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Archive for December, 2007

you know my sega collection is massive

We spent most of this evening playing Halo 3 and NHL ’08 on the Xbox360.

I have come to the conclusion that I am hopelessly old school when it comes to video games. I just can’t play these games with the same enjoyment I used to get. The controllers are too complicated, the gameplay is too convoluted, fun is sacrificed for art.

I long for the days of Atari and Odyssey and Sega Genesis and NES. Even Colecovision and Intellevision. Even my beloved Dreamcast didn’t make me feel like such a failure.

Give me simple controls. Give me games that don’t make me sit through ten minute cut scenes and mini-movies. Screw your beautiful graphics. I’m happy with my little squared pixels if I can just get through the game without needing to have the coordination to hold or mash seven buttons at the same time.

Maybe I’m just not cut out for multiplayer games. I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel. I want to go on adventures where I find gold coins and collect pieces of some big triangle or save a princess. I don’t want to have to partner up with some robot dude to go killing aliens that look like leftovers from the movie Gremlins. I don’t want someone depending on me to have their back because I’m going to just run right into the fray and fire away, not even caring what type of weapon I’m carrying and then the person I’m supposed to be playing with will say something like “Can you not get me killed every damn time? WHAT IS YOUR DAMAGE? WHY CAN’T YOU JUST CONTROL THE DAMN THING?”

Why? Because back in my day, when everything was simple and I had to walk uphill in the snow both ways to go buy a new game for my Atari 2600, I could control the damn thing. I could play hockey. NHL ’94, bitches!

Up up down down left right left right B A start!

You can keep your guitars and laser guns. Give me back my 2d scrollers.

And get off my damn lawn.

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you know my sega collection is massive

We spent most of this evening playing Halo 3 and NHL ’08 on the Xbox360.

I have come to the conclusion that I am hopelessly old school when it comes to video games. I just can’t play these games with the same enjoyment I used to get. The controllers are too complicated, the gameplay is too convoluted, fun is sacrificed for art.

I long for the days of Atari and Odyssey and Sega Genesis and NES. Even Colecovision and Intellevision. Even my beloved Dreamcast didn’t make me feel like such a failure.

Give me simple controls. Give me games that don’t make me sit through ten minute cut scenes and mini-movies. Screw your beautiful graphics. I’m happy with my little squared pixels if I can just get through the game without needing to have the coordination to hold or mash seven buttons at the same time.

Maybe I’m just not cut out for multiplayer games. I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel. I want to go on adventures where I find gold coins and collect pieces of some big triangle or save a princess. I don’t want to have to partner up with some robot dude to go killing aliens that look like leftovers from the movie Gremlins. I don’t want someone depending on me to have their back because I’m going to just run right into the fray and fire away, not even caring what type of weapon I’m carrying and then the person I’m supposed to be playing with will say something like “Can you not get me killed every damn time? WHAT IS YOUR DAMAGE? WHY CAN’T YOU JUST CONTROL THE DAMN THING?”

Why? Because back in my day, when everything was simple and I had to walk uphill in the snow both ways to go buy a new game for my Atari 2600, I could control the damn thing. I could play hockey. NHL ’94, bitches!

Up up down down left right left right B A start!

You can keep your guitars and laser guns. Give me back my 2d scrollers.

And get off my damn lawn.

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hockey pics

another fine dubi save

So out of 714 photos I took last night, I put 50 up on flickr, just because I ran out of patience. I was ultimately happy with about 600 of those photos. But who wants to see 600 pictures of one game?

The set is here, if you are interested in seeing them in full size on flickr.

Or you can look at them in this browser here.

I love hockey.

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there's a broken nose cause it's come to blows

Day 59 of 365: a year in songs and photos

Song: Supersuckers, Fisticuffs

Taken at Islanders/Devils game, Nassau Coliseum

Isles won 4-1, making them 4-0 against the Devils this season.

A couple of really good fights. OLD TIME HOCKEY!

I officially love the new lens with the new camera. I got some awesome shots at this game even though I was up in section 331. I took about 700 photos total. Seriously. That’s not an exaggeration. I think it was 714. I’ll post my favorites tomorrow – too much to go through tonight. I bet I end up putting up about 50 of those 700. This is why I love digital. I can click all night and not feel like I’m wasting anything.

