a cesspool of interwebness

Da Nu Style

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-12-31 0 comments

Hobnox is probably the coolest web-app I've ever seen.
Cast aside your Reason and Logic, get de-Cubase'd! With just a browser, or as Google calls it: an "operating system", you can get wikkity-wick-tricky-bit-bicky.

With a few minutes at it, you can build the next big anthem. Fo shizzle!
Also, happy new years to everybody, '09 is in the books, let's stay focused on 2010~!

The Day After Yesterday

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-12-26 3 comments

Well, it's another Christmas in the books and I have to say that it was a great one. theKid is now full time cellular (unlimited texting, 300 minutes) and we are looking at ditching our landline as of Jan 1st. This means that you will have to call CPMDrama, Kyro or theKid directly on our cells. I think this is a good thing anyway, since our landline has been a call center magnet ever since putting the number on the Canadian DNC List. If you need any of our numbers, please email me and I'll furnish you with all of them.

With the Christmas money that came our way, CPMDrama was able to find us a good camera today, so we've joined the digital camera revolution. I think this means that I'll be twitpic'ing or flikr'ing or whatever soon. I haven't decided if that's a good thing or not yet. It certainly DOES mean that I'll have some high quality pictures of my completed 'falcon to post this week.

Other notables: the entire G.I.Joe cartoon box set w. dog tags (the dog tag is actually a USB key that has a schwack of comics on it), and a baseball style jersey that says 'Las Vegas' on it. When I wear the jersey with the dog tags I look like I'm ready to rumble (could be from the haircut though). Also got some fantastic Yves St. Laurent cologne from CPMDrama.

I'm hoping to play some board games tomorrow afternoon and then checkout some movies tomorrow night, or something. I want to hit Dragon's Den on Monday or Tuesday because they are having their big 40% sale on board games and 'Santa' gave us a Gift Certificate. Not sure what's up for NYE yet, I'm supposed to play a quick set with Ruxpin (Psience DJs) from 10pm to 11.

Almost There...

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-12-15 1 comments

Just a few more pieces to complete the upper surface and front and then I'll take the final shots and post. I also received some very nice new small kits that will look fantastic with this model. I can't wait to get the whole diorama together.

Neat Schitt

Posted by km_f5 On 2009-12-14 1 comments

There is just so much awesome out there.

E=mc2 A Perspective on Nuclear Energy

Posted by Clockwork On 2009-12-10 8 comments

Definitely worth the read.

Wiki post concentration by country

Posted by Selbonaut On 2009-12-07 0 comments

This map signifies the total number of Wikis tied to each country. The designer learned there are literally more articles written about Antarctica and even Middle Earth than many countries in Africa.

Information Art

Posted by Selbonaut On 2009-11-28 1 comments

Found this image interesting. I know there are lots out there similar, just thought I would share this one with you all.

Definitely Not a usable DJ App

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-11-24 0 comments

You know what can replace two turn-tables, a mixer and a good DJ?


That's right, none of this gimmicky crap can replace two mix sources with a MIXER in between. I'm okay with CDJs, Vinyl decks, even two MP3 players as long as they support pitch control, a la Numark iDJ... but if there is no mixer in the center and no DJ intelligently doing the mixing, I'm not interested.

CoD: Modern Warfare 2 review

Posted by Toad008 On 2009-11-20 1 comments

It's the newest installment of this ongoing, huge series. It was a very highly anticipated game. It made $550 million in the first 5 days. I figure someone should talk about it.

If you liked Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, or any other first person shooter, you will very likely enjoy this game. It is very nearly the exact same game. I played a pretty serious session on Remembrance day, and completed the main story line on normal difficulty, logged about 3 hours into multiplayer, and finished just over half the Special Op's coop missions. My buddy and I did the hardened difficult for most of the Spec Ops. So, if you ignore the time sink that is multiplayer, you can experience this whole game in about 6 or 8 hours. The main story isn't that exciting. Terrorists orchestrate this war between the US and Russia. You kill Russians, Terrorists, and almost anything else that moves. There is a bit of controversy as well, as there is a level where you play as an undercover agent trying to get close to a Terrorist, who is taking part in a bloody massacre at an airport. You do feel a little disturbed (I hope) when you spray bullets into a crowd of unarmed civilians. It's somewhat important from a storyline point of view.

Single Player wasn't bad, but not great. They did a good job of making the missions a wide variety of objectives, while killing terrorists. I really enjoyed the levels, as you fight in some very neat places. All the levels where the US is attacked, and you are trying to defend it are excellent. You have an outpost setup in a Taco Joint, and are asked to do a recon mission at the Burger Barn! Sweet! They did a very good job of capturing the suburban neighbourhood. You also fight at the Washington monument, and the whitehouse. I really enjoyed watching those structures burn. It's how I envision the War of 1812 looking, but more planes and choppers.

Multiplayer is where this game shines though. They level progression system seems much faster. You get experience for a lot more stuff now. They added tons of challenges for weapon unlocks. But they also added so many levels of customization that you can spend forever trying to unlock everything. I still haven't fully unlocked the first assault rifle, and I have since gotten 3 more. I haven't even started upgrading secondary weapons, like pistols, and such. I think I will hit the level cap long before I finish upgrading weapons. A lot of the levels are a ton of fun. They are well made to support many different play styles. One of my peeves though is it's a small multiplayer game. There is 1 mode that suports up to 18 players total. Most games hover around the 10-12 player mark. It's not that it's not fun, I just enjoy some of the larger multiplayer games, like Battlefield, or the upcoming MAG. Since numbers are often so low, it really makes it an individual based game. You never have to work with your teammates to accomplish anything. That said, I like following a teammate around, and use him as a human shield / enemy detector.

The Special Op's missions are a ton of fun. Unfortunately, they are just the coolest and most fun parts of Singleplayer, in shorter, more direct, format. After finishing Singleplayer, I had already done all of them, but I get to do them again... If you do them first, Singleplayer gets a little boring, and drags on. I highly recommend you do them with a friend, as most of them are way easier with a buddy. (Xbox live gamertag: Toad008 =) )

Final verdict? If you liked the first Modern Warfare, you should get this game, as it's an improved version of it. If you like first person shooters, I'd wait and pick it up in a couple months, after a price decrease / used copies are available, as the multiplayer servers will still be packed. (Estimated 7 million copies in 24 hours? Jesus). If you don't like first person shooters, why did you read this whole article? Moron.

