Archive for January, 2008

Lost Weekend

I’ve been working so much on the site that I was worried the sheer number of updates listed below would consume the entire next post. Thus, I decided to blab about some random bullshit to save you, dear readers!

It’s been another extended weekend for me since I’m still recovering from this annoying cold. Friday I couldn’t stop coughing on the bus so I just got off 5 stops away from where I got on. Luckily, two new Netflix movies were waiting for me as I returned: Spice World (we’ll just quickly forget that I mentioned that) and Lost: Season 1 Disc 2.

When Lost first came out back in 2004, I completely ignored it. I don’t know why I wasn’t interested in the show, but I just felt I had better things to do with that time (maybe this had something to do with it). Everyone in my office would discuss their theories about these famous castaways and Howard Stern would even dedicate a good half hour of his show the morning after to the latest Lost episode and what it meant.

When I signed up for Netflix, however, I decided to finally give this series a try. Why not? I have 500 other DVDs in my queue. And now, after watching the first eight episodes, I have to admit that I’m hooked. I thought the puzzle elements to this show sounded corny when I’d overhear coworkers discuss them, but they’re actually well-done in the shows. All of the characters are interesting – their flashback stories give them depth so they don’t fall into being one-sided. And finally, the setting is beautiful. I’m not sure where it’s filmed, but it’s perfect: lush, green jungles on exactly what one thinks of when picturing “deserted island.”

One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from other viewers is that if you miss an episode you feel like you’re fucked and this can lead to just giving up on the show altogether. Luckily, I think I’ve hit upon the best method by letting Netflix dole out each disc one by one. I don’t miss anything and I can take big, long breaks in between my mini Lost marathons. Ok, back to work, but enjoy perusing through all the new stuff listed below!

Hate the Game, Not the Playa

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 26 years of life on this planet it’s this: There is nothing better to do on a long weekend spent being sick than to sit and heal in front of a video game. Armed with this MLK-extended break away from work, and a sore throat, I decided to delve into some of the cooler, overlooked features of my PS3 (and, no, I ain’t talkin’ ’bout that NBA Sim!).

First of all, I finally discovered that I had the PS3 still set on it’s default “fun” setting at 480p output. After cranking that baby up to 1080i, my games look completely different. Well it only took me 13 months, but I am finally appreciating this new-fangled “next gen” graphics people have been raving about for the past year. Oops!

I also decided to take another peek onto the online PS3 Store accessed through the PS3 interface. I only went on one time several months ago and downloaded Mortal Kombat II – just to see how the whole process worked (it was only $6). This time, though, I checked out some free game demos.

I’ve never been a huge demo player … and I really don’t know why. I mean, the only reason I discovered my favorite game of all time was by playing a random demo disc I got with a magazine purchase back in 1998 (oddly enough, the demo was in Japanese, but no language barrier will stop my love of stealthily killing evil clones!). Anyway, this crop of demos weren’t so hot, but it was still a lot of fun and a nice change of pace to play a bunch of newer games (I’m about 3-years behind on games, still trying to catch up on all the ones I haven’t played, yet).

And, finally, I spent the remaining time participating in the illegal San Diego street racing scene in Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition. Old college roommate and “perfect 10,” Floobey, purchased Midnight Club 2 during my super senior semester and we all enjoyed it way more than I expected (I’ve never been a racing guy, really) so I wanted to give the new iteration a try. Made from the same guys who created the Grand Theft Auto series, MC3 continues their excellent quality of work and attention to detail.

Sorry to bore everyone out there, but that was my exciting week! I know all of you are jealous of my gaming skills and the life I lead, but you must learn to accept it and move on.

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Balls of Fury

My office received a ping pong table for Christmas 2006. With a full 12 months now of ponging under our belts, several of us have become very competitive and obsessed with playing it everyday. And, since I am one of those chosen few, it will probably not surprise you to know stats-keeping has started to creep into play.

