Strange Brouhaha

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

It's Mind Hump Day

Here's the Wednesday Mind Hump from BDI.

Favorite rock band? Rush. I can't think of a band I like better on an overall basis. There are probably individual musicians and songs and albums that I like more than any single piece of Rush, but considered as a whole, "there is none higher." I'm fairly certain they're the only band I've seen in concert more than once (other than Sticky Fingers).

Favorite 80s song? Maaaaaaaaaan...I don't know! If you put a gun to my head and made me pick one, I'd probably pick Prince's "1999," but shoot, YOU try picking just ONE song out of even this small subset of 80s songs.

Favorite bassist? Geddy Lee of Rush. Honorable mention to Eugene Wright from the Brubeck Quartet, Jimmy Garrison from the Coltrane Quartet, and Scott LaFaro, who worked with, among many others, both Bill Evans and Ornette Coleman (talk about polar opposites!).

Favorite male singer? Wow, this is tough. I can't think of a male singer whose work I would, say, pick out of a pile of records and listen to solely because he was singing. I could say Prince, for example, but I don't like Prince solely for his singing. The last male singer I said "wow!" about, to be honest, was Rod Stewart on his first Great American Songbook album.

Favorite female singer? I really like Natalie Merchant's voice, but I'm not sure I'd hang the "favorite" tag on her. Judy Garland. Norah Jones. But really, I have the same problem here that I have with the male singers. The last female singer to really wow me was Kristy Cates in "Wicked".

Favorite Beatle? Paul. His music is the most accessible. Props to Harrison's guitar tone, though. Does "tone" count as a Beatle?

Favorite song for singing along? "Black Water" by The Doobie Brothers. "Seven Bridges Road" by The Eagles. "Jet Airliner" by Steve Miller. Assuming we're talking about singing along to the radio.

Monday, January 29, 2007

There's a moral here

...and it's probably "Don't bite off more than you can chew." Here's an awesome story out of Alaska via Yahoo! news and Mr. Greene, about a power outage caused by an eagle carrying a deer head.

Today's Music Mambo

It's the Monday Music Mambo.

1. What's your favorite jazz instrument? The piano, because it can occupy so many different roles in jazz. It can be both lead and accompaniment in the way that a straight lead instrument like the saxophone can't.

2. What's your favorite type of jazz? Bop and hard bop. I think that that's jazz at its pinnacle, the late 50s and early 60s. Hard bop, especially, encompasses enough of a range of music to include a few avant-garde musicians like Eric Dolphy (when he was with Mingus). I listen to music from most of the recognized jazz styles, but most of what I have is bop or hard bop--it's got the most felicitous combination of energy and control.

3. Name a few of your favorite (or just a few) jazz musicians. My absolute favorite is Eric Dolphy, which is interesting since he really doesn't play in my favorite jazz genre. He's more of a free jazz guy. Some of my other favorites are John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Dave Brubeck, and McCoy Tyner (his "Time For Tyner" is probably my second favorite jazz album next to the Coltrane Quartet's "Live at Birdland," on which Tyner also plays).

Sunday, January 28, 2007

This Week's Saturday Six

Here's the Saturday Six from this week. I was surprised to see that Patrick was born in 1969. He just seems older. Anyway, here it is.

1. Take the quiz: What happened the year that you were born?

2. Of the events mentioned, which would you most liked to have witnessed in person?

3. Of the people mentioned, who would you most like to meet in person?

4. Of the people mentioned, who would you least like to meet in person?

5. Which of the events do you think had the most profound effect on history?

6. Which of the events do you think contributed the most to our culture?

In 1970 (the year you were born)

Richard Nixon is president of the US

A federal jury finds the "Chicago 7" innocent of conspiring to incite riots during the 1968 Democratic National Convention

The lunar spacecraft Apollo 13 splashes down in the Pacific after near catastrophe

The first Earth Day is marked by millions of Americans participating in anti-pollution demonstrations

At Kent State University, National Guardsmen fire into a crowd killing four student antiwar demonstrators

A powerful earthquake claims 50,000 lives in Peru

18 year olds are given the right to vote in federal elections

Tidal wave driven by cyclone from Bay of Bengal hits East Pakistan, killing hundreds of thousands

An anti-war rally is held at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, attended by John Kerry, Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland

Queen Latifah, Mariah Carey, Andre Agassi, Uma Thurman, Jennifer Lopez, and Matt Damon are born

Baltimore Orioles win the World Series

Kansas City Chiefs win Superbowl IV

Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup

Tearjerker Love Story is the top grossing film

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou is published

"The Long and Winding Road" becomes the Beatles' last Number 1 song

As a floating observer, I'd most like to have seen one of the two disasters, but on a more realistic level, I'd probably pick the World Series.

