The Blogging Affairs Desk

When It’s Good, It’s Good, When It’s BAD, It’s Better…

The Post That Was Here Was Removed By The Author.

The Post that was here, all 2500 words of it, has been deleted by it’s author due to excessive descriptions of violence.  If you want to read it, shoot me a message, one way or another, and maybe I’ll email it to you.

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August 21, 2009 Posted by | Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Gonzo Journalism, Living in an Insane Asylum, Out and About, People I Hate, Shameless Self Promotion, The Great Indoors, Too Much Time | , | 1 Comment

Ang’s Failed Revenge-Revenge

Karma:  It’s a bitch.

August 9, 2009 Posted by | Blogging Couple, People I Love, The Great Indoors, Too Much Time | , , | 1 Comment

The Heart of Cape Cod

I was out driving around today and I saw this sign on a local motel:

“Located in the Heart of Cape Cod!”

Now, this motel was roughly two hundred yards from my apartment.  I live in a total shithole neighborhood.  So to call this place the “Heart of Cape Cod” struck somewhat of a chord within me.

If where I live on Cape is considered the “heart” of this hook-shaped arm, then it’s a clogged, disgusting, black heart that sits in the chest of Cape Cod.  I wouldn’t drag a dead cat through this town.

It took them over a month to pave over some five hundred square feet of road they ripped up at the end of my street.  Just shy of a fucking month.  And this is the HEART OF CAPE COD?!

No, the heart lies someplace in Hyannis.  Or…, no Hyannis would be the failing, booze-soaked kidneys of Cape Cod.  The actual heart of Cape Cod is out in Orleans, which is a pleasant town that I wish we could/would move to.  There’s something about Orleans that speaks to me.  Maybe it’s their collection of windmills, or maybe it’s the Chocolate Sparrow and Joe Mammas, (both great coffee spots- Joe’s is less known, less crowded and has better food in my opinion), maybe it’s that whole not-suffering-from-Atherosclerosis vibe I get, oppose to when I drive through the piece of shit town I’m renting in, where I get that dreadful feeling that I’m in Wisconsin.

I’ve never been to Wisconsin, and there’s probably a lesson buried in there.

Regardless, my town sucks, it’s the anus of Cape Cod, or maybe the infected urethra.  If Martha’s Vinyard and Nantucket are the menstruation stains, maybe my town’s the blood clot.  Either way, it’s the furthest thing from the heart, with it’s lack of character, generic fried seafood joints and soft serve ice cream.  There’s a fucking antique store every ten feet and a Rite Aid with nothing in it.

On the antique stores:  Just because you’re selling your used junk in a store does not give it antiquity.  It’s still junk that you dusted off from the attic and are trying to sell to the tourists.

You know you live in a total jizzstain of a town when there’s not a single grocery store, but three liquor stores all within two miles of each other.

If (Knock on Wood) I got into an accident and I was about to die in this town, I would grab the EMT by his collar with my blood-soaked hand and pull him down to my face.  My last words would be “Drag me to the next town over and then call TOD.  You can’t deny a man’s dying wish, you son of a bitch…”

I found the so-called Chamber of Commerce today, it sits just off of the major road that slices through the middle of this town like a razor through a depressed fat goth girl’s wrist.  It was a shanty of a building (yet had free wi-fi… you figure that one out) that stood behind the local fried seafood place.

It looked like a haunted house, minus the house part.  It was more like a spooky shack that not even the Mystery Mobile would be interested in checking out.

Does this town even have a mayor?  How about a selectman?  …. Town Council?  …No?  Board of Selectmen?  IS THERE ANYONE HERE WHO COULD GIVE THE FIRE DEPARTMENT THE NIGHT OFF?  ….That’s all I want to know.

May 20, 2009 Posted by | Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Living in an Insane Asylum, Out and About, Those Crazy Politicians, Too Much Time | , , , , , | Leave a comment

So “Far” From Good It Makes Me “Cry” Too (“2”)

Originally I had this like, 1200 word post about the game “Far Cry 2”, a first person shooter that’s so frustratingly bad that it’s not even campy-good.  But after some careful consideration, a meeting with my editorial staff and a nice memo from Legal, I’ve since reduced the original post into these convenient bullet points.

“Bullet points” get it?!  Enjoy the suck.

