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Gerry Seinfeld

In the past week, Jerry Seinfeld launched his own website, just a simple way to catalog his vast three-decade plus archive of stand-up comedy. It really is wonderfully austere. There's no sensory overload, just three stand-up bits every day from as far back as 1977, along with a "coming tomorrow" note. If you miss something, maybe it'll be back, maybe not. Along with the ability share on social media (not just the big ones; there's over 340 options) and check out tour dates, that's about all there is, and that's all there needs to be. It's a simple way to enjoy a few laughs each day, and it's also perfectly and simply formatted for mobile devices. It really highlights how needlessly decadent web designers have chosen to make sites lately. I can't recommend this enough.

I started Call of Duty: World at War late last week, and it's very fun. It's neat because in a way the simpler weapons of WWII help disguise that this is two iterations old. I've wrapped up to first Japanese portion of the game and have moved on to fighting "Gerry" in Russia. I actually tried out online first, and the maps are great and have a character and atmosphere that the Modern Warfare and Black Ops maps don't quite have. Sadly, they're also unplayable. The online part is completely wrecked by hackers; every other game has at least oneperson in 'God mode' that allows them to go super fast, morph through solid objects, and be invulnerable. Toss in the fact that it will assign a game to a map you don't have and them kick you out with an offer to buy, and I won't be back. But I'd love to see another WaW title come out for some period online battles. (incidentally, MW2 is rapidly approaching getting that bad with hackers, but IW swears a patch is coming)

I also teamed up with SabotFox over the weekend to tackle some Portal 2 co-op; in truth, he'd really done it all, so about all I could contribute was him getting one of his 'friend hugs' towards an achievement. Even with a fun person who's not a 'random', it's still an exercise in frustration. I really think these co-op things put so much pressure to not let each other down (especially when you know each other) that it sucks a lot of the fun out of the experience. I hope we'll see a Portal 3 someday, but I also hope they take co-op and toss it in the garbage where it belongs. I'd much rather just have single player and have the price knocked down to $45 or so.

That's all for today. Thanks for reading, everybody!

The End?

I fleshed out a few thoughts from my last blog and posited if this could be the beginning of the end of online gaming in my latest Doylestown Patch article. Yeah, it seems far-fetched doom-and-gloom, but as I close the article with, scientists are completely taken aback by how much worse reality has been versus 'worst-case' scenarios regarding Arctic ice melt. So who knows?

I had another spree of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 over the weekend, and the hackers really took control. In addition to the hacker text, suddenly all the hacks that were limited to private matches were in the open in public lobbies. It was less than fun to discover that some jerk turned a match into an "XP Lobby" where the first kill awarded XP to advance from level 1 to 70 within a prestige and immediately ended the match. Or that they turned it into a super-jump lobby where you could jump two stories (but unless you have the Commando Pro perk, could not survive the fall back down). The text continues a bit this week, but the other stuff seems to have quieted down. Or I just got lucky. Though I do almost wish I could buy a dictionary for the kid who messaged me with an invite to play in a hacked "chalenge loby".

As for TV, I enjoyed Steve Carell's last episode of The Office, and felt it was nicely done. I'm also left thinking even more that Catherine Tate will be the boss next season, as she was not mentioned at all in the teaser they showed for the final episodes. It really would be great to have her. The oddest thing so far has been adding cast to new episodes in the guide and remembering not to import Steve; it was a weird feeling.

That's all for today. Thanks for reading, everybody!

All Your Ace Are Belong to Us

I finally picked up a tournament victory in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters (and one more since then). I just started my second season, and having cracked the top 100 in the rankings, I'll get to play in the majors from now on. I also have only one bit left to finish my Cleveland sponsorship—Finishing Top 3 in a Major—so now I'll use TaylorMade except when in majors. I also got my first hole-in-one, and oddly it was during a fierce 24 mph diagonal wind; I just heard the clink of hitting the flag stick and then it falling into the cup. I do love that Live Weather feature, where in career mode it replicates the actual current conditions on the course from The Weather Channel; I'm guessing it ignores snow during the winter. Anyway, I posted it to EA GamerNet as a challenge, though I had to rewrite my description as apparently "hole" is considered naughty. WTF? Right now, the Blue Monster at Doral is beating me down (it was windy in Miami yesterday) and I'm looking forward to The Masters in a couple tournaments.