Overall, a decent game with a good crowd and a nice outcome. We went with a whole bunch of people and it was the most fun I’ve had at a hockey game since 1983.

I love this game.

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go away, christmas

and stay out

This is our Christmas tree.

You may notice that it is outside.

You may notice that it is outside, still in the stand, still twisted with holiday lights.

I usually like to leave the tree up past New Year’s. I like the way the lights look at night, I enjoy the festive atmosphere it lends to the house.

This year was a little different. Thanks to my entire family losing a war against a stomach virus the past week, our Christmas cheer left a bit early.

Todd and I both went to work yesterday, even though we were both feeling like we were gut punched repeatedly by Godzilla. We spent the day exchanging “woe is me” emails, filled with one upmanship as to who was feeling the worst. At some point, my mother called to say that my father had been hit with the virus. I told her that my pain was probably greater than his and she should call back when she had some real war stories to share.

I’m telling you, this thing has taken its toll on us.

By the time I left work yesterday, I was ready for bed. But that was not to be. I had a dog to walk. Children to feed. A house that was trashed by two days of letting the dog and the cat run wild because our desire to discipline waned in direct proportion to the amount of time we spent in the bathroom. The kids, who seem to have escaped the virus, ran away to friends’ houses so as not to get contaminated.

I entered the silent house, thinking I’d just clean up a little, walk the dog, feed the cat and go to bed to wait for Todd – who had to work overtime – to get home so we could lay there and bitch and moan and compare vomit amounts.

An easy clean up was not to be. Someone forgot to gate the dog into the office, and she must have spent a few hours going to various rooms in the house and dragging out her “prizes” – socks, shoes, slippers, underwear, a bra, a pair of pants, a roll of toilet paper and a magazine. These things were strewn all over the living room and, in the case of the last two, torn to smithereens. And that wasn’t it. The dog and the cat decided to use the Christmas tree as their private playground. There were balls everywhere, ornaments with teeth marks scattered all over the room and a thin layer of pine needles covered the carpet. The carpet that we just installed in August. Three months before getting a puppy, and a real Christmas tree.

I looked at the animals, I looked at the floor, I looked at the tree and at the myriad presents still thrown under it, I looked at the messy state my kitchen was in and the empty boxes and pieces of wrapping paper everywhere and decided that Christmas was officially over. Despite the pains in my stomach, the chills, the aches, the headache and the burning desire to sleep next to the toilet bowl, I went on a Christmas Cleanup rampage.

First I took the dog’s collection of prizes and threw them in the laundry. Then I picked up all the pieces of magazine and toilet paper. I swallowed some Pepto and a handful of Advil and carried on , even though my brain was saying something like “Hey, Dumbass. Go to bed.”

I tried to vacuum up the pine needles, but my vacuum sucks. Or, doesn’t. So I would vacuum for five minutes, turn it off, force all the carpet fuzz and needles out of the hose, reattach, vacuum for five more minutes, rinse, repeat. After half an hour I become so frustrated and angry that I started to tear at the remaining ornaments on the tree, sure that if I at least got the tree out of the room, it would look cleaner, stay cleaner, and I’d feel much better.

While I was ripping the ornaments off, the cat was chasing me around the tree. The dog was chasing the cat. Each time I dropped a ball, both of them would pounce on it. Whoever lost the fight for the ball would go back to nipping at my heels. Twice, I tripped over an animal, taking a handful of branches down with me, scattering even more needles into the carpet.

I started to take the lights off the tree – apparently we thought it necessary to put FIVE tightly wound strings of lights on it – and they kept getting stuck and tangled in the branches. Meanwhile, the cat was tearing apart a sentimental ornament. I went to pull her away from it and tripped over a box, which sent me sprawling into the garbage pail, which fell over, spreading all the pine needles and carpet fuzz I just emptied out of the vacuum back onto the carpet.