Also worth noting: I've got some review plans queued for Left 4 Dead 2, and Assassin's Creed 2, once I play more of both of those. Also, since Board Games are getting less love, I'm thinking of writing a review of Last Night on Earth, and Dominion. I just want another couple sessions in both so I can take a bunch of pictures. Last Night on Earth review may moreso be a retelling of the story the game unveiled for us. Seems like it would be fun.

Still under construction

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2 comments

recall: http://gnoschitt.blogspot.com/2009/10/during-assembly-kit-7778.html

This kit continues to be a huge joy to assemble. I've been intentionally taking my time, doing a panel of instructions each day, sometimes I'll do three panels if I'm feeling really squirrely.

Again, I've gotta stress how impressed I am that the kit uses few to no custom/molded parts. The entire bridge arm (seen above) is done completely with normal pieces.

I can't wait to complete the kit, let it sit for a few weeks to a month, then tear it apart and start building a few of my own creations with it.

Early Reminder

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-11-16 4 comments

Just an early reminder... if you're in town on Dec 25th and have 'wrapped' up your activities with family, please come out to Vanscoy and enjoy the rest of the evening with us for our annual 'unwrapped' party!

We'll have seasonal cheer, food, games, camaraderie, cards and RockBand! Morgan is studying a number of holiday season classics on piano and I even have fanciful ideas of signing some carols together while she plays. Children are very welcome to come. There will be some Dance Dance Revolution and kids movies available too.

Please mention it to anybody who might be interested, we love to have a big crew. I'll email out as we get closer to the event!

Friday RockBand competition @ P2

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-11-09 0 comments

Kinda Makes Sense

Posted by Selbonaut On 2009-11-04 2 comments

2009 C4

Posted by km_f5 On 2009-11-03 1 comments

I attended the Central Canada Comic Con this past weekend. It was held in downtown Winnipeg's Convention Centre. First year at this location, and very accessible with decent parking.

Of course, I knew that the convention would only be a fraction of the size of San Diego's Comic Con. Still, I saw more Klingons in Winnipeg!

It was far less 'Hollywood'-- no mega-name booths like "DC" or "Marvel", and more space was set aside for table top gaming than video gaming. It was very grassroots.

Costumes were pretty decent displays, overall. My favourite costumes were those whose wearers clearly used ingenuity in their designs.

One could likely spend a good day taking in all the con offerings, but if next year you are considering driving to Winnipeg for the event, you might want to make plans to take in additional sights to round out your weekend. (for instance, I saw an AWESOME show of Yousuf Karsh's B&W photography at the Winnipeg Art Gallery on Sunday)

Joss Whedon Makes A Play For Terminator Franchise

Posted by James Davie On 2009-11-02 0 comments

Joss Whedon sent an open letter to the owners of the beleaguered Terminator franchise:

An Open Letter to the Terminator Owners. From a Very Important Hollywood Mogul

Dear Sirs/Ma'ams,

I am Joss Whedon, the mastermind behind Titan A.E., Parenthood (not the movie) (or the new series) (or the one where 'hood' was capitalized 'cause it was a pun), and myriad other legendary tales. I have heard through the 'grapevine' that the Terminator franchise is for sale, and I am prepared to make a pre-emptive bid RIGHT NOW to wrap this dealio up. This is not a joke, this is not a scam, this is not available on TV. I will write a check TODAY for $10,000, and viola! Terminator off your hands.

No, you didn't miscount. That's four -- FOUR! -- zeroes after that one. That's to show you I mean business. And I mean show business. Nikki Finke says the Terminator concept is played. Well, here's what I have to say to Nikki Finke: you are a fine journalist and please don't ever notice me. The Terminator story is as formative and important in our culture -- and my pretend play -- as any I can think of. It's far from over. And before you Terminator-Owners (I have trouble remembering names) rush to cash that sweet cheque, let me give you a taste of what I could do with that franchise:

1) Terminator... of the Rings! Yeah, what if he time-travelled TOO far... back to when there was dragons and wizards? (I think it was the Dark Ages.) Hasta La Vista, Boramir! Cool, huh? "Now you gonna be Gandalf the Red!" RRRRIP! But then he totally helps, because he's a cyborg and he doesn't give a s#&% about the ring -- it has no power over him! And he can carry it AND Frodo AND Sam AND f@%& up some orcs while he's doing it. This stuff just comes to me. I mean it. (I will also offer $10,000 for the Lord of the Rings franchise).

2) More Glau. Hey. There's a reason they're called "Summer" movies.

3) Can you say... musical? Well don't. Even I know that's an awful idea.

4) Christian Bale's John Connor will get a throat lozenge. This will also help his Batwork (ten grand for that franchise too, btw.)

5) More porn. John Connor never told Kyle Reese this, but his main objective in going to the past was to get some. What if there's a lot of future-babies that have to be made? Cue wah-wah pedal guitar -- and dollar signs!

6) The movies will stop getting less cool.

Okay. There's more -- this brain don't quit! (though it has occasionally been fired) -- but I think you get my drift. I really believe the Terminator franchise has only begun to plumb the depths of questioning the human condition during awesome stunts, and I'd like to shepherd it through the next phase. The money is there, but more importantly, the heart is there. But more importantly, money. Think about it. End this bloody bidding war before it begins, and put the Terminator in the hands of someone who watched the first one more than any other movie in college, including "Song of Norway" (no current franchise offer).

Sincerely, Joss Whedon.

Oh please let it happen!!!!!!

In Honor of the New Theme

Posted by James Davie On 0 comments

Motley, but capable

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-10-30 0 comments

For about three months now, I've been watching this crew. It started near the end of spring with my primary interest - the Remnant arms dealer who calls himself Gunn. I'd been following him at the direction of my Great Schema* but for what purpose I am still unsure.