I also wrapped up the hugely fun single-player part of Portal 2. Super entertaining the whole time through. I even found the hidden portait of a lady, one of the achievements you have to go a tad out of the way to get. You just have to remember that if there's a 'portalable' wall that seems out of place, there's likely a reason. Another reason I'm disliking the whole co-op bit is that even if you have friends with the game, they also need to have it for your system. Luckily SabotFox contacted me, so we'll be tackling that at some point soon. Of course, if I had it for PS3 like most of my other friends who have the game do, it's not like I could play with them now anyway.

Speaking of, what a royal ****storm that whole affair is. Almost a week now of no PSN and still all they do is put out press releases that are the equivalent of shruggingone's shoulders and saying "duh, I don't know". As if that's not enough, there's some weird hack going around on the 360 version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. During online play a message will pop up saying "user x Infected by Shark On HackCOD.FR| Team HCD Gutu". It makes me worried that the online gaming we take for granted could just go away because hackers got too good and decided nothing was funnier than destroying system networks and/or individual games. Could it become a long-gone relic of the past in a few years because there was just no way to play online? Could developers start saying "we're not bothering even trying to make multiplayer because there's no way for people to playit anymore"? It's a scary thought.

On,I backed into an editorship last night—The Hardy Boy Mysteries. I can't remember the last time I submitted to that, but I'm certain it's two years, minimum. The previous editor seems to not have been online in a month, so I'm guessing it was a force-retire by staff. Anyway, I do have a few memories, though I was seven when the show went off the air, so they're hazy ones.

That's all for today. Thanks for reading, everybody!

For Science!

So far Portal 2 has been a very fun experience. Lots of new puzzles, a few new mechanisms to try out (like repulsion and propulsion gel, and others I'm not up to yet) make it new, but it's accessible to people who've not played the original. GLaDOS and Wheatley have both been great fun to have around, as well as other pre-recorded messages for "test subjects", and while the trademark humor is not quite as shocking or unexpected, it's still very funny. Things really are more broken up,with greater emphasis on tests in batchesbroken up bylots more stuff on catwalks 'behind the scenes' of the now decrepit facility.

The new co-op I tried a bit, but I can say unless it's someone with a microphoneit's so frustrating (the person I played with had a half-working one), and it's nowhere near as fun as single player. The biggest (and really only total) fail is in the achievements; over half in number and GS are assigned to the co-op, and many are huge for minor tasks that are just stupid. There's one for hugging three different friends in co-op, and it's worth 50GS, which is insane for doing nothing. Most people won't have three friends with this game, though I suppose you could team with a random person and send a request. So predictably, the GameSpot forum is littered with people begging others to quick join up to hug. I shouldn't have to beg people to get my achievements. Then there's a "Professor Portal" one for 75GS for a person who's completed co-op then taking someone playing for the first time through the orientation part of co-op; so people are basically punished in that you're required to luck into finding a newcomer (or again, begging online). It's to the point that if I'd looked at the acheivement list beforehand I may have seriously considered not getting the game. I just know I'm going to have a 400/1000 score for the game, which is going to be a really bitter pill to swallow for an otherwise great game and make someone browsing my profile that I'm a moron who can't play the game properly. :(

Luckily, things are really coming together in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters. I'm headed to the final round ofthefirst FedEx Cuptournament (at Whistling Straits' Straits course in WI, alongside Lake Michigan) only two shots behind, and while I may not get my first win I could better my previous best, a tie for sixth. My increased shot power is leading to being able to use short irons that stick to the green far better than 3 and 5 irons, as well as making more par 5 greens in two. Even just getting that muscle memory in my fingers is leading to hitting the suggested power percentage and perfect accuracy bar more consistently. I'm really dying to get to the second season to take on early courses that owned me and try them out with my increased skill set. And incidentally, it is fun playing these courses at will that in real life cost about $450 to play, judging by the Whistling Straits list of fees.

That's all for today. Thanks for reading, everybody!

They Did That How?

First off, if you're curious about Rockstar's upcomingL.A. Noire, check out my article on Doylestown Patch. Tweets and Facebook recommends appreciated!

One of the best things about is that their humor is always a nice mix between humor for humor's sake and using humor to make a very interesting factual article that much better. They just did an amazing bit on some special effects that you may be stunned to know weren't done with compupter trickery. I knew about the Independence Day NYC fireball actually being a sideways model filmed from the top as the fire rose from the bottom. But the forced perspective trickery in The Lord of the Rings films blew my mind. They didn't need to do computer debigulation of Elijah Woods when he interacted with Ian McKellan; they just tricked you by having him sit four feet behind him and making the set appropriately big where he sat so it all looked like one piece. You can read about those and more here. (mild adult language inside)

I wrapped up Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare on Veteran mode right on time to go grab Portal 2 today. There were some truly trying parts of the game, but eventually you can figure out what to do to survive checkpoint-to-checkpoint, even if it means making tiny incremental progress over 20+ attempts and learning who spawns where and when. When death can come in a tenth of a second, sometimes anything less than perfection isn't an option. It was very fun and had a good story, andI think I'll try to get a pre-owned Call of Duty: World at War today, too. After all the contemporary battling, it'll be refreshing to go back to killing Nazis.

