Saturday, December 20, 2008

Rockin' in the Wii world

Like blogging, I am late to join the party when it comes to Guitar Hero. Today we made it down to Richmond to visit my mom and step dad for an early Christmas and my Mom stepped up to the plate and got me Guitar Hero World Tour for the Wii. Not just the regular game but the full band set with guitar, drums and a microphone. The box itself could fit a small child comfortably and after assembling the drums and guitar, I was ready to go. I started with a few songs and played horribly on guitar. I found drums a little easier and vocals very easy (although my Mom's ears are probably still bleeding). Later in the evening, I was able to play with Lori. We took turns on guitar and drums and actually rocked out real good on "Today" by Smashing Pumpkins (one of my favorite songs by the way). I managed to hit the first 115 notes on drums in that song but realize I'm playing on easy level. I'm just not ready for medium anytime soon (I'm sure Doe will hate on me for that).

All in all the game is just as advertised and I imagine becoming very addicted to improving my performance. It looks like only about 30 percent of the songs are unlocked at first so I'm sure unlocking songs will be a nice incentive. I'm going to try to bring it all with me when we go up north to Jersey next week so we can have a few jam sessions with my sister-in-law and her boyfriend (I imagine the game will be way over the heads of my in-laws).
Thanks for a great gift Mom!

Friday, December 19, 2008

My kind of soda machine

So we were at Safeway buying wine for the Xmas party we're at (complete with medieval swords and thrones). This selection was on the 35 cent soda machine. Too bad it was sold out or I would totally have rolled the dice.

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Syracuse Suspension Revoked

I want to premise this post with stating to all of you who don't know that I am a die-hard Syracuse Orange fan. Having graduated from SU in 1997, I remain a loyal supporter (and will be attending the annual Syracuse/Georgetown game next month). A few weeks ago, the university announced that Junior guard Eric Devendorf (one of our top three players) would miss the rest of the season due to his off-court conduct. This news came during a 9-0 run to start the season for the Orange. On November 1st, Devendorf was charged with hitting another female student . There were reports that she tried to run him over with her car before the physical altercation.

Today, Syracuse officials have decided to change their stance and suspend Devendorf immediately for six games, after which he can apply to be reinstated for the rest of the season. Now while I am very much against abuse towards women of any kind, the facts in the case were a little gray on both sides. Along with coach Jim Boeheim, I thought a full year suspension was a little high for an incident that did not even garner any punishment from the local police. I'm not a big fan of the way #23 acts on or off the court (the word PUNK comes to mind), but having him for the Big East season and (hopefully) the NCAA tournament will be critical to the team's success.

It's a Girl!

We just had our latest sonogram today and found out we're having a little girl! We're all very happy about the news. Josh and Alex have been hoping for a little sister. She's due May 14th (my birthday).

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Editorial Note: A few months ago, when my wife first asked Josh whether he was going to have a baby brother or baby sister he said "Baby Sister." When Lori asked him why he was so sure, he said "Because I ALREADY HAVE a baby brother, duh!!" I guess he was onto something.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

World of Goo = Best value on Wii

It's been almost a year since my Mom bought my son Josh and I Nintendo Wii for Christmas. We've (mostly me) definitely got a lot of use out of it over the year. While Mario Kart may be the best overall game we own, a recent addition has become my personal favorite. World of Goo is a puzzle game that is hard to describe. It's a cross between a Tim Burton movie and the old school game Lemmings. The object is to attach living, breathing "Goo Balls" to one another to build a variety of different structures until the "Gooscraper" reaches a vacuum pipe which sucks in the remaining balls. Now if this sounds wacky, it damn well is! The levels get progressively tough as you move along and all the while a fantastically weird soundtrack sets the atmosphere. The physics model (programmed by developer 2D Boy - which is actually just two nerds) used in the game is extremely realistic and wind is utilized as an obstacle on certain levels. The real amazing thing about this game is that it costs about the same as a large pizza ($15) and you don't even need to leave the house to get it. Using the Wii Shop to get online, you can instantly buy Wii points browse the Wii Ware games and get your goo on in minutes.