It would be two weeks after I'd picked up Gunn's trail that he would cross paths with another warrior of note. The Grigori and he stood off at first, but I'm certain they recognized each others capability and value - they continued to travel south together.

In this broken world they are Ronin, but in different times and places each would have served mighty Emperors and been given their due. While listening to them trade guarded stories of their pasts over food and drink, I overhead the Grigori speak his name: Raksha.

Further south they traveled, and I followed.

It was twelve dawns ago, as I watched them scour ruins for anything salvageable in the morning mist, that they chanced across a scene of an Ophanum warscout who had captured a Seraph Nephilim in a ruined pit that perhaps once was a foundation. I observed that the oppressor was still fighting to maintain control using a whip like bond held tightly around the Seraph's wrists, a fact not lost on either of my pseudo-companions.

I had seen the Grigori fight once before, but the fury with which he plunged himself down into the space where the Ophanum stood was greater than in earlier encounters. With a smooth motion, Gunn brought his firearms to bear on the monstrous black winged creature and squeezed off a short burst.

Even with Raksha's hand weapons dug deep into it's back, and it's inky blood spraying freely, the Ophanum easily moved to get out from under Raksha's weight. Moving defensively forced it to release the bond over the Seraph and quickly it found itself surrounded by three deadly opponents. The Seraph retrieved his deadly blade from the ground and pressed the attack.

I watched them kill it.

They had the situation clearly under control, so I did feel a need to intervene. I found myself admiring how quickly they adapted to working together. The synergy was not lost on them either I guess - even though we reached Farthington more than 6 days ago they have stayed together as a unit. The Seraph calls himself Solo, but I can see that he finds comfort in some companionship. They are unfamiliar to one another, but they are effective together.

I've just spoken to my Great Schema and she has instructed me to stay with them, but the objective is still unknown to me.

* a wise and venerated teacher in Necrosi culture

During Assembly (Kit 7778)

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-10-29 2 comments

Here she is, partially complete on my desk at work:

Isn't she going to be a beauty?

Mario. Naked.

Posted by James Davie On 2 comments

And that's it. I got nothing else for you, except shame and another destroyed childhood memory.

Farthington (2280)

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-10-28 0 comments

Farthington was built on the ruins of the city of Atlanta in the former American state of Georgia and is a Freezone town on the rise. About 5,000 people make their permanent home here with another 2500, or so, travelers making their way through town on any given day. This constant influx of new people brings trade (and plenty of rumors), legitimate and otherwise. If it were not for the rampant corruption that plagues the town, Farthington could become a truly great community.

Farthington’s people suffer under the yoke of organized crime and politicians whose ethics are so utterly rotten that it is sometimes impossible to tell the two groups apart. To get anything done in Farthington you have to grease the palms of half a dozen different individuals. Everyone’s hand is out, everyone is on the take and by the time they have all had their ‘taste’, those who work for a living often barely scrape by. Could be worse though, could be out in the barrens.

Great place to start up an outfit, no?

Selling our TempurPedic Queen

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-10-20 1 comments

My turn for a vid

Posted by Selbonaut On 3 comments

Proof of concept for a D&D app for the Microsoft Surface.

Surfacescapes Demo Walkthrough from Visual Story TAs on Vimeo.

Hellz Ya!

okay... okay... one more video

Posted by km_f5 On 2009-10-19 6 comments

(cracks me up)

Hold on to your sanity

Posted by km_f5 On 2009-10-18 4 comments

Who You Gunna Call!

Posted by Toad008 On 2009-10-15 5 comments

Taking a lead from Kyro, I figured we needed someone to review games who would be willing to review Xbox360 games. So I'm going to start with some reviews. That said, my first review is a cross-platform game, but one I think many Schittheads will enjoy:


Total Time: 6-10 hours. Harder for me to lock down, as I restarted once.
Played on: Xbox360, available for PS3, Wii.

If you like Ghostbusters, this game is a must play. The story is a typical Ghostbusters story. Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, who wrote the movies, helped with the script. Dan Aykroyd is quoted as saying "It is essentially the third movie". It helps immensely that you know the plot of the two movies, as it takes place 2 years after Ghostbusters 2, and involves elements from the previous movies. Also, most of the cast contributed voice acting, making all the characters sound like you want them too. They also keep a lot of the humourous banter that makes Ghostbusters entertaining.

You play as "Rookie", a character who never talks, and never gets named, as they don't want to become too attached to him. At first I was upset at this, because I wanted to be a "real Ghostbuster" but I quickly changed my tune. They did such a good job of capturing the personalities of the Ghostbusters, I enjoyed being the 5th wheel. If I was, say, playing as Peter, I wouldn't have been so set on impressing the female character. I much preferred leaving the AI to being him while I wrangled me some ghosts.

That is where Ghostbusters shines. Trapping ghosts. You start with your Proton Pack and they nailed how it should feel to use it. You blast the ghost to weaken him, then it automatically switches to capture mode where you struggle to move the ghost where you want him. Usually this is where I realize I neglected to throw my trap down. Release him, throw trap, and quickly re-capture. First ghosts are easy. Then you fight a couple at a time. Then they add possessed people, who you have to slime to knock the ghost out of the body, then capture. Possessed items which you can just destroy. They did a really good job of making a lot of variety while maintaining the same weaken then capture gameplay. They give you a couple other weapons too, your slime blower, Shock blaster, and Hadron Collider, that are better on some enemies for weakening them, and add some puzzle elements. I found I spent a lot of time using my good old reliable proton stream though. Which will cause explosions if you cross streams for too long though.

You can trash almost everything. Infact, that's half the fun. Fighting Slimer in a pirate themed bar? I broke so many bottles of liquor, set chairs on fire, blasted art work off the walls. They actually tally how much property damage you do. It's also very satifying to pick up your hot trap with the ghost you just wrangled, and survey the smashed, burning wreck of a "room" you left behind.

The difficulty of the game was perfect. It was challenging, but not frustrating. Typically the boss fights took a second to figure out what you had to do, then it was just a matter of doing it right. Usually your Ghostbuster teammates will shout out tips, or hints. So if you are stumped, you can just try to stay alive until hints make it more obvious. Once I got to the last level, it was dark, and confusing to navigate, but it was a maze, so that was it's intent. If you just follow your teammates, often they will lead you to the next key area, but I'm not very good at that. The last boss was epic, and a beautiful environment to fight in, but easier than the couple ghost attacks just before him.

