Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Return to Sanctuary

Operation: Awesome Week has been postponed. This is in part due to me not having many of the movies that I said I was going to watch, a general lack of interest from all parties involved, and this:
When this game came out in 2000, it took over our lives. I was in college at the time, and on a floor of about 20 strapping young men, it was the downfall of at least 4 of the 12 or so that played the game, and became a career for a short while for another one. We played this at all hours of the day and night. On more than one occasion, my friend Keith would kick my door or the wall to wake me up and so I could log in so we could get better drops. Somewhere between then and now I lost my copy of D2, and have been wanting to play ever since I heard the announcement for Diablo 3, but have been holding off due to cost. Well, this week the battlechest went on sale and I had no excuse, so I'm back into it now with a vengeance.

For those of you who don't know the story behind Diablo and Diablo 2, I'll sum it real quick.


Diablo moves into the church basement in the local town of Tristam, and convinces everyone in the town that he fucking rules, so they rearrange city ordinances to give him all sorts of building permits to expand his dwelling. the townsfolk are in awe of him and are excited to have jobs again since they haven't in years due to the black plague killing everyone, but when its time for ole Diablo to pay the contractors, he turns them all into succubus and zombies and imps (cutely called Fallen). Deckard Cain is pissed so he calls in the repo men to get their money (thats where you come into the story). the Repo men have to wade through all the shit to find Diablo and take their payment, but he catches on pretty quick since he has survelance cameras everywhere (He's not stupid you know. He knows what Succubus do when they are alone with each other) and sends his hordes after them. If your good enough, you get to his panic room and fuck shit up. when you're finished, he drops a crytal shard, and then you slam it into your forhead for safe keeping. The End.

Diablo 2 picks up more or less where the first one leaves off, only several years into the future. the three repo men that you can play as classes (warrior, sorcerer, and rogue) have gone evil (apparently Diablo made a side deal with them) and the Warrior becomes the Wanderer that you are chasing down throughout the game.

My memories of the game are that the graphics were pretty ahead of their time when it came out, but playing it now it seems that not only have we caught up with the graphics, but have now passed it by a few years. That said, its still pretty good looking, and the cinema scenes are still really well done. The opening cinema left me with chills as I remembered the game.

as soon as I started playing everything slowly started coming back to me, and I am getting more and more excited to play more and more. I made a barbarian named "Running with Scissors" on the US East server, though the game only lets you have 15 characters in the name, so he's really called RunningScissors, but that with is there in spirit damnit. I think I am going to try and max out Leap and whirlwind and just kill everything in a fury of steel and then jump away.

Playing also reminded me of how much I used to smoke while playing the game too and my friend Chuck who was notorious for having multiple cigarettes lit at the same time in different ash trays around the computer while playing and would forget he had them lit and start another one. And Manowar. We listened to a lot of Manowar. Weird.

Friday, December 19, 2008

8 Bit Emanicipation has arrived

I went out for a walk today to the bank before the snow hits and when I got back home, there was a massively massive package waiting for me from Championland. So, I did what any pre-pubescent 28 year old boy would do, and ran up the stairs to my room to start playing with Pixel Lincoln.

Please note that from here on forward are spoilers and can be considered a walk-through and counts as cheating. only move forward if you wish to disappoint yourself. In the meantime, here is a picture of Gladdys Knight and the Pips:
Ok, now that your ready, here we go. Pixel Lincoln, in case you didn't know, is a side scrolling card game developed by J of Championland (JTagmire at NWWBW) and has been met with rave reviews and takes advantage of some of the most cutting edge game engines out there. Looking through the box, and reading over the instruction manual (yes, there is one), game play is pretty straight forward, and I'll explain as we play. so we fire this baby up and heres what we see:
We have our first level loaded, as well as our life cards, and our dice (we will be using neon yellow today). and now that we have the stage set, lets go ahead and begin
I hope it doesn't do that every time
ok, here we go, first screen. We start the level in our time traveling log cabin (maybe, I might just be making that bit up) and it looks like we have a parachuting cat with a machine gun coming right at us. So...lets roll the dice and move
The way the game works is that you roll a dice and move accordingly, but always to the right. If something gets in your way, you (try to) jump on it, naturally. I rolled a 2, so I'll move right under the parachuting cat. Jerk.

