Friday, December 10, 2004

"Polar Express 3D"

Just gotta add a short blurb on Polar Express 3D showing at the IMAX. To put it simply, it was engrossing. My eyes were just glued to the screen. Going into the film, I was thinking that the 3D effects were just going to be tacked on since the majority of the screenings are in traditional 2D. But if they just tacked on the 3D to PE3D, I'd really like to see what a dedicated 3D computer generated movie would look like! This 3D was the most natural looking 3D I'd ever seen! Maybe that's because instead of looking like things were coming out of the screen, it looked more like I could see into the screen. It was more like the screen had depth. That's a lot more natural if you think about it. It was almost like watching a live play with very elaborate sets. The illusion of depth really makes it work because that's how we see things. Because seriously, how many times do you get shit thrown right into your face in real life? It reminded me a lot of those "Magic Eye" posters only like 100x better. The movie itself was not what I expected either. It was like 90% action. It also wasn't too sappy. Both good things. Man, and that 3D snow falling... wow. Anyway, it was worth every penny of the $12 admission. If you have one showing near you (they're showing it at the Bob Bullock Museum here in Austin), go see it ASAP!

Rob's Rating: Super kickass!

The fact that Nintendo is trying to hold off Sony with two screens and a stylus is laughable. The DS isn't as powerful, it's bulky, and so far the games are uninspired. The DS is just plain ugly, and it feels like a poorly made Hong Kong knockoff. The dual screen thing is an absolute joke. A handful of games will take advantage of the 2nd screen in a truly innovative way, and maybe a handful more will take advantage of the touch screen, but for the most part we're going to end up with a bunch of games with a built-in map. About all I can hope for is a decent Punch-Out!! conversion, which truthfully, never really needed 2 screens anyway.

Just to set things straight, I am not a Sony or MS fanboy. In fact, I'm wearing my black Nintendo logo shirt right now. :) Truthfully, I'm not a fanboy of any company and/or system. I just like games. In fact, I buy every single console released. I do tell it like I see it however. And if I were to tell Nintendo anything right now, it's that they fucked up royally with the DS. Sure, it's selling right now, but it's Xmas and everything fucking sells. They can only ride the success of their NES/GB for so long.

It's funny how the non-gaming giants Sony and Microsoft beat the shit out of the gaming mainstays Nintendo and Sega. Nintendo is hanging on, but that's only because of their portable market share, and Sony's taking care of that shit.

It'll be a sad day, but at this rate Nintendo will cease to make console gaming systems. They'll be the Next Atari... the next Sega. I suppose they're going to try to tough it out for one more generation, but honestly, if their nextgen system isn't fucking awesome (and given Nintendo's track record, it won't be) then that will be Nintendo's final console. Their portable hardware might survive a bit longer, but their showing signs of weakness there as well.

You know, if I had to name my favorite console of all time, I would say it was the SNES. Though sales numbers may disagree, anyone with a brain could see that it beat the living shit outta Sega's Genesis. It looked and sounded way better than the Genesis, and the games were just beautiful. It's also the home to my favorite controller of all time: the SNES pad. Then it happened... the Nintendo64 came out, and console-wise, it was all downhill from there. As far as portables, the GB was OK, the GBA was good, and the GBA SP is actually pretty damn awesome. You know why? Because it's a glorified, portable SNES with a lit screen. :)

Thursday, December 02, 2004

"Why I hate your shit."

So I admit it. There is a lot of shit in this world that I dislike. A lot. I mean more than most. Or if not more than most, I'm more vocal about it. And it's not like I don't like it and let it be, it's like I don't like it and I have to tell you that it's shit.

Well, that's not really true. I've actually gotten a lot better about this. Now I only go off on people that insist on fucking with me about it. For the most part I don't evangelize about how they should stop liking whatever bullshit thing they're obsessed about at the moment. I just try to get the opposition (who's usually a raving lunatic about whatever it is I hate) to at least agree that I don't have to like their whatever-it-is.

One of the things that I'm constantly given shit about is my diet. This is because I fucking hate whole genres of food. Yeah, that's sounds like a pretty stupid thing to do... food prejudice. But nevertheless, I hate shit like seafood. Have I tried all seafood? Of course fucking not. What kind of stupid ass question is that? But what I have tried tasted and even felt fucking disgusting. So why the fuck would I want to try squid testicles? Because I might like them? Listen, there is enough food in this world that I do like that I don't think having to resort to eating squid testicles is necessary. If I should miss out... oh fucking well... more squid nuts for you and your pansy friends.

That shit goes for Chinese food, Indian Food, Polynesian Food, Mexican food (from Mexico... not Tex-Mex... that shit is good! Well, some of it is.), Thai Food, Vietnamese food, French Food.... let's just say damn near all food that isn't Tex-Mex, American, or Americanized Italian in nature. And even within those, I'm picky.

I like to think of it as God's way of keeping me from being 500 lbs. Ever see a picky fat kid? Yeah, didn't think so. I'm already 'not my ideal weight', and if I wasn't picky (and sometimes I do go without eating because I'm picky), I'd be waaay past my ideal weight.

And yes, this does go beyond food... like what broght this whole thing on: video games. I simply do not like certain games. The one that brought this on is Tekken 5. Now, I used to like Tekken, back when I didn't know any better, and we had a blast with Tekken 2. After that, I tuned out. I ended up tuning out of the whole 3D fighters thing in general. Virtua Fighter, Soul Calibur, Dead of Alive. Yeah, fuck those games. I mean, I guess they're OK. But I hate games where you can just mash buttons and 'special' moves come out. Sure, you can be good at these games, and mashing buttons isn't going to get you a win against a decent opponent, but in the fighting games I'm used to (that would be 2D fighting games for those of you keeping track at home) if you sucked at the game, you got fucking destroyed by a good player. If my wife can do even ONE special move, that game is suspect in my opinion.