Downsides to the game?

First annoying thing is the save system. It's all autosaves, which is fine, but they used very confusing messages when you launch the game. Also, there was no way to turn off autosaves, resulting in me over writting my first play through as I was showing a friend the cool intro video, and first boss. (Seriously, the first boss you fight is Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, how awesome is that!)

Second peeve, the Multiplayer portion. It's a lot of fun, but has bad network code, resulting in a lot of lag. Also, it was written by a different company, giving a very disjointed feel to getting to the multiplayer. Gameplay-wise it is very similar to single player, but with less intelligent AI.

They made a big deal about the face animations of the characters, and how amazing it was they lined up with what they were saying, but I really didn't think it was impressive. Or even close a lot of the time. Compared to other titles coming out, it wasn't a feature they should have promoted.

Some of the Achievements / trophies. I don't really care about the points, but I dislike things that are impossible to figure out without a guide. They have things that involve cooking a ham in 1 specific level. I didn't even notice the ham when I played the game. It was smaller than a plate, in a banquet hall.

I've also heard reports that they rendered the PS3 version with lower quality textures, a move that seems stupid to me, but I can't confirm that.

The credits. When you finish the game, it starts the Ghostbuster theme, which is awesome! Then it interrupts it to go to a less exciting tune, after about 20 seconds. Then the credits go on for 10 minutes. It's a bit understandable, as it's a big title, and they had a lot of companies involved, but honestly, does Dan Aykroyd's legal representative's personal assistant's secretary really need a mention? This is a peeve of mine for a lot of blockbuster games lately though.

Overall, I had a lot of fun playing it. If you like Ghostbusters, it's a must play. However, due to it's length, and limited replay value, I'd say you can rent it, and finish it one weekend. (Or if you own a xbox360, borrow my copy for a weekend)

Cut Scenes of the Patriots

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-10-11 2 comments

Total Time: 39+ hours

Total Cutscene Time: around 15 to 16 hours, I lost track (that's an astonishing 38%)

Difficulty Setting: Naked Normal

Verdict: I really loved this game, even though in places I was bored as shit and the story really didn't make a ton of sense. I guess that's going to require some explanation, so even though I started with my verdict let's back it up and take a look at some of the details.

First off, I think there is a handful of main things you have to talk about when doing an analysis of MGS4.

Sure, you can talk about polygon counts or the use of Blu-Ray or system exclusivity, but who really gives a f*&$ about that nonsense; this is where it's at...

Tragic Story
I think MGS4 is best described as a tragedy. I absolutely loved the way this story was emotionally framed. Even though I literally "lost the plot" at a few spots (see my Q&A a bit further down), it was clear that Snake was dying and at no point did I feel assured that the power of the leading character would see him through to a victorious conclusion. This was a refreshing change of pace from the usual: good guy wins, gets the girl, walks away into the sunset (usually rich and/or powerful).

Focus on Cut Scene
More than any other game in history, MGS4 makes extensive use of the age old cut scene. It's hard to imagine, but this is a game where at some point in a cut scene you are going to say: "WTF is going on here? didn't I buy a game?", and you'll be right. That said, most of it is top notch and very engaging - except for some of the Drebin voice only sections whici I'll proudly admit I skipped right through a couple of times.

Mixed Gameplay
It's hard to say what this game is. Action? Sure it's got action. Espionage? Yes, actually there were lots of situations where stealth and avoidance produced more effective results than direct combat. Romance? Ahh.. well, sorta, it was. You don't get to play that part of the game sadly, but there are these weird romantic sub-plots all over the place. I'm not sure how you'd make that sort of thing playable without it being juvenile or cheesy. The one title tag that really feels like it has no meaning is "Tactical". Honestly, this game is no more or less tactical than hundreds of other games out there that don't have tactical in the name (try any hockey game, they are almost all more tactical by default, but don't brag about it - can you imagine? NTHL 2010? ridiculous).


Q: Why can't the storyline make more sense?

A: It's a Metal Gear game: there is a lot of lost in translation going on and a ton of game history to try to keep straight. If you want it all to make sense, go back in time 20 years and play each game in it's entirety, then go download the MGS4:Database from the Playstation Store, finish the game on one of the higher difficulties, then read all of the database.

I can't be bothered to do all of that, I finished the game on normal difficulty and missed plenty of earlier games, so I'm going to have to live with the fact that I didn't completely catch all of the weird references to Hound-Die, or Fox-Trot or Revolver Oscilloscope or whatever. So sue me. The complexity seemed more real to the game characters than to me, and I enjoyed watching them go through the drama. When the game finally ended, I felt like I had just watched an entire season of a TV Show, and at 39 hours or whatever it's basically the same length as one.

Q: Is the extensive use of cut scene a strength or a weakness of this game?
A: I hate to answer a question with a question (especially when I asked the first question) but I think the only way to figure this out is to ask yourself (once you've finished the game): would it have been a better experience without all of that in there? In my opinion, the game was made far better by the additional story background and attention given to each character's emotional state; even secondary characters were given lots of showtime.

Q: Does the world need a MGS5?
A: I don't think it does. Here's why: as I said above, the story is a mess with 2 decades of history and tons of characters. From what I can tell, this game achieves as much coherency as can be expected in such extreme circumstances. I would say they should leave this franchise with MGS4 as the crowning achievement of a very complete gaming experience. I know there is a hand held MGS of some sort that is imminently arriving on the PSP and that's fine. I doubt I'll be playing it though, I really feel like this story is concluded.

If you have a PS3, I highly recommend you go play this game when you can find 40 hours to do so. Really, just take a week off of work and play it end to end in a single week. Or play the long game - I stretched it out over 4 months (maybe that's why I had trouble with some story) and really loved it.

Need I say more?

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-10-10 3 comments

1984 Here We Come!!!

Posted by ScrewLoose On 2009-10-09 2 comments

Bored of the same old games? Need some cash? Have an annoying neighbor you hate? Well now is your chance to make some cash while turning in everyone you know for even the mildest of offenses!


Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-10-04 3 comments

Sorry for those broken images, Photobucket recently beefed up security and I had to login and do some maintenance before the images would serve again. I have local image caching enabled, so I wasn't initially seeing that images were missing (thanks for pointing it out LordJim).

Anyway, we're back in business now.

But while the topic is open, would people like change of theme?

How To Start A New World Order

Posted by James Davie On 2009-10-02 0 comments

Next time you get a piece of junk mail with one of those prepaid-postage envelopes just print off this great little pamphlet and send it back.
After all the world changes one person at a time!


Posted by James Davie On 2009-09-25 2 comments

The People of Walmart

Posted by James Davie On 2009-09-24 0 comments

A website dedicated to, according to them, "satirical social commentary of the extraordinary sights found at America’s favorite store. Walmart is Americana baby, Enjoy!"

There is some genuinely scary and funny stuff to look at. It's like watching a train wreck, in Arkansas...

Another site for daily chuckles is FailBlog - well worth your time!

The Wrong Hole (probably NSFW)

Posted by James Davie On 0 comments

OMFG! Scott Baio is back! (no, not really)

I'm still laughing. Wear headphones if you are at work.

Pirate Day @ P2

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-09-18 1 comments

It's international TLAPD tomorrow, so since nobody will be here at work for it, we decided we'd express ourselves (variously) on Friday the 18th.

Thanks to Screwloose, I've got an outfit kicking around. I've now had two chances to wear it and I'm sure there will be more upcoming (Halloween anybody?).

That's Phoenix/Snow with me in the photo for those who've not met her.

I Finally Caved

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-09-15 4 comments

now on Twitter! (joy) @k_jpm

Be still my heart!

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-09-08 5 comments

Am I the kinda guy that would pony up $120 to feel sick to my stomach? Maybe actually...

Solar (and Mars/Moon Hoax)

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-08-30 3 comments

I haven't checked any figures or vetted this for accuracy, but it captures my heart:

Something tells me that the numbers probably wouldn't add up here.

(oh, and there is no way in hell that Mars will ever be the size of the Moon to the naked eye in our skies, for such a thing to occur would be unbelievably catastrophic - this has been making the rounds on the 'net again, if your family approaches you about this nonsense, please set them straight)

The Bacon Bra!

Posted by James Davie On 2009-08-27 5 comments

I'm in love...

When I Grow Up I Wanna Work In Advertising

Posted by James Davie On 2009-08-21 2 comments

I just about lost it when I saw this video! It's full of many, many truths about working for an ad agency.

octaNe rPg reviEw

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-08-12 5 comments

(note: I'm pretty sure capitalizing the "N" in the game title is just silly)

The Setup

This pocketbook style indie-RPG was recently gifted to me by a gaming aficionado close to me. Since I'm on vacation, and enjoying myself with a little reading, I decided to give this one a full read and post my thoughts about it hoping to spark a little discussion.

In keeping with this strange little RPG's setting mission statement: "Picture if you will the Old West.", I've decided to break my comments up as follows*:

* if you've never heard of the film of which I speak, stop reading this blog post right now and do one of two things: shoot yourself in the head or go rent the film and watch it

The Good

  • The "Whiff" - the most annoying part of 4e, is that crucial moment when you decide to use your dramatically appropriate daily ability only to have the d20 come up as a 2, and your ability to basically be a fizzle. octaNe has a mechanism to avoid this
  • Characters are highly 'stylized' as opposed to a collection of stats. Do octaNe characters have a Str, Dex, Int, Fort, PE, Comliness, etc... nope. Throw that 'bean counter' stuff away and instead have cool styles: Daring, Ingenuity, Craft and Charm. For those 'special abilities' toss in Might and Magic and voila! you have a bunch of vague categories to govern doing pretty much anything - none of which is particularily well described **
  • Flexible game mode - three interesting game modes are described to fit your play style and they are easy enough to understand and implement.
  • No complex polyhedrons required, the game uses a handful of d6s and in such a way that the action narrative should proceed swiftly enabling any gaming group to craft exciting plot driven stories that don't slow down to a crawl for combats.
  • Soundtrack - the game literally insists that you put together a mix of rock, metal, punk and classic to listen to while you play. Suggested artists include: Alien Sex Fiend, DEVO, Judas Priest, Parliment Funkadelic, Sex Pistols, and Rob/White Zombie. The author erroneously stipulates that you should NOT include any nu-metal (Linkin Park, et. al.) and he completely misses how appropriate most pre-futurist industrial would be (early Ministry, Nitzer Ebb, NIN's first album) - I would make sure that we include that in our gameplay soundtrack.
** see The Bad

The Bad
  • Remember that "Stylized stuff" from The Good, well, it's so different from your typical stats based RPG that players who really thrive on that sort of thing are going to feel awfully displaced. Game is really meant for: people who've played their fair share of conventional RPGs and are seriously looking to get outside of that box (or people who've never played and wouldn't know the diff). If your players really like the current set of "boxes", they are going to hate this game.
  • Success of this game depends on nobody taking advantage of it's narrative structure. If you have a power-gamer among you (aka "the munchkin"), the entire premise on which the game mechanic is based will completely fail.

The Ugly

For the most part I'm with game author Jared Sorensen... light-weight game mechanic? check; psychotronic White Zombie/Rob Zombie inspired mayhem? check; "Death-Rock Siren" character archtype? hells ya!; the statement that "anything can be made better by adding monkeys"? uh... wait a sec... ; the assertion that: "Babe 2: Pig in the City" is, and I quote: "one of the greatest fantasy movies of all time"?


wait for it...


Aside: I said I was on board here for the whole indie-RPG, but he is clearly fucking batshit crazy. Babe 2? Are you shitting me? You can check IMDB if you want, where you'll find that although it carries a 6.2/10 (in itself a very scary statistic), the public comments speak pretty clearly on how terrible the film was as it was intended: as a children's film.

