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firebird23 Blog

A Re-Cap of Last Saturday

*quick note* This is copied and pasted from my usual blog and since Gamespot thinks potty words are the devil, I re-worded them for the audience Gamespot thinks it has. Last weekend a fiend and I drove to Cleveland, Ohio to see Intronaut, Kylesa and, of course, the mighty MASTODON! I had met the guy I went up there with on the Mastodon message board and we hit it off because he lives in Indianapolis (I live in Columbus, a town about 40 miles south of Indy). He offered to drive up there so I agreed. I knew he was an alright guy from talking to him on the board, but he ended up being much cooler than I expected. That's definitely a good thing considering Cleveland is about 5 hours away. We arrived at the venue about an hour an a half before the doors opened and met up with a couple of other guys from the board who lived in Ohio. We stood around and talked for a while when Bill Keliher (guitar player for Mastodon) walks up to and starts talking to us. I was trying so hard not to nerd the fudge out (Mastodon have been my favorite band for I don't know how long). I had told him we drove 5 hours from Indiana to come see them to which he responded "You guys are fudging nuts, thank you so much". He took off after about 15 minutes so we went inside to hang out at the bar and get a few drinks before the show. At the bar, there was this 40-something year old dude who was there because he took his son to see Mastodon. He was smashed off his ass but was cool none-the-less. We talked sports (he was a Browns fan and I a Colts fan) and just random poop It's surprising the cool people you meet at shows. We heard Intronaut start so we made our way to the crowd. The venue itself was pretty damn tiny. I'd say the average movie theater screening room is larger by a pretty big margin. Intronaut sounded incredible. The heavy parts in their songs sounded like a freaking stampede of bull elephants racing towards you, you could feel the double-kick drum in your chest, it was fudging awesome. After Intronaut, Kylesa came on. To be honest, they bored the living poop out of me. I don't know weather they just weren't that good live or I was just too damned excited to see Mastodon and was getting impatient. To be fair, the rest of the crowd seemed to like them. After what seemed like forever of the crew setting up the stage for the 'Don, the lights went out and they came out on stage. They played their new album in it's entirety from front to back. It was one of the most incredible live expireinces I've had in my concert-going career. After they finished Crack the Skye, they took a break for a few minutes and came back out and played another set of their older stuff. Most of the songs they played were off Blood Mountain but they threw in some Leviathan and one song from Remission. To put it simply, they kicked major ass. I don't regret the 5 hour trip in the least. After the show we waited around in the crowd and the drummer, Brann Dailor, jumped out and started talking to people and signing stuff and taking picutres. I got my picture taken and shook his hand and we took off outside. We met the guys from Ohio out by the tour bus to wait on the rest of the band and soon enough we had met and talked with Brent Hinds and Troy Sanders (lead guitar and bass, respectively). By this time there were just us 4 guys out there, after they went inside Brann came out and talked to us for like 40 minutes. We told him we were from the Mastodon board and our screen names and stuff. I got another picture with me, Brann and the guy I went with. When Brann left, we decided to start the trek back home. The drive home was fudging brutal. We didn't talk as much because both of us were tired as hell. We stopped somewhere in Nowhere, Ohio and ate at a Denny's. It was about 3 in the morning but the place was fudging packed. I guess all that the people in that town have to do on a saturday night is to hang out at Denny's, haha. I made it home about 9 on sunday morning. I had such an amazing time. Meeting the band I've adored for years, hanging out with some cool people, listening to great music. It was the trip of a lifetime, for sure.

