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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeFeb 8th 2010
     
    Not yet, but tomorrow's going to be bad, and I'll barely be able to walk on Tuesday. Ok, so that's an exaggeration, but I can feel it coming on. That's what I get for playing football in 2 feet of snow. And yet, it was great fun. Much moreso than I was expecting. Due to the insane storm, not that many people showed up, so it wasn't a hugely epic game by previous years' standards, but 3 on 3 made for some good fun. My team won, 5-1. I scored a touchdown and sacked the qb on a blitz once. Score.

    In accordance with tradition, we spent the rest of the afternoon eating and gambling. We set up a list of 13 side bets (like, who wins coin toss, etc...), but I ended up coming in second overall (I got 10 right). If I had chosen the under on the number of Archie Manning appearances, I would have probably won in a tie breaker. Oh well.

    Hrm, well, I'm about 2 weeks behind on my Netflix queue now. Actually, I've watched one of the DVDs, but it's been sitting in my car because the stupid post office removed the closest mail box (which was in my little development and right on the way out too). Now I have to got to the actual post office to mail something, and it's a pain. It's only like 2 extra minutes, but I always forget. Fudge. Stupid mail.

    I finally managed to see A Serious Man this week and I loved it. I can see why it didn't get a big release, especially since it has a sorta non-ending, but I still found myself loving it. Something about the way the Coen Brothers do stuff like this just makes it so compelling. And there's a lot to dig into as well. There are many biblical parallels, etc... (in particular, book of Job seems relevant, though I wouldn't really characterize this as a modern retelling... but still, certain symbolic elements are shared). I loved it and it instantly filled that 10th spot I was trying to find for my top 10 of 2009. Still want to watch The House of the Devil and Black Dynamite, but I might end up posting the top 10 before I see them. Pfft.

    Been replaying God of War with the new GoW collection thing that's out. Some parts were much harder than I remembered. I actually got through the Hades level pretty easily, even though it's still frustrating as hell (heh, pun intended I guess). Ares was much more difficult than I remember - I think perhaps I caved in when I played it on PS2 and let them switch the difficulty to easy or something. That second stage of the Ares battle was destroying me. Game looks great in HD though. You can kinda tell it's a last generation game still, but it does look good. The other thing that seems to bother me more is that it has savepoints. It's hard to fault the game for that though, since it was about as good as the PS2 got when it came to that sort of thing, but the PS3 and modern computer games have totally spoiled me with their nifty auto-save features, etc...

    I never played GoW II before, but I'm having fun with that too. I'm not sure if I love it, but it's definately a solid follow up. Can't wait for GoW III. Also looking forward to Heavy Rain, though there's a fair chance I'll hate it.

    Reading-wise, I just finished John Dies at the End, which was good horror-comedy fun, though the ending baffled me a bit. The whole novel ended up being somewhat disconnected, but as a comedy it worked well. Not sure what I'm going to read next...

    And I should probably go to bed now. I'm going to have a hard time getting up tomorrow morning, I think:p

    ~tallman
    •  
      CommentAuthorDyre
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2010 edited
     
    Football! I haven't played football in forever. Was always fun, though I'm not much for watching it. I kept spacing out during the Super Bowl this year.

    I was wondering about A Serious Man. I hadn't even heard of it until recently (I'm not really up on movies like I used to be). Non-ending like No Country for Old Men non-ending? I've seen two of the best picture nominees, which is something of an accomplishment for me. It's weird. I really enjoy film but I think I'm underexposed for as much as I enjoy it.

    I've been playing Mass Effect 2 a lot. A lot. Great game. There's a lot of stuff that's been improved upon from the first one. The mini games where you hack open caches are actually kinda fun now instead of basically that Simon Says game with the lights. It's a lot darker, story-wise. There's a lot more icky situations, from a moral standpoint, and you get plenty of chances to make alignment decisions. Even more so than the first game, it seems to do a good job of being compelling enough that you don't always go one route or the other. There's a cool thing too where sometimes you'll get the option of interrupting someones dialogue with a paragon or renegade action (like throwing someone through a window) so you don't always have to wait for the dialogue tree. It's deep enough that you don't always take the action when it's available just for the sake of doing so.

