PrayForParis

Real Time Terrorism

By now, any person who happens to stumble upon this post (along with the majority of the modernized world) knows about the cruel and horrendous crimes that occurred in Paris, France this past Friday. Those, along with all of the other heinous acts (be they so widely covered or not/be political or religious) are an awful mark on our species.

But this isn’t about that, this is about the role that technology and the internet play with regards to these events. That Friday, the day when France experienced one of the worst attacks since Adolph Hitler was in power, I was bored shitless at work. Exhausted and unmotivated due to personal matters, I spent the last few hours of my shift combing over the web. As always, it was a rather bland time shifting through Facebook, Youtube and Google News. As it was, when I went to the news section in Google, there was an article detailing the opening events that would comprise the attacks in Paris.

When it started, it was just a poorly comprised “breaking news” bit, saying that explosions and gunfire had been reported. For the record, I’m not now, nor do I ever expect to be, a journalist, so I can’t speak from experience, but I imagine that trying to report a story as chaos ensues is hellish and trying to keep accurate details is a righteous pain in the ass. However, as I sat there in my swiveling chair, refreshing the page over and over, the death toll began to rise to 18, and from there to 26-40, from there to a couple of dozens and from there up to a hundred or so until the final counts began to declare roughly around 129.

As mentioned earlier, these numbers shouldn’t be news to anyone with a WiFi connection. But, as previously mentioned, that’s not the point. The point, even if it took me an unnecessarily long time to get to it, is the nature of watching a catastrophe unfold. It often feels like one wakes up to or is notified by their social media page of some horrible event that occurred. But not here. Yes, we did see the second World Trade Center Tower get hit by a plane and watch as the two towers eventually fall, but more often than not, we as citizens just see the aftermath. Here, I watched firsthand. Here, I sat staring at a monitor while at the same time, innocent concert goers were mowed down by brainwashed shit-stains appealing to a false notion of “God”.

This is the whole point of this blog: the odd, vaguely-existential notion that we’re watching humanity unfold through the lens of Facebook posts, tweets and media websites. Beforehand, we experienced this through newspaper clipping and major media sanctioned pieces, but now, we vicariously live AND FEEL through the people who are actually immersed in the chaos. We try to empathize with those awful moments, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but one that was nonexistent before this “modern” age. I, as well as many 9-5’ers, sat there glued to their monitors watching as outright define challenges were made, as political stances were reenforced and ultimately as innocent lives were extinguished. From here on out, it seems to be rather reasonable to assume that the modern-day citizen will be able to immerse themselves in the human experience that is living in a Jihadist-based sphere.

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Conker's Bad Fur Day

Rare Replay-Conker’s Very Bad, No Good Port.

Last month, while drunk on student loans and a trial version of Amazon Prime, I made the incredibly smart decision to purchase Rare Replay for the Xbox One. Growing up in the late 90’s I got to to experience the joy that is adventure platforming games, and Rare churned out some of the absolute greatest. While Super Mario 64 was the godfather of the genre, Banjo-Kazooie (at least in my mind) really fine-tuned the whole experience, and Banjo-Tooie built on that. Back then, Rare was seriously on point when it came to putting out quality games, and even though they had been around since the mid-80’s, it seems like they rose to the top with the Donkey Kong Country games on the Super Nintendo and the previously mentioned games. Then some fuckery happened, Microsoft bought Rare away, and then they just kind of dipped out, popping up every once in awhile to put out a game, most of which were meh at best. (However Viva Piñata was the shit, especially when you blasted WhiteChapel while playing) Needless to say, the opportunity to play some amazing N64-era games, and many others that I never got to try, all for roughly $25 bucks gave me a mega nerd-boner.  All this rambling aside, I figured it would be fun to review these games as I played through them, and so I thought I would start with Conker’s Bad Fur Day, a game that I loved back in the day but now makes me think I might need some serious anger therapy. So here we go:

Conker’s Bad Fur Day

Originally published back in 2001, Conker’s Bad Fur Day was groundbreaking in a lot of aspects. Though it continued in the vein of Rare’s established adventure platforming genre, it quickly gained pre-release notoriety for being one of the foulest games on the Nintendo 64. This is important because Nintendo was famous for maintaining as clean an image as possible (who else misses the blood that wasn’t in the SNES Mortal Kombat?).Though it sold poorly it was praised by critics and was given a second chance at life years later on the Xbox in the form of Conker: Live & Reloaded. I played both versions and loved them. The story and graphics were crude (one boss battle is honestly a giant, singing pile of shit), hilarious and never failed to make me literally LOL out loud. The gameplay itself was a blast and was constantly changing throughout the game, going from being a simple adventure game to a shooter (Saving Private Ryan-style) and everything else in between!

