Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Awesome of ‘08

Hey folks.  Welcome to what is sure to be one of the final posts of the year 2008.   If you’ve been following along with the blog all year all I can say is thank you.  If you’re new to my little corner of cyberspace welcome!

Since the year is winding down, I thought that it might be time to go back into the memory banks and talk about a few of the things that made 2008 a year made of win.  Now, I suppose I need to elabourate a bit on my own peculiar method of creating my “best of” lists.    While most people create their lists from things that were newly released in the year in which they are reviewing, I take a different path.  I like to put together lists of things that I felt help to make my year enjoyable.     I find this far more fun mostly, because now I don’t have to pay attention to when stuff came out, but just that I first exposed myself to it during the year in question.

 

The Awesome of ‘08

Music:

As far as music goes, I have to say that 2008 was a very good year for me.   This summer I got to go to my first Lollapalooza festival, and I had a great time.    The thing that I love about going to music festivals of this nature are the bands that sneak up and surprise you.  Sure, it was great to finally see Radiohead, and at least now I can cross Rage Against the Machine off my list.  However, the bands that really stood out to me I’d never experienced before.   My favourite band of the festival was easily The Bloc Party.   Well, lets break some things down into categories so that they’re more digestible.

Song of the Year:   I think of all the categories in the music department, picking one song that made the biggest impression on me in ‘08 was the hardest.  There certainly have been many strong contenders that deserve mention.   However, when all is said and done, I think that the song this year that I think was “the best” song that I heard all year would have to be:  This Modern Love by The Bloc Party

Sentimental Favourite: I think this song gets a co listing, because it is the song that reminds me of the person who’s presence in my life has had such a tremendous impact on my life.  Thank you Finch.  For this song, and all the other wonderful gifts you’ve given to me.  Fake Palindromes by Andrew Bird

Honorable Mention:  These songs are all awesome.  I wont embed the videos to save space, but I’ll link as many as I can for your listening pleasure.  Enjoy!

Album of the Year – While I had to devote some serious hand ringing to my decision of which single track to select as my favourite of the year choosing an album was a far easier decision.   When I think back, were three albums that over the course of the year found themselves on constant replay  on my iPod.   Of the albums that kept my toes tapping, there was none I spent more time with then “Blue Eyes Meets Bed Stuy”.   A Remix album put together by DJ Cappel & Smitty brings together the very divergent worlds of Frank Sinatra and The Notorious BIG with wonderful results.   Hearing the hardened street rhymes of The Notorious BIG remixed with the smooth jazzy hooks from some of Frank Sinatra’s most loved tunes creates a potent melodic mix.   These sonic compositions are so well done, that listening to the original Notorious BIG tracks will leave you feeling as if they are missing something.  This is a brilliantly conceived and constructed piece of music, that truly speaks to versatility of the hip-hop genre.  

Honorable Mention:

  • Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
  • Silent Alarm – The Bloc Party
  • The Wombats Proudly Present…A Guide to Love, Loss and Despiration – The Wombats

Special Mention: - I also wanted to take a moment to plug and acknowledge a band that features the guitar playing of one of my TeamFortress2Fort clan mates.   It would appear, that not only is TeamChuckles one of the best and most annoying Scouts around, but he also knows how to rock.   Right now you can download his band All Heroes’ second album “Chronos” for free.  Check it out.  It has some pretty good songs on it and I would highly recommend it.  If you like it, you should tell him that you enjoyed it and that you heard about the band from theButterFly.  Maybe he’ll take it easy on me the next time.  (But probably not.)

 

Band of the Year – Band of the year is easy.  Actually the easiest one of these to pick.  Without question the best band that I discovered this year was The Bloc Party.   Thankfully for me this British band was scheduled to perform at Lollapalooza just prior to Radiohead’s performance.  Their set blew me away (and gave Radiohead a tough act to follow, that they may not have been able to top.) and made me an instant fan of the group.  Inspired by this energetic performance I went out and devoured their three studio albums.  Just watch:

Honorable Mention:

  • Mates of State
  • Vampire Weekend

Well, that is all I want to say about music.  Give some of this stuff a listen.  I bet you’ll find something that you like in there.  Stay tuned for a follow up best of article where I’ll run down some of the other things this year that made ‘08 just great.

Monday, December 29, 2008

One Year!

A year ago today Finch asked me if she should updated her Facebook status to “In a Relationship.”     Since then, my life has changed and grown in so many wonderful and amazing ways.   I can’t imagine my life at this point without her.   I love you Finch.  More and more each day.  Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Dark Brooding Secret

In spite of the drastic steps forward towards equality that our country has seen recently with the election of our first African American President we still have a long way to go.  No where is this sad occurrence of racial prejudice more apparent then in this video that I now present to you. 

*Warning* 

Not for the faint of heart!

I am sure after viewing this video you are just as appalled as I at the rude treatment foisted upon those poor ninjas by that scurvy band of pretend pirates.  

“My Eyes! Da Goggles, Dey Do Nothing!”

Looking for something to set the heart of that special someone in your life a flame?   Having trouble convincing your dog to play with your new baby?  Well, thanks to the good folks at Burger King you can kill both of those birds with one meat scented stone.  Presenting… Flame!

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The website is actually a must visit.  Just shield your eyes if you’ve a weak stomach.