Point 1:  The story sucks, and can be completely disregarded as a jumble of unmemorable horseshit:

  • In “FC2” you play as a generic mercenary sent to Africa to track down “The Jackal” a notorious arms smuggler fueling both sides of some sort of political conflict in a modern day fictional country in the darkest parts of the Continent.  The story, though simple enough, is somehow mired by the fact that while playing the game, you as the player have no idea who or what side you’re working for at any given time, because the AI-seeded NPCs (non-playable characters, in essence walking targets) have no distinction between factions.  Many missions I’ve rolled up on scene assuming that the “people” walking around were allies, when in reality, I’m just shot at by anyone holding a gun.  This in turn makes me shoot at anyone holding a gun, which makes for very long (see also: tedious) game play.  Apparently, as the story goes on, this “Jackal” character has more than enough opportunities to kill you, as you’ve become stricken with malaria (the game designers actually make this a “strategic” aspect of the game, making you have to track down anti-malaria meds.  Don’t worry though, you can still play through the game without taking the meds, which makes the whole damn thing about finding the meds a big fucking waste of time) and are bed ridden early in the game.  But he doesn’t.  He knows you’ve been sent to take him out, but this apparent “bad ass” arms dealer doesn’t have the heart to kill a man in a hospital bed.  Scary guy.

Point 2:  They spent too much time on little insignificant shit, like open-door animation, instead of what counts, which is game play:

  • The game strives to fully immerse the player into the world by having everything come into the view of the character on screen.  When you open a door for instance, the animation is slick as you see your own hand reach for the door knob and push open the door.  Or when you climb into a car, you slide across the seats.  It’s a great idea, but it needs to be taken back a little, especially with the driving.  As you drive a vehicle in first person, you get a nauseous tunnel-vision-feel because you can’t see anything else around you, especially as the car bounces and jumps on the too-narrow roads.  The roads are also winding and sloped, so as you speed along, suddenly there’s a drop off from a hairpin turn, causing you to go careening off the side of a cliff, unbeknownst to you.

Point 3:  Big “sandbox” to play in, with no real means to navigate it:

  • Also, there’s no “map” or “path” to follow from mission to mission, except an actual “map” that you pick out of your pocket and hold in your hands as you drive, being forced to actually glance down at it in your lap as you attempt to steer around giant boulders, on coming traffic (which is 99% of the time random pissed off gunmen trying to run you off the road), and other debris.  It’s like playing as a confused motorist from Massachusetts on vacation in Maine. Mission areas were marked with a microscopic orange triangle, but there’s no distinction between story-related missions and side missions.  You will randomly drive yourself to a mission start area and then find out if it’s related to progressing the story line or if it’s just a random side mission, which once accepted, you will then have to drive all the way back across the map to find your objective, which is typically related to simply killing someone.

Point 4:  It’s a little “too real”:

  • Weapons degrade almost instantly.  You can combat this by doing side missions for a local gun smuggler (these “missions” are simply finding and blowing up a truck on a road someplace) which will then unlock new weapons to purchase, however most times they’re far too expensive (completed missions are paid in far too few Blood Diamonds) to be picked up right away.  Instead you’re mostly forced to pick up the guns dropped by enemy NPCs, which are 9/10s junk and will foul or miss feed at crucial times, unless these weapons are being used against you, which will mean that they work awesome, all the time, every time.  Proof:  I picked up a dropped AK47 and fired three magazines into a bush without the weapon jamming.  As soon as I put a bead to an enemy, the gun fired once, and then stovepiped in my hands.  Nice.

Point 5:  No auto-aim?!  What is this, Castle Wolfenstein?!:

  • Aiming is extremely difficult as well, as there’s no “auto aim” featured in this game, which when playing a First Person Shooter is like not having an oxygen tank on your back when you go SCUBA diving.  Trying to bead up on an enemy, while under fire from multiple angles in this game is similar to trying to tie your shoes with metal hooks for hands; it takes untold hours of practice.

Point 6:  Way too much time spent driving from Point A to Point B, which is littered with aggro NPC zombies:

  • As you drive for what seems to be the bulk of this game, you will probably encounter enemy NPCs roughly every twenty seconds, and the game engine will not stop spawning them.  After roughly an hour of trying to get to my mission objective by both car and boat, I just gave up, sat at an intersection and engaged an endless waves of enemies that the computer sent after me.