An Awful Night

Last night was supposed to be a good night. My long-time friend was over and we were knocking a few cold ones back (as well as some car bombs, god those are delicious). Unfortunately at around midnight, my son woke up with a fever. It was really strange because he hasn't been sick, no signs of a cold or flu, and he was just fine when he went to bed at 8. After about a half an hour of reading him books and singing songs to get him to go back to bed, he decided he wanted to go in the living room with the grown-ups (sometimes he does this just to feel like part of the group). My lady was holding him at her computer and he was acting fine. Then he let out this god-awful scream/wail and starting convulsing violently. He was having a seizure. Instinctively, I told my girlfriend to stick her fingers in his mouth so he doesn't bite off or choke on his tongue and grabbed the phone to call 911. She was so frightened and screaming at the top of her lungs. When the seizure was over, I guess he passed out or something and his lips turned blue. That made us all freak out even more. He started breathing immediately, however, and the ambulance and police officers arrived in a very impressive short time span. She left with him in the ambulance and I called her mom to tell her to go to the hospital. I had to stay here and keep watch over my daughters (who were thankfully asleep and didn't witness anything). He was so out of it, it was like he was asleep but with his eyes half open. His was murmuring and groaning (this was after he started breathing again and before the ambulance arrived). They finally got out of the hospital this morning at 7. It turns out he had a double inner-ear infection. It was so strange because he hasn't been complaining about his ears hurting or anything. They ran a ct scan and pumped him full of fluids and antibiotics and he seems to be doing fine now (he's playing trucks with his sisters right now). I don't really know why I'm posting this, I guess I just need to get it off my chest. It's all still extremely fresh in my mind. Even though he's seemingly fine and acting normal, it's hard for both of us to be in a normal state of mind. Heck, it probably scarred us both. As a parent, I've seen my fair share of injuries. Hell, my youngest daughter has had stitches once already, but this was the most terrifying thing I've ever gone through.

Top 10 Albums of 2008

10: Origin - Antithesis Origin are a technical brutal death metal band from the U.S. that have been creating some of the most intense grindcore infused death metal since 1997. Antithesis is definitely not for the novice metal listener. It's brutal, fast and loud. An audio assault from start to finish, fans of technical brutal metal will surely find a lot to love with this album 9: Meshuggah - obZen There aren't many categories that you can put Meshuggah into and have it accurately describe them. Insane time signatures, guitar tuned so low, they didn't even need a bassist on a few of their albums, cerebral lyrics. obZen is what Meshuggah do best. It's a departure from their last few efforts in that it's a more comprehensive album. Not too many concepts of expiriments. A kick-ass record all around .. 8: Psychroptic - Ob(servant) Aussie tech-death metalers return and with a new vocalist. The new album is a bit more straight-forward, but it's still a really great listen from start to finish. I'm really happy to see these guys still around and finally starting to get some semi-mainstreem attention. 7: Bloodbath - The Fathomless Mastery Swedish death metal super-group returns with Mikael Akerfeldt at the mic. More of a throw-back to the earlier years of swedish death metal, this is a fantastic album put on and just rock out to... 6: Gojira - The Way of all Flesh The best french metal band around bar-none. Heavy, groovey and just plain awesome their follow-up to From Mars to Sirius is a great effort from these guys... 5: The Faceless - Planetary Duality I really didn't think these guys could pull off a better album than their debut Akeldama, but damn was I wrong. Jazzy, etheral, brutal, technical this album has it all. A young band with loads of talent, The Faceless should be on any metal fans radar for years to come. 4: Scar Symmetry - Holographic Universe Scar Symmetry are one of my favorite melodic death metal bands around and their newest album does not dissapoint. Catchy songs, awesome guitar solos, sing-along chorus', progressive elements. There's just so much to love about this album. Unfortunately they recently announced the departure of their vocalist and have replaced him with two other guys. Who knows what the future has in store for Scar Symmetry?.. 3: Arsis - We are the Nightmare After a mediocore sophomore outing, a lot of metal fans wrote off this american band. Fortunately they came back and with a vengence. Great guitar playing and drumming permiate every track on the album. One of the best of the year by far... 2: Opeth - Watershed After the dramatic lineup changes that happened after the band was finished touring for Ghost Reveries, I had fears of Opeth losing some of the sound that I've come to love on albums like Damnation, Blackwater Park and Deliverance. My fears were unfounded though as this is a really great album. Just the right amount of bluesy guitar riffs, brutal death metal growls and progressive tangents, a new Opeth is always a special listen... 1: Cynic - Traced in Air The return of the jazz-infused metal band from Florida after a 15 year hiatus. Traced in Air is a triumph of epic preportions. Beautiful and mellencholic, it's an album you can sit and listen to intently, or zone out and let your mind wonder with this as the soundtrack. There really isn't any reason for anyone NOT to love this album. Amazing... So there you have it, my top 10 albums of the year. Peace

WoW....