This, of course, means that the games I like aren't the most popular games. Joe Schmoe doesn't wanna play a game where he gets destroyed everytime. He wants to know that he can hang with anyone. Even if it's just sometimes. This is the reason that the games that are the most popular are the "most suck" in my opinion. Counter-Strike is another fine example. From what I've heard, they have introduced more and more randomness to that game with every patch... thereby leveling the playing field. So, yay, more people can 'hang' now. Too bad the game is shit.

Other times I'll admit that a game is good, but for whatever reason I just didn't get into it. Take the Grand Theft Auto series. Please. (Ok, that was bad.) But yeah, take that series. I thought that GTA3 was, you know, pretty good. But it wasn't super fucking awesome in my book. So, I didn't buy Vice City. Other people loved the shit outta that game. I just happen to not. Now, with San Andreas, people were going nuts. People touting it as the BEST GAME EVER! WTF? It's the fucking same thing with new missions, people. Sure, it's pretty good, but so fucking what? There are a lot of pretty good games out there. Seriuosly. This one dude was adamant that I should go and buy San Andreas because it was so damn awesome. And I'm like... dude, if I didn't really care for GTA3, nor Vice City, why the fuck am I gonna be in love with San Andreas? That just doesn't make sense. Now, get off my balls about it.

Some people...

Monday, November 29, 2004

"Top 5 games"

So rummaging through some old crap, I found this little gem from sometime in early 2004. For no reason at all, I polled random people on my AIM list. I asked them: "NAME THE TOP 5 GAMES OF ALL TIME OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD (ANY SYSTEM)." Here's what I got back from my spontaneous poll:

[All comments are Rob's and therefore 100% true.]

Top 5
[#1] 6 votes: Street Fighter II (Series)

This proves that I have the smartest people in the world in my AIM list. If you didn't vote for SF2, you probably suck pretty bad at it and resent it. It wasn't the first 1-on-1 fighting game ever made, but it's truly the only one that really mattered. It had a great, clean, uncluttered, and FUN fighting system, memorable characters, and even memorable music and stages to boot. SF2 is truly deserving of
the top spot.

[#2] 4 votes (tie): Final Fantasy III (i.e. VI in Japan)

Thist game was to RPG's what SF2 was to fighting games. If you voted for any other RPG and FF III wasn't on your list, I can only hope that you haven't played FF III.

[#2] 4 votes (tie): Quake III (+ mods)

Undoutedly, this is only in the top 5 because a lot of my AIM list is comprised of Quake 3 players. :) Even still, I firmly belive that Quake III is the epitome of First Person Shooter DEATHMATCH games.I say deathmatch, because it's single player experience is lacking. That's because this game was designed for deathmatch, and no other FSP game can say that. Except for UT, in which case it can say that it was designed for sucky deathmatch with mining weapons of the future! Multiplayer deathmatch catapults Quake III deseverdly to the top 5.

[#2] 4 votes (tie): Super Mario 64

The first game to successfully take a franchise from it's 2D greatness into the 3D realm. It was as revolutionay as the original Super Mario Bros. Hands down the best 3D platformer ever created.

[#5] 3 votes: Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (i.e. Zelda III)

Eschewing the Zelda II suckiness and goint back to its roots, Zelda III simply kicked ass. Like a lot of Nintendo franchises, it was actually successfully converted to 3D on the N64 and GameCube Zeldas, but nothing quite beats playing Zelda in its original top-down form. A classic.

Also Receving Votes:
2 Final Fantasy VII - Give it up you sony dweebs. I konw you played this first, but seriously... III > VII.
2 Herzog Zwei - I can only say that Kevin is 'teh rulez' for being the only other person to give this game props.
2 Pac-Man - OK, this game was boring. Ms. Pac-Man > Pac-Man by like 100 times.
2 Quake (+ mods) - Surpassed by Quake 3 for balanced Deathmatch. Single player was good.
2 Starcraft - I never got into this game, but I'm not Korean... so... I mistakenly think that Red Alert > *.
2 Super Mario Bros. 3 - Awesome game.
1 Battlefield: Vietnam - This game is too new. I mean, will you play it years from now?
1 Capcom Vs. SNK 2 - Good, but flawed fighting game.
1 Chrono Trigger - Ehhh. Just couldn't get into this. Lack of a huge set of characters for your party hurt it.
1 City of Heroes - See Battlefield. Seriously, these type of games has a short (but intense) lifespan.
1 Civilization - I liked it, but I don't see what all the fuss was about.
1 Contra - Nice.
1 Deja Vu - WTF? I've never played this game? Hmmm... I'm gonna have to track a copy down now.
1 Dig Dug - Ummm... it might be Top 5 Material if this was like, the early 80s.
1 DooM - Very good, but id has made way better games since then. Take off the nostalgia glasses.
1 DooM II - See DooM.
1 Dungeon Siege - I never played it, and I don't think I will. Thanks.
1 Earthbound - Awesome game. Kris is also 'teh rulez' with Kevin.
1 Excitebike - Very fun game. But top 5 ever? Nah.
1 Final Fantasy I - The game was flawed. But it eventually spawned Final Fantasy III, so it should get some props I guess.
1 Final Fantasy II (i.e. IV in Japan) - Almost as good as FF III, but not.
1 Final Fantasy X - See Final Fantasy II.
1 Galaga - Great shooter, but again with the nostalgia glasses.
1 Gauntlet - The only thing I can say is: "Elf needs food, badly!"
1 Goldeneye - There are these things called PC's where you can use a Mouse and Keyboard for FPS games. Look into it.
1 Gran Turismo - If I liked 'realistic' racing where you can slam into stuff and not get damaged, this would be my choice.
1 Half-Life - Nice single player mode, but you also spawned Counter-Strike. So you are automatically 'teh suck'.
1 Halo - See Goldeneye.
1 Homeworld 2 - I liked the first one a lot. Didn't play this, but I can't see it jumping into the top 5.
1 Kingdom Hearts - Looked cool. Never got around to it.
1 MechWarrior 2 - Good PC game.
1 Metal Gear Solid - Creating the stealth genre was a good thing.
1 Metroid Prime - Props for making it still 'feel' like Metroid, but how aobut a decent ending without needing 100%??
1 Morrowind - Ryan sucks.
1 Quake II (+ mods) - Slooow rockets. Blaster Pistol? Pfft. 'Nuff said.
1 River City Ransom - I still want this game. :(
1 Serious Sam 2 - You're kidding, right Brian?
1 Shining Force - Nice. Nice. Props to old school RPG/Strat games... but this isn't a Top 5 game.
1 Soul Calibur 2 - Nice.. umm... animation. Solid control for a 3d game. But if you do ANY damage by mashing buttons...
1 Star Control 2 - Underrated. Still, top 5? Naah.
1 Super Metroid - Maybe if I liked Metroid 1 more...
1 Super Bomberman 2 - The ultimate Party game to this day!
1 Uru - Ummm.. wasn't this like Myst 3? Shouldn't that automatically disqualify it?

