Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Kinected my knee!

Over the Thanksgiving weekend I had the pleasure of playing with the new Xbox Kinect.  Ultimately, the Kinect is awesome, but there are a few hang ups that bothered me.  First, you need a lot of space in front of your TV for this thing to work.  Second, you need a lot of space vertically in front of your TV.  (There a few chunks missing from my dad's basement ceiling tiles from many overhead beach volleyball spikes.)  Third, the voice recognition is iffy.  Fourth, many of the games suck.

Like I said, in the end this this is great family fun.  I played beach volleyball with my brother (which is currently the best game I played on Kinect thus far) and  my dad boxed against my nephew which was hilarious to watch. I would have liked to play Dance Central after seeing so many commercials for it.

As far as the market goes, kiss the Wii goodbye.  And Playstation's Move hasn't got much of a chance either since both require players to hold controllers.  This holiday season it's all about using your body as the controller and Microsoft has hit a home run with some truly innovative concepts.  I especially liked manipulating the Xbox dashboard with my hand and voice as opposed to pushing buttons like a butt sniffing caveman.  And I'm curious about the exercising games that will eventually sprout up for the Kinect.  Speaking of exercise, playing the Kinect left me both sweaty and out of breath.  Hard core gamers obviously will hate it, but it definitely gets kids moving.  The only thing better would be actually going outside to kick a soccer ball around the yard.

Also, I hurt my knee playing it, so if you're old and/or out of shape be careful, you turkey.

RIP Irvin Kershner

Irvin Kershner directed the best movie sequel ever made.  Irvin Kershner is dead.  Love live Irvin Kershner.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Give Thanks, Yo.

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching like neighbors who see you walking your dog 300 yards away and you don't really want to talk to them but it's too late because they saw that you saw them and so you put on your closed-mouth smile and ravage your brain for more folksy things to say.
Just kidding - I love Thanksgiving. The food is a no-brainer, but I really do like commemorating the act of being thankful. As a species, we don't do it enough.

Here's my 2010 list of things I am thankful for:

  • My beautiful, funny Lynette
  • My soft, aloof Leia
  • My cozy, comfortable home
  • My quiet, safe neighborhood
  • My trustworthy, accepting friends
  • My refreshing, enlightening church
  • My loving, far-away family
I am truly blessed and thankful for everything I have in my life and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank God for this fortuitous life.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


By Carl Sandburg

I ASKED the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell

me what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives who boss the work of
thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though
I was trying to fool with them
And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along
the Desplaines river
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with
their women and children 
and a keg of beer and an

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Let it Be

The Beatles are now available on iTunes!

My musical tastes began to develop in the 80's when I made the interesting transition from Guns N Roses to Depeche Mode.  I'm proud to say I was a pioneer at my high school when I began to listen to this new type of music called "alternative," back when it actually was an alternative (By the way, before the suits coined the term alternative we used to call it New Wave).  But I did not discover the beauty and magic of The Beatles until 1990 when I saw the movie Imagine: John Lennon.  From that moment on I realized that nothing I had ever listened to or will listen to would ever come close to the miracle of what John Lennon and Paul McCartney created.

Often I try to think what it must have been like for America's youth the first time they heard The Beatles.  Can you imagine the awakening that must have spread across the conservative, buttoned-up, repressed nation that was 1960's America?  Nothing in my lifetime can compare to what those newly freed teenagers must have been feeling.  I'm jealous of those people.

Note: There is one type of music that has energized a group people in similar fashion in my lifetime: Rap.  Rap has given an entire generation a voice that did not exist merely 20 years ago.  Time will tell if it has made as big an impact as The Beatles.

And so I look across the landscape that is popular music and sigh. I'm not snobby enough to say it sucks in comparison to The Beatles.  In fact, there is no comparison.  I wouldn't compare my church pastor to Jesus Christ, or Chicago pizza to any other region's pizza.  The Beatles transcend 'music' because they represent more than some catchy pop songs.  They were the voice of a country coming of age - Like falling in love for the first time... and having that sudden realization that you can follow that girl anywhere.

