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Bastion of Depravity

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Portents and Posts Apr. 11th, 2005 @ 11:32 pm

Either my last Star Wars post was so poignant that I was hesitant to follow it up, or I'm just a slacker. I'm thinking its the latter.

A couple of topics tonight. First I've picked up playing Xenosaga: Episode 2 again. I originally started playing it just after the big memory card wipe out; but at that point I was so disgusted with my PS2 I could really get into the game. But I've come back and picked it up again and it's a very enjoyable game to watch. I say watch because there isn't much "playing" involved in this game. I definitely don't recommend this game for hard core action aficionados out there. This game is pure storyline with the occasional bout of playability slipped in for good measure. And its excellent if you know what you are getting in to. I'll probably discuss the game more once I delve a bit deeper into the plot.

Also, a new Mark of Portent is up tonight. While I was getting everything posted I was talking with Tracie and we end up looking up various Smurf related drinks. If you have some spare time Google search for "the Flaming Smurf" or "Smurf drinks" and you'll see some interesting cocktails pop up - and a few drinking games to keep you nice and smashed while watching the TV show. Seriously, check it out!

Last thing: Dr Who on BBC. Now I'm not British and I can't reveal my sources as to HOW I get to see the new episodes of Dr Who, but I will say that this show needs to be brought over to America. Its a great Sci-Fi show and incredibly entertaining. It almost makes me wish I lived in Britain... almost. The only thing that would make me happier than seeing the new Dr Who episodes air in America is to see the old one's broadcast by a major channel like the SciFi Channel. In fact, I'd love to see them pick up the old and new seasons of Dr. Who and have a big marathon of old episodes leading up to the regular broadcast of the latest ones.

Don't know how Doctor Who is? Let me enlighten you. The Doctor is an alien who travels through time and space often ending up in the middle of dangerous situations. He is frequently accompanied on his journeys by one or two companions who are usually earthlings, though not always. They travel by means of a machine called a TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) which is much larger inside than out and has the ability to adapt itself to blend in with any environment, though that function is broken and its stuck disguised as an old, blue Police Call Box. The Doctor himself has been played by various actors (9 or 10 counting the new one, I think) as when the Doctor has the unique ability to, upon death, reincarnate in a new form. There is a limit to how many times this can be done, though I don't recall the exact number. I want to say 13, but who knows.

I'm not totally familiar with all of the past Doctors as most of the episodes I managed to catch on public tv years and years ago were from the 3rd and 4th Doctors. FYI, the 4th Doctor is consider by many to be the best and the current Doctor is modeled somewhat on the 4th. I've also read a few of the Doctor Who novels and I'm thinking I may pick up some more. The good thing about the current series is that you don't have to be intimately familiar with the original series. In fact even if you've never seen an older episode you would be able to jump in with the new one as it is geared to be accessible to the uninitiated.

Now we just need to get Dr Who stateside and everything will be well.

Feeling: lazylazy
Currently Playing: Xenosaga: Episode 2

The Secret of Star Wars' Suckiness Revealed! Apr. 2nd, 2005 @ 11:33 pm
Well I have no clue what to talk about today, but I figured I should go ahead and update so people don't think I'm dead. I guess we'll spin the Wheel O' Random and see what comes up...

So I've had Star Wars on my mind a lot lately and I think I have an idea of where my good pal GL (that's Mr. Lucas to the rest of you) went wrong with the Prequel movies. The new prequels focus far too heavily on the emotional relationships of the characters. The movies center around Anakin's relationships in particular: his love of padme, and his relationship with Obi-Wan this is both that of a mentor and of a competitor (in terms of Jedi skill and such). However these relationships aren't dynamic, the character's themselves don't make any personal journey's within the movies.

If you look at the characters at the beginning of one of the movies and at the end, they really haven't changed that much. Sure you could argue that Quigon Jinn is alive at the beginning of Phantom Menace and is dead at the end, and I'll grant you that's a pretty significant transition. But the character's personalities are still the same at the beginning and end of each movie. Really from the beginning of Phantom Menace to the end Attack of the Clones the character's haven't changed much aside from aging. Anakin is still the childishly impulsive boy he was in PM, ObiWan is still the wise and adventurous Jedi with much to learn, and Padme is the dutiful and caring diplomat.