Voters: Rob,Ricky,Brian,Ryan,Kris,Brad,Jon B.,Jesse,Kevin,Pat,J.C.,Brent.
"Nintendo DS"

So I picked up a Nintendo DS on the day of release. Actually, I picked up more than one (ebay time!), but that's not the point of this entry. Nope, for today I will simply share with you my initial impression of Nintendo's newest gadget.

First Look:
Opening up a new game system is always a great feeling. The crispness of the plastic, the perfectly twisty-tied cables, the minty manuals. Ahhh... so fresh. :) What was I saying? Oh, yeah... first look. One of the first things I noticed is how big the DS itself is. It's about the size of the original wide-version GBA, but double the thickness. This isn't a "Pocket" system unless you have fairly large pockets. It's a nice color I guess, but Platinum doesn't seem like it would hold up to scratches very well. What I will say is that it is a step up from fucking purple. Good game, Gamecube. It also feels a little "cheap". Dunno, that's just the feeling I got from holding it.

I was pleasantly surprised that my DS came with a pre-charged battery. Good deal. I was able to fire it right up. The battery life of the DS is said to be between 6-10 hours. That's good enough for me as I don't see myself playing for more than that many hours at a time. I was actually kind of surprised by the battery life as I was expecting the DS, with its powerful hardware and dual lit screens, to chew right through the battery. No complaints here.

The screens themselves are adequate, but I was somewhat disappointed with the visual quality of the touch screen (the bottom one). It looked noticeably blurrier than the top one. I chalk it up to the fact that it is touch sensitive while the top one is not, and I have to admit that it is by no means a bad screen. As far as the usefulness of Dual Screens... Well, so far it's a joke. The DS is a 3D gameboy with a permanent map screen that can also be used as controller, or to be more accurate, a fancy stylus-pad. I think I would have rather had them make a Gameboy 2 or something with a smaller, single-screen setup and kickass 3D capabilities with a true analog controller... hmmm... wait a minute! I guess what I'm saying is that I'd rather it had been a PSP!

Having the option to use a stylus is kinda nice, but having to use the stylus on every game just because Nintendo wants to push it as a selling point is not. Seems to me that they could have made a Metroid DS game that controlled better than it does now if they hadn't had to incorporate that damn stylus. While they do have a non-stylus control scheme, it sucks balls. This is akin to the GBA connectivity thing. Nintendo gets it in their heads that whatever wacky thing they just thought of is the coolest thing ever, and they push it hard at the expense of the game (4 player Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles or Zelda 4-swords, anyone?) I like that they have 4 face buttons now, but I can't ever fucking use them because I have the damn stylus in my hand. At least the control pad feels OK, the Start and Select buttons are easily reachable (they finally took them out of the bottom middle and put them by the face buttons), and the L/R buttons work just fine. Honestly, the most annoying thing about the control interface is that every fucking menu keeps telling me to "Touch the Screen". I ignore their illogical commands and use the good ol' A button whenever possible.

The first time you power on your DS, you set your name, the date, time, etc. No problems there. After that, the DS boots into a menu system by default. I found out that you can actually boot directly to a DS game, but I left it booting to the menu. The Dual Slots (omg, DS again?) are nice. It can accommodate a GBA game down low and a DS game up top both at once. Hmmm.... Doesn't that just put a nasty thought into your head? Anyway, so if you're planning to use it as much as a GBA as you are a DS, it's best to let it boot to the menu so you can choose what you wanna play. However, if I was designing this thing, what I would have done was incorporate a "hold down A to autoboot DS software, B to autoboot GBA software and X to autoboot the system menu" kinda thing. But what do I know? I've never let my market share slide from a near monopoly to 3rd place. I've never launched flops like the Virtual Boy, e-Card readers and connectivity cables. I've never managed to pigeon hole my company into a kiddy-only market. So, yeah. I'll just keep my opinions to myself. ;) Anyway, moving on... as far as basic system functions is concerned, you can use PictoChat (See below) or Set an Alarm. Whee. That's it. No Phonebook, daily planner, note taker or virtual post-its. I'm sure they're on their way, but that shit should have been built in, right? If they're smart, they'll put that shit out on a GBA style cart so you can leave it in the GBA port full time. But, they're Nintendo, so they won't do that because it makes too much sense. Please make me buy your personal organizer on a DS cart so I have to swap it out whenever I want to play a game... oh, and while your at it, might as well make me us an Organizer only stylus for good measure.