My girlfriend and I had played World of Warcraft a while back ago. While she enjoyed it, I thought it was sort of boring. Yesterday, for some ungodly reason, I decided I'd try the 10 day trial they had emailed me about. All I have to say is that I think I'm going to spend much, much more time in this game than 10 days. I'm an Undead Warlock up to level 12 so far. It seems like leveling doesn't take nearly as long as it used to. I heard somewhere that they patched the game to make new players advance much more quickly. I hope everyone had a good thanksgiving, I sure had a good one. Later

Thoughts on the Consoles Thus Far

I'm a little tired of doing the typical "talk about games I've been playing blah blah blah" blog so I decided I'd write something a little different. I'm going to write a few short paragraphs on how I see each of the current generation of hardware at this point in their respective life-cycles. If anything, I hope this blog will be a good discussion-starter. Hell, I need people to start paying attention to what I write on here if I'm going to even bother with it anymore. So I figured I'd make my blogs a bit more interesting from now on. First off is the Playstation 3. I've been a pretty big advocate for the PS3 since it's public debut. Sure, it was a pricey console, had a slow start and a bad PR list that could go on for miles. But Sony gave me the PS1 and 2 and those platforms gave me some of the best expiriences I've ever had in my gaming career. Why the hell would I not be excited for another Playstation? I understood where people were coming from when they insulted the system for the first year or so leading up to it's release (for the reasons mentioned above) but now, the Playstation 3 has come into it's own and is defintely a viable platform. The release of one of the stand-out features of the PS3 (Home) is just around the corner. I've been in the beta for a while now and I'm enjoying what it has to offer. I can't talk about anything, reall, as I'm under a ToS that forbids me to. But I see people all over the place saying "Home is **** Home is 'gay'.Home is lame" etc. All I have to say is I'm glad everyone is so uselessly cynical about Home, the less **** on there, the better. They can stay on LIVE for all I care. For me, however, I've actually been meeting cool people that share my interests (more so than any site or forum so far). If I don't feel like playing a game, I can hop on there and play a game of pool or bowling while chatting it up with a couple of friends. I guess the same people that hate on Home are the same people who hate on Myspace, Facebook etc. Just like the 360, the PS3 has plenty of exclusive games and features that keep me interested in it. I mean come on, God of War 3, the next Team Ico game, an actual next-gen Gran Turismo, whatever Naughty Dog and Insomniac have up their sleeve next. I could go on and on. I'm excited to see what this system can do in the years to come. I know it will continue to impress with what developers have to offer. Now I'll talk about the Xbox 360. Wow, what a success story, huh? I was never a huge fan of the original Xbox but I must say, I love my 360. It's home to some of the best games of this generation and looking to be a great place for fist and thid-party exclusives. Who would have thought 5 years ago that the Xbox would be taking exclusives away from Playstation? Unfortunately, they did have one huge hiccup (red ring of death, which I've experienced only once knock on wood) But Microsoft did a great thing and fixed all of em for free. Also, the dpad on the controller is just crappy but I'll forgive it because it's still one of the best designed controllers yet. There really isn't much I have to say about the 360 other than "keep it coming". Wii My god, the Wii. What a dissapointment. I'm sorry but the only games that I find even semi-interesting are their first-party games. Unfortunately, the good ones (Mario's Zelda's, etc) are extremely few and far between. The only reason I keep the thing now is because of how much I've spent on the VC. Plus my kids like it (imagine that). I really hope there's something that brightens my veiw on the Wii in the next couple of years. It seems Nintendo gets a free pass on everything. Online is horrible? That's okay, you're Nintendo. Console isn't HD? That's okay, you're Nintendo. No viable storage system for your downloadable content? That's okay, you're Nintendo. Crappy third-party games that are mostly movie tie-ins and mini game collections? That's okay, you're Nintendo. See a pattern here? I'm not trying to be overly cyincal towards the Wii, I really really want to like it. Unfotunately, other than the rare occasion I want to play a VC game, it collects dust. So that's what I'm thinking so far. What are your opinions? Questions, comments? Anything you want to say. Please, keep it civil. I understand console debate has become almost as feverish as politics and religion, but keep your cool and be respectfull. Peace.

