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Monthly Archives: December 2010

Three Christmas Chaos Tidbits

Been swamped with Christmas hobnobbery and whatnots the past two days especially, and found three bits of information to be a little funny.

First:  Got me mum a box of Cow Tales candy.  If you’ve never had it, think slightly taunt yet doughy caramel with a cool creamy inner section.  Sort of has a minty crispness to the center, like your mouth goes cold for a moment when you bite into it, though there is no mint within it at all.  Odd yet good in a certain faux caramel way.  Either way, while wrapping it up I checked for a price tag (to avoid le faux pas) and noticed that it was produced by none other than Goetze’s Candy company. 

Anyone familiar with the goatse internet phenom will probably crack a smile right about now, and especially so once the main page for their website loads to show a boy holding onto a sign in similar ‘goatse’ fashion.  Even worse, the sign shows a piece of candy who’s cross-section mimic’s the infamous image quite closely.  (Note:  If you have not seen it, and wish to both keep down your lunch for the week as well as avoid any additional mental trauma, I would not recommend researching the term or image associated with the phrase.)

Second, while opening up a tub-o-sour cream for an ambrosia salad for the Fam Dam, I was greeted with this image printed atop the foil seal. 

Purty; quite.  But why is it there?  It’s not like you can see it until you take the cap of the thing off, so it’s not really for promotional value…odd and quaint, me thinks.

Third, mandarin oranges.  Again because of the ambrosia salad, I needed to deal with this little brutes.  I am not a fan of this mini-citrus devil, yet I love Clementines which appear quite similar.  Tidbit of information being, I needed to drain a can of these oranges before I added them to the salad.  Drained, then placed them on the back of the sour cream lid to make extra sure they were quite dry before I tossed them into the mix.  (Took way too long to make the salad, but everyone tasting it said it was the best one yet, so I guess the time paid off!) While tossing them into the mix, I noted that these are perhaps the best idea for being ‘grubs’ or ‘demon doll tongues’ during those Halloween parties where you make kids touch stuff like spaghetti and say it’s brains, etc.  I was looking directly at them in a well-lit room and even still I thought they felt rather bizarre. 

Room temperature mandarin orange wedges are perhaps the most odd thing one could feel that I have yet to experience. 

The more you know, folks.

Bolts. They're not just for quilters anymore.

Just ignore that caption under the image. It’s from a previous post… and I have no idea how to get rid of it without altering it’s previous usage haha

Minecraft Beta is Go!

Me and the Misses were celebrating Minecraft’s Beta goodness by playing on our own local server, just the two of us.  We ran the server with damage on (as it finally works) as well as monsters alive and running around at night, to keep the danger and thus element of fun as alive as said mobbies.  Our first few attempts were pretty bad in terms of laggage, but after the update we got things squared away.  Still have a slight lag issue, but not nearly as bad as what it was before the update.

I fully intend on posting the screen shots I collected so far, as I kinda wanna showcase what we’re doing as we progress over time on this server, but I know I’ll hit my 1GB limit in no time this way.  So now I have to set up an image thang’.  First instinct would be like photobucket, but a lot of cats are running with tumblr or flicker.  We’ll figure that out in the morning, probably with before and after photos as now the pics I took are outdated after a day of Minecrafting hee hee

Total Deaths: 1-3 (So Far)

I have at least one, possibly two.  I am aware of the one where I backed up into lava while mining, and while I think I might have bought the farm a second time I do not know the cause.  The Misses is our third potential demise, as she either offed herself to refill her hearts and ‘not waste’ a slice of cooked bacon, or she just at the dang bacon.  I do not recall her running around picking up items she dropped, so I cannot say for certain, so we are going with one confirmed death thus far, with up to three possible.

Note:  Dropped items, be due to death or tossed at another player, seem to make 1-10 additional copies of themselves.  The items are not 100% duplicates, as the break after one use, but just odd to see. 

Oh, and just to keep ‘score’ (as numbers amuse me), currently Notch has sold 855263 copies of the game and 45,811 people are following the game on facebook.

And the Front Door is Open….AGAIN!

Well it’s been two weeks!  How’d you guys handle a solid fourteen days without even a booster shot of the Walking Dead?  Season 1 is dead and gone, but its memories shall linger on.  Was it good?  Bad?  Review time!!  Let’s open this up with a speed run, shall we? 

(Of course, spoilers are on the way, and if you have not seen the show, you’ll probably leave this really confused…)

And GO!

The first episode had Rick escaping the SNAFU’d hospital with one snazzy transitional scene thanks to those wilting flowers.  The flip side of that coin, sadly, was just how lame the intro shot was of Rick shooting the obviously turned teddy bear zombie girl, and how much the hospital bit reeked of 28 Days Later.  Luckily this was left behind without a seconds thought as Rick passed by the Half Biker Girl Zombie torso and he met up with Morgan, who quickly threatened to kill him at least half a dozen times.