As for Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters, it's still a slow slog. I did manage a -5 at the century-old Greenbrier Old White course, easily a best ever for me, and has me a decent round away from my first PGA Tour top ten (I'm already there, I just have to stay there). I'm just hoping to crack the top 100 world ranking so I can play in majors in my second season, and a top ten would go a long way towards that. It all comes down to putting at this point. I've pumped up my swing power enough that I can now routinely hit 280–310 yards off the tee (and more or less depending on wind and slope), and the shorter iron approaches I get as a result mean I'm getting closer birdie attempts. Still, I'm throwing away at least four or five shots per round on the green. Once I get that sorted out, I should be par or better every time, especially if it's a course I have at least bronze mastery of.

That's all for today. Thanks for reading, everybody!

Let's Talk Sports

After getting really frustrated that things would never come together for me, I'm slowly getting consistently better at Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters. I can now shoot a four round tournament and have each round be in the -2 to +2 range, far better than the typical round of +8 I was shooting a week ago. A lot of it is from the skills I've been pumping up, especially driving power. When you hit the PGA Tour all the tournaments are from the black tees, so many of those par 5s you were hitting in two shots on the Amateur and Nationwide Tours are suddenly out of reach. My putting is also much better, which is 90% of my issues;I still cost myself five or six shots on the green per round (luckily mostly birdie putts leading to non-hurtful pars), but I'm getting that sorted out. Add that to getting Bronze mastery in a number of courses, and when I start my next season, things will really be looking to improve. I've also passed the five Masters Moments that are single shot or hole events, leaving things like Nicklaus' '86 run at 15-16-17 andGary Player's '78 back nine.I also bit and bought the larger "Eagle Pack" of DLC courses; they get implemented in the career mode, and they're almost worth it just to hear David Feherty say "Sheboygan" when playing at Blackwolf Run.

I'm also enjoying the online play a bit. The tournaments are wonderfully done. Every day there's one course on offer four times, once for each difficulty, plus a "Daily Open", which seems to be a different course at a random difficulty. Then there's Daily Tiers, where one course is used for four tiers of skill; you can only enter the one assigned to the skill level you have, which I guess is determined in prior play. Those are nice since you always feel you can compete. There's also weekly tournaments, where you have a week to shoot four rounds, and Play the Pros, taking place on weekends when a course in the game is being played in real life, and real-life scores are mixed in with the game players' scores. They're also starting to use Historic Masters, like Play the Pros, except everyone competes against a Masters Tourmanent of the past, which I think is from the 50s for this first one. And, of course, you can just do matchmaking for a friendly competive round against randoms and/or friends.

I tested out the Sports Show with Norm MacDonald premiere this week. It's not amazing or groundbreaking, but if you like him (especially from doing Weekend Update on SNL), you'll like this. Actually, the first segment of the show is very 'Weekend Updatish', then he mixes in a sketch bit or two, and then back to more stand-up/opiniony bits. It's also very much like David Spade's ShowBiz Show in that regard. Yeah, he does recycle some stuff from way back when—notably his bit on Charl Schwartzel commenting even he didn't know who he was was a rip-off of a 15-year-old joke he made at Emily Watson's Oscar nomination. Still, it's all innocuous fun to fill 30 minutes. And if you like him, follow him on Twitter; he tweets like he talks!

That's all for today. Thanks for reading, everybody!

Got My Card!

At long last, after two restarts of my golfer, I successfully completed Q-School to earn my tour card in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters. I fudged a tiny bit, restarting shots when my caddie totally screwed me; I wasn't going to be penalized when I hit the exact shot he advises and it goes in the water. Luckily, I shot -1, helping earn my caddie bronze level course mastery, so next time I'm at Atlanta Athletic Club he'll be better (I also earned that at East Lake). I'm also at the stage in my game where failure isn't due to endless bogeys; now when I play I can get plenty of pars and some birdies to offset bogeys, instead having a poor round being due to one colossally bad hole where a birdie putt turns into triple bogey, and then I go all Rory McIlroy from there. I've also hit some crazy shots, like this incredibly weird and improbable one where my tee shot skirted down towards water, but refused to go in, riding along a retaining wall as the crowd kept sypathetically groaning, expecting the ball to fall. Of course, I've also hit spectators. (And seriously, it's time for all sports and online shooter games to include record and upload to YouTube as standard game functionality; I shouldn't have to take garbage iPhone video).