Chicks n' Space

Two of my favorite things.

This is Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson orbiting above Earth in the International Space Station.

Fly Nude!

It's been a few years since I have flown on an airplane.  When a round-trip ticket to Chicago (a 90 minute flight) peaked $400 I threw in the towel.  But now we have a new reason not to fly: invasive body searches.  Neat!

So, here's where we're at as a country:  In order for a person to get on an airplane they have two choices when they approach the security screening... Let TSA take a naked picture of you, or let TSA fondle your junk.  No, it doesn't help when people say it's the same for everyone.  That means we're all guilty until proven innocent. 

I really don't have a problem with security or authority.  The pat-down might be a bit much.  But I think my real gripe is with the naked x-rays.  Can there be a more unflattering image of our nude selves?  I think I'd rather just take off all my clothes for the TSA.  Then at least I could suck in my gut or strike a sexy pose and flex a muscle.Better yet, let's just deposit all our clothes in a bin before we get on the plane and fly naked.  Fun!  There'll be more than ears poppin'!  Hey-Oooo!

Monday, November 15, 2010

You look like...

New Carrot

Buy beer and trucks NOW

You wouldn't know it by watching TV or anything, but the Chicago Bears beat Brett Favre (and the other guys on the Vikings team) yesterday thereby moving into first place in the NFC North division.  Hello?  Can you hear me?  I said... Oh never mind, the shitty Cowboys played a game.  I can see why that is WAY more important.  Assholes.  It's a travesty that Dallas is receiving this much undeserved love.  Look, no amount of lamenting by the NFL and Fox is going to result in the Cowboys playing in the Super Bowl in their own stadium.  Get over it, Troy

Also, the commercialization of NFL games has gotten out of hand.  I guess I was numb to it because it's nothing new, but Lynette provided quite the objective perspective yesterday during the Bears game: There are a disgusting amount of commercials during these games.

Thank God for hockey.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

'Call of Duty: Black Ops' is nearly a full-time job for dedicated players

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 13, 2010

"On a daily basis?" asks Will Duren, a TSA security guard at Reagan National Airport. "I've been playing about five hours. Maybe six."
He pauses. He clears his throat.
"Honestly, yesterday I played from 2 p.m. until 11 at night."
He is talking about the seventh installment of video game series "Call of Duty," which was released Tuesday. Within 24 hours, more than 5.6 million copies of "COD: Black Ops" were sold, breaking the previous record set by another "COD" chapter.
You must understand: "Black Ops" features the voices of Sam Worthington, Ed Harris and Gary Oldman. You must understand: In this first-person shooter game, you are a special forces operative tasked with assassinating Fidel Castro during the Cold War. Before you judge Duren, it is essential that you realize that in addition to assassinating Castro, players also get to kill zombies.In one segment, you can be President Kennedy and you can kill zombies.
Duren, 23, feared that his girlfriend, amazing as she is, wouldn't understand. So told her he was sick, and not to come over. She came over with orange juice. Because he was sick. "And I have a dumb look on my face because now I have a big gallon of orange juice, and I'm not feeling sick at all."
All around the country this week, citizens have gone missing, spiderholing into dens, co-opting the good television, grinding the Cheez-Its into the sofa with their numb posteriors. For such activities was the term "man cave" invented, though women have been known to play, too. On the e-mail discussion group of a Montgomery County high school, parents fretted that children might be skipping classes to protect the free world from communism and reanimated corpses. As if adults were any less addicted.
"I've promised that it will all be over by Sunday," says Tim Schmidt, a Web designer in Baltimore who has been fighting zombies until 2 a.m. most nights this week. His wife is patient because she knows there is an end in sight. "When I finally went to bed on Tuesday night, I did ask her if she was still going to be here by the end of the week."

