Friday, November 26, 2010

Don't Be a Douchebag

Stories about bullying are nothing new.  I’m sure each of us at least once in our lives has had to experience being made fun of because of something we liked or because of our identity, or just because some other kid had something to prove.  Whether we are singled out and picked on due to our gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, movie preference, or because of our actions, our statements or any other arbitrary reason, the act of bullying is uniformly unacceptable and reprehensible.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Book Review: Hero

Hero by Perry Moore
Disney/Hyperion Books, 2009

So, I had this dream last night where Eye-shuh suddenly appeared next to my desk. "Good job at not writing," she said. "Writing? I've done a crap ton of writing!" *I wave my hands emphatically at the monitor.* "How about a paper on the relevance of Library of Congress subject headings in the digital age?" "BORING!" "Okay, how about a one hour information literacy lecture on research methods??" "Our readers don't give a damn about your stupid graduate work, write something interesting!" *Eye-shuh then began to beat me over the head with my own keyboard, crumbs flying everywhere.* "FINE, FINE, I give up! How about a book review on a young adult superhero novel that I booktalked at a high school last week?" "That will do... mortal." (Really Eye-shuh, you're more demanding than my profs :P )

I know what you're thinking. Did I hear you just say that this is a YOUNG ADULT novel?? Yes, yes it is, and if you are a fan of superheros you should still read it. But Eep, this is classified as an issue book about *gasp* HOMOSEXUALITY. And again, yes, yes it is, and if you are a fan of superheros you should GET OVER IT AND READ THE DAMN BOOK ALREADY.

First Thoughts: Rage HD for iOS

Id Software has set a new standard for capabilities on the iOS platform with their recently released game Rage HD. Rage HD is a tie-in to drum up attention for their upcoming PC game (surprisingly) titled Rage. It is an on-rails FPS set in the Rage universe of wastelands, zombies, post-apocalyptic… yeh you've heard this before. While the setting is familiar, id did not cheap out on the graphics. Rage HD looks amazing. It could easily be misconstrued as a Wii game.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Netflix Announces Streaming Only Rate

Well we all saw it coming and it's finally here.  Today Netflix started offering a "Streaming Only" membership rate.  No more need to worry about DVDs and/or Blu-Ray discs from them.

Along with the new membership they also announced new pricing for all their plans (see new pricing below).  Netflix VP Marketing, Jessie Baker, stated in the Netflix Blog that this is the result of the large increase of TV shows and movies available on the streaming service and the fact that members are viewing more through the streaming service than DVDs.

Hospitals and Horrible Games

When I was ten years old I underwent major reconstructive surgery on both of my feet. All gory details aside, it was a necessary operation that allowed me to continue to walk in a (somewhat) normal manner. Eighteen years later, I have two lasting impressions from my time in the hospital. The first is the bitchin' scars on my feet that I usually attribute to that time I rescued puppies and kittens from a burning building. The second is that "The Three Stooges" for the Nintendo Entertainment System was a terrible game.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Kinect Fail Kontinues

I too fell victim of not properly making sure my surrounding area was clear before playing the Xbox Kinect.  Below, our hero plays beach volleyball in Kinect Sports and during a "spike" manages to rip down most of his lightstring.

Overall though, despite the mishap I am enjoying the Kinect.  I really love the voice commands and hope that Netflix soon implements it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Late to the Party: Podiobooks

So, as usual I am late to the party on this - I have recently discovered podiobooks! What are podiobooks you ask? Why, let me tell you! Podiobooks are audiobooks released as podcasts. Clever, eh?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Desert Bus for Hope 4: It's time to make it rain for Child's Play!

Cancel all of your plans and crack open those piggy banks: it is time, once again, for the best damned internet telethon in existence - the 4th annual Desert Bus for Hope! You would think that watching people play what is arguably the worst video game ever created nonstop would be a torturous affair, but web comedy troupe LoadingReadyRun (Unskippable, ENN) and assorted special guests keep us all coming back for more, raising over $140,000 for Child's Play Charity in 2009.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Looking at Pretty Pictures Big Time Spider Action

It’s time for another Looking at Pretty Pictures and this time I’m going to talk about superhero books from last week. This week there was a big Batman event (Bruce Wayne is back) and a big Spider-Man event (he’s hit the “Big Time”). I’m going to talk about Spider-Man because it’s a beginning rather than an ending, so it’s easier to get into now rather than have to track down all of the “Return of Bruce Wayne” issues; and also because Peter Parker is just better than Bruce Wayne. (That last note is mostly for eye-shuh)

I haven’t read a new Spider-Man books in a while. The last thing I touched was the trade of One More Day which I will fully admit lies somewhere between not enjoyable and downright irritating. That being said, I haven’t heard too many bad things about the Brand New Day stories that followed the end of Peter Parker and Mary-Jane’s break-up. So once I heard about the beginning of the Big Time storyline I decided it was time to give the book a chance--and I have to say it was well worth checking out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Zombies have Risen Again!