Now let's look at the original trilogy. At the beginning of A New Hope Luke is a daydreamer with no ambition to pursue his dreams, Leia is a haughty princess who thinks she can take care of anything and everything herself, and Han is a money loving drug smuggler who only looks out for #1 (and I don't care how many times they re-edit the movie Greedo did NOT shoot first). Now by the end of the movie Luke has become daring and confident enough to pursue his dreams and turn off his targeting computer at the whim of a whispery voice, Leia becomes a true leader worried for those she has sent off to fight and openly acknowledges that she couldn't have accomplished her goals alone, and Han risks himself and does the right thing by pursuing the greater good. And through each of the next two movies their character's grow individually as well as in their emotional relationships: Han and Leia into lovers, and Luke and Leia into caring siblings.

So no, I don't truthfully blame Jar Jar Binks for ruining the first movie or the sappy romance for making the second unbearably slow. I blame the fact that while the story progresses the character's stand still. And its this exact reason why I'm holding out a lot of hope for the last of the prequel films. It would be really hard to get through Revenge of the Sith without some decent character changes. I look forward to seeing Anakin evolve from a would-be Jedi out to prove himself to a cold-hearted, power hungry Sith lord; and his mentor/rival relationship with Obiwan break down into that of bitter enemies. There is just so much potential for these thus-far stagnant characters to come alive and evolve in this third film that I can't help but think that this one will truly be worthy of the name 'Star Wars.'

Oh, and the special effects look COOL!
Feeling: blankblank

WTF! Cheaters! Mar. 29th, 2005 @ 10:40 pm
So another missed day. I wonder how much longer I'll even bother.

Today I went out and bought some used games from Electronic Boutique. I got Battlestar Galactica and Arc the Lad for the PS2. I haven't plugged in Arc yet, but Battlestar is whipping my butt. I can't even get past the first mission. I'm thinking its because my tv is kind of small and I'm having trouble seeing the things I'm supposed to be shooting at. I really wish the game had a tutorial section where I could actually practice the controls in a gameplay setting. The game is set prior to the Sci-Fi channel series when now Admiral Adama was just getting his flight wings and the Cylon war was in full swing. I'm really looking forward to exploring the game's story so I hope that what seems like a steep difficulty level is just a matter of learning curve.

The sad thing is that I'm not dying because I'm getting blown up. Its this one part of the mission where I have to rush to kill off Cylons attacking a wingmate, and I always seem to get it down to one or two bad guys left when my wingmate blows up and I lose the mission. I'm gonna try throwing the game on my dad's PS2 which is hooked up to a nice big TV and see if I don't fair better.

I'll probably bust out with some Arc the Lad later tonight or tomorrow and see what that's all about. I'm hoping its decent. I got the game for $10, so it'd have to be really crappy to disappoint me.

Maybe tomorrow I'll have news about the second Battlestar Galatica mission and Arc the Lad... or if you really lucky something I might talk about something interesting. You never can tell.
Feeling: annoyedannoyed

Heavy Lifting Sucks Mar. 27th, 2005 @ 11:24 pm

Well I missed posting the last two days. Boxing up your entire life and moving it across town kept me busy. What can I say? I'm a slacker.

I have to admit though, my room looks really nice and feels very open, an accomplishment seeing as I've stuffed an entire apartment's worth of stuff into a single bedroom. I've even got my trust PS2 and Gamecube all setup and ready to go; and I feel some DK Jungle Beat calling my name. Well it's more like "Ook" but I'm under the impression that it's Monkey for my name.

Also, tonight was the season finale of HBO's Carnivale. It's been an excellent, though slow moving, series, but I have to admit I was kind of underwhelmed by the finale. They've been building up for a confrontation between the main hero and villain the entire season, and the 'epic' final conflict unfolded in about 5 minutes. All in all I wanted there to more, something to make me scream "What? No! You can't end it there!! There MUST be more!!!" Instead I walked away from the finale thinking "That's it?" Don't get me wrong, I want to see the show come back for another season. It just could have had more of a hook at the end than it did.