Beat Gears 2 and other stuff.

After many phone calls and angry emails to many different places, the situation that I mentioned in my last blog has been resolved. The day after this happened we contacted our bank to inform them that the charge wasn't authorized by us and explained the situation. Thankfully, they worked with us to create a new debit card as well as refunding the money that was taken from my account. I guess the reason why they were so gracious is because this happens to a lot of people when doing business with places online. Let this be a lesson to me, only do business with places I know for sure are safe to use. Life is pretty tough lately. I've been looking around for a job but there really doesn't seem to be much around here anymore. If something doesn't happen within the next week or so, I guess I'll be forced to work at a fast food place or something. Whatever you have to do to pay the bills, I guess. I beat Gears 2 the other night on hardcore difficulty. It was simultaneously awesome and frustrating. I figured since the reviews I read said that hardcore was most like the first games normal, that I'd breeze right through it. Boy was I wrong! I don't think I've yelled that many obscenities in a while (well, since Megaman 9). Regardless, I enjoyed the game greatly. The graphics certainly were a sight to behold (especially in the sunken city area and the fight with the giant effing fish!). The story was much improved as well. I actually cared about what was going on this time around. A moment in Dom's story (dare I say it?) choked me up a little bit. They did a good job of making me want to kill locusts. I'll be starting Resistance 2 shortly so hopefully I can tell you guys what I think of it. I'm also thinking about writing reviews for both Fable 2 and Gears of War 2. However, I need to spend some time on Gears 2 multiplayer before I can score it. Take it easy everyone

Avoid gottaplay.com at all costs!

Gottaplay.com is a game rental site much like GameFly. I had an account there almost 3 months back but canceled it due to loooong shipping times, too few games available and uncompetitive prices. I sent the game I had back to them the day of my cancelation. Today I get an email informing me my bank account has been charged $50.00 due to not returning the game. WHAT?! I shipped the damn thing months ago! If the game was missing, why didn't they contact me between freaking August and now?! I called the customer service number twice,only to get a voice-mail as well as sent them an email. Later, I did some research and found out that this isn't the only instance of this happening. on ripoffreport.com there were two other instances in which this has happened (recorded cases, anyway). So there you have it. I'm out $50.00 and have nothing to show for it. If you or any of your friends even think about trying this service, don't. Please, warn everyone you can because I don't want this happening to anyone else.

Sacred Cows Make the Best Hamburger

Man it's been too long since I've written anything here. I guess that's what happens when you're as lazy as I am; you neglect to do even the tings you enjoy doing. For some reason everytime I start to play a game, I'll get about half-way through it and I'll lose interest. Well, it's not that I'm not interested I think I can blame it on laziness. After a day at work and an evening taking care of the kids and doing family stuff, there isn't much that I even feel like doing anymore. I still enjoy doing passive things like reading, watching movies and listening to music but I've been having problems getting into games. I think that's why I've been playing so much virtual console games on my Wii. If there's one good thing about the Wii it's the Virtual Console. Classic games are great for short bursts. Now adays games have 30 minute long cutscenes just to introduce the characters. Right now I'm mostly playing Megaman 9. Man that game is awesome! I have one boss left and that's Tornado Man. It's the stage,I never had trouble with Air Man on MM2 so why is this one so difficult? Who knows? I'll get through it eventually, practice makes perfect. I'm really excited about Little Big Planet. It seems like there will be tons of different things to do that it'll keep my ADD riddled mind occupied for more than 10 to 15 minutes. I'm interested in seeing what kind of creations I make with the tools they provide. I've seen some really cool examples on youtube. I think this will be a game of the year contender. Wow, so many fantastic games this year. MGS4, GTA4, LittleBigPlanet and so many others. 2007 was a fantastic year for games but this year is looking even better. Hopefully all the games I'm hyped for turn out being good. I've been expanding my musical horizons lately. This guy I work with has been getting me into prog-rock lately. I'm really digging Porcupine Tree and Dream Theater. Check em out if you like awesome music, haha. I apologize about this blog being so scatter-brained. That's just how my mind has been lately. Maybe I'm going through a transitional period and I don't realize it yet. Oh well. Till next time Peace