Point 7:  Too much time was spent on little idiosyncrasies and nuances (think “Seinfeld”‘s “Why is it always…”) than on good game play:

  • What FC2 tries to do with immersing the player in a “realistic world” is basically presenting the player with a caricature of the real world.  A caricature artist takes the most awkward and unappealing aspects of his subject and magnifies them for a profit.  See where I’m going with this?  I can almost imagine what the brain storming session at Ubisoft Montreal (the game’s developer) was like; they sat around and picked what were likely the most frustrating aspects of real life combat, and then decided to put them all into one game, amplifying them in the process.  Literally, at one point, I took aim with an RPG at a guard post, lined up my shot to fire the rocket into a stack of red exploding barrels, pulled the trigger and watched as my rocket fell limp from the firing tube to my feet.  Then I was riddled with bullets.

Conclusion:

Ubisoft Montreal has to realize that a good game is a balanced game.  It’s cool to have a giant map to play across, but you can’t expect players to want to spend 3/4s of the game driving back and forth across it, especially when you’re engaged by enemies every fifteen feet, and can’t see shit while behind the wheel.  You can’t make a “thinking man’s shooter” if you have degradable weapons and infinite enemies that seem to endlessly charge at you from out of no where.  There has to be balance.  I love shooters, but I like a shooter that makes you think (see Eidos Interactive’s “Hitman” series).  Even though I was frustrated with Fallout 3, that game was at least developed in a way that made sense, that wasn’t a bunch of “realistic ideas” that were jammed into one package and left for gamers to figure out on their own.  No, “Far Cry 2” which on paper would’ve been a great game, fails miserably at being anything close to entertaining, and wins at being another title that will be turned in for a trade towards something else

May 4, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, The Great Indoors, Too Much Time, Why Am I Watching This? | , | 3 Comments

The Blogging Affairs Desk

You might’ve noticed a change around the ol’ site.  Don’t worry, things are just fine and haven’t changed a bit.  Well, except that bit about the name.  I was getting tired of tagging everything with “I’m Just Saying…” so in an effort to piss off everyone who has me listed on a blog roll I changed the name.  But fret not dear readers, you can still expect to get the same quality complaining here as you have come to know and enjoy.

If it has anything to do with people famous for no reason, mind rotting reality television, or twisted personal tales of corruption involving gun violence and alcohol, it’ll be covered here at the new Blogging Affairs Desk.

I’m just… you know what I’m saying.

April 10, 2009 Posted by | Living in an Insane Asylum, Shameless Self Promotion, Too Much Time | , , | Leave a comment

Measuring Desperate Measures

I spend a lot of time leafing through unclehenrys.com, a somewhat analog version of eBay for Maine and New Hampshire.  Mostly I use this to find guns being sold privately by old Vietnam vets who live in trailers out in the woods.

On their website’s opening page, a weekly poll is taken with usually three or four answers to choose from.  I never pay much attention to the poll, but this week’s caught my eye.  To wit:

“If times got real tough, what would you give up last?”  With the choices of “Computer” “Cell Phone” and “Gun.”

I was bemused by the question and possible answers so I submitted my answer after a little careful consideration.  I thought about the answer I wanted to give, based on the answer in all reality I would give should the need arise, and also based on past experience.

I decided that likely, the last thing I would give up would be my cell phone.  The relationship I have with my Blackberry is almost like one I would have with my own parents.  I depend on my phone for nearly everything as far as communicating with the outside world, keeping important dates and information in line, etc.  I cannot readily function without my goddamn cell phone, sad to say.  I didn’t choose my computer because in it’s condition I doubt I’d get much money for it, and in all likelihood, I’d probably pawn off my guns first anyway.

But what I was surprised to see, as a result, was that more than half of the poll takers (56% at the time of this posting) chose to retain their weapons despite everything, which I found unsettling, obviously.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, but what is this information really telling us?

I understand that the majority of the people who use unclehenrys.com are gun-owning Red Staters, who have tattoo’d on to their bodies Charlton Heston’s immortal “You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands!”  And even though in my heart I didn’t want to part with my guns first, I knew I would have to, due to it’s being the least utilitarian device I own.

Does this mean that when Mainers are pressed with hard economic times, we’ll be mugging each other on the streets of Portland?

Likely not.  More likely it means that Mainers (at least this sampling of Mainers who took the poll) are more or less afraid of someone coming to rob them in the middle of the night.  They hear stories about masked bandits breaking into homes to rip off small electronics to sell for a cheap high.  Meth in Maine is still a problem; however, instances of home invasion are still low.