Of course, just at it looked as if the real Tiger was doing little to benefit his game in the real Masters, he (and everyone else in the top 12) provided superb drama yesterday. With so few recognizable people, I almost didn't watch. I'm sure glad I did, because that really was one of the best final rounds ever. It was so fun to watch, who cares if someone I'd never heard of before this weekend won? Plus, there were some very generously sized breasts on display; sadly, they were Phil Mickelson's.

In sadder news, I added Steve Carell's final episodes of The Office over the weekend. In truth, the show has such a wonderful cast that it can spare him. Will Ferrell's four-episode stint starts this week, which is about the right length. His schtick gets old quickly, but I think he'll be quite fun to have around awhile. The finale in May is apparently star-studded: Ray Romano, James Spader, Ricky Gervais (again), Will Arnett. It seems they'll be people applying for the vacant job. Most of those actors are committed to other things, so most can be written off. But one name I left off that list stands out to me: Catherine Tate. As great as she is, she'smostly unknown in the United States (as unfair and stupid as this is, Doctor Who is not the wildly popular show herethat it is in England; hereless than 1%of the population watch it). So it has me thinking, ¿why would they bother bringing over someone from England so talented, but so unknown, unless they really were planning on using her? And really, Steve Carell was not a major household name when The Office started. We'll see, but I think she'd be great and she'd get the fame in America she richly deserves.

That's all for today. Thanks for reading, everybody!

What the Fluff?

I had a '$3 off a frozen item' coupon from the Acme and figured I'd use it for something yummy. I was all set to grab some Häagen-Dazs when a new Ben & Jerry's flavor caught my eye. They've tried to replicate the experience of eating a Fluffernutter in ice cream form and as usual have given it a brilliant name: Clusterfluff. I was a bit wary since their Peanut Brittle isn't so much like peanut brittle, and the same for their Boston Cream Pie and Mission to Marzipan. On the other hand, their Crème Brûlée isarguably better than the real thing, and I could almost live on Dublin Mudslide. Luckily, this is firmly in the 'hit' category, as especially when you get a good glob of the marshmallow ribbon with a nice chunk of peanut butter, it's fantastic.

The Killing promo pictureOver the past day or so I've finally gotten around to watching Sunday's premiere of AMC's The Killing. Based on a Danish series, it's as good as has been promised. It's as good a two hours of television as I've seen in a long time. Revolving around the Seattle investigation into 'who killed Rosie Larsen?', it's definitely "slow-burn", and the first two hours (aired together in one presentation) really keep you guessing just how all the people we're meeting will all inter-relate in terms of the murder. It also takes guts to center the show around a near nobody; though she's a Tony nominee, you've probably never heard of or seen lead detective portrayer Mireille Enos—her Wikipedia entry is just eight sentences—unless you watched Big Love (she was twins Kathy and Jodeen). Fun fact: she's married to Alan "Cameron from Ferris Bueller" Ruck. Anyway, I can't wait for the next part, and AMC has a few more airings this week (and has it online) for you all to check it out.

A few days ago I was reading jwallace's blog and he mentioned reading Electronic Gaming Monthly. I though he'd gone off his rocker, asEGM shut down two years ago. I had no idea they got themselves up and running with a new owner about a year ago. It was the only gaming magazine I ever bought, so I never had reason to look in the gaming section of magazine stands again. I was moderately happy enough with Game Informer, which you get just for having GameStop's PowerUp card, though I treatsome glowing reviewswith a grain of salt since someone who's in the business of selling the game is ultimately responsible for the review. Next time I'm near a magazine stand, I'll definitely be on the lookout!

That's all for today. Thanks for reading, everybody!

Worse Than I Thought

Turns out that once I analyzed it, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters skipping from my failing the Nationwide Tour and plopping me right at the PGA Tour was far more destructive than the mere loss of one achievement that I imagined. It actually sets off a chain of about 200 GS worth of achievements that become unattainable, mostly due to sponsorship losses. All the best equipment is tied to sponsorships, and without going to Q School I don't finish the EA sponsorship. Without successfully completing Q School, I can't start the Calloway golf sponsorship. That means I can't unlock all the game's standard equipment, which you have to do to unlock the best stuff, the prototype equipment and clothing (those alone are a pair of 65 GS achievements). So, besides losing the achievements for not using the best equipment... I simply won't have the best equipment, period. So it's a total redo. That's not so bad as I'm sure the skill I now have will let me advance much more quickly than my first time.