As I already mentioned, PictoChat software comes built into the system. You access it via the main menu and, well, you do nothing. You can only chat with other DS's up to 30 feet away. That's great if you are in grade school, but for the rest of the world, it's useless. (It'll be useless to grade schoolers too since the DS will be banned from classrooms across the world in no time at all.) What they need is to have standard LAN compatibility so you can chat with anybody on the Internet who's connected via Wireless LAN. This has been hinted at by Nintendo, but who knows if and when they'll do that.

The second piece of software you get is a demo of Metroid Prime Hunters. The focus of this demo is obviously multiplayer. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to try it out with any of my DS-owning friends yet. But I will. So far, it seems like it could be fun. The single player missions are basically "training" missions. They're short, but still kinda cool. MPH shows promise. I like it despite the stylus control scheme.

And, of course you know that I picked up the obligatory Mario launch title: Super Mario 64 DS. Now, is it me or has Nintendo just completely forgotten how to make an original Mario game? They need to stop re-hashing their old shit... and quick. The Mario Advance Series for the GBA is a joke. And I wouldn't be surprised to see a Super Mario Sunshine DS in the near future either. So, yeah... Super Mario 64 DS is basically what you'd expect. It's SM64 plus some mini games and new playable characters. The extra features and multiplayer are nice, but seriously, an original Mario game please!

I'd have to say that if you haven't already run out and bought one... don't. Wait until better software appears or the price drops to $99. It really is a nice 3D gameboy. It's just cluttered with unnecessary crap.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

"Pauly Shore"

So Claire and I went to go see Pauly Shore is Dead last night at The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. For those that aren't from Austin, let's just say that the ADH is the coolest theater ever conceived. One of the reasons why they are so cool is because they often times bring in directors, writers and/or actors to talk about their films. And, sure enough, Pauly Shore was going to be at the showing last night.

Normally I'm the one that drags Claire out to these things. But she happens to love Son-In-Law (don't ask), and she heard Pauly and Tim League (the Drafthouse's owner) on 101X's morning show yesterday. She thought it sounded like fun and called me to ask if I wanted to go. Initially I thought that it would be cool. It's always fun to see washed up entertainers squirm through questions like "So what are you doing, now?" during the inevitable Q&A. So, I went online to get the tickets and. . . wtf? $16!?. . . for a movie that not only stars Pauly Shore as himself, but was directed, written, produced and even financed by Pauly? Hmmm. . . I had to think about it. Because $32. . . that's a freakin' new game right there, boy! Anyway, in the end I realized that it's not everyday that Claire requests to go to the Drafthouse. So, at 32 dollars poorer, we had our tickets.

The movie was a train wreck. But not a train wreck in a way that you would gawk in awe of the horror. That would mean that you would actually purposefully look in its direction. I'm talking a train wreck as in it makes you wince at the gore and look away. Yeah, it pretty much sucked.

I admire the guy for being able to put a project like that together. It was a labor of love for him (and an obvious ploy to try to get back some semblance of a career, but we'll overlook that.) And to his credit, he saw it through. He definitely gets props for trying. However, the final product isn't even worthy of cable.

First of all, due to budget restrictions I'm sure, it wasn't even filmed in 35mm film. It looked like a high school production. That was already a bad sign. I would have probably overlooked that except that the acting, mostly his, was awful. And the directing, if you can call it that, was deplorable. The tone of the movie was inconsistent and the pacing was out of whack. I'll give him this though: really, can anyone direct a 1 dimensional 'actor' like Ben Stiller? The best acting job was from the least likely of people. Shore originally wanted Robert Downey, Jr. to play his cell mate in the movie, but I was really impressed with Todd Bridges. Honestly, I thought he did a great job. Someone needs to give that guy some work!

The highlight of the movie, as you can imagine, were the tons of cameos by celebrities. . . some still popular, some forgotten (Rico Suave anyone?) In almost all cases, they're funny as shit. . . especially when they trash Pauly. Yes, at least Pauly was able to laugh at himself. If he hadn't, the movie would have been unbearable altogether. Having Carrot Top move into his house after he was forced to move out, and having Rico Suave selling oranges on the side of the road... now THOSE were good ideas. More of that shit and less of Pauly's 'dramatic' crying scenes would have been good.

Rob's Rating: It sucks.

Monday, October 25, 2004

"Beastie Boys"

So I went ahead and enabled comments on this biznatch. Wor-, wor-, wor-, wor-, wor-, word 'em up!

That reminds me. . . I caught the Beastie Boys in concert this past Friday. Those guys can still rock! Hmmm. . . or is that "still rap!" Or maybe "still jam!"? They're kind of a music anomaly. They're rap/hip-hop artists, but they actually know how to play instruments. They also manage to get air play on rock stations. Really, no other band like the Beastie Boys has ever made it like they did. I mean, they're white, jewish, ex-punk rockers who made it big as hip-hop artists. You don't see a lot of that happening. And how many hip-hop artists play purely instrumental songs at their concerts? Yeah, none. What's most impressive is that they've managed to stay fresh and popular.

