anime, John said this to Corey:

“So you totally advocate the sexing up of little girls then.”

Which is not a true statement. He does not like people sexing up real little girls. That’s not it at all. But John is now insisting that Corey is a pedophile. I’m like, “WTF? Are you fucking mental???” I mean, we’re talking about animated, imaginary people. We – as intelligent human beings – can separate reality from fiction. Apparently, John cannot.

This is like the Penny Arcade Dickwolves thing. Penny Arcade does not advocate rape. I don’t care how many rape survivors think so. There was an over-reaction to the comic, which then fueled a comic that even fueled more over-reaction. And now those morons are all crying over “OMG DICKWOLVES RAPE RAPE RAPE PENNY ARCADE ADVOCATES RAPE!” You know what? I empathize with your plight as a rape victim, but not with your opinion. Because your opinion is built on over-reacting to drama. And I don’t care about Internet drama anymore. I still read Penny Arcade because I have a sense of humor and can let things go.

But I do care about work drama. John’s no longer working in our group. I got his ass hauled out and put in a separate cubicle away from the rest of us. Keep your over-reacting shit out of my personal life, k thx.

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As Robert Scoble would have you believe (read the comments of this G+ post).

His thought process is that reporters cannot have an opinion on a socail network because that’s not fair and balanced. Since any comment made on the Internet by an editor is apparently official news. For example, if a reporter tweeted eating a steak, it’s officially news. If an editor says, “My ass hurts,” on Facebook, it’s officially news. If a producer says – to people following him on Google + – “I’m going to bed,” it’s officially news.

If that’s true – that social media sites now == official news, then holy shit where’s my check? Here’s some “news” for Robert Scoble aka the Scobleizer -

Social networking such as Tweeting is not an official news source. Stop trying to make your little digital world more important than it is. Sure, you can get unofficial news about stuff from Twitter or Google +, but when a guy writes something in his own account, why is that suddenly considered official news? Take your little camera and your opinions and pine away about your self-importance elsewhere, k thx.

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This is an unusual thing to talk about, because it falls into the video game category, but it’s not exactly a video game. Nor is it a workout program. It’s more of a meditation thing. My vocabulary doesn’t have the proper word to label this thing.

Deepak Chopra’s Leela is a … game for the XBox Kinect. The central idea is that you align and perfect your Chakras. There are two parts to each chakra exercise: a game and a meditation phase. There are seven levels for each Chakra in both phases. Each gets progressively more in-depth or more difficult. Or you can do your own meditation. It’s entirely up to you and your pace. The entire thing is very well done, and very beautiful to look at.

Don’t worry – if you aren’t into the entire Chakra business, it’s a very good meditation assistant. Listening to Chopra’s voice while you try to find your center and the music that plays is very, very helpful. It also helps you learn how to sit properly when meditating. I found it easy to slip into a meditative trance while sitting there listening.

If you are into meditation and relaxation, and have a Kinect, you should look into getting Leela. Even if you have to wait for a few months to get it at like $20 (because right now, it’s $50. That’s too much for even me, really).

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RIP Norman Ramsey

Here’s one for SCIENCE!!!

Norman Ramsey was a physicist who studied atomic energy levels. His work led to our modern day atomic clock and the MRI machine. He died on November 4th, 2011.

Everyone’s still upset over Steve Job’s death. Let’s take this in perspective – everyone should be upset over Norman Ramsey’s death, since he had an even LARGER impact on our modern society than some guy who pushed the envelope on personal computers and MP3 players. But instead, we’re all arguing over how important Apple crap is to society.

(NOTE: I’m not saying that Jobs doesn’t deserve attention, or that he never made an impact. But Apple is not the center of our lives, people. The Atomic Clock effects everything – GPS, astronomic deviation, etc.)

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