On My Way Home

Good morning to all!  Happy Holidays and all that stuff.  So today is my last day at work before I head to Buffalo for a nice long vacation.   I am really looking forward to making the trip.   It’s actually been a very long while since I’ve last been to Buffalo.  I think that it has practically been a year.   I am especially excited to be traveling back this year, because I will be joined by the Lovely Ms. Finch for a portion of the trip.  (She used up all her vacation chasing Thom Yorke and RadioHead around the world this summer so Finch will be coming for an abbreviated stay.)   Presently, I will be in town from December 19th through December 27th.

 

Here is a funny video for you.  (Rated NSFW due to: Some Subtitled Cursing)

 

But Wait…There’s More!

 

Thank you to BuckyKat from the TF2F forums for showing me these!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

If this does not tear your heart out. You have no soul.

As a life long lover of Jenga this only makes me cry.

Thanks to Album at TF2F for the video.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge

Mad props to George Bush for showing off some pretty sweet moves to avoid a thrown pair of shoes.

This is funny every time I watch it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Many Things On My Mind…

Today’s post will be a bit all over the place.  Please forgive the haphazard topic organization, but there is a lot to talk about today.

  • First and foremost, my heart and thoughts today are with my cousin Nick and the family of his wife Jennifer who recently suffered the loss of a family member due to a drunk driver.     I sadly never had the chance to meet Amanda, and now I never shall.  I hope that they take the driver responsible for leaving  her  4 year old and 9 month old children without their mother and screw him to the wall.   Especially since the driver in question was driving  on a suspended license and insurance due to an  DWI offense earlier this year.
  • What do you mean you still don’t have “Left 4 Dead”?  Some people may have felt that the initial $50 price tag for the game was a bit steep.  (I would not be one, as I easily feel that I’ve gotten $50  worth of enjoyment out of the game thus far.)   Well, now you have no excuse.  The game (PC version) can now be purchased via Amazon for a mere $30.  Thanks to the Mad_Typist for pointing this out to me.  You are officially out of excuses to not own this game and kill zombies with me.
  • Last night I had a weird nightmare that myself and one of my best friends Pete moved to South Africa.
  • So on Sunday the Buffalo Bills played (and lost) a “home” game against the Miami Dolphins at the Rodger’s Centre in Toronto.   I wont go into how disappointing the Bills have been thus far this season after what looked like a promising start.   What has got me riled up here is that I struggle to see how of all the games on the schedule the Miami game was chosen to be played up north.   If you have any familiarity with Buffalo Bills football you know that the Dolphins are the team that we love to hate the most, and that the idea of getting the fish outdoors in the harsh Buffalo winter is something to be looked forward to each season.   What also has me irked, is all the talk swirling around again, that at some point we may see the team relocate to a permanent home up north.  One has to be nervous especially with the health of team owner Ralph Wilson becoming a growing concern with each passing season that a new ownership might not be as loyal to the City of Buffalo as Wilson has been.   One bright spot I did read is that Ex-Bills QB Jim Kelly is apparently trying to lead a group to purchase the team with the intent of keeping the franchise where it belongs in Western New York.   The Bills leaving the city would be disastrous for my home town where people live and die by this team.  (One of the few things that Vincent Gallo actually did right in “Buffalo ‘66”  was to display just how crazy some people can be when it comes to their beloved Bills.)
  • This weekend Finch and I watched “Jerry McGuire”.   This was the first time that I’ve sat down and viewed the film from start to finish.  I think I had held off on seeing the movie for so long largely because I knew that there was a cute kid in it who had no reason to be in the film other then to be annoying and cute.   While I certainly was not disappointed by Jonathan Lipnicki in this regard, as he played cute for the sole purpose of being cute exactly as I feared, what astounded me was how ridiculous the rest of this movie was.   In a nut shell the movie is about Jerry McGuire, a sports agent who has a relationship with a single mother.   The problem with the movie, is that it never really shows Jerry doing ether of those two things.   That is a shame, because a movie about a sports agent could have been interesting.  So could a movie about a guy who finds love in a relationship with a single mother.   What we get in this story are lots of shots of Jerry standing there at football games.   We do get to see Jerry avoid being around his new wife over the course of the season, but at the end when Jerry has his famous “you complete me” revelation it seams to come out of no where.   I think part of the issue with this is the fact that the time frame of the movie is never clearly defined.     In thinking about it in hind sight I guess the story takes place over the course of 9 to 10 months, or roughly the amount of time in between the NFL draft and the near the end of the season.    The time frame is hard to pick up on though, as the way it is presented the story  easily feels like it happens over the span of a few weeks.   the compressed time frame makes the choices made by Jerry appear nonsensical.    When Jerry asks Dorothy to marry him it feels like it happens with in a few days of their first date.   Well, maybe the movie can’t show the relationship between Jerry and Dorothy because it’s to busy focusing on how Jerry is working as an agent to get Rod Tidwell his new contract.   Nope.  We don’t see that ether.  For all we know, Tidwell’s big payday has nothing to do with Jerry and everything to do with him faking an injury, and then dancing around the field like a moron.   Ugh…I just don’t get why people say this is a good movie.
  • I am very happy that this weekend Finch has started picking up her paint brushes again.  the piece she is working on now is pretty cool.  I’ll try to put up some pics when it is done.   I really am proud to have such an incredibly talented girlfriend.

/rant

Friday, December 5, 2008

Must...Post...Something...Zombie...Related

This song rules!

Check out "Songs to Wear Pants To" for this and many more awesome bite sized songs.