I started crying. Then I got angry. I growled. I took the tree in one hand, brought the whole thing down and hauled it out the front door, with lights and stand still intact. I dragged it to the side of the house, trailing needles, branches, water, lights and ornaments, while my neighbor stared incredulously at me (probably because I was growling thunderously about hating Christmas), and dumped it on the side walkway.

I went back in the house, caged the dog in the office, threw the cat out, vacuumed what I could, swiped all decorations off the windowsill into a box, put the couch back by the window and sat there rocking back and forth in a fetal position, willing myself not to puke, until Todd got home.

And that’s why my Christmas tree is outside with the lights and stand still on it.

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365-58: zombies eat human flesh

zombies eat human flesh

Day 58 of 365: a year in songs and photos

Song: NoMeansNo, Cats, Sex, Nazis

cheating a little bit, but sue me. I’m still struck with this nasty virus.

This is a camera phone pic of some place mat art by my 7 year old nephew, David. As he explained, the children are puking zombies who throw up every time they eat human flesh. Note that the X in their eyes is what makes them zombies. Also, the scribbling on the girl’s hand means her hand is missing because the boy ate it, hence his vomiting.

I just thought this was so apropos, given what my entire family has spent the past two days doing.

We are the vomiting zombies.

That would be a great name for a band.

Also, great song, if you never heard it.

Zombies eat human flesh
Which part do you like the best ?
I like the heart the best
Zombies eat human flesh

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sick sick sick

Day 57 of 365: a year in songs and photos (yesterday’s photo today)

Song: Queens of the Stone Age, Sick Sick Sick

A nasty stomach virus that came around Christmas day is making the rounds and my family has gone down like dominoes.

It hit Todd yesterday morning. I left him moaning and went to work, sure that I was getting away with it. About 2:00, I stood up, announced I was leaving and cursed myself for being so smug.

It was a long night. And I have to go to work today.

I had better ideas for this photo, I’m not happy with the execution. But, given the circumstances, I’m just happy I got a photo done for the day.

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failure free resolutions

Everyone’s walking around making resolutions for 2008. Lose weight. Quit smoking. Get a job. Stop cheating on your wife. Same resolutions you make every single year and break about three days into January. I figured out about five years ago that making these promises to myself is a surefire way to stomp on my own self esteem. Why make promises you can’t keep or resolutions you know damn well you will not live up to? Why set yourself up for failure, disaster and self loathing when the simpler thing to do would be make resolutions you know you can keep?

Try it. This year, resolve to do only things you know you can and will do. Forget about tossing the cigarettes or giving up the booze or finding a job. Why set yourself up for failure? By making easy to keep resolutions, you are really resolving to feel better about yourself in the long run, and who can’t get behind that? Instead of feeling hopeless and dejected when you reach for that hidden bottle of vodka, instead of beating yourself up for being content to lay on the couch watching Oprah and collecting unemployment checks, instead of contemplating suicide because you failed the Bar again, just fuck it all. Don’t even make those resolutions to begin with. Set the bar low and you’ll never have to worry again about being a disappointment to yourself.

I quit smoking last year. I quit drinking in 2006. I’ve been on a pretty successful diet for a month (give or take a holiday or two). I have no intention of giving up my potty mouth or my addiction to computer/video games. There’s nothing left for me to give up. I could make some of those “better yourself” resolutions but really, being passive/aggressive is part of my charm. Why change that? Instead, I’m going once again with resolutions that won’t make me hate myself by February.

The 2008 List of Failure Free Resolutions

I resolve to:

Watch a lot of television
Take a lot of pictures
Ignore the surgeon general’s warnings on any food or drink product
Have wild, spontaneous sex (this counts even if you do it with yourself)
Bitch about the weather
Consume my weight in sushi
Make up at least two new curse words while driving
Nap every weekend
Watch a lot of hockey
Give people advice but never follow it myself when applicable
Tell my children that they are driving me to drink
Say “We don’t care how you do it in California” at least once a month
Blot out my co-workers’ insistence on drama, gossip and Michael Bolton with my “Better Living Through iPod” ignore feature.

There you have it. Isn’t that better than trying to quit barbiturates, again?