If it's cheating to say that I'd most like to meet the Apollo 13 astronauts or the (surviving) Beatles, since they're not specifically mentioned as individuals, then I'd probably pick Queen Latifah. She's the most interesting out of all of those people.

I would least like to meet Jane Fonda. Or maybe Maya Angelou.

Of those events, I'd imagine that Kent State is the one that had the most profound historical effect. I really don't think that any of them are that profound, although if you take the Nixon presidency as an event, that might count. As a nation, we're still feeling the effects of that, and the current administration certainly isn't helping.

Culturally, the Beatles in general would have to win that contest.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Why I Love Slashdot

One of the current headlines on Slashdot is the perfect encapsulation of what it means to be in Slashdot's core audience. I had to look at it twice. What does this even mean? AMD Says Barcelona Will Outperform Clovertown.

Jesus, at least with "Pentium" you knew where you stood.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Music Memoirs

Last week's Music Memoirs tickled me, if only because I was immediately able to answer all of the questions.

Tell us about your first Musical Obsession! We want to know.

Who was it?

Why did you like them?

What were your favorite songs they did?

Do you still like them today? Why or Why not?

Debbie Gibson. Yup. I tried to make myself believe it was because she was really talented, and because she wrote and produced her own music. All of those things are true, but really...she was very pretty and that's about it. (She still is very pretty.) I dunno, I guess it was just the right music for me at the time.

My favorite song was probably "Only in My Dreams" from the first album. Here's the video for it!

I had a great extended remix version of this song and of "Out of the Blue."

Actually, I also liked "Lost in Your Eyes", from the second album, mostly because I learned to play it on the piano. Oh, look, it's the video for that one, too!

Today? Nah. It was twenty years ago. I still have her albums (I'm pretty sure that "Out of the Blue" is one of the only albums I've ever owned on LP, cassette, and CD), and they're on my iPod, but unless I'm dragging a song or two out for Someone (mostly to say "this is what Dad listened to twenty years ago!"), I really never listen to them or think about them. It's all nostalgia now, man.

Questions of the Day

Here are a couple of Questions of the Day from Question of the Day.

So, tell us, why are you glad it’s Friday! I have to work this weekend, so I'm really not particularly glad that it's Friday. If I didn't have to work, I'd be glad that I had time to finish building some new shelves in my basement.

What is the largest audience that you’ve ever performed, or stood in front of? How nervous were you? Good question. What was the average attendance at ILH football games in the mid-80s? A couple thousand people? I was in marching band in high school, so whatever that number is would have to be the answer, because the next largest can't have been more than a thousand. The theater productions I've been in were in front of maybe a few hundred. As for nervous...there's a moment before you go on where you just swallow it and move on. So, yeah, of course, but you deal with it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Questions of the day

I thought I'd pick a couple of questions from the new Question of the Day.

Do you ever wish you could just sit, find a quiet spot away from everyone? So, tell us, where would you go? Yes. In a perfect world, there would be an extremely quiet, uncluttered room in my house that I could go to. All of the rooms in the house are very bright acoustically (we'll not mention the clutter). I can't think of anywhere else; if they'd let me into a soundproofed, dead room like they use for audiology exams, that'd be nice.

If you were a contestant on The Price Is Right, what game would you most want to play? The one with the yodeling hiker in the alps. It's called Cliff Hangers. (I found this cool directory of all of the pricing games!)

Okay, that's enough for today.

Monday Music Mambo

The good thing about not having done the meme trawl very much recently is that I can go back through archives and dig out memes to answer, like last weekend's Monday Music Mambo from Blogdrive Insanity. It's all about Nude Beach Day. (Hey, didn't I just answer some questions about naked people?)

1. What is your favorite Beach Boys song?

2. It's evening, the sun is setting, you're on the beach with that special someone. What song is playing at this very moment?

3. You've won a free trip to see your favorite band in concert! What beach, famous or otherwise, do you want the concert to be held at?

4. Ok, here's the nude beach question. Which musician would you want to spend time with on a nude beach?

1. The little-known, never-played-on-the-radio "Wendy." No clue why; I always liked it better than the standard Beach Boys classics.