Also...anyone need last minute Christmas ideas?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Starting to Get in the Mood

So Christmas is coming soon, and I'm slowly getting in the mood.  This helps a lot.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ha Ha! Welcome to our world.

Remember how Mac users like to boast about not needing anti-virus software?  

It was only a matter of time.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

.theButterFly’s Zombie Survival Guide

Hello to you all.  Over the last week or so I’ve been devoting a large amount of time to slaying zombies in Valve Software’s newest multi-player FPS Left 4 Dead.   Having logged enough hours to be able to list “Zombie Slayer” as a second full time job, I thought I would pass on some pointers that I’ve picked up to help you along through your game play.

  • While all four Survivors are identical in terms of game play ability, I have noticed that there is an inherent advantage to selecting ether Zoey or Bill as your avatar.   Because Friendly Fire can often times play a very big factor in the success of your team, if you want to make yourself less likely to be on the receiving end of friendly bullets the brighter colours of Zoey and Bill’s jackets make you stand out from the grey pallet of the common zombie horde.   Louis and Francis because of there darker colour pallet are easier to mistake as an attacking zombie.
  • Always aim for the head.   This is especially important when using the automatic weapons such as the Uzi or Assault Rifle.     By firing in short controlled bursts into an on coming horde it is very easy to remove the heads of a good number of the attacking rush before they can reach you or your team mates.
  • An ideal team should have at least one player using a shotgun.   Actually, I think an ideal configuration of a team is one shotgun and three Uzi to start.  Then once you get the advanced weapons one of the players wielding an Uzi should drop it in favour of the Hunting Rifle, while the other two select the Assault Rifle.
  • Use your weapons to exploit their strengths.   Especially in tight quarters the shot gun should be on point and crouching.   His job is to protect the rest of the team while his teammates use the superior range of their weapons to eliminate targets at a distance by firing over the shot gunner’s head.   One of the members of the team should always be keeping watch for the Boss zombies and always seek to eliminate them as their first priority when they appear.
  • In my experience, once a teammate has been captured by a Smoker or Hunter they are not subject to friendly fire, so  fire away to try and save your partner.   Just make sure to check your fire once your teammate has been released.
  • If a teammate has been ensnared by a Smoker and is being dragged focus your fire at the farthest visible section of the tongue that you can see.   With luck you’ll get the Smoker, or at least break the tongue that is ensnaring your teammate.
  • When the warning music for a Horde begins to build take an immediate assessment of your surroundings and try to use them to your advantage.   Seek out corners or rooms that will limit the number of angles that you can be attacked from.
  • Don’t forget your melee attack.  It is one of the best ways to keep yourself alive.  Become accoustomed to turning quickly and using your melee when you hear a zombie charging but can’t get a visual on it.  it might be charging you from behind. 
  • Also, be aware that you can reload and melee at the same time, so when you run out of bullets and need to spam your melee remember to hit your reload button.
  • Crouching with the automatic weapons is essential to increase your accuracy.  However, often times crouching will limit your lines of fire around your other teammates.  To compensate for this, if using an automatic weapon or the Hunting Rifle always seek some sort of elevation advantage to allow you to remain crouched but still fire over the head’s of teammates.  
  • Boss Zombies tend to spawn in groups, so if you hear one of them, be aware that the other Boss Zombies might not be far behind.
  • The common zombies love to climb on things.  While a zombie is climbing it is a sitting duck and can not attack.  Use that to your advantage and take them out while they are climbing.
  • When defending an elevated position that the common zombies will need to climb to get to you be patient, and head shot the zombies while they are in their climbing animation.   Ignore the zombies that are farther afield as in most cases you’ll waste a lot of ammo and won’t kill as many as you would hope.  Just be patient and let them come to you.
  • Remember that the inter round award for the most zombie kills is listed as defenses.   Keeping this in mind will help keep you in a defensive posture.  
  • Remember that the goal is not to get the most kills, but to survive.  
  • If you end up with more “protections” then friendly fires you are doing okay.
  • If you get caught out in the open by a horde try to keep moving as much as possible as you melee and shot your attackers away.
  • During a finale always search the area for gas cans.
  • At the finale of “No Mercy” defend the stair way between the first and second floors of the bunker where the radio is.
  • At the finale of “Death Toll” defend against the hordes from the dock.
  • I don’t know if this is true, but you seam to move really fast in the water on the last stage of “Death Toll”.  that could be helpful.

Well, those are all of the tips I can think of at the moment.

 

Also.  While not really a game play tip if you have a moment run through the “Developer’s Commentary”.   Not only is it very interesting to hear various Valve employees talk about what influenced the various decisions that they made over the course of development, but it is an excellent chance to view your attackers and their pre-alert animations and behaviours close up.  While progressing through the level the common zombies will ignore your character.  (You computer controlled teammates will still engage the zombies when you get to close, so if you want to be able to really watch the zombies up close kill them as soon as the level begins.)   Since most of your time in the game is spent reacting to the zombies as they attack you you have very little chance to watch the zombies go about their business.   Watching the zombies shamble around the city is really quite impressive, and further shines a light onto just how much detail that Valve chose to impart in this game.   What really sticks out to me about these animations, is that they are for the most part during normal game play unnecessary, as you are never given a chance to observe these behaviours close up.   Kudos to Valve for going the extra mile to imbue the faceless zombie hordes with such a rich personality.

