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Is it December 7th yet?

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So, many of you likely know that I play the game World of Warcraft. And if you too play WoW, you know WoW: Cataclysm comes out in just under one month.

I cannot wait. I, as with Bad Company 2 (see blog below), feel like a kid again. I cannot wait to make a new level 1 character and, more importantly, play it with thousands of others doing the exact same thing. I can't wait to see all the old zones redone, wracked by earthquakes and fires.

This month is going by fast, no doubt, but it cant go by fast enough! Is it December 7th yet?

The Stealth genre is dead /cry

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So it just occured to me recently that, for lack of a better word...the stealth genre is dead.

"But what about Splinter Cell and other recent games?" you might inquire

Well, those are action games...with stealth added, almost as an afterthought, and certainly not as the bulk.

You see, for a stealth game to be a stealth game in my opinion, the stealth must make up the bulk of the gameplay. The emphasis must be on avoiding or distracting enemies, not killing them or, specifically, fighting them. A dagger to the back, sure, but a full-on swordfight or gunbattle? Nooooo sir.

In short:

stealth > action = stealth game

stealth < everything else = no stealth game

I might be nitpicking, but there have not been game like the Thief games or the first few Splinter Cell games, or even a new Hitman game, for a while in my experience. If there are, please let me know.

Gone are the days where suspense, stalking, and shadow and light meters dominated stealth games.

Beer Review: New Belgium's Ranger IPA

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Background: New Belgium is known for everything except hoppy beers. Originally they started off as a brewery making excellent examples of Belgian "exotic" ales such as sour beers. Unfortunately, the American tastebud is not accustomed to the complex flavors of such beers, so they were forced to make beers that appealed to people in the US. Though they still make sour ales (La Folie, for example, an excellent beer!), they are better known for releases such as Fat Tire, Mothership Wit, and other readily available beers. This recent release, a new regular to their lineup, is unorthadox for New Belgium; it is an IPA!

Aroma: Pine right off the get-go. Tbh I have been drinking a bit tonight so I cant really get much else. Very piny though, if I had to guess, I would guess Chinook hops. Absolutely no off flavors, but little aroma outside of pine, and absolutely no malt aroma. 8/12

Appearance: A light copper body, extremely clear, it is a gorgeous looking beer. A pure-white head is eager to foam up, and persist for a few minutes, leaving heavy lacing as it subsides. A thin layer of white head persist throughout the drinking experience. 3/3

Flavor: Initial flavors of pine and apricot from the hops. Midway flavors hint at spiciness and more savory notes of herbs like sage and rosemary. Absolutely zero malt presence, which is disappointing for an IPA "halfway" between the East and West me crazy, but I was hoping for a nice compromise of malt and hops. A heavy bitterness lingers; this is not an aromatic IPA, this is a bitter-centric beer. 14/20

Mouthfeel: Dry, dry , dry. Sucks the moisture out of your tongue, almost. A bit of malty sweetness would have been nice to balance out the dry pine needle flavor of the beer. 2/5

Overall Impression: This is a bitter, relatively non-aromatic beer that just does not belong in New Belgium's lineup. I love New Belgium because theyre different; everyone and their mother makes an IPA, especially here in California (where I live), and I appreciate New Belgium because they used to do the opposite. Its an excellent beer for those seeking something strictly bitter, but for those looking for something flavorful and pleasant I suggest looking elsewhere. 5/10

Total Score: 32/50

Beer Review: Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot

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Hello, and welcome to the first of hopefully many beer reviews I plan on doing. Before I get to the actual review, I'd like to explain how I will be judging these beers. There is a fairly universal score sheet found herethat consists of five categories: aroma, or the smell of the beer; appearance, including color of the beer, opacity, head retention, lacing, and more; flavor, including such aspects as malt, hops, off flavors (if any) and other things; mouthfeel, a term that means the texture of a beverage, ranging from dry to thick to oily to thin; and finally overall impression, which allows for other things. And now, on to the beer.


Brewery and Beer: Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot

Background: I purchased this beer at my local American Beer Pub with high expectations. Lagunitas has a history of making inventive, delicious beers and ranks among my top five American breweries. It was described to me by the bartender/owner of the pub as a strong brown ale. As a fan of strong, malty ales I was immediately intrigued by the beer, and quickly purchased a 22-oz bottle (for four dollars, which is a steal).

