Monthly Archives: June 2006

Rogue Helicopter Pilot

A real post coming very, very soon. But until then…

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It’s on repeat.

As far as the temporal physics of gaming culture are concerned I’m more than a bit late to the ball with this, but I am in love with Guitar Hero. I was aware of the game when it released last November; it made such a splash in the gaming community it was impossible to not be. Clearly, I’m right at the center of the demographic Red Octane aimed the game at, being a twenty-something gamer who’d entertained adolescent fantasies of being James Hetfield, Billy Joe Armstrong, or Tom Morello, and being at the tail end of my obsession with my import copy of Taiko Drum Master. As early as December I contemplated purchasing it, but between Christmas shopping expenses and my then new forays into the World of Warcraft, I never did. Then last month, Elise’s little brother Pierce suggested the game to her parents as a potential birthday present for me. Pierce, I will never be able to thank you enough.

Even though I am only just starting to desperately fumble through the simplest of songs on the “Hard” difficulty setting, I am already anxiously anticipating the arrival of Guitar Hero II in October. According to the Wikipedia entry, the following songs have been announced for inclusion: “Arterial Black” by Drist (most likely a bonus track, as Drist is already among the lesser-known bands in the bonus track section of GH), “Psychobilly Freakout” by the Reverend Horton Heat, “Strutter” by Kiss, “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath (YES!), “Who Was in My Room Last Night” by The Butthole Surfers, “You Really Got Me” by Van Halen (by The Kinks originally), “YYZ” by Rush, and “John the Fisherman” by Primus. This is just the tip of the iceberg. GHII is going to have 40 regular tracks, as opposed to GH’s 30, in addition to 15 bonus tracks. The game will also feature improvements to the multiplayer mode, allowing one player to play the lead guitar line and the other to play either the bass or rhythm lines, as opposed to simply splitting the lead in half. I’m really excited about that aspect. The game is already a wonderfully fun multiplayer experience, especially when alcohol is involved in the equation. But the absence of bass lines is one of the few disappointing aspects of the first game. They include the Chili Pepper’s rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground,” yet they don’t include a way to play Flea’s bass line? Red Octane, you are such a fucking tease.

GHII is not, however, the only thing on the horizon GH fans have to look forward to. Roughly a month ago the open beta of the Freetar Hero Editor was released for download. This program allows users to create their own GH style tracks that will be usable with Freetar Hero, a freeware game that should be released in open beta within the next six months. Using a PS2 to USB adapter, you can plug your GH controller into your PC and rock out with whatever songs the community creates. I think this is a great idea. There isn’t a GH fan out there who doesn’t have a list of innumerable songs they’d love to see included in the game. I, for one, will be downloading this game the minute it’s available.

Chupacabra, Doc. They’re all over the place down here.

It’s been a busy few weeks. Memorial Day weekend was full from beginning to end: Friday night Elise and I took her brother Pierce to the Phillies game, Saturday we went to her Godfather’s fourth wedding and followed it up with Jenny and Jess’s awesome graduation party (pics), Sunday found us at my parent’s house for some great BBQ food before heading back to my place for some Guitar Hero thrashing, and then Monday we made our way to her parent’s place for some more great food.

I didn’t manage to update the comic at all last week. After finishing off with that weekend, I had to read one of the most excruciating books I’ve ever been subjected to. It’s called Ecotopia and it’s by a guy named Ernest Callenbach. Avoid it at all costs; I’m fairly sure the pages carry bird flu. In a more general sense, be wary of any and all works of fiction assigned in classes that are not even remotely related to the study of literature. Anyway, I had to read and write about this piece of crap, on top of trying to get some sort of Planet Steve book ready in time for Wizard World.

Yes, Wizard World, the annual festival during which the Philadelphia Convention Center is transformed into a veritable Mecca for the sweaty spandex-fan set. Until this year. The show was fucking dead. I think we actually did pretty well, considering. We did get our Doppelganger t-shirts, which was pretty great. I’m going to try and set up a PayPal link over on the Doppelganger site soon so the comic and the shirts can be purchased. If anyone is dying to do so before I get this set up, just e-mail me and I’ll take care of it for you. Same goes for Planet Steve.

I have yet to see X-Men 3. I think I am going to remedy this on Friday night. I am experiencing a feeling akin to shame at having not seen a geek movie of this caliber so far into it’s theatrical run. It’s been out for nearly two weeks! The general consensus seems to be that the movie is not as bad as I was expecting it to be. Of course, everybody says it’s just dumb fun, which means X2 it’s not. But I can get into some dumb fun.

I’ve made some changes to the page recently. All of my photo albums are on flickr now. I was recently annoyed to learn that flickr limits you to three organized sets of photos unless you upgrade to a pay account. At $25 for a year, that’s something I’ll consider. But until then, any new photos will just be up there in chronological order. If you scroll down the sidebar you’ll see thumbnails of some of my most recently uploaded images which will link back to my album.

But that’s not the only new addition to the sidebar. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m fascinated by the so-called Web 2.0. My latest toy is the “social bookmarking” service del.icio.us. The site keeps track of how many people link to any given item and one can scan a “Most Popular” list and “Newest” list for the whole site, as well as being able to browse links by tags or simply looking at a given users links. That’s my personal list in the sidebar under the heading “My del.icio.us.” A neat little bit of Javascript keeps that list updated with the 15 most recent things I’ve tagged. What I really like is that all of these lists have unique RSS feeds, including any given user’s list. So I hereby encourage my fellow internerd friends (credit to Ian for the term) to sign up. It’s free, and it’s much better than just e-mailing articles back and forth. Why, you say? Well, let’s say I read ten interesting things in one day (a serious hypothetical on the internet). Not everyone I know is going to be interested in all of them, but if one person I know receives forward e-mails from me on a majority of them, that borders on spam in terms of annoyance. But if I have a list just sitting there that any of my friends can access when they feel like it, well, that’s just sharing. Now, if Mr. Rogers taught me anything, it’s that sharing is good. Well, that and sweaters are sort of creepy. If anyone does follow this recommendation, let me know, so I can subscribe to your link feed.

I feel like I haven’t written about anything reflective or pondering for a while now, which sort of bothers me. Hopefully I’ll be able to change that soon, but today is not that day.

Hopefully I’ll stay on point with Legendary Legends this week. There was a new strip up on Monday, so go check it out.

Finally, Elise got me Deadwood Season Two over the weekend. Looks like it’s time for another marathon viewing of the best show on TV, you hoople-headed cocksuckers.

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