    The combat is much improved as well. The only new thing I don't like is the resource scouting stuff. It was too simple in the first game, where you just went to a planet and selected 'scan,' but now it's the only part of the game that's tedious. Manually scanning planets, launching probes, going to get more probes. There must be a way they could make it more interesting. I try to fully scan a resource rich planet at least once every time I play. That's really my only complaint so far. It's probably one of the best games I've played lately. The upgrades you can get from collecting resources make it worth doing to some degree. Oh, there's that too, which is good: Resources are used for upgrades. They really didn't have a point in the first game. I think if you found enough of them you were awarded some credits and Xbox 360 achievements, but that's it. Which actually brings me to another good point. In most RPGs, there's a point where money stops being an object, but that doesn't seem to be in sight yet in Mass Effect 2, which is great. The fact that you get credits in a lot of places is balanced out pretty well by the cost of weapon/armor upgrades in stores. Usually in these kinds of games, money is only an issue at the beginning and then it becomes silly and you're filthy rich and it doesn't make sense that no one else in the game world isn't as well.

    Uh, what else? I've recently recovered from a very nasty flu-type thing. I guess it might have been swine flu. I don't know. Didn't end up going to a doctor or anything, but I didn't really rest enough when first starting to recover and the thing hung around for over a week. I still have this lingering cough that sounds a lot worse than it is. This bug ripped through half my department at work. Everyone's gross cough sounds the same. And is gross.
    • CommentAuthorSovawanea
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2010
     
    I didn't watch the Superbowl. I had it on in the background for awhile in case my attention was drawn by a really good ad, but that didn't happen. I missed the Tebow ad, but from what I understand it wasn't any big deal anyway.

    I've been playing the Sims 3 and Wii Sports Resort mostly. This would be a great time for a new game that appeals to me to come out, but no such luck. I might have been a little interested in Dante's Inferno, but it isn't coming out for PC or Wii.

    I haven't been able to read or watch movies much since last Friday. I developed a really annoying eyelid twitch. It doesn't really affect my vision, but it breaks my concentration so reading something serious or watching something serious is more difficult. I've mostly been reading magazines about food, listening to podcasts and watching TV shows that don't require much thought. Hopefully, it goes away soon.
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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2010
     
    It's probably even more of a non-ending than No Country. It just sorta stops. Then again, it makes a sorta sense where it stops, but its still abrupt. There's no real resolution though, only hints and implications. Lots of room for speculation and interpretation. It makes me want to read the Book of Job again. I don't think it's an exact retelling or anything, but there's something there. There's a lot to chew on in that movie. It's definitely worth a watch, especially if you're a fan of the Coens weird humor (I found it hilarious) and their penchant for unconventional plot turns, etc... Some really awesome side characters too.

    Do you have to play the first Mass Effect before part 2? I'm intrigued enough that I want to check it out, and I believe both are available on PC...

    Hope you feel better, Dyre!

    The Tebow ad seemed pretty tame to me. If you didn't know about it beforehand, I doubt it would raise an eyebrow. Indeed, we almost missed it because we were talking (there was a sorta, "ohhhhhh, that's that Tebow ad!" vibe after his name came up).

    I refuse to play Dante's Inferno because I don't want to reward EA's publicity whoring (I swear, I've heard more about their cheap stunts than about the game itself). Also, from what I hear, it's a God of War clone, and with the real thing coming in a month, I'm inclined to wait... Of course, GoW is a PS3 exclusive, so that doesn't really help you either:p

    I've never had a twitch like that for that long, but even for a short period, it's quite annoying. Hope you feel better too.

    I'm still incredibly sore, if it's any consolation!

    ~tallman
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      CommentAuthorDyre
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2010
     
    I'll definitely check it out. I'll take a kinda sensical non-ending over a bad ending. No Country kinda left me with a "oh, uh, ok..." feeling but I kinda appreciated it a bit after a while, and I still like the movie overall. Bad endings can ruin that entirely. Plus I do love the Coens' humour.

    You don't have to play the first Mass Effect before the new one. I think everything I've encountered so far that's referenced the first game has done so in a manner that is either pretty clear as to what it means, even to someone who hadn't played the first game, or provides an option of explanation. That said, there are a fair amount of references to the first game and I feel that there's a lot of things here and there that have considerable more weight to them if you already have a context for them. There's a fair amount of plot points that I think would go from feeling like they're supposed to be a big deal to actually feeling like a big deal pretty naturally if you've played through the first game.