Morgan and his son Duane got Rick up to speed and out of town in no time flat.  They even had time for a shower!  Anyone drop the soap? 

/crosses fingers!

Duane has a heart wrenching moment where he is unable to put down his unliving wife and Rick puts the barely there Biker Girl Zombie to final rest before ‘borrowing’ a horse and trading it up for a tank and a grenade.  End.

Shane and Lori, spread eagle near a tree.  C-O-U-P-L-I-N-G!

Guts starts off with Glenn helping Rick escape, some crazy old blonde chick puts a gun to Rick’s head, racist southerner gets ‘cuffed to a flimsy and eroded pipe, Rick and Glenn get a deep tissue massage made from deep tissues, and a clumsy black guy drops a key.  Glenn likes him some sports car.  End.

Frogs shows that Shane and Lori might actually be decent characters after two terrible showings in previous episodes.  But!  Oh noes!  Rick’s back!  Lori tells off Shane who immediately reflects this anger and ever-so-mild distemperment into Ed’s skull after Ed is seen slapping his wife.  Racist Redneck decided drilling through his ‘cuffs was too hard, but didn’t think to go through the thin, corroded metal twig, and instead recreated Saw with magically almost no blood loss.  Mighty fine grip you got going on with your belt there, Amos!  End.

Vatos!  Ah, how I’ve missed you.  Rick attempts to snatch his cache of weapons and radio, but in exchange he loses Glenn to a marauding latino gang.  Racist Redneck Jr. gets a butt shot off before they get away though, so so it’s all good.  In the end the Vatos were just posing as tough guys and Granny gives Rick a tour of a medical facility…that Rick never thinks about holing up in with the rest of the people back at camp.  Oh, bother.  And zombies attack the campsite, leading to a very fulfilling chaotic zombie battle, with bats, shovels, shotguns, crossbows, and rifles.  Woot!  End.

Wildfire lingers far too long.  Andrea should be shot.  Jim is the real man’s version of Rick without Main Character Powers.  Black Lady is offensive and does not visibly have a relationship with T-Dog.  Shane wants to shoot Rick for no reason.  Andrea wanted to shoot Rick for no reason.  Mr. CDC hijack’s our TV and takes us by surprise before blowing up his wife’s remains in a botched experiment.  It made me laugh, though.  End.

TS-19 was another great episode, yet it is fairly split on the love/hate-o-meter to the reviewing audience.  Mr. CDC explains to the dum-dum casual audience what zombies are and exactly what we should have known from day one.  He could have said “Watch Shawn of the Dead” for the first half of the episode and saved a lot of exposition.  I still liked it, thought he acted wonderfully, and hope he gets a lot of great work after showing off his abilities here.

Back to super short recap:  Everyone likes wine (‘cept Carl, boo!), Shane is mad in the shower, Rick and Lori are very happy in the shower, Andrea is wasting our time as well as theirs with all that hot water washing down the drain, Shane fails at Surprise Sex, Rick’s drunk, Mr. CDC locks everyone in for no honest reason, and then he lets them go before getting all Lost in Translation with Rick.  Black Lady and Mr. CDC die in a massive explosion that, again, half the reviewership thinks was over done or out of place and fake.  A short sandbag wall blocks the flames from killing Andrea, sadly. :( 

TIME!

Woo, not bad.  I’m outta shape for all this.  Should have stretched before-hand or something…  sheesh I’m getting old…

So with that breifish recap outta the way, as we all should have know that already.  Overall I liked the season, and I’d probably give it a B+ if I used a grading scale like that.  The highlight of the season was Vatos, TS-19, and the pilot.  Though hearing my Dad exclaim in surprise and horror as Carol pickax’d her deceased husband’s earcanal was right up there.

But what now?  What do we thinx gonna happen next season?  Well, I gots me some theories and things I’ve noticed (and a lot more I forgot!).  Here are some that I remembered:

Where is the story headed from here?  We have quite a lot of extra characters still not in the comic that can easily be zombie fodder.  Carole/Beaten Wife is not a completely pointless character.  She was in it to make Ed look bad (check) and to give Rick a grenade at the magically correct time (double check.)  Her use is now fulfilled, and as she and the Keymaster from the second matrix share a common theme, hopefully she meets the same end as him.  Hmm.  Might sound a bit harsh…but she was the omnipotent extra in Mist which Darabont had a bad hand in, so I still stand with my ‘Keymaster Her’ proclamation.  If you need a reason as to why she ends up dead, she STOLE a grenade from a Police Officer for gawd’s sakes.  How dim can one be to…that’s like hitting a parked cop car.  And I’ve seen it happen.  (Now we all know why Ed kept slapping her!  Ooo!  Dark comedy!)