Aroma: slightly grassy off the bat, with a subtle presence of toast aroma; perhaps there is a good amount of roast barley in the beer. 8/12

Appearance: Pours a dark red out of the bottle, but when in the pint glass is fairly dark. Head retention is extremely strong; a thick, foamy off-white head (looks like pureed oatmeal) remains floating on the top. Its so thick it almost dries out, resembling whipped mirangue. 3/3

Flavor: Hops! Right off the bat my tongue is assaulted by a strong bitterness and subtle aroma. Looking at the bottle, I see why: 64 IBUs (international bitterness units)! Initial flavors of apricot are quickly overwhelmed by a grassy bitterness. It is very hard to determine the malt profile of this beer. 12/20

Mouthfeel: the beer has a fairly rich mouthfeel, and each sip brings a pleasant island of creamy head with it. 4/5

Overall Impression: To be honest, this beer is a severe disappointment. I was hoping for something unique and malty and strong, but in the end I feel this is simply another Arrogant Bastard; a dark Double IPA. The hops are blunt and mask the malty nature of this beer, which is a shame because I feel there is some good in there some where. 3/10

Overall Score: 30/50

In short, I was a bit disappointed with this beer. Some Lagunitas releases lack ****fications in terms of ****, which is welcome ,but this is the first time the brewery has released something unoriginal. I feel if I were blindfolded, and asked what brewery this came from, I would be compelled to say "Stone".

Its not a bad beer, it just doesnt really do anything for me.

My Counter to the &quot;Crysis has generic gameplay&quot; Argument

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In a thread a few days ago the subject of Crysis came up and, as usual, it started to turn into a debate about the technical merits.

So, to change the subject to where it mattered (gameplay) I put forth the idea that the reason Crysis is an excellent game is because of excellent gameplay. This is the reply I got, and my response:


I remember how hyped this game was four years ago when they announced it. Then, it came, made some good money for Crytek, had an expansion pack and hasn't been heard much of since.

Crysis was great for a few hours, but it lacked the staying power of many games I have played. Graphics were very nice... but it just felt like another generic shooter. I beat it, and haven't touched it in years. It's still sitting on the shelf...

And Crysis 2 hasn't hyped me up all that much either. Oh no, aliens invading New York City? How original!


I can see where you are coming from, but I beg to differ.

The thing with Crysis is that the developer gave you all these amazing tools to play the game how you want to play it. Unfortunately, most gamers are so used to generic shootersthey treated Crysis as a generic shooter even though it is far from it.

Imagine youre given a recipe and the ingredients to bake a cake. You have everything you need to make an ordinary yellow cake with bland frosting. And that is exactly what 90% of the population would do; they would follow the directions, as they do with all other things, and leave it at that.

But what about the other 10% of the population? They would do something creative, something inspired...they'd say "Im not gonna make some ordinary cake, I have all the tools I need to make a grande gateau!" So they take these tools and ingredients and whip up an amazing, multi-tiered cake that looks and, more importantly, tastes amazing.

Crysis is exactly this. It is full of multiple tools and ingredientsa gamer can use for whatever they like. Unfortunately, only a small number of people really take advantage of such generosity and make the most of it. The rest? Well, they just leave armor mode on and shoot their way through the game.

This is why, imo, Crysis is the most misunderstood game in history. People judge it by its cover ("Oooh its just sexy, but lacks depth of gameplay") and dont see the true potential. People have become so used to Dooms and Quakes and FEARs and corridor after corridor and games tellign them how to play that they have forgotten how to apply their God-given creativity to games that let them play around for once. We have become slaves to visuals to the point where we almost equate looks with quality.

In short, Crysis is a true gamer's game. The sheer potential gameplay one can extract from it if they are willing to apply their mind to it makes it one of the greatest shooters in history.

Those are just my thoughts on the matter. Not to continue the cake analogy, but the visuals in Crysis are merely icing on the cake. The bulk of the game's success, imo, is due to an amazing singleplayer experience that is unique and unlike any other game I have experienced.

While it is not my favorite game overall (that goes to Halflife saga, for combining multiple elements to form a solid game), Crysis has the best FPS gameplay I have ever experienced.

Activision scared?

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So I woke up, played my morning fix of Bad Company 2 (the adrenaline and excitement is much better than coffee in the morning lol), and then logged onto Gamespot.