Schmidt has one more request: "My friends, when we play 'Black Ops' together?" Schmidt says hopefully. "Our clan tag is BACN. Like 'bacon.' If you could throw that in the article, that would be awesome."
Here you go, Bacon boys. A little shout-out, just for you.
"As soon as I saw the GameStop bag, I knew what was coming," says Emily Wang-Murphy, a stay-at-home mom in Washington who, like many others she knows, has become a Black Ops Widow this week. "The headset's going on," the husband's tuning out.
Throughout Wang's marriage, she has been through six "Calls of Duty," from the early days of courtship when her husband, a lobbyist, would drag her to midnight release parties, to recent years when playing had to be limited to after children's bedtimes. "As far as I can tell?" she says good-naturedly. "It's just World War II shooting."
She and her friends try to see the positive in the situation. "It means we have free babysitting for the week. It means moms' night out for cocktails." The spouses at home might be half catatonic and preoccupied with escaping a gulag, but at least "we have coverage. There's an adult in the house."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You.

Dear Veterans,

Regardless of whether or not I agree with the decisions our country has made and how foolishly it has put you in harm's way, please know that I whole-heartedly thank each and every one of you.  In my heart I am hopeful for mankind and his ability to create peace, but in my brain I know evil lurks in dark corners of the world.

I would also like to thank all the families that had to endure the absence and/or loss of a loved one to the service of our country.  Sacrifices are made by the entire community and the pain is never suffered in vain.

Lastly, I offer a prayer to all the innocent people and families around the world who were made to suffer the consequences of wars fought by all the armies of all time.  You are the true cost of battle and your needless pain is a travesty.  May God point us in a direction where war is never the answer.

Vive en estado PLAY

Never before has a company been able to market to me with such accuracy and precision.  The Latin American advertising team that developed this commercial must have been secretly studying me for years! Because this is me!  Nailed it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I'm a True Hero

This morning I almost vomited on the train.  Almost.  I felt the nausea hit as the train car swayed and jostled, but I closed my eyes and concentrated on breathing.  Then I felt beads of sweat trickle down my forehead.  I swore to myself that I was not going to be the reason this entire train would have to unload.  I've been on a train that has had to unload due to a "sick passenger" (aka puker) and I felt genuine hatred for that person.  Not today, my friends.  Today I fought back and conquered the urge to spew. 

You're welcome.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Let my Cameron go.

I am sick, sick, sick.  As I sit here and lift my weak fingers to type this short blog post I can feel the room spinning, my temperature rising, my sinus pressure crushing my head from the inside out.  Please, if you love me, you will stay far, far away.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Don't suck, Dads.

The Supreme Court is hearing a case from California which proposes a ban on violent video games to minors.  Let's ignore for a minute that video games already have a ratings system (just like movies).  There's a simple solution to this "problem": Be better parents.

Not understanding the same technology that your children are using IS NOT an excuse.  Not understanding the same technology your children are using is LAZINESS.

And, not that this is a new argument, but if we're going to ban violent video games then we also need to ban violent cartoons, violent TV shows, violent sports, and violent books (aka the entire entertainment industry).  Are we ready to do that, America?  Or should we just get off the couch and be more involved in our children's lives?

If you don't choose the government will.  And precedents are a bitch.

Now, as an adult video gamer, I whole-heartedly  welcome a cleansing of all the little kids playing these mature games.  But that would mean creating a full lockdown of the in-store selling process that would nearly resemble TSA screenings at airports.  I really don't want my wang danglin' on an x-ray machine just so I can buy Call of Duty. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Fable III Cast

I bought this game last week and I am enjoying it.  The reviews are mixed and that usually means it sucks, but my theory is that most people who bought and/or reviewed this game were expecting a true RPG which this game is not.  Which is probably why I like it. 

For the record, I did not like Fable II, so...

To Be a Danger

By C.G. Hanzlicek

Just once I'd like to be a danger
To something in this world,
Be hunted by cops
And forced into hiding in the mountains,
Since if they left me on the streets
I'd turn the country around,
Changing everyone's mind with a word.

But I've lived so long a quiet life,
In a world I've made small,
That even my own mind changes slowly.
I'm a danger only to myself,
Like the daydreaming night watchman
Smoking his cigar
Near the dynamite shed.