Ok, so now I rolled a 4. You are not supposed to flip the next card until you reach it, but for the sake of journalism, I used a cheat to get a better shot. As it turns out, its a good thing because we have a...shark with a lazer on his head? how the hell am I going to get past this?

As luck would have it, a 4 is exactly what I need to jump the shark (aaayyy!). Jumping is done by moving diagonally up and to the right, followed by coming straight down. You can only jump if you have something in your way, and you can't stay in the air (meaning if you need a 4 to jump the shark, but you roll a three, you are stupid and get eaten by the shark and start the level over again). Ok, so I beat the shark, whats next? Roll the dice and...
A 6!!! Thats amazing!! I'm throwing rocks tonight! but whats that in the distance?

Oh crap, its a 2-headed cow! but watch this sweet move:

HAHA, I rule!
Rolled a 5 and...ah hell no, I hate that duck. He's killed me last time I played

ok, well here we go anyways

ha, fuck you duck. Rolled a 5, and....
Past one lazer-shark, and heres another. Rolled a 4, so 1 jump, 2 down, 3, 4 forward....


Well, its working J, just like my old Nintendo memories. I'm ready to throw it across the room because it isn't fair. That hillbilly on a pig came out of nowhere.

Oh, and looking at the box, my names on it, what better reason to buy it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cat Off!!!!

With Operation:Awesome Week planning underway, its time to do a lot of other stuff at the same time, including learning to sew a stuffed cat, so with that, I introduce
Thats right, one of the greatest competitions ever is about to take place and you can get in on the action! All you need to do is to make a cat. Any pattern is allowed, but keep in mind you don't have much time. Due to international copyright, we only have a window of about 4-5 days total to get your cat made. Once made, post them at the official forum of "Don't Worry They Won't Look For The Bodies Here" at No Week Will Be Wasted. Once all entries are in a winner will be selected and win and arbitary prize!

So hop to it awesomo because

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Introduction of Awesome Week

As some of you may know, I was laid off from my job back in September, and have been actively on the hunt ever since. Although I am still unemployed, I have been averaging an interview a week, and have been trying to keep myself busy and motivated as best I can. As a result of this, I have a lot of free time of late that I have been trying to fill with projects and/or reading, but surprisingly not so much on TV or Movies.

With it being the 16th of December, I am not so confident that much will come about job-wise in the next two weeks, or at least I wouldn't count on being hired and starting before the 1st of the new year, so I thought now would be a great time to introduce the concept of Awesome Week.

Awesome Week, strangely enough, isn't really so much awesome as it is watching movies that are awesome, and things related to them that are also awesome. In addition to watching the movies, I'm going to try to do things related to them as well and will post my plans here ahead of time so you can take part too.

Awesome Week will run for at least 5 days and consists of watching movies that are awesome. Every day will be a different series of awesome movies watched (more or less) one after another. The following is currently in the plans for Awesome Week:

Day 1 - The Star Wars Trilogy
Star Wars is awesome. I've had a falling out with it for a while, but in more recent times have come to appreciate it for what it is and have fallen in love with it again. I mean, something that can inspire people to do this:
and this:
and still have everyone think that what they have done would make George Lucas proud has to be good. The original trilogy will be watched only. Nothing against the prequels, I just don't want to watch them.

Day 2 - Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones is bad ass, and watching four films about him back to back sounds like it could be pretty draining, but this is the sacrafice I am willing to make for Awesome Week. I mean, this man has fought Nazis, Communists, and Cultists just to get nab something that would later be made into a keychain replica that you can buy in the gift store of the museum you're visiting with your family.

Day 3 - Back to the Future

1985 is a pivotal year for everyone, as this is the focal point of all things related to time travel. H.G. Wells knew it, JVCD knew it, and even fucking Doc Brown knew it. Its just a fact that all of human history revolves around this date. This is why it is important to include this three part documentary in Awesome Week. Delorians are pretty cool too.

