Sunday, November 30, 2008

Help Me Help You!

The best part of being at my parents' place in NJ is that they get every movie channel known to man. I've watched Spiderman, Spiderman 2, Jerry McGuire, Back to the Future Part 2, 6th Day, and a whole bunch of others that I can't remember. Of course, I also stayed up until like 3 every morning to watch them. Sweet.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Game Log: Gears of War 2

I just got Gears of War 2, and I love it. Here are some thoughts:

Multiplayer: I've only played about 4-6 hours of multiplayer, and it's been all Horde mode (you plus 4 of your closest friends vs. waves of bad guys). This game mode is more fun than I expected. Plus it's the only way I get to play as Baird. Booya.

Single player: Goddamnit this game is so huge! And I mean that. I've read the word "scope" used to describe GoW2, and they couldn't be more right. The most famous example is the developer making up for the Brumak scene from GoW1 (cut because of time pressure) by having you fight like five brumaks within the first 15 minutes of GoW2. That's big. Then you fight like three corpsers at once, two seeders, a ginormous worm, and a mega-fish (not all in that order). Not to mention new regular enemies and everything.

The basic gameplay hasn't changed too much; you still hide behind cover and shoot at bad guys. Two main things have changed: the enemy AI, and the scope (again). I've been flanked by grubs so many times it's getting me to think the XBox is sensient. And the battlefields are just much bigger (and much smaller sometimes) so you really get caught up in them.

I've said before that the #1 thing I look for in single-player games is immersion: how immersed can I get in the game. Whether it's emotional investment in the characters or just locked-in gameplay, if I forget about the outside world and are thinking solely as the protagonist, that's the win I'm looking for. GoW2 gives it all. They totally sideswiped me with an emotional scene; it came out of nowhere and I totally cried. But the thing is The dialog for that scene isn't even that great. I was just so invested that it hit me harder.

I have yet to finish the game so the ending may disappoint, but I'm already in love. I'll probably play though it like 4-5 times before it's all said and done.

Update 11/26/08: I've played a bit more multiplayer, all horde mode, with some new friends and random people (the matching system for horde is pretty solid). It's still fun, but I can imagine it getting kind of boring soon.

The single player storyline just totally surprised me, and not in a good way. Things happened that totally jarred me out of suspension-of-disbelief. I really hope they tie it all back together.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Thought Slavery Was Illegal

The Yankees sold a man to another team for $1 million. That's 0.7% of the money needed to sign Sabathia.

Gaming 2: Return to Gamingdom

I was on call this weekend for my project's release. This meant I had to stay within 30 minutes of a computer at all times and have my Blackberry on me all the time (yes, they nailed me with a BB again. Sonuvabitch!). However, this bore unexpected fruit; Annie had plans both Friday and Saturday night. I could not make plans that required me to leave the house. Solution?

Video games.

I played more games this weekend (probably close to 12 hours) than I have the past 2 months combined. It was awesome.

Mostly I played Gears of War 2, but I snuck some Fable 2 in there as well (game logs on both forthcoming). The main takeaway I had was how much I miss playing games. Even a 30-45 minute gamebreak is refreshing. I guess I'm just hard wired for gaming.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I Was Almost Murdered

I teach Pep Band at Tufts. I don't have an office, but I do have some storage space in an old office attached to the auditorium's "green room". One day this year, I went to go get my supplies, as usual. I walked up the steps from the basement to the green room when suddenly two angry Tufts police officers and two weird looking dudes in odd-fitting suits got in my way. One cop looked angry, confused, and worried all in one, said, "You can't go this way!" Odd, I thought. "I just need to get to the green room." The cop was insistent: "You can't go this way, you'll have to wait." The two weird looking men shared a smirk.

It was at this point that I realized that this was not a normal situation. The cops were worried, but not about me.

"OK, well, I'm a music professor, I need to get my music supplies from the office in the green room," I said.

The two cops looked nervously at each other, then the speaker looked at the two weird men. They made no motion whatsover. Apparently, that was the go ahead.

"OK, you have a key?" I did. I walked in the green room to see a table of bottled water, ice, and snacks. The green room never had anything but a dirty sofa in it, but now it was totally decked out. Thoroughly creeped out, I grabbed my stuff (forgetting half of it) and left quickly.

When I got to the classroom, I mentioned this encounter to one of the students who had arrived early. He said, "Oh, the Queen of Jordan must be speaking in the auditorium." Wait, what?

"The Queen of Jordan? For real?" I incredulously asked.

"Yeah, Queen Rania is here for the Issac Fares lecture series."

Then it all became clear.

The weird looking dudes were her bodyguards.
Their suits fit weirdly because they were concealing Uzis or sawed-off shotguns under the jackets.
The cops were worried I might get hassled, or worse, shot.

All because I was within 40 feet of Queen Rania without proper authorization.



I was convinced it was going to be a bad snap.

Jets, 34, Patriot, 31.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Things To Remember To Do When Sick

  1. Drink lots of tea (or other electrolyte-holding drinks).
  2. Drink even more water.
  3. Go outside for a short walk to get the blood pumping and get some fresh air.
  4. Eat, if possible.
  5. Take painkillers.
  6. Sleep.
I managed to pretty much avoid all of the above (I drank a little, ate some, and got an extra hour of sleep). Next time I get sick I hope I remember this list.

Games To Play

  1. Gears of War 2
  2. Fable 2
  3. Castle Crashers
  4. Braid
  5. Trauma Center 2
  6. Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin
That doesn't look that impressive until you realize that the top 2 are at least 60 hours combined.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Importance of Compensation Picks

A lot of Yankee fans don't really get the way free agency and compensation picks work. Fair enough, it's somewhat complicated. That said, they also ignore the ramifications of these picks. Whoa dog, hold on a sec. reports that Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain were both picked by the Yankees with compensation picks. How about them apples?

Resign Giambi

This is my pipe dream:

1) Yankees do not sign Teixeria.
2) Yankees sign Giambi to a $5M/1Y or $8M/2Y deal.
3) Giambi holds down 1B until Posada moves there or someone else takes over (because we all know Posada's going to need some time there before his deal is up).

My reasons are this:

1) Giambi is a great teammate; this may be not appreciated but is important.
2) .247/.373/.502, 128 OPS+, in 145 games.
3) Yeah, he's a terrible defender. But his WARP-1 (Wins Above Replacement Player, defense adjusted) was 4.5 for 2008. For comparison's sake, Jeter had a 4.4 WARP-1 in 2008.

Come on, Cashman, pull the trigger!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


So yeah, go vote. It's kind of important.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Revelations, Chapter 1

April 14th, 2008:
Ed: My chest has been sore for like a week now
Joe: ouch man
Ed: and of course I keep thinking it's my heart
Joe: have you seen a doctor?
Ed: yeah, and I have an awesome heart. still doesn't stop me from thinking
Joe: You know, you might be lactose-intolerant
Ed: what?
Joe: That happened to me.
Ed: No way man, I ain't lactose intolerant.

October 30th, 2008:
Joe: It's possible you're lactose intolerant then.
Joe: that's what I've been dealing with.
Ed: Awww fuck
Ed: you know
Ed: you're fucking right
Ed: guess what I have every morning of every day
Ed: I have some on my desk RIGHT FUCKING NOW

November 3rd, 2008:
Ed: you smart person you
Ed: suggesting I might be lactose intolerant
Ed: then being right
Ed: you douche
Joe: :)
All rights reserved. Take that!