Just went through a big move from Virginia to Mississippi and while this is not new for me (went though nine previous relocations), it is not any easier. The hardest part, the drive, is over but now I'm stuck in a house with an air mattress, a couple of chairs, one table, and thats it. I brought my xbox with me, but there is no tv and all my friends who live here are either busy with summer jobs, out on vacation, or live a great distance away. Doesn't really help I'm stuck in a place where the closest Starbucks is a thirty minute drive. For personal entertainment, I have dvds of the the first three seasons of Breaking Bad, season one of The Walking Dead, the final two seasons of Six Feet Under, a couple of books I've already read and one book that I just started. The only real thing to do is work on weeding out the massive garden beds in the front and back yards which of course is no fun in the summer especially in the south. Today was actually not that bad as I got to hang out with an old high school friend for most of the day as we drove around and basically did what we always did which was nothing much, but unfortunately he is working at a summer camp and we were only able to hang out because it was his day off. Now I have five days of weeding and tv ive already seen and one book before I drive to New Orleans to hang out with a couple more friends that I haven't seen in several years for a 4th of July barbecue. This is just me killing time now with absolutely no point so its time for me to sign off.
This happens every so often when I write more on this sites blog instead of my facebook page. Oh well, I've been working on a new youtube project. It began when I was watching Scarface (1983) and during the montage of Tony Montana rising up in the Miami drug business the song "Push It To The Limit" was playing and I was thinking to myself "Damn, this song is perfect to describe the 80's". A couple of hours and one nap later, I decided to make to put together an archive of what my favorite decade (despite being born in the 90's) was made so great for. I decided the best way to do this instead of writing a stuffy old book that no one outside of nostalgic coke head book clubs would read, it would be better to use my creative talents to compose a series on youtube to illustrate the power of the 80's. The series titled "Why The 80's Rocked" would consist of half a dozen videos or so with each illustrating a facet of culture from film, television, politics, literature, technological advancements, music, etc... I'm not entirely sure how many videos this project will take but I've already begun the first video which will deal with cinema, quite easily on of the best facets of the 80's. I researched the top grossing films and award winning films of the decade and compiled clips courtesy of youtube from films such as Star Wars, Aliens, Scarface (of course), Back To The Future, Ghostbusters, and a bunch more that I can't remember at the time. That took roughly two hours as I needed clips of famous scenes in decent visual and audio quality and of course in english and this included download time and conversion time to get the clips from flv to mov or mp4 so I could work the clips in Imovie and took just the bits I needed. Next I'm going to go youtube searching again for a couple more films I missed the first time around and repeat the previous steps but in less time of course. Then I'm going to structure the clips with titles in 80's style with a low title card on the bottom of the screen showing off the film clips title, year of release, and any fun facts on how it has influenced the world at large. I was considering putting background music behind it all, but decided not too since a lot if not all have important dialogue or a soundtrack track that can't be ignored. I'm guessing I'll be working on this one video for about two weeks maybe one if I'm lucky. The next one will probably be scientific advancements which I already have a song for as that one will mostly be pictures or videos, maybe a couple famous statements but I've only done a bit of research into the technological boom of the 80's. I need to make a note to also include the economy of the 80's as well. I'm aware that the auto industry took a nose dive in the early 80's but its not like every decade was perfect. While I'm thinking about it, I think I'll do the same thing for the 40's and continue to work my way up and just continue. It seems to be the perfect hobby for me, my creative streak, love of learning and in the process preserving history, it has no end, and has no end in sight because time marches on. Yeah, you know what, I just got a new hobby and while I'm starting somewhere half way in the middle from my current perspective of time, who wouldn't start with one of the best and confusing times in history. The 1980's.