2. "I Remember You" by Skid Row. (It's an inside joke, and I'll take you inside: One year in college, right before Christmas Break, that song was in heavy rotation on all of the Des Moines radio stations. The Girlfriend [now The Wife] and I would try desperately to escape it, but THERE IT WAS AGAIN. We laugh about it now.)

3. Do I have to? Won't the sound be horrible? Magic Island, I guess.

4. Keith Richards! Okay, no, not really. I guess it depends on what "spend time with" entails. If it really means "What musician do you want to see naked?" then I suppose I'd pick someone hot like, I dunno, Christina Aguilera or KT Tunstall. This question is too difficult for me.

The Most Recent Musing On Movies

Here's Musing on Movies from January 2nd.

What movie did you see most recently in the theatre? What was the last movie you watched at home (on television or DVD/VHS)? What did you think of these two films? Would you recommend them to others? Why or why not?

In the theater, it was Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. I can't believe I didn't blog about this; I could have sworn I did, but a desultory search of the archive reveals nothing. ( turns out that I did in fact write a review of the movie, but it was incoherent and I threw it away without replacing it.)

The short take on Borat is this: it's extremely funny. I would recommend it, if you like that sort of thing. Look up Borat on YouTube for exactly what "that sort of thing" is. There are tons of examples.

The slightly-longer take is this: it's extremely funny in a cringe-inducing way, and it shows two things simultaneously. First, it shows that there are a lot of stupid assholes out there. Second, it shows how far people will go to accommodate a dotty, clueless foreigner. Cohen is brilliant at drawing things out of people, but at the same time he does bait a few people into saying things that they probably wouldn't ordinarily say. I do recommend it, even if just for the epically memorable fight between Borat and his producer in their hotel room.

At home, the last movie I watched was an old John Wayne "Three Mesquiteers" picture called Pals of the Saddle. It was okay, although the cowboy with the ventriloquist's dummy was a bit bizarre. (Was that Crash Corrigan? Could've been.) It was a pretty standard B-movie plot: Foreign Agents are plotting to steal Something Important and Our Heroes must stop them. I would neither recommend it nor not recommend it, really. It's another "if you like that sort of thing" kind of movie. I got sucked in.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


My favorite line from Alfred E. Neuman's speech last night was this one: "Our citizens don't much care which side of the aisle we sit on, as long as we are willing to cross that aisle when there is work to be done."

As the old Lone Ranger joke goes, "Who's 'we,' white man?" Is there anyone left in the country--no, the world--who doesn't know that what he means is, in the most tantrum-like Eric Cartman voice possible, "You give me what I want and give it to me now! RESPECT MAH AUTHORITAH!"

This administration cannot be finished too soon for my taste.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sunday Seven

Patrick's Sunday Seven this week asked "Name seven pet peeves other drivers commit."

1. Unsignaled lane changes.
2. Unsignaled turns.
3. Pulling away from the curb into traffic without signaling. I see this one EVERY DAY when I drop Someone off at school.
4. Stopping at a curb without signaling. This is a regular at shopping centers.
5. Parking in a No Parking zone and blocking traffic "just to run something in." Common at the library, where not pulling into a parking space means that you're blocking an entire lane of traffic.
6. Rubbernecking. To be honest, though, I bet there's no such thing. It's just that the first person past an accident has to slow down to avoid hitting anything, or to make room for the police or an ambulance, and that forces everyone behind them to slow down too. The phenomenon is easily observable in any auto race.
7. I don't like it when I'm driving on the Interstate and I have to pass people on the right because they won't move out of the left lane even though there's no traffic.

A Saturday Six

I haven't done one of these in a while, so here's Patrick's Saturday Six from last weekend.

1. What do you generally find more offensive in a film: too much bad language or too much nudity?

2. You're touring an art museum and find that it has a special exhibit promoting the beauty of the human body that features live nude models. Would you walk into that room?

3. What if you personally knew one of the models: would you walk into the room then?

4. Take the quiz: Do you have a dirty mind?

5. You're cleaning house and you find pornography: would you be more upset if you realized that it belonged to your spouse, your child, or your parents?

6. If a local referendum gave you the chance to outlaw all pornography in your state, would you want to see that pass or fail?