And while I'm on the subject of the Beastie Boys concert, I'd like to give props to my homeboy (do people even still say that?), Ricky. I haven't known him for a very long time, but he really impressed me last Friday.

You see, I had originally tried to get Floor/GA tickets, which is the only way to see a concert in my opinion, and had been denied by the shitty website that is It crashed the minute they started selling BB tickets and didn't come back up until all the GA tickets were gone. Bummer. Refusing to pay like $5 less and watch from the stands, I didn't buy any tickets at all. Well, the night before the concert, Ricky mentioned he was going to see them and that he had GA tickets. Upon further inquiry, I found out that his friend had bought them online and was giving one to Ricky in lieu of some money owed. I was flabbergasted (which usually only happens when I have too many pinto beans.) How could have Ricky's friend have bought floor tickets online when it was down? Anyway, I found a ticket for floor level at $25 over face value. And since the Beastie Boys don't come into town often, I went ahead and bought it so I could go with them. The next day, I find out that Ricky's friend was bullshitting about the floor tickets. So now I was stuck with a single floor ticket.

I was pissed. And as it turns out, so was Ricky. This guy knew that I was going to buy a floor ticket (at quite an expense too!) to go with them and still didn't fess up. He basically let me spend $74 bucks without giving a shit. I scrambled to find someone willing to go (and pay $74) that evening because the only thing that sucks worse than not having a floor ticket is having a floor ticket and going alone. No one could/wanted to. Ricky, being a decent person, told his friend that he was going to buy a floor ticket to go with me instead. . . in retaliation for the lying. That was without me even asking him to do so. So yeah, there are still decent people left in the world.

Honestly, I think aliens were monitoring the whole situation to decide whether or not the human race should be erased from existence with a deadly space laser beam. I mean, we were problaby just moments from being annihilated! Whew!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Thought I'd leave you with an old rant of mine. This one's originally dated April 30th, 2003:


Out of all the types of people I have to deal with on a regular basis, waitresses are by far the most annoying. They're either too busy to bring me a god dammed bottle of ketchup or overly friendly and jab their jaw like I give a shit.

Sure, I know that waiting tables can be a pain in the ass. But, so what? So are a lot of other jobs. If you can't deal with people asking you for shit every other minute, then quit. I would be a shitty waiter. And when I was working my way through college, I never became one because I knew that I'd suck at it and hate it. I don't even like to get my own shit; much less get someone else's.

The problem is that, in America, where people have stopped eating at home, we have about a zillion restaurants... all needing waitresses, and anybody can become a waitress. Don't have a degree and need to support 2 kids? Working your way through college? Have no marketable skills whatsoever? Become a waitress.

Is there such a thing as a good waitress? Sure there is. You're about as likely to find a $20 bill in a wash-a-teria washing machine as you are to get a good waitress, but they do exist. A good waitress is someone that takes my order, turns it in correctly, makes sure it comes out correctly before putting it on my table, then checks on my table with a glance from time to time (drinks filled, I'm not looking around for something, etc.) Maybe she can stop by and ask me if I need anything one or two times after my meal has arrived. That doesn't sound terribly hard does it?

What I DON'T need from a waitress is new fucking best friend. Hooters is the WORST for that shit. Sure, that's kind of the whole gig, right? Attractive (that's debatable too sometimes.... unfortunately) waitresses flirt and shoot the shit with the patrons. I realize that I'm the only guy in there that goes there because he actually wants a Buffalo Chicken sandwich and some wings. But Christ, all those whores want is a bigger tip. And it's sooo obvious. I mean, I know I'm attractive and all, but it kind of kills it when I see them sitting on some ugly-ass motherfucker's lap who keeps ordering pitchers. I mean, c'mon. She wouldn't give him the time of day if they were to pass each other on the street. (I hate strippers for the same reason... feigning attraction for profit, but that's another story.)

I've considered telling a waitress straight out as soon as they take my order that they start with a $10 tip (for an average meal, that's a lot)... and that every time I have to ask them for something, they lose a dollar. If my meal isn't exactly what I ordered, they lose a dollar. If they ask me any personal questions, they lose a dollar. If my straw ever makes that slurping sound for lack of beverage, they lose a dollar. If I run out of napkins, they lose a dollar. If they ever ask me who ordered what when the meal arrives, they lose a dollar. If they have to ask who gets which drink, they lose 2 dollars because seriously.. they took my drink order... what... like 60 seconds ago? Christ. Unfortunately, I never had the balls to do this because 1) It'd take too long to explain it to them 2) They'd just get pissed and spit in my food 3) They'd more than likely end up in the negative tip range, and I'd have to stiff them on part of the bill, and I'm not that mean.

You'd think that since waitresses get paid a shitty hourly wage and that the majority of their income comes from tips, that they'd give a shit. They don't. They expect to get tipped no matter what. What the hell is that? And you can ALWAYS spot an ex-waitress at a restaurant. They're very sympathetic and always tip way more than they should. I hated dating ex-waitresses and going out to eat. I mean, I don't leave REALLY shitty tips, but when someone asks me why I only left someone 5 bucks for a $30 (that's just over 15% people, a reasonable tip) tab, I get pissy... especially if I just paid for their god dammed food. Needless to say, Claire has never been a waitress. I'd never get along with an ex-waitress.

Then there is the "If it weren't for tipping, food prices would be a lot higher because they'd have to pay the wait staff more." One word sums this up: Bullshit. They don't do this auto-tipping shit in Europe, and they don't have sky-high food prices. And why the fuck does it cost twice the price to order a hamburger, fries and a drink at a sit-down-to-order restaurant than it does at a drive-thru where you generally get it faster and it tastes just as good? And even if it did cost more to maintain a sit-down restaurant and perhaps pay the waitresses a bit better, I’d really rather do that and not have to tip all the time. The current method sucks.