Since the last blog was to wrap up my gaming experience with the mac, this one is to give a personal update over the past several months of my life (certain omissions because I'm a very private person). Firstly my personal life. I've been working for a year at a slowly crumpling family owned (not my family) Italian restaurant and will be leaving there in a month to move to Mississippi and attend community college and then university and become a high school english teacher. Aside from work, I haven't done much as I don't have many friends in the area outside of work except attend Shamrock Fest and will be seeing Jeff Dunham in Richmond next saturday. Will probably be attending alone as my coworkers like to work weekends and not many people like two hour road trips. I've also been working out and dieting for the past month and a half and have lost over 21 pounds and counting. Nothing fancy, just doing a little bit of cardio or strength training about 30 minutes or so every day and if I'm watching T.V. or playing a game, I'll pause every 20 minutes or so and do some push ups or sit-ups. Dieting has been harder. Just water to drink with a glass of low fat milk everyday and maybe a diet coke a few times a weeks. Also I've become a very loose vegetarian which means I'll have meat maybe two times a week but never a lot and I'll mostly have a tomato sandwich or salad for a meal. It's not easy and I sometimes slip up but I'm making good progress. The last thing to mention in the personal section was that I was in a relationship for a while but I cut it off after I started to become uncomfortable with some of their personal choices regarding religion. I though I was open to everything since I'm agnostic but there is a limit to what I'm comfortable with. Thats it for personal, next up is my personal entertainment update. Firstly, I've become addicted to Netflix. I've been watching a whole bunch of movies and and t.v. shows through a whole bunch of genres but my personal favorite so far are Stargate: SG1, 24, and Shin Chan. I've also become a devout follower of Rifftrax which works perfectly in unison with being a Netflix user. For those of you who are reading who are unfamiliar with Rifftrax, its a web company run by Michael J Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett ( all three of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame) that continues the tradition of their old show by providing audio commentary files for movies ranging from cheesy B flicks just like the show and most famously actual Hollywood films like the Star Wars series, Lord of the Rings series, Inception, The Dark Night, Transformers, The Matrix Trilogy, and my personal favorites being Avatar (both the James Cameron film and The Last Airbender). Anyone interested should check out their site rifftrax.com. All the site gives you are the audio files with easy setup instructions. They can't give away the films due to copyright laws but each rifftrax is roughly one dollar to four dollars so I easily have several dozen. Great site and I always have loads of fun watching every single one over and over again. In my little creative bubble, I've been doing a lot of uploads to youtube usually just a couple of small music videos to other artists songs and a couple of rifftrax previews that are usually no more than a couple of minutes long for anyone interested in rifftrax. I also got my hands on a couple of the elusive 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special in its entirety with the original commercials which I've uploaded to youtube in one single file instead of 19 separate parts that everyone else does. Then I've also done a whole bunch of writing in a variety of genres and most are still uncompleted. As for reading, I've been reading the Millennium Trilogy (better known by its books titles, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest), and Stephen King's Dark Tower Series. In the video game sphere, I've been playing Alan Wake, Tekken 6, L.A. Noire, Black Ops, Halo: Reach, Portal 2, and a bunch of other. Thats my two cents so thanks for reading!
Over the past several months, I quit gaming on my mac. Unfortunately despite my intel chips, I can't run Civilization 5 without it lagging and most of the games being released for mac on steam or either ports of games I've already played on my xbox 360 or small indie games. I'm still too terrified to play Amnesia: The Dark Descent and have only played a little bit of Killing Floor with a friend which we used for the voice chat since we hadn't seen each other in several months being several states away. Thinking of getting back in Amnesia and recording the and making a commentary track in the same lieu of either MST3K/Rifftrax or the youtube series Freeman's Mind. Been doing basically just console gaming instead in a variety of genres if I'm not working, creating new projects for youtube, writing, having sex, high speed pursuit chases over state lines, and senate indictments. Did try some more Onlive gaming, strictly demos (no purchases), but am going to stick to the xbox 360 and am now awaiting Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, Arkham City, Rage, and Bioshock Infinite. I may get Duke Nukem Forever but having never played the game before, I'm going to need to play a demo or see some stellar reviews before spending money.
Well, I had an interesting story getting Left 4 Dead 2 on my mac. First I had to buy it, thankfully Steam was having a sale and I got it for less than seven dollars. Then when I try to install it, Steam tells me I need the Mac OS 10.6.4 graphics update to install it. Unfortunately, I was running the old 10.5 Leopard and not Snow Leopard. I had been meaning to get it the new OS, but didn't really see a need as 10.5 was running just fine. The need for it to play Left 4 Dead 2 was just the final motivation I needed. So after a quick trip to the Mac store the next day and I had the 30 dollar disc. The rest was business as usual. Install the new OS and install the game. I had a good 2 hours for the eleven gigabyte file that is Left 4 Dead 2 to download, so I explored some of the new 10.6.4 updates. First off, everything is MUCH faster and easier to use. Safari feels like a beast. Quicktime has a new look to the video player window and Steam began downloading major updates to pretty much every single game I had so I took them for a spin. First, Team Fortress 2 runs so much better, not just from the 10.6.4 graphics updates but due to Valve giving great support to the game. Team Fortress 2 on Leopard felt like a barely functioning game with bugs but on Snow Leopard feels like the game it should. I had a great time playing on a crazy mario themed level and explored some of the new updates in the inventory and things like that. Finally it was time to play Left 4 Dead 2. I was forced to turn the graphics down to the lowest level but the game still looks great especially with the free updates and extra missions that Valve has given it. Unfortunately, I still failed in all the missions I attempted, but that was too be expected since i am still not used to first person shooters with a keyboard and track pad, but it was still fun never the less. Im looking forward to seeing what else Valve has in store for the Mac platform and in the mean time I got plenty of fun with zombies and multiplayer combat.