1. I don't find either one particularly offensive, as long as there's a legitimate reason for them. I tend to have less tolerance for nudity, if only because it's almost always unnecessary. That's not to say I don't like it, you understand. It's just that there are very few times--and none that I can think of off the top of my head--where nudity in a film is both non-gratuitous and necessary to a story.

2. Sure.

3. I originally answered "sure," but on further reflection, I don't think I could handle it.

4. Hmm. I didn't pick very many of the obviously-dirty answers, and yet...
Your Mind is NC-17 Rated

You're mind is so filthy... you should should be washing every part of you out with soap.
If your thoughts can go dirty, they do. Almost everything is NC-17 to you!

5. I wouldn't get upset at all. I'd deal with each situation differently, but--at least in my imagination--none of them prompts me to get upset.

6. I would want to see it fail. I don't see the point in outlawing materials that depict acts performed by one or more consenting adults. The other stuff is already illegal.

Questions 2 and 3 put me in mind of the time a gaggle of naked people showed up at the radio station when I was on the air. Good times.

Friday, January 19, 2007

R.I.P. Harbormaster

I still remember the shock that The Wife and I felt when we realized that, yes, the Harbormaster on "Theodore Tugboat" (which I still think is a great kid's show, probably because of all the models--although it was also a very calm, quiet show, which is always a plus) was that Denny Doherty.

Thanks for visiting us here in the Big Harbor, Denny.

Pass it on!

Imagine if we had had these commercials when we were growing up instead of those psychedelic "Milk--It Does A Body Good" PSAs. We may have turned out differently. From "S and A in Tokyo," which is a chronicle of my former boss Steve's life in Tokyo, come these Japanese milk commercials. Be sure to watch all of them; I think that the chalk lady might have been a worthy foil for a certain eraser-throwing geography teacher from Iolani.

Actually, if you've got a minute, you should check out Steve and Akiko's blog anyway.


The new guidelines for the trials of the Guantanamo "detainees" allow for the use of hearsay evidence and coerced testimony, the last part of which is a polite way to refer to "stuff we tortured out of them." But it's okay, because evidence obtained by torture after December 30, 2005 is out. So we're still a civilized nation.

And in other news, I heard the following on the radio yesterday. See if you can connect the dots. The Decider's "Government" (motto: Fuck You If You Don't Like It) says there's no point in opening diplomatic talks with Iran if they don't halt their "nookyalur" program. Defense Secretary Robert "The Russians Shot The Pope" Gates then says "We won't attack Iran as long as the diplomatic option is on the table." I think I already provided a translation on Sunday.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Translation time

We are attacking Iran soon.

Let us know your plan, but fuck you anyway


So, on the one hand, "if you don't like it, tell us what your plan is," but on the other hand, "no matter what you say, we're going ahead".

I better watch what I say about Cheney, though; he's liable to get drunk and shoot me in the face.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I'm speechless. Et cetera.

Here's the headline from "Bush: If you don't like my Iraq plan, tell me yours."

You stupid, stupid, STUPID little man, PEOPLE HAVE BEEN PROPOSING PLANS SINCE YOU LIED US INTO THIS THING. How about the Iraq Study Group? I am more ashamed of the American people today than I have ever been before. It is ALL of our fault, collectively, whether you voted for him or not, that this pathetic idiot is still in office.

Anyone who can possibly defend this moron anymore is morally and intellectually bankrupt.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Tomb Raider: Legend

Tomb Raider: Legend is easily one of the best games I've ever played in my entire life. (I know, I was supposed to be non-hyperbolic. BUT IT'S TRUE.)

If you played the first two Tomb Raider games and liked them, you will like this one. In fact, you will love it.

And no...I didn't love it for THOSE reasons!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

"You mean...THE BOY?"

Here, check out Wil Wheaton's reviews of Star Trek: TNG episodes. I'm busy trying to figure out how to say how much I liked "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend" without getting all hyperbolic.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Rockstar's "Bully"

Some psycho in Florida tried to claim that Rockstar's latest game, "Bully," was going to result in a wave of Columbines the likes of which the world had never seen, and that the game was going to cause full-scale social collapse; when said nutjob filed suit, he claimed that the judge (who ruled against him) had been duped by Rockstar's lies, and that the judge hadn't seen the whole game because Rockstar was hiding parts of it.

On the other side of the issue, apologists for the game claim that it's all harmless fun, that you're in fact trying to stop people from being bullies, and that the violence wasn't an integral part of the game. (I wish I had sources for that.)

