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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Grocery Store Myth

(If you already know this then good for you, but I'm discovering that most people don't)

You know how, if you reach into the back of a row of milk jugs, the furthest ones almost always have the best dates?

This trick only works with milk.

If you reach into the back of a row of Greek salad dressing then you're most likely going to grab one with a bad date.

There are three reasons for this:

  1. The dairy department has a cool sliding door behind the milk section so they can push the new stuff in from their secret room. Salad dressing does not have a cool sliding door. All new product gets shoved into the front of the shelf and the old stuff stays in the back, unless someone cares enough to rotate the product.
  2. Nobody cares.
  3. The night crew stocked the salad dressing, and those dudes don't care whether you live or die.

Demon's Souls

You win.

I give up.

I've given up on games before, but first I have to get bored with the mechanics, or distracted by another game, or at least beat the first god-damned level.
I've played hard games before. Hell, I've even bragged about how tough games used to be back in the 8-bit days, but none of those games were half the challenge that you are, Demon's Souls.

You're malevolent.

And your targeting system sucks. Half the challenge of playing you is wrestling the right analog to try and lock onto the bastard murdering me. God forbid you give me some comfortable controls and then present a healthy challenge.
If you weren't so fucking difficult then nobody would care about you, buddy. That's all they see you as: a grindstone. You're not even a real video game.

How does that feel?

And I hate you most because this nightmare world you've dropped me into is absolutely beautiful. I love the concept. I love the monsters. Why do you have to tease me with that intro movie? I just want to play you so bad, but then you go and give me a shield with about five degrees of effectiveness that, even when it works, I still lose some HP. What the fuck is your problem?

So fuck you, Demon's Souls. I can just play a better game with the difficulty setting maxed out and I'll have a much better time. A more rewarding time.


See you tomorrow night?

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Hand Thing

I'd totally do the hand thing to that guy

Out on the road, two bikers cross paths. One sticks out his closed fist, and the other responds in kind, as a kind of greeting. A sort of, "Hey, fellow biker. You're part of our little biker club. Air fist-bumpies!"

I end up following this biker for a few minutes. Two more bikes pass and guess what? The bikers repeat the hand thing two more times.

And this isn't the first time I've witnessed this behavior. All bikers do this. They're all doing the hand thing to each other. Even as you read this, right this second, there's a biker out there doing the hand thing to another biker. And that other biker? He's doing the hand thing right back.

This is why I'm never going to buy a motorcycle. Because if I rode a Harley, a Kawasaki, or some other I-don't-care-about-living-to-collect-social-security vehicle then I'd feel required by society to do the hand thing, and I'd feel stupid every time I did it.

What's the point? It's not like I wave at every pedestrian I walk past. Are all bikers secretly desperate for communal security? Did one asshole just do it one day, another responded reflexively and then they all just assumed that's how they were supposed to act without really asking each other? Because I could believe that.

I mean, sure, I could just ignore every passing biker as he sticks out his hand and pleads, "Love me, please! Acknowledge my fist!" but then I'd be a dick.

The other option is to just never ride my bike on a Saturday, which would cut off the required hand thing quota by about 95%.

Granted, I wasn't really planning on purchasing a motorcycle but now it's not even an option. I am not doing the hand thing.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Nathan Drake-athon

Have you ever purchased a game and then started playing it without giving yourself a clear cut-off time, only to find that the game is over, the credits are rolling and outside, the sun is coming up?
I bought Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and that's pretty-much what happened to me.

One game. One sitting. I think I had a cookie or a slice of raisin bread or something. I'm feeling pretty malnourished right now.

I have shot so many people and snapped so many necks in the last ten hours. It's all blended together into this staccato crack of gunfire and the image of Nathan Drake hiding behind bulletproof patio furniture as I wait for his mutant healing factor to kick in.

You should've seen this one part. It was like the manliest thing I've ever seen.
After having been gut-shot and lying unconscious for days, Nathan gets up and literally within the next ten minutes is off mountain-climbing with this dude who doesn't speak a word of English but he carries this wild-looking machete and he has this instant bond with Nathan because it becomes obvious really fast that, although neither one can understand a word the other says, they're both crazy as fuck, and in that department they might as well be brothers.

And when I say mountain-climbing, what I really mean to say is that they were leaping across bottomless pits and doing the "Quick! Grab my hand!" thing all the time. No climbing gear. No preparation. We're talking bare fingers clutching frozen walls. Blind, flying-squirrel leaps through utterly impassible terrain. Totally casual about it, too. At no point does Nathan muse to himself, "What the fuck am I doing? What the fuck is wrong with me?"