Also, currently her daughter does not have a point to exist.  She was only really seen leaving her dad in the tent, and crying when the Mexican Family (still don’t know their names) left in Wildfire.  G.G. Carl?

T-Dog currently is a decent character.  He’s had a few lines in a few episodes which, I’d say, makes him one of the better tacked on characters.  There is a strong African American male character in the comic that should show up fairly soon if they are back on the comic’s track…which might turn into him instead of the actual dude it was in the book.  Merle could easily be thrown into the mix as I’ve heard Governor arrives at about the same time?  Comic geeks would know, but not I.

Speaking of Geeks, they really used that term a LOT in the ending episodes which I did not notice the first time through.  Why is it no one calls them zombies, ever?  Walkers, Geeks, ‘one of them,’ etc.  Just call em out!  It’s not like a religious slur or anything because of the distant voodoo connections, people.  Besides they were saying the n-word just fine in the second episode, so if they went with “geeks” to avoid offending a religious background, but were ok with potentially inciting an entire racial background…eh.  Worst of all, ‘geek’ is fairly accurate in terms of largest target audience of this show.  Way to offend your fan base, guys.  Smooth moves the lot of ya’!

It has come to my attention that the bomb that would self-destruct the CDC building was a Thermobaric weapon, defined as:

“a ‘fuel-air bomb’  is an explosive weapon that produces a blast wave of a significantly longer duration than those produced by condensed explosives. This is useful in military applications where its longer duration increases the numbers of casualties and causes more damage to structures”

Any fans of Command and Conquer: Generals (and the expansion Zero Hour, of course) will know about this baby.  It was the USA General’s special power and one of my favorites.  It could be upgraded to a MOAB, of Dubya’s Iraqi War fame, but I didn’t like it.  Wasn’t as strong, and didn’t have enough ‘heart’.  Before the Fuel-Air Bomb went off there was that hint of silence, and then the fireball started, grew, and then bah-BOOM!  Twas’ a favorite, and now that my raving is complete, here is a video of it in action. 

Note any similarity to the ending?  (Which can be seen here, by the way,) While it might not be a large consolation to fans of the comics, I think it does mimic at least a video game’s representation of the same type of explosive.  And the bombs are intended to burn a bit, not just kablooey right off the bat, ya know.   Though there will still be ‘it was overdone!’ people yelling at me from the nay-sayers camp,  I still likes it.

Jacqaui is the name of the black lady, by the by.  Anyone else find that she and T-dog’s ‘relationship’ to be at least…eh…unpolitically correct?  Let me give you an example from a completely different show, The Tester.  It’s a Playstation thing where people fight a really rough battle just to get an entry position that normally is done by people that are not paid for their time, and generally are pulled in right from the street.  Not kidding.  Why these suckers put themselves through hell for such a terrible spot in a company is beyond me. 

Back on topic, in one episode they were split up into two teams.  The white team and the black team.  There are two black contestants in the show at this time, and guess what team they went to?  Both were placed on white team.  Why?  Because if they were put on the black team it would be racist, says the politically correct textbook.  And why did they have to be in the same group, why not one on each?  Because *that* might be considered racist, too.  Why didn’t they just call it the Red and Blue teams, I have no idea.  But now, back to Walking Dead.

The ONLY two black people on the show just happen to be in a relationship.  Maybe.  It could be they were connected for years, hooked up during the zombieggon, or T-dog just has a preference to black women.  We don’t know.  They were not in the comic, so I can’t even say ‘oh, the fans will know if they read it’ much like how Harry Potter movies panned out, because they were only brought into existence in the tv show.  Whatever was in the show is all we have to rely upon, and from what we were given, they just happened to be black and they just happened to be in a relationship.  Maybe.  At no point in the series other than just before they were going to blow up did anyone even suggest the two were an item.  It was badly handled and was a very weak attempt at conflict or drama.  To be clear: All we know is that they are black, at this point.  And now they happen to be together?  Why?  The one time the two were ever physically near one another was after T-dog was attacked by Merle, some four episodes ago for about thirty seconds of on-air time.  She spent MORE time with Jim and they were not together.  Why was she and T-dog coupled?  Race.  Smooth move, again, writers.  Smooth.