Well, the lunatic was obviously wrong, as society hasn't collapsed yet (despite The Decider's best efforts), and the apologists are wrong, too. "Bully" was one of the games I played (and finished) over the last few weeks. Herewith, my thoughts.

As a game, this really isn't Rockstar's best effort. It's fun, and it's a break from the ultra-mayhem of a GTA: San Andreas (also by R*), but it's such a simple game that finishing it almost becomes a chore: hold down L1 and press square, repeat until badguy falls down. I'm not sure exactly what the problem is, but even something as small as riding a bicycle--which was one of the amazing highlights of GTA:SA, I kid you not--just isn't quite right. When you break it down, the missions you go on are almost all of the "go here and punch someone" variety.

The storyline is fairly straightforward: as Jimmy Hopkins, you need to control Bullworth Academy, an exclusive prep school, by beating up all of the leaders of the school's clicques. Along the way, you make An Enemy, who you then must defeat in the endgame to truly conquer the school. While the game does pay lipservice to the "I'm trying to stop the bullying!" tag, it mostly seems like a tacked-on afterthought. (And by the way, contrast this with the convoluted crap from "Ace Combat". Sheesh.)

"Bully" deserved none of the controversy it generated. Conversely, it really didn't deserve the praise it got, either. It's not a bad game, really, but held up against Rockstar's other efforts, it probably won't stand the test of time.

No! NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

The best comic in newspapers today longer in dailies!

FoxTrot has been a part of my life for eighteen years. That's longer than I've known my wife. That's longer than I've known 90 percent of my friends.

Goodbye, FoxTrot. Gone, but not forgotten.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Positech Games is a one-man software shop consisting of Cliff Harris and Cliff Harris. I list him twice because it seems like he does enough work for two; his game Democracy was an Indie Game of the Year in at least one place, and possibly more. If you've never played Democracy, in fact, you owe it to yourself to check out the demo.

I've been playing Positech's new game, Kudos. It's a life simulator, basically. You play a 20-year-old just starting out in life, with a dead-end job and no prospects. You have ten years to make something of yourself...or not. You can choose to go to school and make something of yourself, or just hang out with your friends. Or even just hang out by yourself. It's all up to you.

This game is pretty amazing, for all of its hit-the-switch-rat gameplay. The thing that struck me is that it really is a lot like life: you start out having these grandiose plans of how your game is going to go, but the game itself doesn't cooperate and you end up on a totally different, yet ultimately satisfying tack. For example, I wanted to work a character through becoming a successful actor. I took acting classes galore while working as a waiter, all the while searching for acting jobs. As in real life...entry-level acting doesn't pay. So while I was taking acting clases and working crappy acting jobs, I took some journalism classes as well. That particular character eventually stopped looking for acting jobs altogether and gave up the dream and became a reporter. Reality got in the way: just like life.

Being a doctor is punishingly stressful.

Being a reporter means you have no time for friends.

Being a chef is super-easy and makes you popular and lets you kind of glide through life.

Okay, maybe that last one isn't the most realistic example, but you need to try the demo for this game. Be forewarned that the demo only lets you play for a short time--I think about three months of game time, not enough to really let you accomplish anything but definitely enough to give you a taste of what's going on. I highly recommend this one. I have played this game more often and longer than I've played a lot of games that cost twice as much.

I bought a copy of Kudos through a portal website, and I may just end up buying it again, direct from Positech. If you do see this game on one of the big portal sites like Yahoo! or Big Fish, be aware that those are special rebranded versions that don't get updated, or at least don't get updated as often as the "real" versions do.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Midnight Club and Cute Knight

Two more short game blurbs today.

I played Midnight Club DUB Edition for a little bit. It's kind of like an arcade racer/RPG: you get a car and race it to earn money so that you can trick it out and/or buy new cars, sort of like Gran Turismo lite, with a storyline. Well, sort of a storyline, anyway.

The game itself is sort of fun, and the races are pretty easy, at least the ones I did, and because it's an arcade racer and not a hardcore driving sim, the cars are simple to drive. The problem is that there doesn't really seem to be a point. I usually like this kind of game, so I'm hard-pressed to say exactly what it was that was so unimpressive. Perhaps I just wasn't in the mood.

I bought a copy of Cute Knight after obsessively playing the demo over and over again. It's one of those games where you don't actually do anything but click a couple of different buttons, but as with all superb computer RPGs, you kind of can't help but be the lab rat hitting the switch to get the pellet. (An experiment, by the way, which I miserably failed at.)