Lower than the Cape at least.

The fear is reflective of the fact that people are more likely to believe in their unwarranted fears in tough economic times, because they do not want to become the next “somebody” that they keep hearing about.  That “somebody” whose home was broken into and wife and daughter was tied up and left for days to eat the duct tape off their faces.

This has happened to no one.  It’s little more than an internet rumor.  But in hard times, people will believe almost anything.  Ask any snake oil salesman.

I’m just saying….

April 4, 2009 Posted by | Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Too Much Time | , , , , | Leave a comment

For The Fanboys…

Ang sent me this last night saying in the email “thought of you.”  I watched it this morning, and could clearly see why she got that impression.

If you’ve ever felt like you were ment for more, this one’s for you.  (Don’t mind the subtitles)

I’m just saying…

March 27, 2009 Posted by | People I Love, Too Much Time, Why Am I Watching This? | , , , , , | Leave a comment

FO3 v. GTA4 GOTY?

I caught something briefly in the New York Times this morning that struck me as odd.  No, it wasn’t the article about Sec. of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to Mexico, nor did it deal with China’s rising military.  No, the article, in the Arts Section, had to do with The Game Developer’s Choice Awards naming “Fallout 3” 2008’s game of the year.

First, let me tell you that “FO3” is a good game.  Hell, I’ll even venture to say it’s a great game.  But I wouldn’t go so far to say it’s the best game that came out in 2008.

I could go on and list some other prize-worthy games that came out, but the game that sticks out in my head the most is RockStar’s “Grand Theft Auto 4” which was released last April for the major consoles.  With it’s sprawling, high art concept-design, deep story line, amazing rendering, why was GTA4 overlooked?

Or maybe the question I should ask is why FO3 was selected?  I mean, I’ve played about 50% of it before I had trouble with the game locking up on me at inopportune times (just reached a crucial way-point, but was some distance to an auto-save, that sort of thing).  FO3 is a great game and has depth to it, but honestly I found it to be a bit tedious.  Sure you can “fast track” from location to location on your map, once you’ve “discovered” it of course, but that takes away a lot of possible “experience points” you could be earning towards “leveling up” your character.

So in essence, you’re left with plodding along some barren wasteland, killing/discovering shit for hours at a time until you reach your destination, or you can jump around from locale to locale, but be killed on sight in later missions.  Awesome.

Another aspect that I enjoyed, yet tasted the second edge of the double edged sword was how you can loot, pickpocket, grave-rob, however you want to call it, dead bodies.  But this becomes tedious too, as you either get weighed down by all the shit you’re carrying or you take forever to get from point A to point B because you’re busy bending down to pick up shit from bodies.

The one thing I did like, that I’d like to see in more games is the customization of weapons and other items within the game.  For instance, use a pistol too much and you start to notice it’s accuracy starting to diminish, as well as reloading takes longer because you can’t quite snap down a lever or there’s a feed jam.  So you have to stay up on your maintenance or else weapons and armor will literally fall to pieces in your hands.  They also lose their value, diminishing the amount of “caps” (bottle caps – what they’re apparently using for money in the post-apocalyptic future.).  Also, money, food and ammo are scarce, which only adds to the realism, but can make things frustrating when you find yourself in a fire fight with three Super Mutants and little in the way of cover or concealment.

Again, these are elements of “Fallout 3” that I enjoyed in the beginning but grew tired of the longer I played.  It’s a great game, but not for someone who hates to sit through long, terribly boring voice acting just to get some information about the next mission.  I’ve spent probably half the total time talking to boringly sad “wastelanders” than killing shit.  That’s a terrible ratio for someone who plays video games with the sole purpose of killing shit.

So yeah, basically, the game breaks down like this:  Talk to a guy for fifteen agonizing minutes, spend another half hour walking to the next town, maybe shoot a wild dog or two, maybe a crab person, get to the next town, talk to another person forever, blah blah blah.  Not Game of the Year material, at all.

No, not when GTA4 is as immersive as it was, with a beautifully scrawling backdrop, enhanced physics, a witty, deep storyline, and the biggest difference, online play.