In TV, I checked out Body of Proof, the new ABC medical examiner show with Dana Delany. I hada suspicion it wasn't amazing, but it's set in Philadelphia, so I wanted to give it a chance. Alarm bells went off during the first scene, set at a tiny boat dock. I had a feeling it wasn'tfilmed in L.A., as the visible buildings looked appropriately old and industrial, but it really didn't seem like Philly, either. The river could only be the Schuylkill, but I know there's no dock like that anywhere on that river. Turns out they film in Providence, RI (which is the rough equivalent of using Cardiff to stand in for London on Doctor Who). I just can't see why they'd go to the trouble to film on the East Coast, but not actually film in Philadelphia. Anyway, the show isn't that amazing, either. It's Rizolli & Isles, minus Rizolli, times a bit of pathos (Dana's medical examiner character was a brilliant surgeon who can't operate anymore due to a car accident, and her personal life is also a shambles). I don't see a need to watch again.

On the other hand, I've been sufficiently enrapt with Celebrity Apprentice. Gary Busey is as promised,which is to say just crazy. He's like a slow-moving train wreck that's actually not a danger to anything but sanity. It's the women where I've been surprised. On one hand, Dionne Warwick's selfish, scrapping for individual attention behavior left me dumbfounded. She's so tacky and terrible, and I never would have expected that. On the other hand, LaToya Jackson is just perfectly normal and sweet; I expected her to be a sweetheart, but I also thought she'd be flighty and weird, so I see her in a more positive light than I expected. Final thought: the huge Meatloaf/Gary Busey throw-down happened on Sunday, and in the nasty, dirty NYC art studio, Meatloaf was walking around barefoot. Guess he likes rat turds on his feet. Gross!

That's all for today. Thanks for reading, everybody!

Timing Is Everything

I'm slowly getting better at Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters. Playing on Tournament difficulty is brutally difficult. Even aiming your shot is not very easy, as you can't always get a good viewpoint if you choose to go custom instead of choosing a suggestion from your caddie. I've managed to shoot a +1 on one of the easier courses, and once I can stop three-putting from five feet I'll be in decent shape. They do have the ability to use the classic three-click shooting instead of using the analog swing stick, which I love. It's getting the timing down that's so crucial because if you get into overswing territory, missing the mark for a straight shot punishes you severely, plus the indicator goes that much more quickly. I even hit a gallery spectator yesterday, though I also holed an eagle from 150 yards later. I am miffed that I got promoted from the Nationwide Tour to the PGA, bypassing Q School: I don't think I had the qualifications to do so, and I've now been robbed of the achievement for passing Q school. Either way, I may look into resetting or deleting/remaking my golfer, Skip Woosnam, a name I took from one of my favorite TV shows—can youfigure outwhich one?—plus by chance his last name is that ofaMasters winner, so bonus. I also tried the Game Face that lets you take pictures of yourself with the XBox Live Vision camera; it must've been way too dim in the room as the face it gave me was darker than Barack Obama. I'll set some lights up and try again, but that'll be it as it takes a good 15 minutes for the process to complete.

Seeing a little update on I Am Alive got me thinking about synergy and serendipity. It's a game that's been delayed a year, where you play a survivor of a mega 10.3 earthquake that strikes Chicago and have to rescue your girlfriend amid the dangers and crime in the aftermath. Would it have been 'lucky' if it were released right before or after Japan's earthquake? Would it have been 'perfect' timing if the release just happened to be synced by random chance? If the game were to have been released the Tuesday after the quake that hit on a Friday, would the publisher and retailers secretly think it was good timing, or would they hastily delay release for a few weeks? I don't know the answer, but I'm sure some would find it tasteless to play that type of game while the real-life drama was still unfolding, while many others would think it was very interesting and a way to test if they could navigate their way out of a horrendous disaster while a similar one was still playing out in real life.

Anyway, I've also gone back in time and started Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. It really plays the same as MW2, it just looks a little less refined. It seems a shoe-in to get around 850 or more of the 1000 GS, though my squad often robs me. It's tough to knife three consecutive enemies for an achievement when they keep 'helping' by shooting them. I'm slowly advancing through the game, as Veteran difficulty can be a true challenge at times, but it's a lot of fun all the same.

That's all for today. Thanks for reading, everybody!