Ah!  My good buddy Foucault had an issue with, was they these survivors ain’t durty!  In the comic they looked rugged and worn, weathering zombie attacks should take a toll on one’s physical representation, eh?  Well, I gotta defend the show a smidgin’ here and note that at the very beginning of Wildfire, they were all messed up.  Dirt on their face, clothing mangled, all that jazz.  How they got from this to super clean I think is supposed to be explained by yet another painfully obvious shower scene at the CDC, but still, I can see the complaint that they all shouldn’t be super models by now.

Note:  Saw the end of Wildfire last night again, Dad finally got around to sitting down the day before Comcast took it off Demand, and had more time to listen to Jenners.  (First time heat came on and muffled it a bit, and thought it was a commercial at first.)  He said Wildfire has been going on at that point, for 194 days and about 64 since it went global.  (As far as he knows, could be yet another throw-back to 28 days later that all he ‘knows’ is that the government told him.  He even says ‘I bet there isn’t [anyone] still  listening out there, is there?  Is there?”) So that means somewhere in that timeline there, Rick got shot and left for dead by Shane.  Morgan said power’s been out for about a month, but I don’t think he was keeping track of the time.  I still think Rick only lasted about a week or two, the most that Popcorn Logic (movie’s use it all the time) could allow.  He woke up dehydrated, voice scratchy.  So he drained that IV and was running on empty for probably a day.  If Morgan did not keep track of time, and was obviously torn about seeing his wife, I do not think his word is as scientific as Jenners.  The only other person keeping track is Andrea, who should be shot as how they handled her character in the series so far, and Dale.  But Dale only knows what time it is, while she knows what day.  Maybe their kids will be astrologers!  Anyhoo, did that specific CDC spread the virus or whatever?  Still don’t know where it came from, which is not gonna bother me, but could bother some.

Small things that bothered me was just how ‘throwaway’ their names and the music was.  If I didn’t type up these reviews I would have NO idea what anyone’s name was.  The music is the same way, minus the intro that is repeated every episode, I can hear it, feel it, and then it is lost and not coming back to the memory banks until I re-watch the episode in question.  This is the oddest thing I have witnessed in a long while.  I can explain the names, as they aren’t used that often at all as generally we don’t go up to people and use their name every sentence we say (that would be creepy.  Happened to my younger cousin on WoW once though haha  “Hello Palmogranite.”  Good stuff.  And yes that is his human warrior’s name.  He plays on Trollbane, Alliance side. Give him a pat on the back for trying to level up as a tank, which for a newer person to the game is quite commendable.  Of course I talked him *into* doing that…)… but as far as the music goes, it is weird.  I cannot explain how I can’t remember it at all, to me it is almost like the show has no music playing ever, and I distinctly remember hearing groaning and other shuffling ambiance in Guts while they were talking outside or on the roof.  Was a great audio moment that reminded me of a great deal of zombie-based games like Left 4 Dead.

Finally, is the topic of Darabont helming the writing almost entirely solo.  Sigh.  This I actually take issue with, as it could lead to Very Bad Things.  The main point of contention here is the dreadfully awful The Mist which he had a big hand in failing.  To sum up my ire for this…film…is that everything before the last 10 minutes was good and the problems forgivable…UNTIL THE ACTUAL ENDING FAILED TO DELIVER.  That is the extremely short version of my rant.  So now, we have failed horror attempt man penning yet another horror.  Is he basing it on the comic?  His own?  Did he dislike season one because it strayed from the comic?  Is he just going to do a shot for shot recreation to appease the book fans, making most bored of it before the next season starts?  We don’t know…but as he will be in charge, might I throw in my bid for terrible-idea-that-might-just-make-it with Frank in charge?

We need for the main group of people to keep doing whatever.  Do that stuff for a long long while, and then get to a really tight spot.  Lots of death, huge number loss and maybe it’s just down to Rick and Carl, and Carl just got bitten.  He ends up putting his son out of misery before he turns and he just happens to be out of bullets to off himself.  Follow me so far?  K.  So now as he’s angushing about putting down his last family member a shuffling sound can be heard growing louder and louder and finally we see…not a horde of zombies, but military men in gas masks!  They are clearing the way!  Rick is saved!  But!  Oh noes!  He could have cured his son if only he waiting a teeny bit more.  Oh, the not-really-ironic-or-dark-comedy-non-irony!

But for that to ‘make sense’ we’ll need another person or group of people to show the audience what Rick should have done, because no one likes anything more than seeing a good main character fail.  Something that will spit into the face of our mind’s logic as we are forced to accept it as decent, not because it actually was, but solely because it is different!  No room for well written endings here, no, we still need that group to show Rick how wrong he was…someone that left for no real reason, adding nothing to the story, but existed solely to re-exist days later so I can laugh manically at the audience for not predicting the pointless character was the right one all along… someone like…

Shoulda followed us. Your bad, not ours.