Day 4 - Lord of the Rings
I've always been mixed bag on LotR, but as a movie series it is good, and I have not watched it in a while, so I'm thinking that it may be the dark horse of the bunch for me. I've never not liked it, but aside from all its epicness, its always been just alright. The fact that I only own the extended versions of it leaves me a bit worried, but I'm tough, I can do it. LotR doesn't get a picture because theres nothing that comes to mind as something that I would want to show off. Yet, I posted a picture of a trashbag Yoda costume....strange.

Day 5 - I don't know
I didn't want to limit Awesome week to only 4 days because its all I can think of (thats not true) but I didn't really know how to best fill this day. Time will tell, but if you have suggestions, please share. A couple thoughts would be Jaws, Pirates of the Carribean, or a Firefly/Serenity mix. Maybe Home Alone 1-5?

So there you have it, my shitty attempt at celebrating awesome movies. in total, were looking at 11 movies minimum, each averaging at least 3 hours (BttF may be the exception, I don't remember how long they are). I don't know if I am actually going to be able to watch everything, or if after the first movie if I will want to continue, or how much the holidays will mess with the plan, but there it is. I also only have LotR, so I may need to move pretty quickly to find the rest of the movies in time. I'm sure in the next day or so I will finalize the plans and offer up the schedule so all can participate in the festivities.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Great Advent Event

Christmas is only 10 days away, and I don't think that it has come quite as quickly as it has this year compared to previous years. Trust me, I have checked into it, and there is scientific proof that this holiday season is moving quicker. This means that I don't have nearly as much time to do things as I would like, which is pretty ironic all things considered. Becca and I still need to decorate most of the house, as well as figure out what we are going to do for Christmas cards this year (in years past we have made our own using a combination homemade stamp and a photo taken to commemorate the holiday. We plan to do the same this year, but were slacking), as well as figure out what we are going to do for the day of (stay and host or leave and visit family), as well as gifting for friends and family.

Fortunately, I actually am done shopping for Becca, and have been for some time (surprisingly), thanks to some inspiration from some friends. Luke and Suzanne had decided to create home made advent calendars for each other, and in turn they have been documenting their gifting on their own blogs respectively, and in doing so inspired me to steal their idea and make an advent calendar for Becca, though by the time I got to it, two days had passed, so I had to move quickly and become an engineer. Allow me to show you the "Advent Calendar 5000":

Now, on the outside, it may not look that pretty, and you may think to yourself "thats pretty great Mike, you got her a shitty old box and drew all over it" and you would be right, but this is an engineering marvel that would rival the tallest tower in Japan (which is much taller than you would think)

On five of the six sides to this box are drawn doors to the exact size and measurements needed to get one and only one gift. Becca is to cut open each door (as seen above) daily to get her gifts, leaving her with a box full of holes. But wait, theres more! every day, she gets to reach inside the "one a day" door and pull out an envelope full of puzzle pieces that when assembled will make a puzzle (I know, right?)

Now, I know all you out there are just dying to see the inside of the box, and I have a special treat for you. We have exclusive photos of the inside that you will not see anywhere else online! You don't know what we had to do to get these photos for you, so please enjoy them!

The marvels of modern science will never cease.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Already Off to an Awesome Start.

Ever get the feeling that you are going to do something so awesome that you constantly think about it all the time, especially when you are not doing it so when you start you will create something that will just blow people away, but then you never get around to starting it? That seems to be what this is turning into.

I think I started this blog about a week or so ago, and everyday since my revelations about the mysteries of the inhabitants of Pluto I have been playing in my mind how great something I am going to write and post here is going to be, but then I go off and watch a movie, or move a fooz-ball table out of my kitchen, and never get around to it. I totally want to write about it all, and I just summarized all sorts of wonders that have filled my past week or so, but then erased it all because you deserve better than just a summary. You deserve the whole damn thing that will leave you in love with me, and not the cute boy meets girl type. I mean the "rent the house next to mine and watch me from the window with inappropriate drawings of me and you together tacked to your walls" in love with me.