After navigating through roughly 20 pages of various forums, I noticed something: Activisions "Call of Duty MW2 + AMD" advertisement has popped up FOUR times. This isnt some little sidebar ad, either...this is one of those ads where you click a link, then it suprisingly takes you to the ad which is a whole page, and then you must click "if you'd like to continue to Gamespot, click here" things.

Generally, I might encounter ONE of these ads per day on Gamespot if I am lucky. But four times in navigating 20 pages?

I think Activision is frightened by Bad Company 2, and for good reason; as much fun as people had with MW2, I cant imagine it being even close to the amount of fun that Bad Company 2 is. They spent all the money on IWnet and stuff, and soon it might be for nothing.

I have not played MW2, so I will not jump to conclusions, but I can't help but suspect that it has been beaten by a far superior game.

Oooh March 2nd Can't Come Soon Enough, or How to Feel Like a Kid Again

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So, tomarrow is March 2nd. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is released.

Now, for some reason I am extremely excited. Maybe it is the fact that the beta blew my mind away. Maybe I am just looking forward to having a solid online experience that has not been rivaled since World of Warcraft or Team Fortress 2 (both have felt stale for a while, despite being excellent games).

In short, I sort of feel like I am9 years old again on Christmas. I feel like I just opened that deceptively small box containing the suprisingly huge gift of a Gameboy. I even have a slight joyful tremble to my hands as I type this.

The funny thing is that I am not exactly the most diehard Battlefield fan. I've enjoyed them, but never particularly cared about the direction they went in.

Perhaps it is the thought that this is one of those game I know is going to be fun, I can play for a long time, and will have a large community full of generally likeable characters. Maybe I will join a clan; who knows?

Anyway, random thought of the day.

Cheers, and maybe I will see you tomarrow (or tonight at 1 in the mornign after it downloads lol)

-Senor Bojangles.

Oh Em Gee! They had it!

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Gamestop has Wrath of the Lich King! I decided to not stand in line with the mouthbreathers at 12am like I did last time for Burning Crusade (big, big mistake) and walked in at 11am today to get the latest World of Warcraft expansion. I was well rewarded as there were plenty of copies just chillin' there on the counter.

Its at 93% installed right now. I will keep you updated. Finally, some new content. I was enjoying leveling my paladin (I have a 70 priest but decided against grinding for gear with the expansion so close) but new, fresh stuff is always welcome.

20+ hours of enjoyment per week at 15 bucks a month here I come!

11/14/2008 12:18am

It is an awesome expansion. I played my Death Knight just until the DK quests were over with, then logged onto my 70 priest to do some questing with guildies in Northrend. Blizzard put a ton of work into this game, and it shows. Servers are as smooth as ever, environments feel more detailed, and questing is fun as usual.

Definately an awesome game.

Weightloss Blog: September

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My shorts are really loose. I need a tighter belt.

Does this mean weight is being lost, or is my belt just stretching from use. Maybe both. But I will just take it as a good sign.

With that said, my hands are finally healed (had 2nd degree chemical burns on them for like a month) so I can finally start lifting weights again!

For those that dont know, people who are really into weightlifting need to keep doing it. Ever see retired football (american) players? Notice how they all kinda turn lumpy, soft, and overweight at times? Thats because muscle just turns into fat, its the first thing to happen to once-amazing athletes if they stop working out. I can feel it happening to me too. Time to get strong again!

Weightloss Blog: August

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Well, I seem to keep losing weight. Ironic, especially since I havent been subscribing to my diet. I have been very active though, so I guess thus far if I could offer one piece of advice to anyone wanting to lose weight it is this:

get off your ass and exercise. Just one hour a day. A walk a lot.

Anyway, I thought I have been losing weight but couldnt find a weigh to weigh myself, but my suspicions were proven correct when my family came to visit me and said I looked like I lost weight. Also, my belt is a good two or three inches too big as my pants keep falling down every time I move hoses, bags of malt, and other stuff around at the brewery. Ive never been so happy to be embaressed. A lot of my shirts are too big now; some of my polos feel like tents now.

In conclusion: goodbye 4X shirts and 46+ belt size! Also, if youre active, you can relax on the diet.

OK everyone, thanks for the kind words and advice you have been posting!

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