L4D Article

This is a great article about the introduction movie of Left 4 Dead, and how it may be the sneakiest game tutorial ever.  Quite an interesting read.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Wolverines!

Presenting…the most bad ass TF2 6v6 Team on the planet.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Friday..err Tuesday.

With the short Thanksgiving week today is my Friday.  Here’s a jam to get your week or weekend going.  (This song rules, and is super fun to AudioSurf.)

 

Needed to add another video by this band.  Bloc Party.  Listen to them NOW!

The Mad Typist Book Club

My friend The Mad Typist has decided to start a book club.  Come read with us.  The first book: World War Z by Max Brooks.  Click here for more info.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Zombies Ate My Weekend.

Left4Dead--screenshot_large

This Thursday my wonderful girlfriend Finch gave me an early Christmas present.  She bought me Value Software's newest release "Left 4 Dead".     I've been slaying zombies and having one hell of a time doing it. 

Valve is quickly becoming one of my favourite developers, and I think it is safe to add "Left 4 Dead" onto the growing list of grade A level titles from them.   Left 4 Dead is a truly compelling and engrossing experience.  Placing you right in the center of your own personal zombie apocalypse Left 4 Dead delivers a white knuckle experience from start to finish.   In Left 4 Dead Valve has created a game that is wonderfully simple in it's complexity.  What Valve has basically created here is a shooting gallery.   You and your three teammates travel from one end of a map to the other while killing zombies.   The brilliance of that game is that on top of that simple premise has been built one of the most compelling shooting galleries ever.  

Left 4 Dead can be brutal.  When playing on the higher difficulties one truly begins to believe that the AI Director has a personal vendetta against you.   The true brilliance of Left 4 Dead is the AI Director system.  The AI Director controls your journey determining the locations and numbers of zombie spawn that you will face.    It also controls the appearance of the various "boss" zombies.  Zombies that have special abilities all designed to make your trip as unpleasant as possible.   Start doing well, and the Director will compensate to match your performance.   I really find this system to be wonderfully implemented.   Every play through of the games 4 campaign feels fresh, and the fact that your fates are being decided by the some times sadistic AI Director ensures that you never feel safe until the final credits roll.

The game is gorgeous.   The game takes you through back alleys, forests, rail yards and even a cubical farm that may give Dilbert nightmares.   The game has a general film grain feel to it, playing up the over all aesthetic that you are playing a cheesy Zombie movie.  The zombies that are constantly at your heels are well done, and do change appearance to fit the locale.   While there is a good variety in the look of the common zombies, you do spend a lot of time killing them, and you kill a lot of them and the models can get repetitive.  

The game can be played solo, with the computer (quite competently) controlling your three teammates.  However, the real fun of the game come from playing online with other players controlling your fellow survivors.   To succeed in Left 4 Dead team work is a must.   Part of the challenge of the game  comes from adapting to and playing with your teammates. 

I think that if I have issues with the game, it may be the lack of weapons available to the survivors.   In terms of guns there really are only six to choose from.   A few more options would have been interesting.   Along with the desire for model diverse models for the common zombies would be my two only complaints.

Left 4 Dead is currently available for both the XBox 360 and the PC.  This weekend I had the chance to play both versions quite a bit.  If you are looking for a recommendation of which one to get I would recommend the PC version.  Aside from the typical PC advantages such as online molding communities and the old Keyboard and Mouse argument the game is worth getting on the PC because it is a much better looking game on the PC.  My would rate my PC high middle end in terms of specs and there is a dramatic difference between the game on 360 and on my computer.  Draw distances are much farther, which can be a life saver.  Also I often found maneuvering in the dark on the 360 often times disorienting.

"Left 4 Dead" is a game that I would recommend to anyone.  The game is not exactly scary, delivering more of a nervousness then anything else.  That being said there are quite few moments in this game that will give you a start.  The game is very violent and does not pull punches with the blood.  However, the gore would be considered tame by horror movie standards.   I don't think you'll regret it if you check this game out.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Buffalo Architecture on Display

Thanks to Finch for this.

If you’ve ever been to (or lived in) Buffalo NY, you no doubt are aware that my home city has a great but often times neglected architectural history.  The television show “Ghost Hunters” has even visited one such landmark recently when they explored the abandoned Buffalo Central Train Terminal.  (Ghost Hunters will apparently revisit the site in May of 2009 as well!) The New York Times just ran a great article about the architectural history of Buffalo and the grass roots preservation efforts surrounding some of Buffalo’s fantastic landmark buildings.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Never…

Make a bet with someone who has ready access to Photoshop.

BUNBUN

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Right on Point...

No further comment required.  Thank you Keith Olbermann.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Wow...

My new girlfriend is beautiful.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Hello Friday!

It’s been quite a long week.  t least finally, Friday is almost here.  Not that I have any serious plans this weekend, but it is really nice to know that I don’t really have any plans.  If that makes sense.  This has certainly been a fun and interesting week.  I think today I finally recovered from the Obama Election Night rally in Grant Park.   (Man I must be getting old.)

