Monday, January 30, 2006

all these weird creatures who lock up their spirits

there was some big news announced friday in regards to work. in the morning they had a big meeting for the whole consumer relations department for some "training", which i heard was basically a three hour motivational talk by some speaker to get everyone pumped up, since morale has been fairly low with the impending downsizing looming over everyone's head. i wasn't at the meeting because i had classes in the morning. then, at the very end of the talk, they made the announcement that in the next month or so they would be letting people know that they are being let go. from what i hear, they're going to let about 75% of the CSRs go. they'll be cutting the number of contacts (emails and phone calls from consumers to 10%, so obviously they won't need many people. with only 30-40 of 120 people being kept on, only people ranked in the top third of the department stand a chance of being kept, but even then not all of them will be. i am not in the top third, so i'm as good as gone, which is okay. i was probably going to quit before next quarter, because i couldn't find any useful classes to schedule around work. but the pay will be greatly missed, and i don't know what i'm going to do next. i'm not sure i want to go back to nick and tom's, but its always an option.

tim and elly will be staying in new jersey for another eight month rotation. i think that's what they wanted to do, so that's good. i know they're hoping they can come back to cincinnati for the final eight month section. hopefully they can work that out.

i feel like i had some other big news to talk about, but i can't remember it.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

you put up the walls

ok, i'm getting really annoyed with this now. two nights in a row when i've laid in bed for over an hour trying to fall asleep. no dice. this is really annoying and really frustrating. and i can't afford to sleep in and skip any more classes. this is the last straw, i need to find some solution to help me sleep...

Monday, January 23, 2006

the aeroplane flies high... turns left, looks right

i really don't feel like working on my world literature essay that is due tomorrow morning, so i'll use this to continue to distract myself.

60 minutes had an interview with "fatal1ty", who is regarded as the best, and most well known, professional gamer in the united states. surpisingly, 60 minutes did a fairly respectable job with its take on professional gaming, and gamer culture in general. i would have expected them to portray the group as a bunch of pathetic nerds, but they gave fatal1ty a lot of credit. the most surprising part of the article was hearing about "lil poison", who is apparently a seven-year old gaming prodigy. i don't know what else you'd call someone who has won over $2000 in gaming tournaments, against adult gamers. that's insane. you can see the video through the first link, or read a transcript of the episode here.

is this rumor true? if so, this could be the beginning of the smashing pumpkins reunion that billy corgan reported he wanted to undertake. we'll see if anything comes of it.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

você pega um cigarro me põe na boca

today continued the several week stretch of depressing sports games. clearly this world is an evil and a fallen place, as the steelers won the afc title game. at least the bearcats finally gained a much needed conference win today against rutgers to end their three game losing streak. the crosstown shootout was a very disappointing affair. xavier played terrible, and definitely should have been beaten, but we managed to play worse. the officiating wasn't the best i've ever seen (how can you let someone play with a shoe in his hand?!) but we played bad enough to seal our own fate.

looks like i'll be pulling for seattle in a couple of weeks...

Friday, January 13, 2006

i keep the wolf from the door

wow, i can't sleep. this is ridiculous. it usually takes me forever to fall asleep, but tonight its past the point of frustrating. its not even due to the periodic noise outside (although that doesn't help). maybe i need to take a hint from edward norton and start a fight club. or maybe at least start by getting a new chair that doesn't kill my back.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The 347th Annual Davie Awards

when comparing this year's results to last year, there are several things that stand out. this year had a much larger crop of good movies and cds, but the number of quality video games seems to have declined. x-box games were especially slim. there were several good computer games this year, but those were still mostly sequals. this year saw a lot better albums than 2004, and the selection of quality movies was a lot bigger too. now, without further delay...