Now with Battlestar Galactica's finale only a week away I find myself at a loss for TV shows to watch. Sci-Fi Friday's and Carnivale are what I used to measure my progress through the week. At the same time, though, I have no desire to get hooked into another series which I will invariable forced to by the DVDs for... because I'm a DVD whore. Hopefully I can tough out the TV drought season by going to my time honored addiction of video games, or maybe find a new series of good books to read.

Well it's getting late, I'm getting sleepy, and I'm trying to convince myself to start doing an early morning jog around my neighborhood to try and get into shape. If I'm to have any hope of actually following through I better head off to bed. This "getting in shape" thing would just be so much easier if aliens would simply abduct me and rebuild my body into a uber-lean fighting machine. So come on you silly aliens, get crackin'.

Feeling: exhaustedexhausted

*kzzt* Star Wars *kzzt* Clone Wars *kzzt* Mar. 24th, 2005 @ 11:49 pm
Woo... I'm jazzed. Or J-iz-azzed as the funky folk say.

I just finished watching Vol. 1 of the "Star Wars: Clone Wars" animated series DVD. Now I saw the first 10 of the episode on Cartoon Network when they originally aired, and I caught bits and pieces of 11-20. To be honest the short, choppy nature of the series stopped it from having any large impact on my Star Wars fanboyism. However, watching all 20 in one setting as a single feature. Wow.

Now the Episode III trailer got my psyched up about Star Wars, this DVD just put me into kind of insane mania! I think I might explode with excitement before May 19th comes around. My giddy level is just going to go through the roof in the coming months. So if you hear a loud scream of joy and then a sudden "boom", that'd be me popping from the built up enthusiasm.

Also, the uber-Star Wars feeling I'm on seems to have my Force sense working in over drive. This morning on the way to work I heard this jingle for "Ocean Potion Sun Tan Lotion" that I couldn't get out of my head all day. Then I pop on line to find out my best friend won a free cruise and wants to take me. Odd, oui?

Anyway, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat is so fun its a hazard. I've literally been playing so hard I have a big bruise on my palm. That's what I get for beating up giant mutant monkeys and boars. I need to beat up giant mutant animals that are a little softer. Hmm, where can I find some giant mutant bunnies to beat on? Maybe I'll Google it...
Feeling: giddygiddy
Currently Playing: Star Wars: Clone Wars DVD
Other entries
» Bam Bam Bam Bam *Clap*

So I bought Donkey Kong Jungle Beat today.

You wouldn't think a side scroller powered by a pair of bongos would be all that enthralling, but it is. Very much so. The controls are simple and the boards, thus far, aren't overly difficult. But that isn't what makes the game appealing. Its just so much fun. Beating on those Nintendo bongos and beating/clapping the snot out of cute, evil primates and their lackeys is just satisfying on a very primitive level. It really makes you feel like you are really bashing your enemies as you pound your bongos and clap aggressively. It's stress relieving and tiring.

I also bought the Star Wars: Clone Wars microseries the Cartoon Network made on DVD. I saw most of them when they aired, but I did miss a few. Besides, I'm a Star Wars freak I have to have it. Thus far I have managed to put off buying the Ewok Adventure and the Droids animated show... but the Dark Side of the geek in me grows stronger each time I see them and know I don't have them. Now they just need to release that old Star Wars Christmas Special on DVD for me...

Anyway, tired and my arms feeling kind of tingly and numb I must head to bed so I can be awake and productive at work tomorrow. Maybe I'll have dreams of a giant monkey clobbering all of the co-workers I don't like. Yeah, that'd be nice.

Oh, and happy birthday to my bro Chris! 25 = lower insurance, w00t!

» Steak N Cake

So my roommate is getting ready to move out of town at the end of the month, and tonight we had our last big "at home" meal. I cooked steaks, rice, and made a chocolate cake. The steaks came out pretty good, especially considering I forgot to take them out of the freezer yesterday and had to defrost them in the microwave. The rice was your standard Lipton Instant Rice fair, nothing spectacular. But the cake... oh the cake was delicious.

For those that know me this does not come as a surprise. I can bake a mean cake. Now this was not a "from scratch" cake, just your basic boxed cake mix stuff and icing. But somehow even that came out spectacularly well under my careful guidance. Wonderfully moist and fluffy, and just as flavorful as the icing. I don't know how I do it.