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flavor of the month, soup of the day

Day 56 of 365: a year in songs and photos

Song: Vandals, Soup of the Day

Yesterday’s soup, again today. Holiday leftovers. Stracciatella Soup, made by dad.

The song was supposed to work on two levels here, with both the photo and something I was going to write about a conversation with my daughter about bands "selling out" and/or getting famous.

Work has kicked my ass and fried my brain today. Rant saved for another day. It’s crash time.

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I’m not done with the music part of this, but I’m moving on to tv for today.

We don’t watch a lot of tv, but when we do watch, we’re pretty picky about what’s showing. There are very few basic channel shows we watch. 24 lost us last season. I stopped my weird American Idol obsession two years ago. We only half heartedly watch our Sunday night cartoons on Fox (and we just about stopped watching them save for King of the Hill). We’ve skimmed past shows like Don’t Forget the Lyrics and Smarter Than a 5th Grader, but nothing held our attention for more than ten minutes.

And so, we turn to cable for all of our idiot box needs. And personally, I do need my tv. It keeps me company when I’m cooking dinner, helps me fall asleep at night and is the background noise for my weekend cleaning binges. It’s also a valuable learning tool. How else would I know so much about serial killers and exotic foods?

My most watched shows/channels of 2007:

1. King of the Hill
One of only two basic tv shows I still watch. When this show first aired, I hated it. But I’ve since grown to love Hank and the gang (Dale Gribble is my favorite), though I still want to bitchslap Peggy at least once every episode. Thanks to Peggy, Bobby is going to grow up to be one of those serial killers I see on the History Channel every week. And I was glad when Cotton died this season. What a dick.

2. Kitchen Nightmares
We only watched this because we idolize Chef Ramsey. We love Hell’s Kitchen and figured this show would be just as entertaining. I think the only reason I stuck with it is because a good portion of the restaurants he bulldozed through were located on Long Island. After a few episodes, the show’s obvious pattern was too predictable and the happy, warm endings too hokey. But we stayed with it just to watch Chef’s tirades. Glad we stuck around to see him puke over lunch.

3. History Channel
What we used to refer to as the Hitler Channel has expanded our horizons beyond its war stories in a grand way. Some of my favorite shows of the year: American Eats, Gangland, Rumrunners, Moonshiners and Bootleggers, History Rocks, Modern Marvels, Breaking Vegas, the Evel Knievel special….I think this was our most watched channel of 2007. We often left this channel on during our summer Saturday naps (hey, you renovate a yard for five hours every weekend morning and you’ll need a nap, too), which made for some interesting dreams about the Ku Klux Klan.

4. The Food Network
I don’t like any of the chefs on this channel (we’ll save my Rachel Ray loathing for another day). I don’t watch their individual shows. But I love the rest of their offerings. Ace of Cakes always amazes me (and they had a Clutch related cake one episode!). I love Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (and want to eat at every single place Guy visits), Top 5 and Unwrapped.

5. The Dog Whisperer
I admit, when I first heard about this show, I wrote it off as lame. But something about Cesar hooked me in. His smile, his charm, his adorable accent. Oh, and the way he handles dogs and their owners. I guess once we actually became dog owners, the show appealed to me more but, to be honest, I take everything Cesar teaches the owners during an episode and apply it to my son. BE A PACK LEADER!

6. Crap tv
Everyone needs their crap tv. Falling under this umbrella are shows like COPS, anything filmed from inside a prison, and anything titled with World’s Wildest… or Most Shocking…I unashamedly adore these shows and everything about them.

7. Travel Channel
There seems to be a theme among my favorite shows. Food. I watch the Travel channel for Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations (he always seems to be plastered by the end of every episode), Andrew Zimmern and his Bizarre Food and Marc DeCarlo’s Taste of America. The channel also premiered two new shows this week that I haven’t seen yet: Feasty Boys and Food Paradise.

8. NHL Network
I love this channel, not just for its hockey news and various other hockey stuff, but for its airing of classic NHL games and highlights. Where else can I relive the glory days of the Islanders? Where else can I see players without helmets and bench clearing brawls. Old time hockey. This is the channel that plays from the time I get home from work until dinner is done.

And that rounds up my tv viewing for the year. What did you watch?

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