... but I digress, I did want to go on a bit about some other ugly bits though, please read on
  • Character Sheet - not just an abysmal waste of ink on a page, it manages to simultaneously add nothing and clearly highlight how little game mechanic the game has to offer. I would have omitted it and let people figure out what they wanted to write down on their own. An individual certainly couldn't come up with something worse.

The Conclusion

Even with these complaints (and hey, my format did call for two sections of them, as opposed to a single section of good stuff), I'm really eager to take a stab at this game. The nature of this game favors those who fit into one or more of the following:
  1. don't normally play RPGs because there is too much stat/dice/crunchiness
  2. don't normally play RPGs because sword and sorcery (the 'standard fare') is for chumps
  3. play RPGs but have grown tired of the long combats associated with detailed combat systems/miniatures/grid maps/tactical blah blah blah
  4. play RPGs but hate "the whiff" (see above)
  5. play RPGs but wish there was a way to have more narrative control over what was happening beyond: "I hit with my sword"
If you can claim to fit into one or more of the above, and would enjoy a roller coaster ride through the trailer parks and strip malls of a post-apocalyptic, trash culture America filled with classic cars, aliens, monsters, biker-chicks, stripper-zombies and guns (all presented in RPG Glam-O-Vision) then lets get together and run a session of this baby.

If any game ever called for drinking Jack Daniels during play, this is it.

G.I. Joe the Ballad

Posted by James Davie On 2009-08-11 2 comments

Oh dear god, I'm still giggling! Fun little song with a Killer W.H.A.L.E. full of celebs. You can see Alan Tudyk from Firefly and Dollhouse fame in the above picture. There is a cast list on the attached page, but see if you can spot them all yourself. Destro is my fav!


I just peed a little

Posted by AtlasMason On 2009-07-25 2 comments

I am most definitely a child of the 80's. I think that I was in grade 4 when the first Tron came out and I was blown away by it. I remember playing the light bikes game on the old Vic 20 we had at the time and loving every second of it. Seeing this trailer just brought it all back to me. I know it isn't the best movie ever made, (I believe that honor goes to Maid In Manhattan), but I still enjoy it whenever I catch clips while channel surfing. Haven't seen the whole thing in ages, though. Hmmmm... Perhaps I do that sometime soon.

Ronin, by Frank Miller

Posted by km_f5 On 2009-07-20 2 comments

Upon recommendation, I picked up this graphic novel from the local library on Saturday and finished it Sunday evening. In short, I totally dig it!!!

The images are incredibly textural in nature and concept, and the story very dark and engaging. Pre-photoshop... pre-digital even, the novel was published in 1983 -- vintage! (squee)

I will definitely look for more graphic novels of this nature. Also, methinks I need my own copy =D. If you haven't already, you should most definitely check out this book!

What are your recommendations?

Schitt Happens

Posted by James Davie On 2009-06-10 0 comments

Good to see schitt-heds everywhere!


Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-06-03 3 comments

I rented this movie on Wednesday night in an attempt to forget the soul crushing day I'd just had at work. I was pleasantly surprised upon viewing it; not only did I forget my day (well, mostly) I was really engaged by this story of revenge and redemption.

You see, the movie's hero Kainen (the Outlander, as he comes from another world) must wrestle with the monster of the movie (a very well designed dragon creature) and his own demons (which intertwine with said creature).

The very convincing performance by John Hurt and brief but enjoyable appearance by Ron Perlman add a level of professionalism to this sci-fi/fantasy, that left without, might have left this film seeming like it had not realized it's potential. Instead, it was a very engaging story that had me sucked in right to the end.

I can't comment on the ending without spoiling it other than to say that I'm happy with how it was delivered. James Caviezel (whom I'd previously very much enjoyed in The Count of Monte Cristo with Guy Pierce) turned in a very grim brooding performance that fit his character perfectly.

I'm not going to do something crazy like give this movie a 9.5 out of 10, but I will recommend that you rent it (or check it out using whatever mechanism best suits you). I watched it on BD at 720p, and I noticed that some of the black scenes didn't live up to a hi-def experience - individual mileage may vary.

Dead Space Done Dirt Cheap

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-05-19 1 comments

I finally put the nail in the coffin for Dead Space last night and I can honestly say that this was yet another fantastic game from EA. I know there are tons of haters out there and I guess they can keep hating, but I'd like to fly through this one for anybody who's interested.

1. I Wasn't Sick This Weekend
First, I'd like to point out that I'm doing some writing about games without being deathly sick or down for the count. Usually when I write about a game it's because I've been at home for 3 or more days sick, but this time, it's just because the game was great. I usually also roll two games into a single post but this time around it's just a single with no witty comparrisons (sorry).

2. 4 zombies out of 5
Zombies and gore games are all the rage these days - to wit: Left4Dead, Resident Evil, Dead Rising... and while those games are all neato, I really enjoyed the specific touches in this game that gave me the sense that I was playing some realtime interactive version of Event Horizon mixed with Aliens/Alien Resurrection.

3. If it's Plot or Underwear, I'll take Plot
The story in Dead Space was full of good plot. A decent intro gets you liking the few crew members that are out there with you pretty easily, and you're presented with fragments of some woman that you should ostensibly be able to rescue if you make it in time. Things start to go a bit circus side-ways when, about 3/4 of the way through the game, you start talking to said missing girlfriend (and by the time she shows up, you're already convinced that you didn't make it in time to actually save her). It was very creepy and very interesting.

4. Zero-Grav = 23 Kinds of Awesome
One of the most suprisingly fun parts of hte game was the mix of zero-g and airless zones that you have to cross or explore with the help of your environment suit. Being able to push off of any flat surface and land and re-orient on any number of other surfaces (including a meteor chunk at one point) was super fun. I remember thinking to myself at one point, that a whole game could be based on that movement principle where you'd explore the outside of various ships and bodies of matter - but I digress.

5. Back to that Plot (spoiler warning)...
Right, so, as the game draws to a close you realize that this setup throughout the game of zealots vs. corporate whores is really just a ruse. During the reveal you find out who the real evil is - and while it's definitely unexpected (I bought the 'zealots are the bad guys' bit a little too easily I guess) it was a bit disappointing.