Well, something changed, and for the very worse. This Xbox One port was so infuriatingly awful that, even though I may be an hour away from beating it, I’ve decided to stop, because I can’t risk putting my controller through the fucking wall (it’s my only one!) The absolute two biggest issues with it are the controls and the camera. Yes, the game came out  nearly 15 years ago so I don’t expect them to do a complete redone version, but the amount of times I died due to blind jumps or Conker not doing what I said because of the unresponsiveness in mind-fucking-numbing. Seriously, I don’t mind a challenging game, but when it take an hour to complete a part that should only take ten minutes at best, because Conker won’t pull out his shotgun and aim DESPITE me pressing the buttons to do so, then that’s a problem. This is persistent throughout the entire game. I tried to give it an honest shot at first, due to my love of the original, then I stuck it out so I could see all the humorous cutscenes and gags. But finally, after getting mowed down over and over (and over and over and over, rinse and repeat) by a bear on a giant machine gun who can only be defeated by what should be a fairly simple method but can’t due to shit control recognition, well by then I had enough.

To see whether or not it was a porting issue, I decided to compare it against Banjo-Kazooie, which came out three years before and obviously set the groundwork for how Conker would come to be. It was like night and fucking day. I have since nearly beaten Banjo (for the bajillionth time) and there has been only a few, mild hiccups in the control and graphics department. Based on this, I’m going to assume that either Rare did a shoddy job porting this or that I simply happen to have the only bad copy. That’s not to say the entire experience is awful, because the actual story, cutscenes and jokes are hilarious to this day, which probably says more about me and my level of immaturity than anything.

Final Thoughts: If you can, just go pick up a copy of Conker: Live & Reloaded, it played so, so much better. If unable to do so, (or you’re just too lazy) go to Youtube and watch all the clips. In fact, you can do that here! When it comes down to brass tacks, this port is just not worth the effort, so save yourself some frustrations and go play one of the many other amazing games that Rare put out.

I Write This In The Hopes That It Will Cause Me To Write More: I Suck At This Whole Blogging Thing

If having a blog was like having a child, DFS would’ve came for my ass along time ago.

Hell, I shouldn’t be allowed to have a Tamagotchi I’m so damn neglectful (try and take it from me though, I dare you!!)

Alas, life, as well as a lack on consistent internetting has hampered my ability to reach, what, like ten people?

But this is my second chance! (we’ll pretend that post back in January or whenever doesn’t count). This is my attempt at “getting clean”, so to speak. Admittedly, in this metaphor being “clean” consists of writing, but I don’t do drugs either so I guess that works?

So to my lil’ blog, I’m back. I’m not entirely sure what I’ll write about, somedays my mind is buzzing with thoughts, while other days it’s merely looking for an attempt to subdue that chaos that is thrashing around.

So hello world, for better or worse, I’m forcing myself back. Sucks doesn’t it?

Might I Make a Recommendation?

So last year, Zach Braff’s “Wish I Was Here” came out and needless to say, I went and saw it. Thankfully, by myself, because I’m not much of a man and, needless to say, I may have gotten a little teary-eyed at times. It met with mixed reviews, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. While it may not be AS good as Garden State (which is in fact, my favorite movie of all time) I thought it held up well. Without spoiling anything, this comes near the end of the film and, I don’t know how to describe it, but it just creates the mood in such an amazing way. Definitely worth a listen.

G’day!

~Steve

So, It’s Been A Rather Long Time…

My apologies to the what, fifteen or so people that may or may not read this blog, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted anything. I feel like I’ve been rather busy, but upon reflection, I’m not sure how valid that statement is. I’ll try to briefly sum things up, starting withhhhhh…

*I finished off the semester with decent grades. (3.2, two A’s, two B’s and a fucking C in music theory, which I should’ve done a lot better in) Not only that, but I got into the fraternity that I had been pledging for during the semester! I’m really happy to be a part of it, and will even be holding an officer position next semester. Though not a guarantee by any means, I think this will be an amazing opportunity, not only for the networking benefits, but because of all of the great people in it. I’ve already met a multitude of cool folks that I otherwise wouldn’t have.

*Relatively speaking, I’ve been living a lot healthier. Granted, the drinking hasn’t really slowed down too too much, I am working out consistently at least twice a week and am eating a lot less junk and fast food. The fact that I actually get excited about eating vegetables should say something about my prior eating habits.