That Mexican Family who left for no reason, but was done in such an obvious way so that we can use it to tie in the terrible idea of a finale!  YES!  Let’s do that!  What do you mean you don’t like my wonderful idea, staff writers?  Yer’ FIRED!

Also, saw a bit of the ‘forbidden fruit’ yesterday and paged through some of the first compiled section of the Walking Dead in comic form.  From what I saw, massively, massively better.  Didn’t sit down and read it, just when they got attacked (and Jim was actually shown bitten, who’da thunk it?) and Andrea popped of Amy at the drop of a hat.  Didn’t dwell on it.  Didn’t stretch it out painfully and pointlessly.  Didn’t damn her character by pointing a gun at Rick for no reason, AGAIN.  Sigh.  That’s what happens when Hollywood enters the picture…any gamers out there would understand this as either EA or Sony gobbling up a decent game then meddling with it and wondering why the money stopped coming out of it.

But there is still hope!  All in all it was still a great season, I just can’t read the comic or I probably won’t be able to watch it by comparison haha  Still, ‘for TV’ it was good.  Hope next season is better!  Less empty drama, more solid action!  I leave you with a funny that I thought up, considering how many people were surprised or rather upset that Merle was not shown at all since the third episode. Enjoy, and thanks for reading again, yall!

Perhaps Season 2 Will Be "Where's Merele NOW?"

Winter: The Bane of Socks

I’ve come to the conclusion that Winter’s grand scheme in life is to mess with our feet and minds.  Let me throw this example at you. 

If snow falls for you during Winter, odds are you have something protecting your floor.  Wood, tile, carpeting, all of it would get messed up by the icy melting waters of frozen liquids, so wanting to preserve their shelf life, I’d think it is safe to assume you protect it with a mat or something similar.  Now if you enter your house, boots and the like covered in frost, you’ll probably dust them off on that mat and place shoes on another spot or maybe a side section designated just for wet shoes.  Everyone does it differently, but it all saves the floor (of whatever various materials) beneath.

You enter the house, stomp off the frozen ick, and place shoes wherever they go.  Generally it is cold and either drafts or lower levels of the house will almost require socks to be worn, or kept on in said case of re-entering the house.  And this is where Winter has you; firmly clutched in its icy, cold-as-death-like grasp.

Once those socks are on, odds are they will stay on for the rest of the day, possibly the rest of the season.  Just making it past the mat you shook the snow off of and not stepping into a puddle is deceptively difficult enough.

[Ding-Dong!]

But now you have company at the door.

And that door must be opened.

Completely forgetting about the shoe-dusting ceremony previously you jog towards the door, possibly shoving the overly excited family pet out-of-the-way, and firmly place the center of your foot into a frozen blot of water large enough and cold enough to ice fish an abundant dinner for a small Alaskan village.

If you did not wear the sock you could wipe off the water no harm, no foul.  Now that it is on, it is not only as frigid as the temperatures outside, but it is also clinging to your skin like a nagging mall kiosk vendor.  No madam, I do not wish to smell your perfume, sign your petition, fill out your survey, or care to touch this supposedly super soft fabric.  Thank-you.

And that’s what winter is all about, Charlie Brown.

Cataclysm: She’s-a Launched

I was originally planning on just picking the game today, as I am not addicted (enough) to WoW to stand outside in sub-freezing weather (if we hit 40 degree’s we’ll dance around naked in the sun) just to pick up a box that will unlock the data Blizzard made us all install weeks ago.  I got the call from GameStop two days ago from an overly perky girl who not only was clearly reading a script, but probably never even spent a day inside one of the stores she was speaking for.  She told my answering machine with a smile bigger than the Cheshire Cat, that they will be having a celebration starting at 10pm for this momentous occasion.  I checked out what that was, and according to the main site, it would involve trivia and dance contests.

With the Gamespy trivia I linked to a few days ago, I probably would have fared well at that, but like hell I’ll dance around unless an abundance of currency is involved.  If I refuse to play DDR at any time at all, like heck I’m going to do that round my peers for sport.

After stewing it over, I thought about the current events and how things are panning out.  My mother pre-ordered the game for my birthday months ago.  Since then a digital download has been offered, not from various brands and the like, but directly from Blizzard itself.  If not for the money already spent on the pre-order, this would have been how I purchased the game myself.  (I could always buy the box for my ‘collection’ later, I doubt they will disappear any time soon.)  But this new option and my reaction to it is what sparked my only real interest into going to this midnight release event.

If any Gamers in their right mind had all these options available, why would any bother going out at all?  If you could just sit back, wait for the servers to come back online before getting your new gaming goodness on, why would you even waste time going outside?