Despite my doubts it would ever be completed, Garry's Mod was finally released on the mac. After just a couple of days of fiddling with it, I realized there would be no way to be able to film my machinima on it without at least six months of figuring out how to work GMod and getting the correct mods as I'm sure the ones I need aren't mac compatible. During all this, I've been keeping up with more and more of the mac offerings on Steam. I have all of Valve's releases and I've recently downloaded VVVVV, a fun and well designed retro looking platformer with a unique twist, and the survival horror game, Amnesia: The Dark Descent. I am still unable to play that game longer than five minutes without getting scared and turning it off. Last night, I tried out the new cloud gaming service called Onlive. Basically it likes Steam except it streams the games from server farms to your computer in HD quality even if your pc isn't a graphical powerhouse. The plus side is that there are no download times and it even works for macs as in games like Assassins Creed 2 and Batman:Arkham Asylum work. Onlive has a couple of different pay options including 3 or 5 day passes which is sort of like a rental and there are full passes which gives you all the time you want. This service is still new and there is a wifi beta going on. Onlive recommends that you used connect with a cable to your router until the wifi option leaves the beta stage, but my experience with the wifi was good. I only played some demos which all had great load times and graphics and like I said before, the entire library is mac compatible. The only downsides are that if Onlive goes under and you purchased games through it, you would be out a bit of money and a fast internet connection is required since the games are streaming and not installed on your computer. Right now, I'm waiting for Left 4 Dead 2 to come out for mac on steam as its supposed to be released today with all the dlc included and i could use the models in Garrys Mod and its a pretty fun game.
At least about once or twice a week, I'm doing some random thing or perhaps nothing at all when all of a sudden I come up with an idea that I feel could change the world. About two months ago I was hell bent on changing machinima for good by bringing a film to the genre that wouldn't be some crappy written comedy or behind the scenes look at some random game characters. Now, I just had another one of those moments. Why limit myself to machinima? I may have already spent a great deal of time on a single script, but I just got done watching the trailer to "Paranormal Activity 2" and while I was one of the few people with enough sense to see the first wasn't really that great of a movie, I did appreciate the film style of being lost footage. The past couple of years lost footage films have been either horror/scifi like "The Last Exorcism", "Cloverfield", and "Paranormal Activity", but what about other film genres? It came to me all of a sudden, why not a lost footage film in the genre of drama, romance, crime, or action? I'm not saying I'm going to take all of those genres and combine them all into one or several films, but I've been thinking of at least taking two of those genres, combine them, and present them in lost footage format. The idea thats been floating in my head is to present two stories in one film. The story of the people with the camera and the one of the subject they are filming. Without giving away too much and risk having my IP being stolen, the general brainstorm I got zipping around my head involves two best friends messing around with a brand new video camera, accidently filming a crime,start up their own investigation, put their friendship to the test during the investigation, and in the end..... well, I don't want to reveal too much, but I'm probably going to pass my finished machinima script off to a director on machinima.com and start the pre-write on this new idea. I've always had a passion for movies and tv and would probably go insane if I didn't have Netflix. I've been browsing wreckamovie.com and like the idea of filmmakers being able to do what they love without having to go broke when trying to pitch their ideas to a big studio like Universal or Fox. At least I got a good long day at work to organize my ideas and keep myself from getting bored in case its a slow day, but this idea in my head, like any that latches its talons in my head is a diesease. I had a flash in my head a day or two ago when thinking about cannibals. I don't know if its true or I made it up, but I remember reading some where that cannibals would eat their dead in order to gain their strength. If this tidbit is actual fact and I were a cannibal with my choice of one person to eat in order to gain their strength and wisdom, I would eat David Lynch. That man's creations of Blue Velvet, Eraserhead, and The Elephant Man have earned him a special place in my heart and I would not hesitate to meet him and gain his god like genius. Of course, I wouldn't actually eat him because of the legality and taboo of the whole situation, but it would be a great honor to just meet him once.
I just finished watching the season 4.5 premiere of The Venture Brothers which featured the Venture families robot servant Helper for only about 5 seconds, but its those five seconds that made me realize that its time that I declared my love and paid tribute to my three favorite robots on television; Bender from Futurama, Helper from The Venture Brothers, and the Tachikoma from Ghost In The Shell.