So, starting tomorrow I will actually write and post things for you to be amazed by. I share this with you now so that when it comes time to read it all, you will have had time to prepare for it. I would hate for you to be blown away by an antidote I may share and shuffle away with an annurism. To get you through the next few painful hours until it is time to come back and read what I have to say, I have prepared the following three pictures for you to look at, as well as a recipe to pass the time:

Picture #1:

Picture #2:
Picture #3:


Cheesecake Brownies

One 9-inch (23cm) square pan

6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces (115g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup (130g) sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (70g) flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (80g) chocolate chips

8 ounces (200g) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
5 tablespoons (75g) sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Line a 9-inch (23cm) square pan with foil, making sure it goes up all four sides. Use two sheets if necessary. Mist with non-stick spray or grease lightly.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180C).

3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and beat in the 2/3 cup (130g) sugar, then the eggs.

4. Mix in the flour, cocoa powder and salt, then the vanilla and chocolate chips. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.

5. In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, the yolk, 5 tablespoons (75g) of sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

6. Distribute the cream cheese mixture in eight dollops across the top of the brownie mixture, then take a dull knife or spatula and swirl the cream cheese mixture with the chocolate batter.

spreading cheesecake mixutre

7. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the batter in the center of the pan feels just set.

Let cool, then lift out the foil and peel it away. Cut the brownies into squares.

Storage: These will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days. They also freeze well, too.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pluto is not a planet anymore.

In the last couple of days, this topic has randomly come up in conversation at no fault of my own. Its been,what, 2 years now since they decided that Pluto was no longer considered a full planet, and was downsized to a dwarf planet. There seems to be mixed feelings on this topic from the scientific minds that I have spoken to, but what really concerns me is when is this going to come back to haunt us?

For now, we have no known way of contacting extraterrestrial life if it exists, and since any attempt by Jodi Foster has been officially written off as a failure, we also have no current projects in the works. But what about radio waves? Its been said that radio transmissions once broadcasted will continue for an indefinite period of time, traveling through space, with the possibility of reaching others in the surrounding galaxies. Pluto was originally named and declared a planet by Earth in the year 1930, though word of its existence began ten years earlier when it was referred simply as "planet X". This means that conversations about this planet could have started as early as the 20s when commercial radio was just starting to become popular. Since radio waves travel at the speed of light, word of the discovery of Pluto by earth would have reached them in about 5-6 hours, depending on its current rotational orbit.

This means that for about 10 years, the average Plutonian would have been carrying on conversations with their fellow Voorg (their word, not mine) about what this mysterious "Planet X" that they have heard so much about is? They would have gagued their own theories and cosmologies based on our findings that they thought we were sharing with them as good neighbors. Then, May 1st, 1930, the Earth gives Planet X a name, and its Pluto.

All the Plutonians suddenly go "Holy shit! they've been talking about us all this time" and get pretty irritated by the whole ordeal. How could they have been talking to us all this time and not think it prudent to include us in on this conversation? I would imagine that on a planetary level, their view of Earth suddenly grew weaker. So, for just over 75 years they learn to live with this galactic snub and have moved on, planning to say "thanks, but no thanks" to any offers that were to come from Earth to them in the years to come.

But then, all of a sudden, in September of 2006, a scientist decided that Pluto wasn't big enough to be called a planet anymore. 5-6 hours later Plutos all "WTF Earth?" and theres blood in the air.

This is my concern - we've pissed them off almost 80 years ago, and now we made it worse. There is a very good chance that they are planning an attack and we don't know it because they are not important enough anymore to be a planet, so real scientists (or at least the ones who want a crack at real research money) just don't care. We should be either be preparing for intergalctic war, or start writing a retraction to be read on air by a prominent individual of respect, not loosing spiders belonging to a 3rd grade classroom in space. I'd like to suggest Oprah as our spokesperson, with George Lucas there as well. Why? Well, everyone here seems to like Oprah, I don't think I know a person who doesn't like her. Lucas is there because he gets this sort of thing, but he can't speak because then he'll fuck it up.

Spread Out the Plastic Sheets

I've been toying around with the idea of starting up a personal blog that actually is a personal blog for a while now. After the huge and continuing success I have had with some professional side ventures, such as When Dinosaurs Attack, I found that I enjoyed writing, but I am not always as professionally minded to continuously write about the seriousness of Science on a daily basis, as the mind can not always process the raw awesome power of digging a hole through the Earth, and needs to expand into other things.

While I don't want to commit myself to writing daily here, I definitely want to try to write and post as close to daily as I can.

As always, stay Vigilant.