6. A Huge Finish
The final fight is great fun - and not every game can honestly boast that as a selling feature. Often great games have lack luster finales (Uncharted) or repetitive boss fights (Heavenly Sword) or bosses that are just plain too difficult (Lost Planet) - but Dead Space has none of these problems. The end cinematic is short but really catches you off guard in a good way.

7. Other Mentionables
Time to complete: 12 hours, 32 minutes on difficulty setting Easy.
I'm going to replay it on "Impossible" now that it's unlocked (you get to start with lots of stuff, so I think I should be able to do it). Oh, and the weapons are fantastic in this game, a good mix of standard shooter stuff (the pulse cannon) and unique weapons that are really 'tools' repurposed to be weapons. Variable fire modes for weapons expands the limited selection set nicely.

Anyway, I'm done with this one now for a bit, so if you'd like to check it out, just ask and I'll gladly hand it off to you - it's definitely worth the look.


Posted by ScrewLoose On 2009-05-13 3 comments

As most of you guys know I'm getting married soon. We've run out of invitations so I'm simply posting a mass invite on here for any of you guys that want to come. The wedding is pirate themed and it sounds like a ton of people are dressing up. Further details can be found at http://wedding.technoplunk.com, or you can simply harass me if you have any questions.

Come Alive! (past the deadline)

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-05-08 0 comments

So, I'm well past the deadline when I found this, but I LOVE the title track from this game, so I'm going to start working on a remix and see how it goes.

I'll post around here somewhere when it's done ;)

Hey, anybody around here interested in seeing me and Terry absolutely RIP IT UP on May 29th? We'll be using 8 sources in the mix - 2 vinyl, 2 mp3/digital (serato+ableton), 3 CDJs and 1 drum machine (that's right - that just happened).

This mix won't make it in time, but my Technologic one will be played for sure, and maybe some other surprises.

What does Wesley Crusher think about the new Star Trek?

Posted by James Davie On 0 comments

I do believe that this image says it all...

But you can read Wil Wheaton's (pronounced Weat-on, not Whee-ton) initial thoughts at his most excellent blog.

Avoid Toxic People (and other wisdom)

Posted by Clockwork On 2009-05-04 1 comments

The advice on how to recognize toxic people really grabbed me but there are some other interesting thoughts in here as well. Worth a read.

It's Coming...

Posted by James Davie On 2009-04-22 1 comments

And no one cares...
Universal Soldier 3... Return of the Has-Beens
And yes, that really is Dolph Lundgren and JCVD - dressed to kill at this years Masochist Mash-Up!

Empty Inbox Every Night

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2 comments

After fighting with a corporate inbox chock full of junk (500+ messages) all the time, I've come to the conclusion that the only useful inbox is an empty inbox*. So, I took the bold move yesterday of archiving everything in my inbox to a local trash, and clearing my todo list.

The thinking is this: if any of those items are super critical, I'll get pinged again. If any of those items were actually no-ops or low priority, then they shouldn't be competing for my time with the other stuff that is higher priority.

This all works fine as long as the inbox does not get out of control again. To that end, I've decided to implement a personal policy that my inbox MUST be totally empty when I leave the office each night**.

For EVERY inbox item:
1) Is this high priority? Does it need to be dealt with immediately? FLAG IT AS RED, immediately take action to complete it. If I can't complete it by the end of the day preserve the message in my HIGH PRIORITY folder.
2) Is this informational or of medium to long term consideration? Immediately archive it using the appropriate mechanism (sometimes, this will be the trash). If a follow-up item is needed, immediately schedule it.
3) Is it irrelevant? Immediately delete such messages after reading.

Rules of Thumb***
- don't let messages sit unread, process them all when they arrive
- keep the items todo well organized, clear them when they complete, review regularly
- respect the awesomeness of the empty inbox
- be ruthless about deleting the chaff
- if I can't keep up to my inbox, it means I might need help, monitor this and inform my immediate report that the workload might be too high

A valid question here is: why the hell is Kyro bothering to write about this? I'm glad you asked. The answer, is that it is much easier to make a habit out of something that you write down. Now I can refer back to this and refine my process, to hone the skill of effective email communcation management.

Anybody else out there in big corporate email land have tips for fighting the ever growing inbox?

* unless we're talking about your gmail inbox, in which case, it's best to just leave everything where it is and use the searching...
** or if a few build up during the week, I must at least have it sorted by Friday before I leave my desk
*** and no, that has nothing to do with a stick the width of your thumb that you can use to beat... that's just urban myth

We've Come A Long Way, Baby

Posted by James Davie On 2009-04-09 3 comments

Right now my entire creative team is thinking up ways to reintroduce some of this drek into a current ad...

The New Clash of Titans!

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2 comments

I just saw that both Liam Neeson and Raf Finnes are slated to be in the upcoming remake of that classic 80's Greek fantasy flick Clash of the Titans.

I guess if they are going to continue to rape all of the films of my childhood, they might as well use good talent. I'm betting this remake can't suck as much as the new Transformers did.

Mirror's Edge vs. NFS:Undercover

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-04-04 6 comments

Since these games are clearly in the same genre, I felt that this would be a perfectly valid comparison. A completely reasonable, totally neutral set of categories will be used for this assessment. I'll be abbrv. in the artcl. so I don't have to type words lngr. than 5 ltrs; ME = Mirror's Edge, NFSU = you get the point...

Hotness of Main Character
In ME, you get to play Faith. She's got this cute Eurasian look going for her and a twin sister. In NFSU you're you. That's right, you never actually see yourself in the cut-scenes so you can suspend your disbelief of the fact that you'd never be caught dead in any of the situations the game puts you in. In NFSU's defence though, you do get to work with an attractive undercover policewoman played by Maggie Q, none-the-less, advantage ME.

Cut-scene Wickedness
In NFSU the cut-scenes drag you through this plot about gangs of master auto-thieves and illegal car smugglers etc... It's straightforward and comes across very dryly, especially compared to the actual driving which is very exciting and rip roaring (like a good NFS game should be). ME is unfortunately pretty similar, predictable story with an obvious double cross you see coming from about 24 miles away - maybe from those vantage points you can see everything coming... hm.. What ME has going for it though, is a neat delivery using a cel animation style that sets is apart. Maybe the next NFS game should have cel animation cut-scenes (ironically, the characters might seem a little less cardboard). Advantage ME.