Now I'm not one to toot my own horn. Heck I'm usually criticizing myself harder than anyone around me. But baking is something I just enjoy and am really good at. I could probably go learn to be a chef or something, but then cooking would be my job and that would suck. Interestingly enough, though, I've only recently discovered this talent for baking. In college I'd occasionally throw a batch of brownies together from a box-mix, but when I got out of college I got interested in baking things from scratch. And its fun. Its like science, but far more interesting and with an end result that you can (hopefully) eat. I look to baking as a kind of puzzle game: You have to find the right pieces and put them together in the right way, and if you do it right you get an awesome four-layer strawberry cake. Yum, now that's something you can look forward to dissecting!

All this talk of food makes me realize how lazy I've gotten. I can feel myself gaining weight. I need to start heading to the gym again. I'm thinking once I get moved out of my apartment and back into my parents I might trying waking up early and doing a morning jog around the block type of thing. Though based on how I do mornings I might fare better with an evening jog. I have a gym membership that I started slacking on shortly after Christmas (when I got bad sick) and haven't gotten back into. I want to get into it again now, but after I move out my gym is gonna be about 40 minutes away. I wonder how much a membership is at the Y, and how late their open? Or maybe I should look into one of those all-in-one personal gym thingies that can do like a billion plus different weight training routines. Heck, it can't be more expensive than my gym fees.

Hell, I could go and work out right now I guess. But no.

Update: A new comic is up! We're trying out a new font to replace the old Comic Sans we've been using. Some people seem to have a problem with that font. Hope everyone likes the new one.

» Mercenary of Woe

Today begins my weekend, but I have a rough week is ahead of me. Tomorrow is my only real day off all week. Wednesday I have to go in for a half day to help out with a big project at work; and not 'big' as in make-me-look-good-important but 'big' as in massively huge and we need someone to do the grunt work so come in on your day off. It really shouldn't be that bad since I am taking off this Saturday; except for the fact that I'm only taking off Saturday so I can move. Hence the whole "rough week" comment.

I'm trying to stave off boredom right now, and a part of me wants to do it by playing Mercenaries on my PS2. However, a larger part of me feels sick at the thought of playing the game. Now Mercenaries is NOT a bad game; in fact its an excellent game for which I have few complaints (a rarity for me). However recent bad experiences have made the game less than fun for me.

After spending about 2 weeks digging my claws into this game and getting halfway through, just opening up a whole new area to explore, tragedy strikes. As I try to back up some of my old game saves the memory card gets corrupted and I lose ALL of my current save games. For those who truly enjoy video game you can understand the propensity of such a loss. Now I have coped to some degree and even managed to find some save games online that put me back more or less where I was before the Great Memory Card Corruption of '05. However, whenever I play the game I know that it's not my game. Mind you it doesn't help that this game shows all of the little hidden pickups I'm supposed to scower that game for as already found. Of course I could just start over, but the thought of that leaves a sick feeling in my stomach.

Its really not fair to such an awesome game to have so much of the fun ruined by having to play someone else's save, but I don't want to abandon the game and I don't want to start over. So thus I am left in a debate: Do I play a game that is unfullfilling because I know it is not truly my game? Or do I start over and hope the sick feeling in my stomach over all the wasted time I spent before losing my save just goes away?

In the end I may just distance myself from the game, set it aside for a few months and then see if the thought of starting over comes across as more palatable.

But let me conclude this tragic tale of video game loss and woe with this important truth: if you have a PS2 or Xbox you need to buy Mercenaries. AWESOME game. Buy it... now!

In other news... I have nothing else to say.

» Must... post... must... stay... awake...

I'm sleepy and don't have much to talk about at the moment, but I'm gonna try and keep this "post a day" thing going at least for my first week. Then I'll get distracted by some other random thing and forget I even have a live journal.

So its almost Easter. I never really understood the concept of Easter. Supposedly its a holiday about remembering the death of Jesus... but aside from going to church (which if that's the only day out of the year you go ;it is a pointless endeavor anyway) there's not much religious based activities associated with it. Eggs, chocolate, bunnies... I mean at least give me a chocolate Jesus. Though, come to think of it I'd feel kind of strange eating Jesus. There's just something inherently wrong with that... I'll stick with eating bunnies.