And then they pick up Nazi guns and fight yetis.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I'm Good. Thanks for Asking.

Nothing new going on. Same old stuff.

You know how it is.

You Know What?

I don't do as many posts as I used to.

Well, look at this. I just did a post.
That wasn't too hard.


What's up, man? How you doin'?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Good and Bad Paradoxes

I feel like it's time to broach a geeky subject.

"But, Justin!" You say, "You do that all the time."

"No," I answer from the peak of my ivory tower, "You have seen only the shadow of my nerd. It is enormous. If I were to whip my nerd out then it'd be like, Whump! That's my nerd hitting the floor."

So time travel is probably the most romanced element of science fiction, but it's also the least reliant on actual science.

I think that's a good thing. A very good thing, actually. It's safe to say that nobody is ever going to jump into a Delorean, rev up to 88 MPH and leave fire-laced tire tracks as they punch a hole through reality; but who cares as long as it's really fucking awesome, right?

Back to the Future. Terminator 2. Futurama. Star Trek(2009). Bill and Ted(Fuck yes, Bill and Ted!). They all kicked ass. This is the good time travel fiction.

But then there's the bad time travel fiction, and while you can usually tell the two apart by relying on the normal qualifying elements of good fiction like character and plot and crap, with time travel you can also rely on something else:

How they handle the paradoxes.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

My Childhood was a Lie!

So here I am; innocent, unsuspecting Justin stumbling around the internet, assuming for all these years that I had a proper upbringing.

And then I come across pictures of Birdie and her ninth birthday party.

Stop smiling, damn you!

Oh, the jealousy!

The world just isn't fair. Why didn't I ever get a Minecraft-themed birthday party? If my parents really loved me then they would've given me a creeper cake and a crafting table on my ninth birthday! I see now that I was just some diminutive after-thought that they would feed every now and then.

To anyone who's never played Minecraft
I'd imagine that this table covered in duct tape is entirely meaningless.

Honestly, it's a bit of a relief for me to see stuff like this.
A few years back I read an article on the Mario Generation, and how current-generation games are targeted exclusively for an older audience, while back in the eighties you had more of a kid-friendly focus, meaning that kids these days aren't going to have the same opportunity to enjoy games the way the my generation has (and still does). The article concluded that in twenty years only old codgers like myself are going to give a shit about video games.

Of course, that's all bullshit. The market has changed. It's expanded. And kids game just as much now as they did in my formative years. The only difference being adults (with $$$) have become a demanding market.

Hey Birdie! I bet you never got to eat this!
That's right, you over-privileged imp!
             Ninja nets!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I'm collecting lots of neat stuff in Dragon Quest 9:

  • horse shit
  • cow shit
  • tree stump (worn like a helmet)
  • bright blue panties
  • UPDATE: Just got mud!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Doing Other Stuff

Read a better blog.

Too much text?

How about a nerdy joke.

Not good enough? Are you bored? Really bored?

Has your boredom become a super-massive singularity of indifference so powerful even photons and quality entertainment can't escape its cosmic grasp?

Well, you can't be bored and confused at the same time, right? This video will force you to choose one or the other.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Where Did It Go?

Anyone remember seeing a really stupid post about a Pop-Tart cat on the top of this page?

Where the hell did it go?

I have two theories:

1. I was really out of it last night and decided that randomly striking buttons on my keyboard for about thirty minutes was a good idea.

2. Anonymous.

UPDATE: Okay, it's back. No clue why.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I Want You to be Happy

... Or slightly annoyed. Whatever comes first.

(And to answer your two questions: You're exactly right, that is a Pop-Tart, and yes, the whole thing)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


"You are so lucky to show up today!" Says the bubbling grocery store employee.
"Why is that?" I ask.
"Because the DickBus is coming!" She was happy. Really happy.

I had just arrived at the grocery store about ten minutes ago and in the parking lot there had been a large, taped-off area that said 'Reserved Parking'. I asked if there was a relation between the reserved spot and the DickBus.
"Yes," She beams, "It's going to be here from 9:00 to 4:00."

I think she realizes at this point that her enthusiasm is one-sided, but I can't even put on a show (it's too early for forced enthusiasm). In my head I'm applying the rationale that this is a small town and certain events might mean a lot more in a place like this than they would elsewhere.