Valid questions, and all correct.  If you had the option, in my opinion, you should have downloaded the game from Blizz and been set and ready to go from the first moment. 

And while this made perfect sense, this bothered me.

If everyone else did this efficient method of upgrading their account, there would no longer be these midnight releases.  Blizzard is rather large since WoW first started six years ago.  So large that others are ripping off quite a few of their ideas, both in-game and in business.  If this was a success, and by all means it already is, other companies will start focusing on just digital sales.  And then others, and others.  (I am curious to see numbers of sales, but to be more precise: How many bought directly from Blizzard.  How many went in person at any store, and how many people that put money down on the game did not come to collect their copy within three days of release.  The latter suggesting they left their money rot and got the game digitally once they found out that was an option.)

The idea of gamers grouping up for this mini semi-annual and extremely short conventions is now in serious danger of going the way of the dinosaur.  I have never gone to one of these releases, much like I have never gone to midnight movie releases.  I do not feel the need to get it instantly.  (I have some self-control, for goodness sake.)  But, if these release events are going away, I would appreciate at least going to one before the die off.

But bollocks to the pre-release party.

I left my house five after Midnight, arriving just about ten after.  There was a line that wrapped the outer edge of the inside of the store, forming a boomerang-like design (the store is on a corner of this mini-mall strip…but that makes it sound smaller than it is) that went from counter to counter.  I stood in line, the counter behind me, and slowly, jerkily, wound my way with the other customers towards our intended destination: the other counter just feet away from my starting position.  The room was warm, but not overly-so, even with my jacket on.  (I was sporting a Murloc t-shit, which I swore has shrunk in the wash since the last time I wore it a week ago.)

People were chattering about skills and classes, to item sets and other bragging points.

“Ah, man.  Mage armor.  Did you guys see that?  The new tier armor for Mages?  It is awesome!”

He was right, it is.

“…so I took points out of Chilblains and put them into [unintelligible].”

Frost spec’d Death Knight.

“Dude, I pop my wings and it’s like every hit: ‘Eight k, eight k, eight k.’ “

Ret Paladin, more than likely attempting to explain how he is not completely over powered.  I do like the changes to the class, though.  Has a pseudo-holy Samurai feel at the moment.

I ended up being the second to last customer to get their game.  I received a regular game box (was not sure what my mom pre-ordered exactly as the name on the receipt was cut short, making me worry if she got the expensive Collectors Edition, which is double the regular price), receipt, and a poster for pre-ordering.  While walking back to my car I saw people waving to one another as they departed, one mentioning that the other didn’t even tell him their name.

As the car warmed back up and the frost quickly faded away, I could see the store manager spiritedly jog over to the door, changing the “Open!” sign to “Closed.”  With the parking lot already almost deserted to begin with due to the time of day,  I saw the last person hop in their car and drive off.  Quickly getting their game unwrapped and beginning to conquer the elements in a struggle against Deathwing, no doubt.  (Kudos to them if they brought their laptop along.)

That was it.  I was at a midnight release event.

Will this still exist come next expansion, due in about a year from now?  The idea of Blizzard selling the game digitally was somewhat sprung on us fairly close to the last-minute.  Some of the people present that night might have gone only because they already paid for the game, but they will not be caught unaware next expansion.  Others might need more coercion than just a poster to get out of a cozy home during the middle of winter.  I am not even sure if I will attend it next time, as I came to witness the event and get the game; both plans were successfully executed.  What reason do I have to do this again?

I think it largely depends on what brick-and-mortar’s offer next time.  Not that they have to bribe me to give them my money, but if the clear winner is to just get the game from the company that produced it, why would I bother going to a store that is not connected to it in any way?  Most pressing question of the night would be:  How could anything even compete?  Blizzard not only recently announced the Digital Download option recently, but that the game was going to be ten bucks cheaper than normal.  Did GameStop know this?  Did they pay Blizzard the wholesale price expecting the Retail Price to be ten dollars higher than that it came out to be?  What could they offer us to go through them instead of Blizzard?  T-shirts, hats, stuffed figurines of the monsters we fight with in-game?  That does sound appealing, I might add, but even if they did hand out those items as incentive, Blizzard owns the rights to those products and will get paid either way.

Here, if you’ve read through my “Deep Gaming Thoughts” all the way you should be rewarded, so here is the official Cataclysm trailer (now don’t get addicted to it, Mr. Foucault!):

-Edit-

Seems like I am not the only one pondering the future of these ‘events.’  Mmogamerchick and her commenters also think the Fate sisters are not smiling upon retail sales against the Direct Download option.

There’s a Girl in the Garden.