BTW, today I found a $20 bill in a wash-a-teria washing machine.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


What's wrong with video game makers these days? Taito, a once pround Japanese powerhouse (they made the original Space Invaders after all), had a 50th anniversary game come out for the PS2 not too long ago. And what was that 50th anniversary commemorative game? Bujinagai: The Forsaken City. Bujin-what? Most of you have never heard of this game. In fact, Taito didn't even bring it over to the U.S. Instead, Bam! Entertainment picked it up for a domestic release. I guess Taito didn't believe in their own game enough. It's hard to blame them.

Bujingai begins well enough. It's got a cool player-created intro screen, flashy moves, and just a pretty cool Hong Kong movie feel in general. Kinda sorta like a Devil May Cry - Hong Kong Edition. In fact, that's exactly why I bought this game. It seemed pretty damn cool when I tried out a friend's copy. The problem is that the camera is the worst piece of shit ever. Not only that, but the control is sketchy. Well, I guess for the most part it's OK. When you're just running around on the ground slashing shit, it's cool. But let's just say that pinpoint accurate jumping isn't its forte. So what do they go and do? Create an platform jumping level in the sky near the end of the game! WTF?! Did they not play the game they created? The jumping accuracy is pure and utter crap. I've never, ever yelled so much at the TV in my life as I did when I was playing that level. I nearly went hoarse cursing the game's developers, and the asshole on the screen that refused to do what I wanted him to do. Not only that, but the game rewarded me getting passed all that platform jumping bullshit with a game crash at the boss. Fuckin'-A-Awesome, Taito. Good job on that. I don't remember console games ever crashing on me before this generation of consoles. Christ.

Monday, February 16, 2004

FYI, I haven't been ignoring or forgetting about writing new entries here. I just haven't had anything I wanted to share until now. :)

First of all, it snowed in Austin late Friday/early Saturday! I mean REAL snow. Not flurries or any of that shit. I've lived in Northern Indiana where it would snow up to your elbows, so I know what I'm talking about here. But anyway, WTF? Snow in Central Texas? Yep. We had snowball fights and a bunch of people built snowmen. Fun times if you don't have to live with that shit for 3-4 months. :) Ours melted over the next 2 days. I saved a snowball in the freezer though! ;)

Tony's gonna hate this, but I won another awesome door prize! I'm not sure why, but I'm fairly lucky when it comes to winning random drawing prizes. I'm not insanely lucky, but luckier than most. So, this past weekend I attended a 3-day LAN/Tournament held here in Austin. AMD was the main sponsor and their biggest prize giveaway was an Athlon 64 FX-51 processor. Guess who won it? Right. Me!

What's weird is that I wasn't even around when I won. I didn't show up on the final day of the LAN because frankly, I was too tired to wake up early enough. Most giveaways at these events are simply of the match-the-number-on-your-ticket variety. Meaning, of course, that you must be present to win. The only drawing of the whole event that didn't require my presence, I won. :) And since I just won a Pentium 4 3.2GHz processor 2 months ago, this new CPU is going on eBay. It should net me around $600 bucks. That sure goes a long way towards... something, I'm sure.

NEWS FLASH: It's 2004, and the Sega CD still sucks! I've started to put together a 'classic gaming' room in one of my extra bedrooms. I got the new TV in place, and I had my CDX just laying there so I thought I'd give it a try. I popped in Silpheed, which I recall as being a pretty decent shooter, but it wouldn't load properly. :( Next I tried Mansion of Hidden Souls. Oh. My. God. That game SUCKS! I had forgotten how BAD games could be. I mean, the graphics were a complete mess. It looked like some kid ate an 8-pack of Crayolas (note the lack of colors) and threw up on my TV. As the vomit slowly oozed the front of my tv screen, and the resulting images, in some highly imaginitive way, resembled rooms of furnitue and a house with endless doors. The voice acting was laughable, and the control was almost non-existant. Please do not ever play this game if you can avoid it.

Moving on, I popped in Sewer Shark. Now this game... a friend and I actually finished it... about 10 years ago. Let me tell you, 10 years can do horrible, horrible things to certain games. Sewer Shark suffered BIG TIME. What I remember as being 1/2 way fun, is now totally moronic. The novelty of live actors and full motion video was pretty cool back then. No longer. The script was horrible, and the acting was terrible. Or I should say, the directing was terrible. Why is everyone so fucking mean? Are they supposed to evoke a sense of urgency? It just pissed me off.

Next we tried some Genesis games. And while I didn't have the absolute best games on hand to test, the ones I did have weren't that impressive or even fun. And let me just get this out of the way: The Sega Genesis has the worst sound ever. I'd rather listen to my Atari 2600. We tried some Street Fighter 2, and while it was mildly entertaing playing Honda and holding down punch with turob enabled, the controllers (6-button ones) weren't very good and the sound was, again, OMG BAD! It sounded like they were using tin can telephones when they talked. If it weren't for Herzog Zwei and a few Working Designs games, I wouldn't even hook up my Sega stuff.

On a collector's note, I picked up Suikoden II for about $40 the other day! Yeah, THAT was a good deal. :) Also picked up Super Mario Bros. RPG complete for $20 (although missing the UPC on the box. doh! ), SNES Breath of Fire complete $10, and a few other SNES games in box. Next up, Valkyrie Profile!

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I've been doing the ebay thing a lot lately. Searching for gaming rarities and such. Damn, some of those sellers are fucking stupid. So here's a little list for you.

Things that piss me off about Stupid Ebay Sellers:


  • Items that get listed as "RARE" when they're soooo not rare. In this same category are people that use HTF (Hard to Find) or OOP (Out of Print) on every fucking game they list. They aren't making any more Sonic the Hedgehog 2's? No shit? Just go to ebay and search for "rare" and see all the bullshit that gets listed. Example: "Playstation Final Fantasy VII (RARE!!)" Umm, didn't FFVII sell like a bazillion copies? Some guy really had the balls to state that in his auction. What was worse, according to the photograph in the description, the idiot was actually selling FF VIII. That reminds me...

  • Some sellers are so stupid/lazy/retarded that they can't even copy the name of a game or system correctly. Ever heard of "Mickey Mana" for the SNES? No? That's because it's "Mickey Mania." Typo? Ok, fine. What about a used but working "Sega Genisys"? WTF? What's even SADDER, is that you can actually get some hits of off google with that spelling.

  • Anytime someone uses "LOOK!" or it's more annoying equivalent "LQQK!". "HOT!" and "AWESOME!" are also pretty annoying. Often times, these auctions are put up by the CAPITALS ONLY PEOPLE.

  • Saying something is "Mint", "Complete" or "Like New" when it obviously isn't. "Super Mario RPG Strategy Guide LIKE NEW! Only missing the lower left corner on the first five pages. See picture for details." Ummm. Since when is missing chunks of pages "like new"?

  • OK, this next one doesn't really piss me off. It's actually amusing. Japanese sellers. I mean, guys in Japan listing things in the US version of ebay. I don't know if they're using some sort of babelfish or what, but some of the Engrish these guys come up with are hilarious. Some of my favorites are "Box and manual are contained in this system." [Oh really? Just kinda stuffed them inside the console, eh?], "They are 'PC-FX' and the set of 1 software." [Set of 1? 1?!], "A buyer must do an answer within 3days from the seller's first contact." [I wouldn't even know how to do an answer. Where's the hole?], "If it hopes that you use SAL and Ship and it is sent." [!??!?], and of course, the all time classic "Cash does not except."

Anyway, you get the idea. People are idiots.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Caught the Super Bowl yesterday. It was pretty good. Surprisingly, the game was better than the commercials. Seems like the Pats are all about winning by a field goal in the closing seconds (for those keeping track at home, that's twice they've won Super Bowls like that in the past 3 years.) In the beginning, I wasn't really rooting for either team, and that's kinda nice because you can appreciate the good plays on both sides and there's no anxiety about your team losing. In the end, however, I found myself rooting for Carolina. For the dumbest reason. Sony has had 1 player from each of the Super Bowl teams play against each other in Sony's NFL GameBreaker game a few days before the Super Bowl every year. And in the 8 years they've been doing it, the team that won the video game, won the Super Bowl. This year, according to the video game, the Panthers were supposed to win. They didn't. I guess it's a good thing though, since Sony's game sucks anyway.

And on a competely different note, the CD of the week has been a compilation of 80's music. Most of the songs I chose for the CD were picked not because I really liked them, but because they were songs that I kinda knew, but not really. For instance, "Mr. Roboto." It's a song I've 'heard' but not really 'heard heard.' A song from years ago, that I'm familiar with, but I was too young to really know wtf the song was about. Well, as it turns out, it's a really stupid song. Way pop-ier than I remember. However, it did envoke some images that were pleasant. It made me think of those 70's paintings of the "future" where they'd be like a robot with human-ish facial features set against a star filled sky and like some radiant star giving off an eerie glow. Kind of like the original Star Wars movie poster where Luke all like, "Yeah! Nothing like thrusting this lightsaber into the air with this hot chick with a gun next to me and like some ominous black faced robot looking guy looking over us." Either that, or the Bride of Pinbot pinball game. And those images, in turn, made me think of playing Tron at the arcade. Which made me think of arcades in the early 80's in general, and that's a good thing. So, Mr. Roboto, I salute you! Or more appropriately, "Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto!"

Friday, January 30, 2004

So, what's been going on? Hmmmm... how about BEING SICK! W T F!?!? I've seen two different doctors within a week. They both sucked. In the five years since I've been in Austin, I've seen about 5 doctors. Each one rushed to have me in and out in 15 mins or less. These guys need to start up a fast food chain. I could so fake being a doctor for a day: "Hi, how are we feeling today? Aw, that's too bad. What seems to be the problem? [Pull out my stethoscope.] Uh-huh. Take a few deep breaths for me. Uh-huh. Hmmm. Yeah, that's been going around. Okay, I'm prescribing you some XXX, take it with food and call us back in a few days. Good bye." Assholes.

On the movie front: I hate Hollywood more and more. More specifically, I hate computer generated people in movies. Seriously, am I supposed to believe that that baby in the new Mask trailer is dancing around? It looked shitty in 1998, but at least it was novel then. Now, it just elicits groans. Please, PLEASE, go back to the puppets and wires and hiding car ramps behind bushes. At least then I knew they weren't expecting me to believe the shit they're trying to pull off.

Gaming? I'm in collector mode harder than ever. I hate it. It costs too damn much! I'm buying shit I have no desire to play, only because it's 'rare.' Every little gem I find in a used video game store I have to look up on ebay to see how much of a good deal I got. Like I'm gonna re-sell it or something. Does that Turbo Duo come with box AND instructions? What about the product catalog? Tony's got the bug too. It's kind of ridiculous, but we're stupid. So, anyway, if anyone has a mint Sega CD front loader (not the Sega CD2!) in the box, email me, OK?