"Is this a regular thing?" I ask, "Has the DickBus been here before?"
"No. Never. I've been here for,"
And then she makes a huge mistake: She counts the years she's been working in that grocery store.
(wage-slave employee math works like this: Take however long you think you've worked without calculations, and then add ten years, because that's what it'll turn out to be after you start counting the years).
She tells me eleven years in the deflated sort of way that grocery store employees normally talk. The smile is totally gone. Even the imminent arrival of the DickBus isn't going to bring back her cheer.

When I say DickBus I'm sure you know what I'm talking about, right?
Those wonderful Kraft-brand meat-paste products that don't come from any specific animal, so instead of a pig or a chicken-shaped bus you've got a big roll of meat poo on wheels for a mascot.

I'll admit that when the DickBus did arrive, I was impressed.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The XBLI Dilemma

XBLI games see new titles released about once a day, and the library itself is almost up to 2,000 titles, which is an intimidating number.

Given this ridiculous ocean of digital entertainment, how is the Average Consumer supposed to find a good title?

Never fear, Average Consumer. I've compiled a list of XBLI games, all with above average (for XBLI) production and quality; complete with the thorough reviews they deserve.

Which of these downloadable games will be warming your hard drive this evening?

Sunday, May 8, 2011


You do not fuck with
Chris Hemsworth, Giant Slayer
Bam! Dead frost giant

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Fantasy is good. Give me double-epic fantasy, savage fantasy, almost fantasy, B-grade fantasy, super awesome frame story fantasy. I love it all.

But there's a sub-genre of fantasy that rests deep inside my heart. It doesn't even have a proper name, but the basic idea is you take a character, or maybe a few characters, which is better, out of our contemporary, modern world, and you drop them into a fantasy/sci-fi/unfamiliar world.

This sub-genre has its stinkers. It has its weirdos. It has its lepers that make you feel dirty after reading.

But some of this stuff is really fun.

Beyonders is cool just because of its name, and the author is a real talent.

Is it an entirely serious adventure? No.
Is there an evil wizard ruling a kingdom in a despotic fashion? Heroes that must stop him? A quest to recover the-only-thing-that-can-destroy-the-evil-wizard? Tropes, tropes, tropes? Sure, but Mull makes them work. He makes them fun.

I think anyone else who wrote a book that played out like a Visit-The-Four-Elemental-Temples RPG would fall really flat, but the nuances of the story and its style keep it moving nicely.

To be fair, this was the book I read right after Breathless, and as you know, if you read a shit book then the next book, even a mediocre one, will be a lot better just because of the contrast in quality.
Also, I might have mentioned this before but I'm a sucker for this specific sub-genre of fantasy.

Books31 - "It will engross both boys and girls between 3rd to 8th grade"

Patty - "I can see this book appealing to tons of betweener aged kids"

And over-sized man-boys. Don't forget me.

(There also might be a 13-year-old protagonist who cracks smart-ass jokes in the face of certain death like some grizzled war hero, and I think he almost kills a guy with a billiard ball, which is very "I drink your milkshake", but dude, you're 13 years old. I don't know any 30-year-olds who act as mature as you do.)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Imitation 8-bit

Top screen (awesome 8-bit game)

Bottom screen (You and your bud, chillin' and playing games)

Retro Game Challenge is an 80's childhood simulator for the Nintendo DS where you play a ton of vintage, replica 8-bit video games.

Here's the funny thing about it: Despite all of it's faithful replication of the games I played during my childhood, Retro Game Challenge only appears to have authentic 8-bit gameplay.

The game design is completely modern.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Danny Madison

"My music comes from right there."

I just met him today.
He was, like, "Hey dude. Listen to my music,"

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Metamorphosis

I don't know how it works for the females of our tender species but when a human male reaches the cusp of age thirty he undergoes a metamorphosis, tossing away his twenties like the loose change in his pocket and transgressing into a realm of thickening girth, slowing metabolism and the blessed beginnings of male-pattern baldness. It's a marvelous sight to behold.

But not all 29ers have the will to leap such a tremendous hurdle. The metamorphosis demands a sound body, a sound mind, and the pretense of maturity. Those who lack these qualities will be stuck as 29ers for all eternity, damned with full heads of hair and the ability to eat pizza and drink beer on weekdays and still wake up feeling refreshed. Woe be them.

My 30th is fast approaching, my metamorphosis is quickening, and it's time to either shit or get off the pot. Understand that the metamorphosis isn't a mere state of mind, and it isn't some freaky, gross cocoon I'd produce by pooping out a bunch of goo. The metamorphosis is a procedure as unique as every male studying his retreating hairline in the mirror.

I've contemplated for many days and nights about my metamorphosis and I now know what I must do: