Wow. October, Huh? 
2010.10.12 16:00 - Guns, Internet Stupidity, Meatspace Stupidity, Toys, Actual Toys, Work-related
It's been a few days since I posted anything here.

Work-wise, I've been tied up in a release that's finally coming to a head ... about an hour from now.

Outside of work, RHIT homecoming has come and gone. Related to that, Verizon has been bugging me. It seems I have some charges on my next bill for text messages. I sent or received some 40-odd messages trying to stay abreast of doings in the Haute.

Related: Legos are expensive, but I think I won the trip to Toys R Us. (Go me?)

Also noticed: guy in the pawn shop with a GPS ankle bracelet. I'm guessing a restraining order was involved, because he didn't seem to be under house arrest.

I seem to have picked up some sort of infection in the Haute or just before or after, and took almost long enough to get my butt to the doctor for things to become serious. Fortunately, they aren't, and time plus amoxycillin cures many a post-nasal drip. (Related: Zyrtec-D is fantastic.)

As far as things not related to bodily fluids are concerned, I got out to Knob Creek the last weekend of September, and mostly proved I'm so out of practice that I've forgotten what I'm doing (hammer bite!). A few trips to Open Range will work out some of the kinks, pistol-wise, but that just means I'll be back on the paper. And I need to build a target stand before I go back to KCR. The rentable stands weren't much three years ago, and they're even less now, regrettably.
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Possibly the silliest thing you'll see today 
2008.10.15 12:22 - Toys, Actual Toys
Mickey Mouse as Optimus Prime
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Apropos of that last entry 
2008.10.10 10:57 - Guns, Toys, Actual Toys
I find it strange to realize that my fascination for fake weapons is suffering budgetary setbacks caused by my fascination with real weapons.
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Evil x 3? 
2008.09.15 22:16 - Miscellanea, News and Politics, Toys, Actual Toys
Today's mail includes a missive on energy policy from the Heritage Foundation, and a lapel pin. This should go nicely with the lapel pin the RNC sent me back in 2004, and the Decepticon pin that came with a couple of Transformers0 I bought a while back.

[Update: The Heritage 'pin' isn't a pin at all: it's a metal plate with a magnet! Nifty.]

Footnotes
0. Just wanted to note that guy takes very good pictures of toys. If those two look uninspiring, well ... they're not great figures, really.

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X-Box 360: First Impressions 
2008.02.27 02:52 - Entertainment, Microcode, Toys, Actual Toys
The 360, like the Wii, has a mildly annoying and slightly cumbersome dashboard interface that allows access to the system's online service regardless of the individual game's intentions. This is both cool, because it lets me message or talk to, say, Pikafoop while playing Lost Odyssey, and mildly depressing, because it reminds me again that game consoles are fast becoming computers for the terminally dim, instead of being devices that play games. Otherwise, the experience is satisfactory, except that anything that removes wires from my life costs an arm and leg, sometimes without obvious cause0

So far, I've purchased three games: Gears of War, Halo 3, and Lost Odyssey.

Lost Odyssey is, basically, Final Fantasy, less Squeenix. The music is by Nobuo Uematsu, the story is by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the cinematics are endless, and we mostly seem to be a chocobo and a moogle shy of a game from the FF oeuvre. Well, and an angsty young adult of gender-ambiguous appearance for a protagonist. Our protagonist is instead an angsty adult appearing to be roughly middle-aged and at least looks like a man, if an awfully lean one.
Good:
Uematsu's music is like coming home again in an RPG. Most of the game is like that, actually, which makes sense given that the FF series are pretty much all the console-based RPGs I played in the 1990s. Intriguingly, all the cinematics appear to be rendered in-engine, often seamlessly.
Bad:
It took something like twenty minutes to get to the opening credits, and, in the following hour and a half, I have seen no combat at all. Also, I'm going to be really sick of checking every barrel, trashcan, pylon, wardrobe, poster and etc. for items by the time this game is done. The constant cinematics are, so far, distracting and cause some loading problems.
Weird:
The hats are very tall. Very tall indeed.
Overall:
On the one hand, it's nice to tread old ground now and then, and the indications thus far are that the game will be fairly traditional in many ways, including the turn-based combat. This is potentially a problem, given that the FF games were getting very, very stale (to me, at least). So far, cautiously optimistic, if I ever get out of the opening and on with the story.

Halo 3 is what it is. It's primary selling point for me is the ability to include multiple players in co-op play. From the couple of hours spent with the co-op this evening, the gameplay seems a bit pedestrian, and the control scheme exhibits everything I dislike about FPS games on consoles. None of this really surprises me: I've played other console shooters and I played the first Halo on the PC. It just seems disappointing that the premier FPS still exhibits the sort of gameplay that was disappointing me seven years ago.

Gears of War is a game I really, really should hate. The story is the sort of thing that seems to be written to appeal to teenage boys, following a Bad-Ass protagonist who Broke All The Rules, was Kept Down By The Man, but is Back, And This Time It's Personal as he and his Motley Crew must Succeed Against All Odds. It's gritty and dark, which, like bloom and the color brown (also in evidence), lets you know that it's Real. The weapons seems to be a crapshoot of fairly generic FPS weapons1 mixed in the with the odd bit of inspiration.2 The most generic stuff looks suspiciously like a real-world gun with a zillion pounds of nonsense greeblies tacked on the outside3. However, the game's controls are pretty solid, the cover system works pretty well, and the co-op is great fun. The bad news is that the game only allows one co-op player. Although you will almost always have a squad of four in the game, it looks as though storyline concerns mean that half your squad will be on rotation throughout the course of the game. Other bad bits? Well, aside from everything I made light of, the color palette really looks as though it were stolen from Quake. This seems all to be made up for with the solid gameplay, but! consult the manual for the controls. The tutorial seems to have glossed over aiming.

On the whole, it's positive. Gears is looking (to me) to be better than I expected, Halo 3 is meeting expectations, and Lost Odyssey seems to have a lot of potential.

Footnotes
0. I'm still not sure what's in the wireless headset that justifies paying $60 for something that appears to identical to either a bluetooth headset or a wireless phone without the featureset of either one, or why wireless ethernet continues to be an optional add-on.
1. This is the assault rifle, and the pistol, and the shotgun, and the other assault rifle, and ...
2. Chainsaw bayonet, and grenades on chains. Sure, okay. It's at least different.
3. I find the pistol actually offensive in its absurdity, as it possesses lines that appear to have been cribbed from the pistol used by Deckard in Blade Runner, but without any hint that the person who put the model together knew what a real gun should or did look like. The result is a 'snub' pistol that looks to be the size of a hamhock. Probably, we should believe it is chambered in something extremely manly and also impractical, like .50AE. Why any military would issue this thing as a standard sidearm, I can't figure. The actual sidearm of the future will probably look a lot like a Glock: blocky, ugly, and possessing roughly five moving parts.

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