A few thoughts have sprung to mind in the wake of the most recent election.  Thoughts such as…

  • Tuesday night’s outcome, I do truly believe was the best possible out come.   Not only, because I believe that Obama will be able to steward our nation in the correct direction, but one added bonus that Some people have not thought about, is that it might actually be a good thing that McCain will not be the President, but still retain his Senate seat.   I’ve said before, that I have long held John McCain in the highest of regards, and I do think that he is one of the true patriots of our country.   Over the course of this election campaign I do not think that we’ve been seeing the real John McCain.  Now that the election is over, and he is no longer in the thralls of his campaign “advisors” I hope that we see a resurgence of the fiery maverick that used to be John McCain.
  • Sadly, this election was a bit of a “one step forward one step back” affair.   Great strides were made on behalf of African Americans with the election of Obama.  I certainly never thought that I would see that happen prior to this election.   That would be the step forward.   Sadly, another embattled segment of our population saw a major set back in it’s own quest for equal rights.   With the passing of Proposition 8 in California and the adoption of  similar pieces of legislation in many other states across the nation, I think that one can now safely make the argument that “Gay is the New Black.”   Anyone else find the fact that at least in California the high turn out of Black and Hispanic voters who were there to vote for Obama was one of the main reasons behind the passing of  Proposition 8  a tad bit …interesting?   My heart truly goes out to the individuals who do not have the freedom to define their own families now because of these pieces of legislation.
  • If you have not seen this week’s episode of “South Park” you really should.  It’s wonderfully funny.  Matt and Trey are right on point with their mirror on our society once again.

On a final note…let me send you out on your weekend with this…

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Morning After…

Last night Barak Obama was elected to be the next President of the United States of America.  I was there first hand to witness this historic event along with 240,000 other people who descended upon Chicago’s Grant Park.   Of the great events that I have been able to witness in my life none will live with me more then last night.   America made me proud last night, and more importantly, my generation made me proud.   As I have spoken of before, I felt that with this election, it was time for the younger generation of Americans to step forward.   That we did.  Just looking around me in the crowd the diversity of the faces and people I saw was astounding.   A lot will be written about how historic the election of Obama is for African Americans.  I’m not black, so I really can’t say much about that.  What I did see yesterday, was the confirmation that the American Dream exists, and that there is a place in our country for all people no matter the race, creed, sexual orientation, whatever.  If you want to be here and make a difference yes  you can.

I took some pictures last night and I’ll share them.  Sorry, I only have a crappy camera phone so most of these pics kind of suck.

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Tonight...

I saw the America I believe in.  Not on stage at the center of Grant Park, but in the thousands upon thousands of people all around me.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Go Scare Someone today!  Have fun kids and be safe.  Make sure your mom checks your candy for needles before you eat it!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

the pain...

This makes me want to delete every single rap mp3 in my collection.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Finch Blog

So the infamous Finch has a blog.

Some great photos of Obama

19

Finch sent me this link to this really amazing set of photos from the Obama Campaign.  Enjoy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Officer Burke

Recently one of the security officers employed at the building where I work past away.  Quite a shock as he was only in his 50’s.  His passing saddens me greatly.   There was a period of my life when things were not going so great for me.   Many trips to my building’s shipping dock were made during that time.  Even in the midst of near mental break downs Officer Burke was there with a kind word and ear.  I never got to say thank you to him for those few brief moments of his time that were offered to me unsolicited.  As I stand from a place where my life has taken on quite a dramatic change from those dark times I wish I could have said “Thank you.”   Officer Burke was not one of those people that make a majour impact on your life, but contribute none the less with a kind word and smile.   Officer Burke, thank you for listening.  You’ll be missed.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Leisurely Sunday Blog

Hey there folks.  How are you all doing.  Trying something new today.  I'm just hanging out at my place.  Watching some football.   I thought I'd just start a post while I'm hanging out and add to it as the day goes.

So watching the Bears vs. The Vikings.  It's a great game so far.  Both teams are playing it tough.  The Bears are really impressing me on offense.  Kyle Orton is playing really well.  He looks like a different quarterback then I've seen him in the past.  He's thrown 2 touchdown passes today.  (It wasn't his fault that Marty Booker can't catch.  He made that throw.)  I'm liking the fact that the Bears are running no-huddle at times with Orton in the shotgun.   It harkens back to the 90's Bills a bit, and you know I think that is a good thing.  Part of me feels like they're an "Andre Reed" away from being something really effective.

Just saw the new I'm a Mac add from Apple.  Ouch!  That's mean.  Super funny but...Ouch! Point Steve Jobs.  (It's called "Bean Counter".)

Bravo!  The Bears' special teams is outstanding today!  Two special teams touchdowns on defense.

OMG!  Marty Booker!  CATCH THE BALL!

So I've been listening to the most recent Presidential debates on my iPod.  Really interesting stuff.   I'm not going to get to politicy on a Sunday.  Here's my only thought.  "Breaf of thresh air..."  Obama won the debate.  That is the moment McCain started to loose.  Interesting, that this brief momentary stumble (On a line that I'm sure had been feed to him as away to describe Sarah Palin.) came in response to a question about their Vice Presidential running mate's qualifications to step in as President should the need arise.  In his response, I can't claim to be convinced that even John McCain thinks she would be capable of being the President.

  27 - 24 at the half.  This is becoming an awesome game.  Bobby Gould just gave us the lead!

Why is it that I just NEVER get bored of Dustbowl? 

Yay!  The bears won!  So did the Bill's.  I'd call that a good Sunday.  To bad I was stupid and forgot to check my fantasy line up this morning.  I failed and started a bye week player.  The game is close at the moment, would have been nice to not be getting an automatic goose egg.