*All in all, I feel like I’m at a better and more resilient point in my life. Looking back, I think that this might be the longest stretch where I haven’t had any serious issues with depression in…shit I can’t even remember how long. Not to say that there isn’t days where I feel a bit bummy, but between school, working out and just having a solid group of people around me, the future doesn’t seem so hazy. By no means do I expect everything to be sunshine and unicorns shitting out rainbows, but for the first time in a very, very long time, I feel like I’m at a point where I can deal with it. Not that I haven’t always had the tools to do so, I think I’m just in a headspace where I choose to open the tool box.

I apologize, that’s almost too sappy even for my liking, but now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I can (and need) to start focusing back on this fucking blog. I need to be consistent and I need to do what I originally set out to do with this lil’ shit, tackle music. I spent at least a good five or six hours last night combing through old mix cd’s and others hidden gems in my rustic ol’ cd case, so expect some nostalgic bullshit to be coming on down the line soon.

~Steve

An oddly cool thing happened today in class that, while not able to conjure a clever title, was still pretty awesome.

So I attend the Bloch Business School at UMKC (University of Missouri-Kansas City), where my favorite, albeit most difficult class is Consumer Behaviors in Marketing. My teacher in said class has his PH.D in the field, and has taught at multiple schools, as well as oversees. I knew he was last teaching in Buffalo, New York but i assumed he had moved here to teach. Turns out I was wrong. It would seem that he still lives in Buffalo, but is that damn good at what he does that UMKC decided to fly him out every week as well as put him up in a hotel (that or they just have way too fucking much money to blow). Well, the reason I included all of that was because, apparently this week he was sick enough that he couldn’t fly out here to teach this week. Rather than canceling class or having a GA teach us, he, along with the help of the IT crew here at school, Skyped us for class. I’m well aware that Skype is nothing new, but the mere fact that my teacher, halfway across the country, could hook up, give a lecture and at the same time answer and respond to any questions we had was just, well pretty fucking cool.

Maybe it just doesn’t take much to bewilder me.

I Don’t Care How Old I Am

Right now, I’m sitting here with some of my closest friends watching the newest Dragon Ball Z movie (Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods just in case ya didn’t know) and damn am I having fun. This is one of my favorite shows from when I was a little kid, and it was also the show that propelled me to start drawing. So I don’t care if I’m sitting here watching anime, I’m drinking with some close friends, and I couldn’t be happier.

Cheers!!!

P.S. There was also some Team Fortress 2 going on as well

(Tonight) We Burn Like Stars That Never Die

I’ve been thinking about death a lot lately.

Fun way to start things eh?

Not that this is anything new for me to think about. As a soldier in the epicly annoying and rather long battle with depression, the thought is by no means a stranger. However, the reason I’ve been thinking about it so much lately is that an anniversary is approaching. December 9th will mark the one-year anniversary of the passing of a close friend of mine. I’ve known other friends who’ve died, as well as distant family, but this one hit a lot closer. This is someone I talked to on a regular basis, hung out with, and even at one point had rather strong feelings for. Nearly a year later it still hurts, and I know it always will.

But something’s changed recently. Maybe it’s my mania, but these past few days, I’ve been feeling almost…better (scary as shit right?) Most people would call me pessimistic, I like to think of myself as “realistic”. But that may be starting to shift. The thought occurred to me, with respect to my deceased friend, that I should “live” for her. Out of all of my friends, she was one of the most funny and outgoing, with a tongue as sharp as all hell. She wouldn’t want me to continually wallow in my own self-loathing, not getting shit done, and letting my twenties pass me by. She would most certainly not appreciate how on a nightly basis I race my liver to the bottom of a cheap whiskey bottle.

So I’m getting out!

I’ve started eating better, drinking WAY more water than soda, and tomorrow a school mate and I will begin a work out regiment. My hardest issue will cutting down on the alcohol. I’ve found out that I’m incredibly skilled at being a functioning alcoholic, but with patience and mental fortitude, I’ll hopefully be able to trump the demon. (or at least grasp the term “moderation”)

And goddammit I’m more going to get out there and be more adventurous. There’s a quote from one of my favorite bands, Cursive, that goes, “I wasted the best years of my life, waiting on the best years of my life”. I won’t do that anymore. I’ve identified my comfort zone, and I’m going to break it the fuck down. There’s a song I’ve been listening to that exemplifies this new found mentality, and here it is:

Now excuse me, it’s my day off and this might be one of the last warm days before winter kicks my ass.

Cheers, and much love, always and forever, to Natalie.