Music... the number one CD of this past week? The Gitaroo Man soundtrack. For some reason I love that game. The songs are awesome. Gitaroo Man's songs are almost as catchy as Parappa the Rapper's first game... only a lot less stupid.

Go Bluebirds!

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

I swear to God, if I'm not 100% better soon, I'm gonna... well, I guess I'll still be sick. It's been like over 3 weeks now. Seriously, WTF?!

On another note. My friend Tony and I have been on a game collecting binge lately. I 'found' another video game shop yesterday... Game Zone. It looks pretty shitty from the outside (not much better on the inside actually,) and it's not in the best part of town, but, man, they had some cool stuff at great prices. Turns out they've been around for 7 years! If you've been around 7 years, and two hardcore gaming nuts that live in your city didn't know about your store, you're doing something wrong. Tony and I have every EB, Gamestop, and Gamefellas (local chain) number written down in a list for easy reference. We'll have to add Game Zone.

Game Zone is actually really cool for used stuff. They have a lot of classics: NES, SNES, Genesis, etc. The selection was pretty good, and while Game Fellas tends to have more stuff, Game Zone's stuff consists of games that are sometimes a little harder to find and a LOT more reasonably priced. Turns out they really don't know much about how 'rare' a game is, nor do they seem to care. For example, I picked up Super Mario RPG (bare cart) for $15. It sells for around $40 on ebay. Tony picked up Y's III, Star Control and Exile for the Genesis. Complete in boxes with manuals. Nice shape. $10 for all three. They have a deal going on: buy 2 Genesis carts, get 1 free. All genesis carts are $5 no matter what, so there you go. On ebay? That's easily 60 bucks or more for all those.

Then we found out they had a 'South' store. Muahahaha. So today, we took a trek out to South Austin to see their 'smaller' store. The south store actually seemed a bit bigger, and a bit nicer, however their prices were a bit higher on most things (not much, but higher) and the selection didn't seem as good. No real gems. Tony picked up Dragon Warrior VII for $15 and picked up the companion guide for $8. Great deals. My deals weren't as good, but they were fair. I picked up a boxed Stunt Race FX for $6 (no real reason for it, it's not rare or anything), a Mario All-Stas Nintendo guide, shrinkwrapped by them and in pristine condition for $8, and a copy of Final Fantasy Tactics for $15. FFT for $15 is actually not a bargain, but this one wasn't all stickered up and didn't have that annoying 'GREATEST HITS" green bar running down the side. I hate that.

Also, I picked up an entertainment center from some guy for $50. It's going in one of our spare bedrooms. Guess what I'm doing with that room? Classic gaming room, baby! Yeah, I'm putting in a 27" tube TV so that I can actually play light gun games again. My 61" HDTV is nice, but no light gun support makes me sad sometimes. :-( I'm sticking in a SNES, Genesis/SegaCD/32X, and NES, and I'm hunting down a TurboGraphx-16, 3DO, and Jaguar. Claire's so understanding. :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

I didn't get more than 2 hrs sleep last night. Godammit I'm so tired. :-( Plus I took some Benadryl (for the uncontrollable sneezing fit I was having) and that shit just made me even more drowsy. Then try starting off your day with a 1 hour meeting that lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes. When it's you and four other people in a meeting, they notice when you doze off. Trust me.

I had a great day yesterday though. I picked up Claire at her job (I hardly ever pick her up because it's out of my way), bought a few games on sale at the mall, picked up a Final Fantasy X Piano collection CD, went around a few pawn shops looking for rare games or at least good deals on older games. Then had a nice dinner at Olive Garden of all places. I have to say, that even though I have this undying (yet deserving) hatred for the waitressing/waitering profession, that we had an excellent server. That's extremely rare in my book. He was attentive, yet unobtrusive. He got our order 100% right and basically never fucked up. I was pleasantly surprised. I ended up giving him over 20% tip (and I hate tipping servers because they normally suck balls.)

You know, I've been having what seems like extra good days since my birthday. I got some kickass gifts. One of which is a Flame Red GBA SP, which I love. That's my 4th gameboy! I have an original GB, GB Color, GBA, and now GBA SP. You'd think I'd own more GB games then. I don't. I own like 7 GBA games, and a handful of regular GB carts. Dunno why, but I love this SP. I'm thinking of picking up a few more carts.

Man, I really need to stop buying shit. . . especially games. I'm up to 63 or so PS2 games, about 30 or so GC games and nearly that many Xbox games. But they're soo cheap right now! $10 here, $20 there... an occasional full-priced game. :-(

I've also been on a DVD rage. I've either bought or received as a gift: Battle Royale (an out-of-print Tartan Video version from the UK in NTSC format... thanks Tony!), Audition, Visitor Q, Ichi the Killer, MST3K Vol 2 Collection, Vacation (20th anniversary), and Three's Company 1st Season.

Did I mention I'm tired?

Friday, January 09, 2004

I finally got over being sick. Well, I'm about 95% well anyway. I started getting sick on Christmas Eve. That's an insanely long time to be sick. :-(

Anyway, on the bright side of things, it's my birthday tomorrow! Yes, I'll be 31 and I still look forward to birthdays! I don't know that I'll ever stop looking forward to birthdays. 30 sure as hell didn't bother me, why should 31? :-)

Only problem about birthdays when you're older is that you usually can buy most things that you would have asked for as birthday gifts. So when I get asked what I want for my birthday, I don't know what to say anymore. Very sad. But it's a nice problem to have I suppose.