You play an amnesiac girl who must discover who she is and/or what she wants to be in life. It's sort of like a Choose Your Own Adventure book writ large; you get to decide what skills to pursue as you head towards one of several dozen different endings (bad as well as good).

Check out a demo of it; they've got it at Big Fish Games. If you play it right, you can actually get to a semi-decent ending before the demo expires. You're not going to marry the prince or defeat the dragon, but you could be a cook or librarian.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The building blocks are all there

I really like Aditi Kinkhabwala's story at Sports Illustrated, about an aerospace engineer named Summer Williams, who also happens to be a cheerleader for the Houston Texans. There's a Disney movie in there somewhere, especially in the made-for-the-screen story of how the only reason she tried out for the squad was because her coworkers at NASA wanted to meet girls.

Jeez, somebody should write a script and pitch it to Disney. It could be the next "The Rookie." ("The Rookie" is actually a good movie.)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Whatcha been up to?

I've been a little bit light on the posting lately, because I've been distracted by The Holidays and such. Well...also, because I've had a lot of video games to play. I thought I'd talk about them a little bit over the next few days. It'll make it look like I'm writing stuff.

I played a lot of Trauma Center: Under the Knife on the Nintendo DS just before Christmas. It's a fun game, as long as you like surgery. You're a young doctor learning the ropes, performing minor surgery, until Something Bad Happens and suddenly you're in the middle of a life-and-death struggle against an evil bioterrorist organization.

The interface is great, and really uses the DS touchscreen well. You select your surgical tools with a touch, drag your stylus across the screen to simulate using a scalpel or medical laser or massaging a stopped heart. As the stakes rise along with your operating skills, it actually gets pretty harrowing.

In fact...too harrowing! This is one of those rare games where I "hit the wall," so to speak: I'm just not fast enough anymore or something. At a certain point in the game, you have to complete five operations in ten minutes, but the first two together take me more than half the time, no matter how many times I do it. So I have no idea how it ends. But the parts that I could actually do were very engaging, and like I said, it deserves kudos for its use of the touchscreen.

Since Someone Else got a DS Lite from Her Grandparents, we've been playing a lot of Mario Kart DS. Gotta love the built-in wireless networking; if I was willing to punch a big security hole in my wireless setup here at the mansion, we'd actually be able to play on the Internet. As it is, it's great fun racing, and I don't actually have to hold back because She can kick my butt about a third of the time.

So that this doesn't come across as an ad for Nintendo games, I'll also mention Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, for the PS2. This is a jet fighter combat game that, surprisingly, features very little actual dogfighting. Given the title, I was kind of shocked--it seemed to me that the vast majority of missions involved strikes against ground targets.

As is usual with video games (especially ones translated from the Japanese), the story is a fairly simple core wrapped in impenetrable, incomprehensibly insane gobbledygook. I'm sure it makes sense in Japanese, in Japan, to Japanese people. It made no sense to me. About all I got out of it was that there's a war going on and you and your flying ace squadron have to bomb the shit out of the other guys. That is, until your own guys turn on you too, and it's your squadron against everyone else. Like most Japanese games that deal with war, it's pretty obvious that they're still working Fat Man and Little Boy out of their systems, and understandably so, but at the same time this requires the voice actors to try to render lines like " that you?" as if they're doing Shakespeare at the Old Vic.

That's not to say that the game is bad, by any stretch. It actually isn't. I was engaged enough in it to finish it, and then to go back through about half of it--you can restart the game with all of your planes and money intact, so you can see what it's like to play some of the earlier missions with the (relatively) unstoppable juggernauts of the late game. It's just that you can skip the story and just blow the hell out of a bunch of ground targets and you haven't really lost anything.

That's all for now...but those aren't the only games I've played. Ohhhhhh no. More on those later.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

License Plates

Red Ferret recently linked to this great site that tarts up custom license plate graphics. If I ever get around to that site redesign (Any Day Now!™) I'm pretty much going to have to use the classic '80s Hawaii license plates everywhere.

One thing that would make it better: for states that print individual counties on their plates, allow customization rather than just leaving it off.

As a bonus, you can even see what plates other people are making. Nothin' like a page full of UPURASS and SMOKINCRCK (why leave off the A?) to brighten your day.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

From all of us here at the mansion, to all of you out there in Internet-land...Happy New Year. I hope that the new year brings you all of the blessings you want, need and/or deserve.