Luckily, those of you who remember the Beer Pong stats adventure can settle down (and for those of you who don’t know I took crazy stats: about 11 different things were tracked per game). I’m only recording who played, the scores, and which side of the ping pong table they played on (as one side has a significant space advantage). Don’t worry … I still manage to go nuts with just those three pieces of information. Check out the work in progress, Ping Pong Database.

And I’d be scared if I were you … we’re supposed to be getting a fuseball foosball table pretty soon for this most recent Christmas.

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Mic Check

When last we left, our hero had uploaded some of his songs to MySpace and reposted his Craigslist ad for musicians. For this second ad, I made sure to be clearer with what I was looking for so, consequently, I received far fewer responses. However both were way better than any of the replies I received in the first round. (UPDATE: I just located a MySpace message from a band, so the official count of responders from the second round is 3!)

One of the replies was from a 26-year old singer named Eric. He cited his influences as Guns N’ Roses, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, and U2 and even sent his reply from an email address comprising a variation on “gunsnroses.” He sent me a couple of his songs that he was working on but they suspiciously didn’t have any vocals on them. So, with some reservations, I decided to meet up with him two Fridays ago.

We shared a few beers and talked musical experiences and expectations and pretty much realized we were on the same page, goal-wise. He said all the right things, but I still hadn’t heard him sing or jammed with him so even though our personalities were clicking I knew it didn’t mean much if we couldn’t gel musically. So, we picked a date to jam and a few covers to play and set out on our separate ways (mine got a little surreal as Richard was in town to hang out).

Well, this past Sunday found me on a D train going up into the crevices of The Bronx to meet at Eric’s place. When I arrived at his abode my surprise was equally distributed amongst three things: how much nice equipment he has; how he could fit it all into his tiny, cramped apartment; and how I was introduced to his mom who was visiting. It felt like date! When she left, we got down to business, ripping through “Tie Your Mother Down,” “It’s So Easy,” “Communication Breakdown,” and “Patience” – a few of our selected covers. Things went so well, though, that we also just started jamming on other songs: “Hey Jude,” “Mr. Brownstone,” “Live and Let Die,” and “Since I Don’t Have You.” What was interesting is that all of these songs have been in heavy rotation during my practice sessions for the past decade – yet he selected them all!

After our covers jam, we decided to push our luck and try writing a song together. I pulled out the latest gem I was working on (just an intro I called “You Always Get Your Way”) and we added a pre-chorus and chorus to it. About 2 hours into writing I was exhausted so we laid down our work to mp3 and I headed out.

But not before committing to a second jam session scheduled for mañana! This time Eric will be hopping a New Jersey Transit bus to my stomping grounds in North Bergen where things might be … awkward for a minute or two. Turns out he actually auditioned to be the singer in my roommates’ band several months ago (both parties had nothing but good things to say about each other – they just were too different musically).

Prepare for further updates to this exciting turn of events! Who knows? Perhaps my goal of moving to New York (putting together a band) will actually be met 16 months after relocating!

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A Final, Teary Look Back at 2007

Well, it took me long enough! I finally got the latest of my annual best/worst year in review pieces up. Yes, finally, everyone can relive all the entertainment I discovered and experienced in the previous year … just what you’ve all been waiting and wishing for! I do have several pieces of information that are both more exciting and more recent, but I will keep to my New Year’s resolution of making my blogs more compact and succinct. Anyway, enjoy the year review for now.

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Dirty Dancin’

First off, Happy 2008! I’ve taken about 2 weeks off from blogging, but not really by choice. I started a post while visiting family in Virginia over my Xmas “vacation,” yet never completed it. Worse, it just sat here mocking me while obstructing me from moving on to write about other things. Well, lesson finally learned: when you start a blog, don’t stop writing until you’ve finished it. I guess this would be one of my New Year’s resolutions. Another one will be to condense blogs into smaller, more readable posts. And, finally, my last resolution will to somehow become an even better Dallas Mavericks fan … if that’s even possible.

Maybe this little guy that now stands on my desk will help …

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