The sixth and final episode of the Walking Dead has come to a close.  Took some time to actually get to start typing this out today as Comcast managed to lose my internet pretty much all day, along with the rest of the midwest.  Add in decking the halls for a few hours, finishing up the tree, then cleaning up the mess in the process, the whole day was spent.  (Would have been nice to know Comcast was to blame, as I spent a good two hours cursing bitterly that I would not be able to enter the Shuffle On zombie role contest once the show started.  Luckily we got it back just before they stopped taking the code, which was NIGHTMARE today.)

But enough about us!  On with the spoilers!

The opening was great!  We got to see familiar scenes way back from the beginning of the series not so long ago, as well as seeing how the hospital ended up the way it did.  The military killing any and all in a full blown slash and burn purge of any contamination was an interesting choice, albeit cliche, but still passable.  Adding in gas masks made them jump for oppressive jar heads to full-on Umbrella Corp, but it was so brief in this scene it is of little consequence.  This scene also had some strong vibes of the original Half-Life:  harsh and dimwitted military willing to kill anything tied to a failed mission.  Which provides a funny mental image…

Warden Freeman. The 'Walker' Atlanta Ranger.

I did enjoy seeing a military person shoot up the ceiling, which explains what caused the wires to sag as Rick walked past.  (Not that I was wondering, but it was a cool detail to see.)  This ‘death hall’ that Rick passed through so long ago (to us, anyway) has a feeling of Metal Gear Solid when Cyber Ninja was fully revealed to the player and Snake.  Guards shooting randomly as they make a failed attempt not to get killed off.  A genius commenter left this message on one of my posts that I thought I should bring up here:

“One idea I like, is that when Shane said the hospital was real bad when Rick regrouped with them; how would he know? Also, Rick living that long with no nurses helping him for up to that whole month is a stretch. …Unless Lori was holed up for a week or so at her house, Shane checked up on Rick and got him new fluids etc, then left him when zombies gained the upper hand, possibly blocking his door off with that gurney that Rick had to push out of the way.

Shane, in that scenario, would have known Rick to be alive when he last saw him, making the lie he told Lori still beneficial to her well being, but damning to Rick in more ways than one.”

-Encrazed Crafts

Oh wait, that was me!  Ha-HA!  I am a mighty prognosticator of prognosticators, my friends!  Ok, ok.  Enough gloating.  While not every letter was mirrored perfectly in the scene, I do take a level of satisfaction calling out several things on the dot.  Shane was there, he did tell Lori Rick died to save her and Carl’s lives, and he put the gurney where Rick had to push it out of the way when he finally came to.  Shane didn’t know that he was still alive, but at least he saved his friend from getting gnawed on.

The way they handled Shane this episode was for the most part flawless. He was a little crazy/rowdy when he first got there, and I can see him being pissy that Rick got his way, but that’s minor.  Once alcohol and seeing him chug a bottle in the shower was shown, a confrontation with a drunken and scantily clad Lori was quite predictable.  This too was handled well, showing Shane wanting what Rick has, showing he did want to keep them safe, and showing that he really did think Rick was dead, and being wrong about that is eating him up.  Being drunk is a perfect excuse for him trying to get another shot at Lori, and allows him to be cast as the ‘poor guy’ next season.  He did right, but it was taken away from him.  I hope they leave the crazy out of him next season as it didn’t really fit and came across as forced every time it showed up.  Shane and that shotgun of his.  Oh, that rascal!

Seeing Rick drunk and candid was a surprise, and actually made me wonder if the CDC guy ran out of water to serve, turning the place into a Pirate ship. (Later we find out it was more of a last hurrah, of course.)  Hearing Rick’s inner thoughts under the influence was a nice admission on his character’s part.  He knows they will most likely die out there, but will not show any signs of weakness around his family and friends.  He takes up that burden to save them even more grief; now that is a courageous thing to do.  Again, this is how to properly show character traits without degrading them in the process (Andrea pointing a gun at Rick [twice], Shane doing the same, Rick nearly openly weeping to the surveillance camera, etc.).

Humor was present this episode, and gladly appreciated.  The sense of dead-pan (no puns, no puns!) timing was pretty tight as well, either based on lights turning off or suggestions the audience at home knows that the characters to not.  Saying the timer ticking down is when the plant is ‘decontaminated’ instantly brought back how the test chamber was explosively ‘decontaminated’ in the previous episode.  This was of course then made blatantly obvious to the viewer at home after seeing about fifty different mechanical objects covered in the explosive logo in the basement section of the CDC building.

Andrea’s ‘infection’ hinted at in the previews last week are a clear example of how editors like to swing controversy into everything possible.  (Just a minor note/gripe.)  Daryle was once again the funny yet overly-aggressive everyday man this episode, and his line about wanting to use a fire axe on the CDC worker was a gem.  Seeing him continue to beat on the door with the axe fruitlessly in the background also provoked a laugh out of me, but that could just be my sadistic tendencies surfacing.