Do you love John Wayne movies and zombies? Then you'll love The Walking Dead! This new TV show is all about a no-frills "real-world" zombie apocalypse.  AMC is the all-American, old-Western network so this show does have its fair share of car-chasing, gun-toting cowboys and--I've heard--white supremacists.  It's got all the blood, gore and glory with a little bit of poignant humanity.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Alchemy for Android

I'm always looking for fun little apps for my phone and recently came across Alchemy while updating my pushup program, Drop and Give me Twenty (not recommended, btw).

Alchemy is a Doodle God (which you iPeople out there can buy) clone and is a fantastic little time waster for when you are waiting in line, are on the bus or are sitting on the pot. You start out with four elements: earth, fire, air and water, and work on making two element combinations by dragging their icons together. In the beginning it's pretty easy, water + fire = alcohol, for instance. But, as you progress, things get a bit more difficult. A mouse, for instance takes about 20 or so steps. O.o

So far I've made about 130 of the 330 possible combinations (admittedly, with a little help from online guides) in about four days. I seriously doubt this game will keep my attention long enough to get everything, but Alchemy is an enjoyable diversion, especially since it's free.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Pretty Gamer Interviews! 'AFK Tavern: A Place for Geeks and Gamers'

I can't count the number of times throughout the years that the topic of a bar or pub just for gamers has popped up. Probably thousands within my earshot alone. But today, in Everett, Washington - a dream of epic proportions is finally coming true. And get this: your 18+ friends are welcome.

When I heard about AFK Tavern through the grapevine I made a beeline for research and sent an interview request via email. On the other end of the tubes I found Kayla and Alison, two funny, kick ass gamers on a mission to bring our community together again - by offering up the one thing that's swiftly disappearing: a place we can come together and play.

Consumer Reports: The Kinect is Not "Racist"

So, GameSpot made some claims that Microsoft's Kinect has problems recognizing "dark skinned GameSpot employees" and that Kinect has no problem with light skinned people for the log-in aspect of the system.  By the end of their article they didn't outright say it, but it was heavily implied that the Kinect will not work with blacks at all for log-in.  This has been since misconstrued across the web as the Kinect being "racist" or proof against Microsoft that they somehow made another defective product.

Well, strangely enough, Consumer Reports of all places saw something wrong with GameSpot's story and decided to retest the Kinect using light and dark skinned people.  Their findings, turn on a light:

Marketing: Activision nails it with 1st 'CoD: Black Ops' commercial (video)

Thank You. It's about gorram frakking time. Someone finally created an ad for a first person shooter (FPS) that doesn't fall face first into the laziest pitfalls of the genre. The semi-animated "realism" of a war torn landscape with a gritty blue, grey, or brown haze. Fade into game footage of a super generic soldier walking, running, crouching with his weapon (nearly *always* male) - and add an explosion involving a tank, helicopter, or building. Finally the gruff voice over or terrible voice acting that might describe the thin plot. Swap a fatigue color here and a landscape there - rinse and repeat for every first person shooter ad nauseum.

It basically offends my sensibilities as a marketing nerd. =P

Hello Nurse! (Yaoi-Con, Day One)

Day One Begins

The day begins in the late morning (overslept!) but it's all good since nothing really begins until this evening. I have to admit, I like the pace of this con; it seems the organizers aren't morning people either since everything begins after 12 pm and continues into the wee hours of the morning. I head downstairs to pick up my badge and goodie bag and witness the full swing of a hotel in the throes of a convention.

Its fortunate that Carmen made me pre-register since a very long line greeted me that afternoon, luckily it was for everyone else, pre-reg's scooted through very quickly in another line. Security is tight, I had to present my picture ID and the email of my preregistration, I was then given a wrist bracelet and badge both of which I must have at all times to participate in any part of the convention. They are very serious about security here and take every precaution that no one under the age of 18 somehow slips past.

Day 1 is still very relaxed. No panels, just registration, swap meet, opening ceremonies, bishie(1) bingo and a screening of Rocky Horror Picture show much later in the evening.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The assassin your assassin could kill like

With Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood just around the corner, I've found myself dwelling on the AC series in general and Assassin's Creed 2 in particular. And you know, the more I think about him, the more I like Ezio Auditore. Maybe it's just me, but he feels like a breath of fresh air compared to all the grizzled war veterans, PTSD-suffering teenagers and psychopathic killing machines that seem to populate our fair medium. Ezio is confident, friendly and outgoing, with a sense of humor that extends beyond mere oneliners. He's the ultimate charming rogue; engaging, smooth, and a ladies man.

Now who else do we know that's like that?


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Travels of Terror: Great Places to be for Halloween

I love Halloween!  It's the special, mysterious time of year when we celebrate spirits and let our dark sides out!  It's a time when change is in the air, from the leaves to the weather to our own preparations for the winter.  My birthday is also right near Halloween, but I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

As much as I love Halloween, I am absolutely terrible at finding suitable (read: comfortable) costumes, and I always wait until the last minute.  Every year, I find myself wishing that I could just get outta town, forget about the whole dressing up and collecting candy affair, and get out into the world to have a really unique Halloween experience.

Here are my top travel destinations for Halloween (in no particular order):

Quest for Amigurumi

Are you familiar with amigurumi? They are knitted or crocheted stuffed animals / anthopomorphic things / weird stuff. My all time favourite is (of course) Cthulhu:

FYI: Cthulhu is the pink one in the above picture, made by my friend Angela.