Well Folks.  Time to wrap up this post.  Me and Finch are off to dinner soon at Bob Chin's Crab House!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Wow…

Yesterday I had 212 hits.   Including 192 uniques.  That is easily a record for In Mark’s Head.  Thanks to all who visited.  Please feel free to come back anytime.  Most folks were here to read this…

fallout3

Thanks to my mate Cas for the link.

Coming Soon to Theaters Near You

It would appear that the folks over at Valve Software have gotten a case of the “sillies”recently. 

predahoadhouse

Soy La Pequena Sarah Palin

 

I don’t know why I can’t get enough of this!  Thanks Finch for the link.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

200!

That last post was my 200th post this year!

Should There be another Halo Soon?

Don Reisinger wrote an article on wether or not there should be another Halo game anytime soon.  Here are my thoughts on the subject.

I can see Don's point about how advantageous it would be to pair a very generation of Microsoft Console with the newest Halo title. The thing is that there really isn't a reason why they can't release new content for the existing game. If the expansion content is quality then it doesn't diminish the brand. If it does, that could be a problem, but I don't think Bungie has released enough "stinker" Halo games yet to soil public opinion against the franchise. I mean they are coming off one of the largest entertainment (not just video game) releases ever.

I would like to point out that I'm nether a 360 or PS3 fanboy as I own neither console. I favour the PC, but this isn't a pro PC rant in anyway. I've tried Halo 3, and found that I don't really care for it. However, I would root for it as I like seeing gaming as an industry thrive.

If I do have one concern, it would be with the fact that the newest game will be a prequel, and we all know what can happen to prequels of beloved Sci-Fi series. Just ask Jar-Jar or Capt. Archer.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hey! It's a Friday! Happy Friday Everyone!

My last post was a bit heavy.  I don't want to send everyone off on their weekends on such a serious tone.  Thought I'd share some tunes to get your weekend off to a good start.  Enjoy!

Mark Writes a Political Rant

We got into a discussion about who we would vote for in the up coming election on my Team Fortress 2 message board.  I wrote "a little" essay outlining my political beliefs.

I will be voting for Obama.   I entered the election process not 100% certain about who would receive my vote, but strongly suspected that I would end up leaning in the direction of Obama.  I can honestly admit that went through some serious back and forth over the issue.  I have always held a great deal of respect for John McCain as a politician and as a person, and there was a time 8 or 9 years ago when he might have easily have received my vote.   Ultimately Obama appeals to me more.   Allow me to elaborate on a few points why I find Obama more appealing.

Foreign Affairs - Foreign affairs is supposed to be McCain's strong point.  He brings to the table a distinguished military career, and has been involved in the process of determining our nation's foreign policy for a considerably longer time the Obama has.   In spite of this inherent advantage in this arena McCain's stance to me shows little understanding of what I believe the true role of a President as Commander and Chief truly is.   As the CiC of our armed forces I feel the president's greatest responsibility is in the determination where and when the application of American military resources should be appropriate.   The use of our nation's military should always be an action of last resort.   Obama seams to understand that better then McCain.  I like that Obama is willing to meet with foreign leaders to try and broker understandings between our differing view points.   There is no doubt in my mind that Obama would not hesitate to do so should the situation require actions of this nature to defend our nation, people or interests.   I feel that restraint in this manner speaks volumes more toward the power of a nation then a bombastic and antagonistic  stance.   A stance that McCain seams to cling to very strongly.   Our nation is stronger, when our population is engaged here in our country and not over seas.   As a nation we have never been shy to go to the aid in a crisis.   It is one of the things that historically has contributed to our moral imperative as a nation.  A moral imperative that has eroded dramatically as of late and needs to be restored.   One of the surest ways to do this in my mind is to ensure, that when someone in a foreign country sees an American soldier deployed in their country they know without a doubt that person is there because there was no other, better option.  I think Obama understands this concept better then McCain. 

Economics - Obama's focus on the middle class is my key factor here.  This is not just because I happen to be a member of said middle class, but also when comparing the two over arching economic philosophies of the candidates this makes more sense to me.  I have never been a believer in the effectiveness of "trickle-down" economics, as I don't believe it is as effective as it's proponents believe it to be.   I think that one of the truest way to stimulate an economy is to put more money into the hands of the largest section of your population.  I know that the more money I have available to spend, the more money I am going to spend to buy things that I need.   Logically, this would seam to benefit everyone around me.   The wealthy people will still remain wealthy, because they are getting the benefit of my increased ability to spend money on things at their businesses and make them wealthy.   Giving me more money to spend means that I need more options as far as how I am going to spend that money, thus creating more opportunities for new business to develop and new jobs to form so that I may give this extra money I have to someone for something I want.  This I think is what truly drives a country's economy to grow.   If there are tax cuts provided to the wealthy and to business owners where is their incentive to innovate?  If they are already being given the extra money they might receive from me buying something where is the incentive to find new ways to make me spend my money that I don't even have to spend because you already gave my extra portion to the place where it would have ended up had I spent it.   The only problem is that if this money doesn't go into my wallet first and instead directly into the wallet of a wealthy business, then it has missed passing through a few vital stages of economy that can provide jobs.