Don't tell Josh, but I believe Guitar Hero is on deck for this Xmas so Goo may have to take a back seat soon (more on GH4 in another post down the road). If you own a Nintendo Wii and don't own World of Goo, shame on you! If you have at least 15 bucks in your bank account, go download it right away. I know many of you have already heard me preaching about this game before, but I'm really hoping 2D Boy reaps the rewards for developing a quality game for a great price and parlays that into Universe of Goo!  Those of you who don't have a Wii can download the game from 2D Boy and play it on your PC.  I can't imagine the gameplay would be as good as using the Wii remote.  A Youtube look at the World of Goo gameplay can be found below.



Casting Batman 3

For my money, The Dark Knight was one of the top movies of 2008. Apparently most everyone agrees with me judging by the box office gross and the fact that IMDB rates it as the 4th best movie OF ALL TIME. It's a no-brainer that with the success of the Heath Ledger vehicle that a third installment should be coming our way. Director Christopher Nolan has not confirmed he will be making Batman 3, but that hasn't stopped the rampant internet speculation of whom would be playing whom in the next film.



Today there was news from a UK source (The Sun) that Eddie Murphy is being considered for the role of the Riddler and Shia Lebouf is on tap to play Robin. Fortunately this was all fabricated by The Sun and is not true at all. As far as I'm concerned, Eddie Murphy's career died with this movie. And while I am actually a Shia fan, I think putting Robin in this new wave of Batman flicks is a BAD idea.

This did get me thinking about who should be cast in particular roles if the third film does get the green light. A lot of rumors are floating around about Phillip Seymour Hoffman playing the role of Penguin. While I think that is a pretty solid choice, I present a much better alternative: Paul Giamatti. He already has the balding look down and he's short, stocky and possesses the kind of demented humor you'd expect from the character. I think Giamatti is the perfect choice for Penguin if they decide to cast the role. Other ideas I have (depending on if Nolan decides to include the characters in the story or not) are:

Riddler: Steve Carrell
Catwoman: Angelina Jolie (I don't care if she's "too big a star" for a Batman movie, she's definitely the best choice)
Robin: If the boy wonder ever does get introduced into the new series of Batman films, I think Brian Austin Green (fresh off a strong career revival in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) should get the role

Any other creative casting ideas out there?

Mile High Surfing

My brother pointed out to me that a private company is looking to make in-flight internet a reality next year. Gogo (a pretty goofy name if you ask me) is offering internet on selected flights. So far only American, Delta and Virgin are planning on offering the service. American is already offering it on selected cross-country flights. Gogo is a service owned by Aircell, a private aviation broadband company.

I think the reality of allowing internet on flights is something that is long overdue. The price ($12.95) seems pretty fair for a long flight. If you just cut back and order two less vodka tonics during the flight you save up enough money to pay for it and you're more sober upon landing. I've been OK with watching movies on my laptop as an alternative (or doing work if I have to), but the idea of seeing a few flops in the air is intriguing. Would anyone actually pay for this service? Or do you enjoy the brief internet detox that air travel currently provides.

So now i'm just like everyone else | Snow in Vegas!?!?

It seems like everyone is bloggin' these days. As when the cellphone wave hit everyone in the late 90's, I tried to stay away from conforming to the masses as long as I could. I have found lately though that I need a place to put some of my random thoughts and comments on life and pop culture in some sort of documented format. As most of you who know me are aware, I am a pop-culture junkie and love to discuss movies, TV shows, sports, etc... Hopefully those of you who share that interest will chime in on my various postings (until I decide to give this up). And yes, I am prone to bad writing habits (like using parenthesis a lot). This is my blog though so as Eric Cartman would say, "WhatEVAH.... I do what I want!" I do have a degree in Journalism though so that should count for something. I couldn't think of a very original/catchy title for this monstrosity, so I went with a play on Tag Team's classic hit.

For my first post, I wanted to share a bit of interesting news on the weather front. Seems that Vegas received an early Christmas snow last night. Over three inches! In VEGAS!?! I found this pretty cool picture of the Luxor (one of my favorite Vegas casinos) coated with a slight dusting of snow. Pretty bizarre and makes me slightly question global warming. I actually view it more as global chaos as weather seems to be getting more extreme (hot and cold) over the past few years. I'm still waiting for a solid snowfall in the DC area and I'm hoping that Xmas at the in-laws in Jersey will be a white one this year.

That's all for now. I hope to try to keep on top of this and update it regularly. Tell your friends (and enemies) to add me to whatever RSS reader they're using.

--JR