First, the anti-hero Bender. Bender is the anti-hero protagonist of the Planet Express crew in the sci-fi/comedy Futurama. Bender's schemes involve stealing from his own friends and co-workers, double crossing President Nixon's head, adopting a dozen children for the government stipends, feeding said children "Bender Burgers" (hint: the cat shelter is on to him), stalking his favorite soap opera stars, and will do anything to ensure he has the biggest rap sheet in the universe. However, my favorite Bender moment was when he disguised himself as a penguin on Pluto with a tuxedo, had a bout of amnesia when he thought he was one of them, became their "lovable dictator" with the battle slogan "If it ain't black and white; peck, scratch, and bite" when environmentalists where going to hunt them to control the population. The episode ended with the penguins chasing Bender and the Planet Express crew off of Pluto and arming themselves with guns in the final foreboding scene of the episode. Bender with his lovable anti-hero personality, selfish attitude, cigars, booze, and little to no morals make him one of my favorite tv robots.
Second, the selfless Helper. Helper is the Venture families ever loyal but often abused servant. He is often taken for granted but despite this, he never waivers in his loyalty. His screen time for the entire series probably amounts to less than 2 hours, but every time you see Helper, he's going through some new hell. He's been used as an artificial kidney, mistaken for a space ghost, used as bomb, experimented upon, ejected into outer space, given a Mexican car make over, tortured, shot, beaten, taken advantage of, grafted into Brock Sampsons body, and even entered Earth's atmosphere resulting in a hard crash landing in the Venture compound, all the while speaking in an unintelligible garble that everyone in the show can understand. Helper, the doomed, selfless , for lack of a better word, helper to the Venture family despite the abuse he suffers makes him one of my favorite tv robots.
Finally, the Tachikoma. The Tachikoma are the child like robots from the anime and manga Ghost in the Shell. The Tachikoma have the personalities of children with a curiosity about the world and are extremely playful despite being armed with grenade launchers, machine guns and intended for military uses. The Tachikoma provide comedy relief through out the series and each of them develop unique personalities. There really aren't a whole lot of reasons why there are awesome, it's just one of those things where it can't be aruged. The Tachikoma with their weapons and child like minds make them one of my favorite tv robots.
There it is, my declaration of love for my favorite robots on television, all of them unique and different and while some are main characters and some get less screen time than the end credits, I f**kin love every single second they are on the screen.
A couple of months ago I saw a trailer for the PC game Amnesia: The Dark Descent. featuring the main character running from an unknown monster. Being a fan of Stephen King and horror movies like Drag Me To Hell and the Evil Dead series, my interest in the game grew. Now I'm playing it and while you can see my review for it concerning gameplay, this entry is about my state of mind while playing the game.
First of all, this game is scary. This game scares me more than reading Stephen King's IT for the first time and much scarier than asking a girl out for the first time. I can't even play this game alone in a room at night or day with the lights on. My heartbeat increases and my hands shake at the keyboard. I swear as much as the next person but when you hear me play this game, you are going to hear me constantly go with streams of "godd**n it", "sonofab***h", and my own personal inventions of "f**k me in the d**k" and "god f**k a**". Yeah, the game is that scary. Anyone who thinks Dead Space is the scariest game ever made will have a heart attack when they pick up this game.
I've heard that this game draws elements from horror writer H.P. Lovecraft but I haven't read any of his material to know much about that claim. The developer of Amnesia has released the rest of their library of games on Steam and since they do run on Mac, I might check them out later since I love getting scared. The rush of adrenaline, the uncertainty of the outcome, and the strangeness of monsters have always intrigued me. Personally, I find other horror games like Resident Evil and Dead Space could take a page from Amnesia and maybe take away some of the shooter elements as the sense of helplessness when encountering a monster is a really big part in the horror of playing Amnesia and many developers could take a page from Amnesia's developers.
Its been a couple of months and it seems like mac game releases are getting fewer and fewer. I just purchased Amnesia: The Dark Descent from Steam and Starcraft II, but theres really nothing else going on in the world of mac gaming. I used to follow Garry Newmans blog to learn about more news for the mac version of Garrys Mod, but nothing except for some lame cryptic clues. Its really all quiet on the Mac front. I don't even care when or if Garry's Mod does come out for mac at this point as I'm more excited about Halo: Reach, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Fallout: New Vegas, and I might even get Dead Rising 2 since I just beat the first Dead Rising on a fail ending and beat Dead Rising 2: Case Zero 100% and all my stuff from that will carry over to Dead Rising 2. I haven't had that much time for games due to school and work but I plan to get some of that delicious Reed's Ginger Brew from Whole Foods, ranch Doritoes and a stuffed crust pizza from Pizza Hut on Halo: Reach's launch day since I planned my schedule to have nothing going on that day except the last Halo game from Bungie.