Domestic Affairs - We live in a very divided and sadly segregated society here in America.   The Republicans to me seam more focused upon exploiting and emphasizing these differences then instead working to find the commonalities that should exist between all people.  Wether they be citizens of our nation or some other country.   I think that it is time that our nation as a whole takes a stand to recognize that while we are a nation that houses a great number of people in various styles of life ultimately at the end of the day we all really want the same basic things for ourselves and our loved ones.   We all want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.   One of the strongest of all American ideals is the concept of all men being created equal.    Now by saying all men (and ladies) are equal, we need to realize what this concept really speaks to.   We are all equal in the fact that we should all be afforded the same opportunities to achieve how we define life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.   One of the key concepts that needs to be kept in mind in this regard though is that this is not a call for social anarchy.  A free pass to "just do it" if it feels good to you.   What people need to be conscious of is that my right to pursue happiness stops when it directly effects your ability to do the same.  This is why our society has laws governing what is or is not acceptable conduct between members of our society.   Those laws exist to protect my rights from you, and your rights from me.   If a transgression against these rules is committed, then the offender should be help accountable according to rules our society has established. 

Whew...sorry that was long winded.   Ultimately, my previous point was stated as an around about way of addressing two of the most interesting and divisive social issues that crops up time and time again in discussions of nation politics: abortion, and gay marriage.   Both of these issues can in fact be boiled down to a basic legality vs. morality argument.   I believe whole heartedly, that it is the responsibility of a government to protect the legal rights of it's citizens, while refraining from dictating to them on a moral level.   Morality is a personal decision.  Legality is a societal decision.   I firmly believe that a person should have the option to seek out a safe and legal abortion should their own personal morality allow for them to consider such an option.   That being said, I will also defend to my last breath your right to find abortion morally objectionable.   I defend your right to express such views and even to try and convince me to you point of view, so long as you do not cross that "magic line in the sand" protecting my rights from yours.  Personally, I think I do tend to fall on the side of Pro-life, as I would  have a very difficult time if placed in the situation of pondering an abortion, but that is not to say that I would not ultimately be able to support the decision to proceed with such a procedure should the situation warrant it.

On the issue of gay marriage, at first I am tempted to say that neither candidate goes far enough in regard to my views on marriage.   Upon reconsidering, I think that again the question of marriage as a legal institution vs. a social institution must be considered.   In my mind, one of the basic rights of a person in this country is the ability to choose a life that fits to their own personal definition of happiness.   I feel that as a society the core unit is the family, and a nation's strength as a whole stems directly from the strength of it's family units.   It is for this reason, that I feel that our government should not impose legal restrictions governing what can constitute a family from a legal stand point.   If two men or two women (especially if they're hot) want to form a family unit they should be able to do so.   Now if that union is recognized as a marriage I think more directly is a religious issue up to the discretion of the various faiths represented in our society.   Legally there should be no distinction between a man and a woman who want to share their lives and 2 members of the same sex.

Coming back to my original point, I feel that the democrats are more closely in line with this idea that what will strengthen our nation is the focus upon allow people to pursue the basic requirements of life that all people are entitled to according to our constitution.  I think if our country as a whole adopts an attitude of telling each other what we can do because we are similar as opposed to what we can't do because we are different we will all be in a better place.

Okay.  This concludes my rant.   Please note, that I wrote this not to try and sway you to my opinion, but rather to explain a view point I personally hold.  Should you read this and disagree please by all means do so.   If I raise some points that get you thinking cool.   Ultimately when it comes to who you vote for this election you should vote for the person that you feel will provide our nation with the best direction towards reestablishing it's self as one of the finest nations on the planet.   Just make sure you are making your decisions because it is what you believe.  This is an important moment in our nation's history, and ultimately we are the ones who have the power to choose the direction that the leadership of our nation takes.

Also, remember.  I'll be 35 the time next election rolls around.  Vote .theButterFly in 2016!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wolverines!!!

So today the Mad_Typist came to me with a request.  She’d been reading this article and wanted to know if Red Dawn was in fact worth seeing.   If you were my age and saw this movie back when it first came out most likely you are screaming “HELL YES!” at this moment.   I tend to share your opinion.   Is the movie “good”?  maybe not.  Does stuff blow up really good?  (Say it with me folks)  HELL YES!

Red Dawn is a very interesting movie.  It is violent and often times frightening.  The movie is worth renting for the opening sequence alone.   The acting, script and dialogue is on par with what you would expect from a 1980’s Patrick Swayze movie.   That being said it is also the ultimate 13 year old boy’s  fantasy.   Taking off into the hills to fight the evil Communists, what 13 year old wouldn’t get off on that?

So yes.  I would recommend this movie to the Mad_Typist.   If you’ve seen Red Dawn before, I would highly recommend giving that article a read.  It is a very interesting commentary on the film.

Thanks Dingo!

Dingo from TF2F sent me this.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Barak Obama, A Kind American Stranger

Finch found this article and passed it along to me.  I thought I would share it.  It originally appeared in a Norway’s VG Newspaper.  Here is a link to the original article.   Below is a translation of the article into english.  Enjoy.

Barack Obama--A Kind American Stranger
├ůSGARDSTRAND (VG) Mary had just married and was ready to move to Norway, but she was stopped at the airport because she didn't have enough money for the trip. That's when Barack Obama came by and paid her fee.

Mary Menth Andersen was 31 years old at the time and had just married the Norwegian Dag Andersen. She was looking forward to starting a new life in ├ůsgardstrand in Vestfold with him. But first she had to get all her belongings to Norway. The date was Nov 2 1988.