    There's also some bonus stuff you get when starting if you import a character from the first game (which I think you can only do with a character that's actually finished the first game). It's not a big deal but it's nice. Some extra credits and alignment points. You don't really lose much by not having these import bonuses but they are nice. The alignment points are accumulated even through minor interactions throughout the game and at varying levels open up additional dialogue options in certain situations. If you choose the renegade options more often, you'll get options that resolve situations quicker based on intimidation. If you play as more of a paragon, you have more options available based on charm, or at least convincing the other party to see things your way. Unless you're strictly playing for one alignment or another, which I don't think actually makes sense (at least when I play, there are times where it seems more consistent to the player character's personality to opt for different resolutions based on the situation, although there's a clear preference overall), you'll likely end up with most of your points to one side but a few in the other, so you'll get a mix of these special options available after a while.

    One cool thing is that you do have the option of resetting your character class and appearance if you import someone, so if you played through the first game as a soldier you could switch to a biotic or whatever.

    If you are interested in playing both games, I would definitely recommend going through the first one first, not simply for the sake of the storyline and impact I described but also because the game mechanics and graphics of the second are much better. I think playing the second first would make the things that needed to be improved with the first game seem much worse than they were. That said, the first game is very good as well, and I would recommend if you think you'd like both.

    Oh, I am feeling much better now. I've finally stopping hacking up a lung on a daily basis. It's quite nice.

    I second the hope for quick resolution of your twitch, Sov. I've had stuff like that happen once in a while but it usually doesn't last beyond a day, if even that, and is usually related to a lack of sleep or other physical malady.
    • CommentAuthorSovawanea
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2010
     
    Thanks for the well wishes Tallman and Dyre.

    This has been a weird week. I had Monday off of work for President's Day, but we had snow storm number three with about 6-10 inches for the season. I woke up a little later than usual and the cats were going nuts for food. So, I threw a few pop tarts in the microwave for what I thought was only 20 seconds and set about feeding the cats. After I had carried their bowls out into the living room, I realized that not only was the microwave still going but it had what looked like yellow flames inside it. I had a tenth of second freak out and decided that rather than getting the fire extinguisher, I should just open the door. The flame went out as soon as I opened the door and a ginormous plume of smoke came out. Luckily, there was no damage to the microwave. But, I had to open both the front and back doors to let the smoke circulate out through the screens...while it was snowing.

    Tuesday, I had a bit of a sore throat but chalked it up to the smoke inhalation from the day before. I woke up expecting to go see my regular doctor as scheduled, but got a call that my appointment was cancelled because the doctor was sick. And they could reschedule....for March. I decided to call my eye doctor, because readings on the internet were leading me to suspect two culprits for the twitch- lack of sleep and computer strain. With the three day weekend, I was having twitches less often and chalked improvement up to less computer time. So, maybe I could go in and have it checked out and start the process of getting computer glasses. He could see me on Friday.

    Wednesday, I woke up with a horrible cough in addition to my sore throat. Took some cold medicine to get me through the day at work. With the holiday and the doctor visits, I only worked two days this week. Only had 4 eye twitches and was hoping it was just going away on its own.

    Thursday- Still feeling like I have a cold, woke up at 6 AM hacking. Pushed through another day. First absolutely twitch free day.

    So, today, I feel confident that maybe it's just going to go away on its own or with less strain at the computer. So, the doctor listens to my descriptions does a quick check of my eyes and says he thinks its Myokymia and that like I thought, it's usually caused by caffeine, lack of sleep and stress. In the meantime he suggested treatment to reduce it by taking Benadryl at night. Benadryl is an antihistamine. My cold medicine has antihistamine in it. So, I accidentally treated my condition without knowing it as my twitch free days yesterday and today have been days I've taken cold medicine to sleep the night before. So, I got some antihistamine eye drop samples and will go back in about 3 weeks to get the exam for computer strain glasses. Unless other parts of my face start to twitch too, I should be fine.

    And I can read again! I've almost made it through another book yesterday and today.