The CDC guy was handled wonderfully, and this man has proved he has quite the acting chops.  (Acting chops being a variant of Slap Chop, I presume?)  He was scientific, but not cold.  Calculated, yet emotional.  Telling Rick everything is going to be ok was a heart-felt scene, a man that is reassuring a stranger he just met (a drunken one to boot) was a nice thing to say.   But there is at the very least a hint of darkness there, as we know later on they were all scheduled to die within 24 hours when the timer finished counting down.  I felt for him, especially after finding out it was his wife that was the person seeing get turned into a zombie, that he put her down, and that she was the source of the flesh he was testing on.  He also turned into GLaDOS at the end when he warned Rick of what was to come next. 

“Are you trying to escape? Hahaha. Things have changed since the last time you left the building. What’s going on out there will make you wish you were back in here. I have an infinite capacity for knowledge and even I’m not sure what’s going on outside. All I know is I’m the only thing standing between us and them.

Well, I was.”

-GLADoS

I think the only real negative thing, at least the most negative scene I can comment on this episode, was showing everyone showering.  I just do not find this to be that big of a draw.  We saw Rick, Morgan, and Duane all showering in the first episode.  Was it merely a throwback to that setting, as the beginning of this episode did as well?  Nothing was really revealed, other than seeing Shane booze-out, which made me both chuckle at his current state, while wag my finger at him for watering down perfectly good spirits.  Seeing people shower didn’t really show anything new, it did not reveal character details we did not already know, and I thought the idea of showering was handled enough back in the first episode.  I dunno.  Could just be me.  Gamer’s are not exactly known for our hygiene, after all…

Killing off the black chick this episode was a bit…I don’t want to say “nice,” but it was at least a sign of atonement for Jim.  Also she apparently is connected to T-dog?  Never really explained that.  (Dale wanted Andrea to come with him as well, but they aren’t dating yet, so can’t really use that a comparison.)  The Misses told me she’d probably prefer to go out that way as well in a zombie situation, but I disagree to a point.  Willingly letting yourself get blow’d up should only even be considered when there are no other alternatives.  They had plenty of ammo, hell they made their own way out.  (Though that nade should have done a lot more than just merely shatter glass, in my opinion.)  If the horde was rushing them and they had only the option of “die fast, fairly painlessly” or “die extremely painfully due to nom-age and then turn into one of them” I’d probably opt for the first one.

Hearing Mr. CDC calmly describe how fast and painless it would be was pretty neat as well.  Locking them in was a little bit forced, though.  If they could not get out up top, why arbitrarily lock them in downstairs as well?  Why not promote the idea of them going to bed and waiting?  Why lock them in at all if you *know* there is no way out?  To funnel the drama into one room and make actors say their lines, of course.  Minor gripe, though the Misses caught me by surprise again:

“If it self-destructed because it ran out of fuel…why not let them out to get more gas?”

Well, dang.  First with Merle’s rusted pipe versus his hand, now this.  You win again, superior logic!  Formidable opponent, indeed.

In terms of episodes…I’d have to say this was a close second to Vatos.  Vatos, this, first, third, second.  That’s my order.  Great show, great season (barring few annoyances/conflicting ideas in the script), and can’t wait until next.  I should probably do an over-all review of this season as a whole, but that will have to wait (till probably this Sunday).  Thanks for readin’, yall!

Loremaster in Teh RL, Yo

Just got wind of this little quiz fans of WoW might wanna give a go:

Gamespy:  The Ultimate World of Warcraft Quiz

I thought it was a pretty cool information quest, but sadly it gave me little xp and no monetary rewards.  (Must be a gray low-level quest.)  I gotta 42 out of 50, which I think is a solid B, which is a bit upsetting.  Was hopping to get a good A.  Raspberries!

Tomorrow is the last episode of the Walking Dead this season, people!  Cataclysm is releasing just days after that (I plan to wait in line, actually.  We-thinks they are gonna stop doing that in favor of digital sales, might as well make a good showing at the end!  First as last, baby!) so I better finish up some crafty-crafts and actually get stuff put up on Etsy before the season passes entirely.  (On a slightly related note, my dad wanted to get something for me mudder’ off QVC.  Said intended date of arrival was 1/21/2011.  Really?  Two months in the fast technology of today?  Six to eight weeks might be a slogan we all know, but it is certainly one of the past.)

Doh!  And I still need to get those Minecraft pics up and hammer out that music post once and for all in honor of Mr. Foucault! 

Oh, bother >.<

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