At the airport in Miami it was business as usual with long lines in the check-in
terminal. When it finally was her turn and she put her luggage on the conveyor belt she got the message that would tear away her happiness from under her.

“You have to pay $103 in excess luggage fee if you want to bring both your suitcases to Norway,” the man behind the counter told her.

Mary didn't have any money. Her husband had travelled to Norway ahead of her, and Mary didn't have anyone she could call.

“I got filled with despair and tried to think what I could possibly remove from the bags. But they were filled with all the stuff I loved the most.”

Even though she explained her situation to the airline employee, he didn't show any sign of compassion.

-I started to cry, the tears poured down her face and she didn't know what to do.
Then I heard a mild and kind voice behind me say: "I'll pay her fee." Mary turned around and there was a tall, dark man she had never seen before.

-He had a mild, friendly voice that was still firm. The first thing I thought was, who is this man? This happened 20 years ago, but Mary can still remember the authority the man radiated.

-He was handsome and fashionable with brown leather shoes, an open cotton shirt and khakis, Mary tells us. She was happy to get both her suitcases to Norway and assured the stranger that she would pay him back. The man wrote down his name and address on a piece of paper and gave it to her. She thanked him repeatedly. When she finally went towards the security checkpoint, he waved goodbye to her. The piece of paper read, "Barack Obama" and his address in Kansas, which is the state which his mother originates from. Mary kept it in her wallet for a number of years before she threw it away.

She paid back the $103 to Obama the day after she arrived in Norway. At the time Obama had just finished his job as a low-paid environmental worker in Chicago, and was studying law at Harvard.

In spring 2006 Mary’s parents heard that Obama was considering running for president, but was still undecided. So they wrote him a letter where they told him they would have their vote. At the same time they thanked him for helping their daughter 18 years earlier.

In a letter to Mary’s parents dated May 4 2006 and stamped "United States Senate, Washington DC" Barack Obama wrote:
"I want to thank you for writing so nicely about me and for reminding me about the incident at the airport in Miami. I'm glad I was able to help that time, and I'm happy to hear that your daughter is doing well in Norway. Please send her my regards. Sincerely yours, Barack Obama, United States Senator."

Ask and Finch shall provide.

This is why I love my girlfriend.

BNL Fans! A Little Help Here!?!

So today I’ve been getting some flack from Finch and her friend for my love of the Barenaked Ladies.    Through the course of our conversation I got to thinking about what would be my Barenaked “Unicorns”.  (Finch’s term for a song she would kill to see played live.)   Here is where I need your help Blogo-sphere.  Does ANYONE, ANYONE at all remember a BNL PSA that used to play on television during Saturday morning cartoons that featured Ed Robertson dressed as a green skinned alien?  Does anyone know where this can be found online?  I’ve tried You Tube to no avail.

Hmmm…Big Surprise. I fail at being a Man.

Over at the Royal Toybox a list from Popular Mechanics has been published that contains 80 things every man should know how to do.  The list is below.  I’ve Bolded the ones I am capable of.  Okay, so actually I got 42 so I’m tied with Mr. Garvey who I easily consider to be more manly then myself so perhaps I’m not doing so bad after all.   How did you do?  I fully expect The Mad Typist to do better on this then anyone else I know.

Automotive
1. Handle a blowout
2. Drive in snow
3. Check trouble codes
4. Replace fan belt
5. Wax a car
6. Conquer an off-road obstacle
7. Use a stick welder
8. Hitch up a trailer
9. Jump start a car

Handling Emergencies
10. Perform the Heimlich
11. Reverse hypothermia
12. Perform hands-only CPR
13. Escape a sinking car

Home
14. Carve a turkey
15. Use a sewing machine
16. Put out a fire
17. Home brew beer
18. Remove bloodstains from fabric
19. Move heavy stuff
20. Grow food
21. Read an electric meter
22. Shovel the right way
23. Solder wire
24. Tape drywall
25. Split firewood

26. Replace a faucet washer
27. Mix concrete
28. Paint a straight line
29. Use a French knife
30. Prune bushes and small trees
31. Iron a shirt
32. Fix a toilet tank flapper
33. Change a single-pole switch
34. Fell a tree
35. Replace a broken windowpane
36. Set up a ladder, safely
37. Fix a faucet cartridge
38. Sweat copper tubing
39. Change a diaper
40. Grill with charcoal
41. Sew a button on a shirt
42. Fold a flag

Medical Myths
43. Treat frostbite
44. Treat a burn
45. Help a seizure victim
46. Treat a snakebite
47. Remove a tick

Military Know-How
48. Shine shoes
49. Make a drum-tight bed
50. Drop and give the perfect pushup

Outdoors
51. Run rapids in a canoe
52. Hang food in the wild
53. Skipper a boat
54. Shoot straight
55. Tackle steep drops on a mountain bike
56. Escape a rip current

Primitive Skills
57. Build a fire in the wilderness
58. Build a shelter
59. Find potable water

Surviving Extremes
60. Floods
61. Tornados
62. Cold
63. Heat
64. Lightning

Teach Your Kids
65. Cast a line
66. Lend a hand
67. Change a tire
68. Throw a spiral

69. Fly a stunt kite
70. Drive a stick shift
71. Parallel park
72. Tie a bowline
73. Tie a necktie
74. Whittle
75. Ride a bike

Technology
76. Install a graphics card
77. Take the perfect portrait
78. Calibrate HDTV settings
79. Shoot a home movie
80. Ditch your hard drive