I’m not usually a proponent of online multiplayer, because you often deal with piece of shit middle/high school kids with nothing better to do than train in stomping the shit out of you.  Plus you get to put up with their high-pitched taunts and hushed swearing, because mom’s in the next room making meatloaf.  It’s like going to the gym and lifting weights next to a guy who has nothing better to do/worry about other than lift incredibly heavy things over his/her head repeatedly, and who taunts you for being only a casual health and fitness nut.

“Grand Theft Auto 4” in my eyes, is the Game of the Year.  But possibly bestowing that title on it would be too obvious?  Maybe it would be setting a bar too high for other games?  And what about Playstation’s
“Little Big Planet?”

At least GTA4 doesn’t lock up on me as I finish a forty-five minute walk across town…

I’m just saying…

March 27, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, The Great Indoors, Too Much Time, Why Am I Watching This? | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Morning Meeting

Where I work, which I can tell you absolutely nothing about, three times a week my co-workers and I are lodged into a senseless, mundane morning meeting.

I’m sure for some of my readers you’re no stranger to having to sit through an hour long meeting a few times a month to get an idea of where everyone is with whatever projects that are going on around your office.  For me, having this meeting, THREE TIMES A WEEK, is impossible to describe as far as how soul-crushingly boring it is.

Granted, every once in a great while there is important information that’s being passed, and the occassional celebratory announcement:  So and So had a baby, so and so is getting married, so and so has been promoted, … you get the idea.

But on the reg, the meetings usually go like this:  “Well gang, the office looks like shit, what did you guys do all weekend?”  “Well, we (did something phenomenal, can’t explain what due to the nature of my gig)”  “Oh, well, still, someone left half a can of Pepsi on the copier, so you’re all a fucked up mess.”

Then there’s the pointless company wide votes:

“Um, we’re thinking about getting mugs with everyone’s name on them, I want to take a vote to see if everyone likes this idea,” and a vote is taken, where I mean, who’s going to turn down a free coffee mug with their name on it?  “Ok, well, let’s vote on a design,” which causes a slight riff amongst voters, but a design is eventually picked.

Regardless, it take six to seven months to get the damn things because of red tape and hold ups that prevent us from either sending the jpeg or getting in touch with the owner of the company, blah blah blah.

Then there’s the “secret ballot” votes for Employee of the Month, which I’m positively sure is rigged; co-workers of mine who are 90% inept have been given this award over the last year or so.  The only person who’s received the award lately that has made any sense what-so-ever has been our in-house cook, who does do an incredible job cooking for us.  Other than that, it’s completely rigged as far as I’m concerned.

If suddenly I was given EOM, I’d likely turn it down based on principle alone.

When I look around the horseshoe shaped table, my fellow co-workers, Rog, Kev, Nate, even the new dim-witted guy Bryce, all have the same emotionless expressions on their faces, something to the effect of signaling defeat at the hands of our bosses.  The only face around the table that has any signs of paying attention is my former roommate’s, whose face is a mask of confusion, interest, and day dreaming.

My mind tends to wander a lot at the morning meetings, and often I think of what I’d rather being doing than sitting in these long drawn out pointless gatherings.  The list goes like this:

-Laying with my wife in a warm bed.

-Eating Ice cream

-Playing with the ferret

-Checking my phone

-Updating my Facebook status

-Setting hobos on fire.

You get the idea.

So I’m inviting my readers to comment on their most mundane morning meeting experiences.  Because just writing this brief article makes me want to throw myself out of the window of a moving Japanese import while driving at highway speeds.

I’m just saying…

March 10, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Living in an Insane Asylum, People I Hate, The Great Indoors, Too Much Time | , , , | 1 Comment

Blog Roll

Just a quick house keeping note here at IJS:  We’ve updated Jim’s blogroll, making some subtractions and additions that Jim and his editorial staff felt that were needed.  Some people were cut just because they weren’t writing on topics we felt best complimented what you would come to find here at IJS, while others were let go due to having blogs that they no longer regularly updated.

But some were added!  We invite you (and especially Wulfgar) to check out Andreas Diller’s Post-Nuke webcomic.  It’s amazing art work and an awesome story line.  I don’t know how often he updates his work, but there’s like ten full-ish comics.  We really encourage IJS readers to check him out and give him the web traffic he richly deserves.

We also dabbled around with the naming of links, so … check them out and have a laugh!

Thanks,

The Editors

February 18, 2009 Posted by | Shameless Self Promotion, Too Much Time | , | 4 Comments