Longness of Section That I Wish Was Shorter
This always happens to me in every video game, a section of the game that I feel has been made long or difficult just to lengthen the game play (okay, maybe not every game, Heavenly Sword had no such section, nor did Little Big Planet, but those are exceptions). In NFSU, somewhere around driver level 10 or 11, I was sorta wishing I magically had more game money so I could advance quicker and buy some faster wheels and bloody beat the game already. Thankfully this was a very short lived feeling in NFSU (around an hour or so of play), and quickly I was into a decent Lamborghini and on the way to wrapping up. Sadly, in ME, there were two such sections (SPOILER ALERT). The first was the atrium in Chapter 8. I must have fallen 30 times trying to figure out the intricacies of how to get up to the top. To make it worse, sometimes I'd fall and NOT die by catching some piece of girder when trying to grasp an edge. This would result in my having to re-do sections I had JUST completed. This went on for hours. The second section was one of the very last bits of Chapter 9 - where you must dodge an assault team AND a sniper team to reach the objective which is itself one of the smallest ledges you have to jump a distance to in the whole game. Again, this took me over 90 minutes and replaying the same section of a level 20 times to get and by the end I was pretty frustrated. Advantage NFSU.

Tag Line Bizarreness
ME: Once, this city used to pulse with energy... blah blah.... can you get any more pretentious?
NSFU: You're not good, and you're not bad, you blend and you listen... WTF does this crap even mean? I had imagined this section being a longer diatribe about the senseless little bits of text that end up in games, but I don't feel like it. As long as my complaint about that weird shit in NFSU about "you're not good, and you're not bad..." is out in the open, I'm good.
Okay, the lines in both games have issues, PUSH.

Music (or, What Really Makes Any Game/Movie)
I'm sure it's no surprise to anybody who knows me that music makes a huge difference to me. I've often found that my opinion of entertainment properties is strongly influenced by the quality of the music (and the amount of fromage/action content vis a vis Bruce Willis/Liv Tyler scenes, which I also go for). Okay, enough pre-amble, onto our competitors. In ME the music is a completely original score complete with fully developed character themes (the city even has it's own theme and is treated like a character, how cool is that?). The music is deeply engaging and feels strongly influenced by modern electronic scoring (Mark Snow, etc...). NFSU has some original background music, but what stands out is the cleverly inserted cuts by (wait for it!): Nine Inch Nails, Recoil, Puscifer (the legendary Maynard from Tool) and Pendulum. The cuts used are not the standard radio edits, but super wicked (rare) remixes and b-side cuts that stand tall above the bland typical use of pop music in movies and games these days. Wow, this is a super tough one because ME was so well scored, but I'm going to have to say advantage NFSU.

(hey, it's got NIN -AND- the main guy from Tool, what am I supposed to do?)

Relative Fun Index on the Latex Scale
Jeez, what am I supposed to put here? First of all, I LOVE racing games, and NFS:III was one the first 3-D games I was ever able to run on my old 16MB Voodoo Banshee AGP card (wow, talk about ancient history). NFSU has all the thing that made NFS games of yore great - sweeping courses through awesome looking locales, cop chases, thin plots. I knew what I expected with NFSU, and I got what I wanted. ME took me to new gaming heights (literally) even making my balls ache in parts when I was dropping from high areas to other less high areas. It was thrilling in ways I didn't think games could be - dodging bullets (seriously, I'd be ducking in my chair when the shots would start going off in 5.1 Dolby Surround cranked up) while vaulting over obstac... okay, you get the point. All my bullshit criticisms aside, both of these games were fantastic to play and I loved them each a shit-ton. I can't pick, PUSH.

The Big Lebowski (aka "Conclusion")

Well, when I add it all up it's a tie. That's a damn good thing too, because I don't think there's a sane argument I could make about either game that would clearly make it better than the other. Lots of haters out there gave NFSU a really hard time about something or other (the police SUVs are an easy target). An I've heard critics of ME bitch about linear this and that (which is crazy, there is multiple ways across all the roof-top levels). I think people have just become desensitized to awesomeness in general (I could go into this, but if you know what I mean then you probably already agree to some extent).

Why oh why the head to head you ask? Well, I've been deathly sick* for most of this week and found time on my hands where I wasn't able to do anything actually productive, so instead I started writing this and today I felt well enough to finish it.

* sick enough that I wasn't able to go to D.C. this week as planned freeing me up to write bullshit video game reviews :P

PS: If you have a PS3 and want to try Mirror's Edge, I'll gladly lend it out (but I'm keeping it since I doubt they'll sequel such a unique game and I'd like to have this one to refer back to). I've already sold my copy of NFS:Undercover though and I'm excited for the next installment (hopefully they don't change too much b/c of the haters that crawled out of the woodwork for this iteration).

The epitome of 'ignoramus'

Posted by Rippin Kittin On 2009-03-24 3 comments

Are all Americans this egocentric and moronic? Or just the ones who work for Fox?

An Honest Conman

Posted by Selbonaut On 2009-03-23 2 comments

!= iTunes

Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-03-22 1 comments

Are you tired of iTunes?
Have you been feeling blah about all the heavyweight bloated mp3 apps you have to slog through just to quickly listen to a little mp3 file?

To the rescue, comes AleNofx, with two fantastic little apps to make your quick mp3 browsing on your mac totally painless.

Toolplayer - as light as they come, this ultra small player literally plays only the mp3 you double-click on, and when you go 'next' and 'prev' the smart little thing just uses the folder that the currently playing mp3 lives in. No tricks, no playlists, no 'store' to auto-connect to, just your music playing from you directories.

VOX - the 'larger' of the two programs, work just like the toolplayer, but adds some neato little bits like AudioScrobbling (cool if you have a Last.fm account and want to output what you're listening to).


Posted by Kyro Sk On 2009-03-14 1 comments

This post is the fault of the person who posted about the six-pack bit. How could I not end up trolling that site looking for something else roxxor?