And then there's those peeps: giant chicken shaped marshmallows. Why? What inspired someone to shape a marshmallow like a chicken? What depraved mind hopped up on illegal amounts of sugar decided "It'd be cool if a marshmallow was shaped like a chicken?" Probably the same guy who came up with the idea of bunnies laying chocolate eggs. Trust me, if I saw a bunny pop out something brown I don't care how much it looks like an egg I'm not eating it.

You know what? I'm rebelling. I'm coming clean about how Easter REALLY works!! No, the Easter bunny does not poop out chocolate for your easter delight. A mysterious band of Swiss Holy Ninjas (known as the Bunny Clan) spends the whole year brewing their magical ninja chocolate, and then on the first Sunday in April they stealthily slip into the houses of people all over the world. And since Easter is a Jesus holiday, this Swiss Holy Ninja Chocolate contains a secret chemical compound that makes it 47.6% more delicious for faithful Christians. The peeps, however, are products manufactured by the Giant Demonic Chickens (often referred to as El Grande Pollos Diablo): an evil band of demons that use their own secret ingredients in their evil peeps (which resemble their own demon spawn) to negate the special effects of the Swiss Ninja Chocolate.

So now you know the awful truth, Easter is not only a religious holiday; but just opening your Easter basket is a dangerous battle betwixt good and evil. You never know which candies are gifts of the Swiss Holy Ninjas and which are products of the Giant Demonic Chickens... Here's a hint to keep in mind come Easter: the Swiss Holy Ninjas tend to favor chocolate, but white chocolate cannot be trusted.

» The Day of the Danged

Today is 3/19. Why is that significant you ask? Or maybe you don't, I don't care I'm telling you anyway. Sheesh, you're always spoiling the ambiance.

319 is a number that has recurred frequently in the life of me and my best friend (she has a journal under the name Sketchmech). For example, it was the room number of two of her dorm rooms in college. For some reason this number seems to pop up everywhere. One time I clicked on this little link in someone's signature that said something weird about eating brains. Something like that makes you curious. Well when I clicked the link it takes me to a page that said something like "So and so has just eaten your brain and turned you into a zombie" trying to get me to;get involved in the same thing. Here's the weird part, it told me how many other people the guy had lured in to this site. I was number 319.

Its no coincidence that this number has constantly recurred in our lives. There is some deeper meaning that I have yet to understand. I mean the fact that a Taco Bell Quesadilla and taco without a drink comes to $3.19 with tax is just a small part of some larger interstellar destiny thingie. One day I'll figure it out... probably when its far too late.

Ah, and now for the promised discussion on 'Star Wars: Republic Commando.'

SW:RC is an awesome game, and very well designed. I won't comment on the multiplayer parts of the game because I haven't messed with any of that yet. The main game however, only suffers from two major weaknesses. The first is simply that the game is far too short. The game has missions based on only three planets. They attempt to make the game seem longer by chopping up each mission into smaller chunks: Reach this room. *load* Blow up this generator *load* Stop the bad guys from destroying something *load* Ultimately it just makes the game seem short and choppy. They really needed to expand the game out to a wider variety of worlds, make it seem like I'm a rough and ready commando digging my way through a never ending series of missions that no one else is tough enough to handle. Still, it was a good story and excellent game play; otherwise I wouldn't be complaining about wanting more, right?

The second thing is that your AI squad mates need to be more unique. Each one has a personality that's different, but you only see these differences in the dialog. When you assign a squadmate to plant an motion-sensor explosive on a set of exploding barrels, its simply the nearest commando that runs to the job. Now I'd like to see the commando who is supposed to be the teams demolitions expert be the one who jumps to the task, unless you have him otherwise assigned to something else. It's a shame they did such a good job developing unique personalities for the clone commandos but didn't adapt those into the actual game play.

Anyway, overall Republic Commando is an good game that could have been excellent if they'd just given us more of it. As I said I have yet to delve into the online arena, so maybe that will give the game a bit more playability once the main missions are over.

But enough jabbering for now. Its late, I'm tired, and I have this uncanny desire to take a squad composed entirely of 4 copies of myself and start levying some damage about the place. That should be some pleasant dreaming.

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