The 2005 Davie Awards

best movie: batman begins
runners-up: walk the line, revenge of the sith, serenity, der untergang (downfall), wedding crashers

i'm pretty hard-pressed to not pick revenge of the sith because of my own bias, but walk the line and batman begins were both better, with batman begins edging out walk the line. serenity was great (probably better than revenge of the sith, but like i said, i have a star wars bias); very entertaining and well-acted.

overall top 10 movies

1. batman begins
2. walk the line
3. revenge of the sith
4. serenity
5. der untergang (downfall)
6. wedding crashers
7. kung-fu hustle
8. king kong
9. munich
10. wallace & gromit: the curse of the were-rabbit

best cd: system of a down - mezmerize
runners-up: weezer - make believe, nine inch nails - with teeth, moby - hotel, team sleep - team sleep, billy corgan - thefutureembrace

i'd known for awhile that mezmerize would top the list. its a great cd, and every song sounds different and unique. it's too bad that system of a down's second release this year, hypnotize, was not as impressive. make believe is the best weezer album to come out since pinkerton, and the only album that really challenged mezmerize. with teeth was less than perfect, but it did have some really strong songs on it. still, it should have been better. moby made a solid return with hotel, and team sleep's self-titled was a good, original album. billy corgan's first solo album had some weak spots, but also had some really strong songs (including a bee-gee's cover).

best album by someone who's almost a senior citizen: robert plant & the strange sensation - mighty rearranger

this isn't a great album, but i was happy to find that it is actually pretty good. the biggest surprise has to be how well plant's voice works on the album. who would have thought that he could still sing? definitely worth hearing.

most mediocre cd that should have been great: audioslave - out of exile
runners-up: foo fighters - in your honor, system of a down - hypnotize, jimmy chamberlin complex - life begins again

after audioslave's great first album, i was was really looking forward to out of exile. it's not that its a bad cd; it just should have been a lot better. the same goes for in your honor. the rock cd and acoustic cd on the double-album are both made up of pretty good songs, but none of the songs sound very unique or different from each other. hypnotize was a pretty good cd, but something of a let-down after how good mezmerize was. jimmy chamberlin was one of my favorite drummers from the 90s, so i was hoping his album would be pretty good, but it was kinda boring.

best song: weezer - "this is such a pity"
runners-up: system of a down - "lost in hollywood", team sleep - "11^11", billy corgan - "tilt", nine inch nails - "only", jimmy eat world - "disentegration"

it was really close between "hollywood" and "pity", but since weezer didn't win best album, i decided to go with the latter for best song. it is a really good and unique song; for some reason they didn't turn it into a sequal.

best song that for some reason wasn't on the actual album, but would have been the best song on the cd if it had been: billy corgan - "tilt"

this was the best song from billy corgan's tracks for thefutureembrace, except that he cut the song from the album and used it as the i-tunes exclusive track. the fact that this wasn't on the cd is a big disappointment.

worst song: gwen stefani - "holla back girl"

is there even any need to elaborate on this? what an awful song. i can't even think of anything else to put with it.

best pc game: sid meier's civilization IV
runners-up: grand theft auto: san andreas, day of defeat: source, f.e.a.r., darwinia

there was no competition here. civ IV wins this award hands down. sid meier took a step back in the development of this game, deciding only to help guide it instead of being in charge. but it is still the strongest entry into the series, which says a lot. in fact, that would automatically make it one of my favorite games of all time. san andreas was fun, but parts of it felt like the same old gta. dod: source was lots of fun, but there isn't a lot of game there (it's multiplayer only). but it is the best multiplayer game to come out this year. f.e.a.r. is a great shooter, and really really creepy (so much that it is sometimes hard to play). darwinia was a lot of fun, and probably the most original game this year. i also want to throw out an honorable mention for oasis, which is a lot of fun, but feels too simple of a game to be included with the others. but the fact that you can easily just play if for five minutes at a time is great.

best x-box game: jade empire

there wasn't any real competition here. the game was made by the same people who made knights of the old republic, and jade empire used the same formula, but improved upon it. making the combat completely real-time is the best improvement they did, which should be fantastic in the next kotor game. but don't let the fact that there was no competition fool you; jade empire deserves this award.

best chad johnson touchdown celebration: endzone putting green
runners-up: riverdance, cheerleader proposal, football cpr, santa clause, "what do i do?"

they were all pretty hilarious, but his tiger woods impression had to be the best.

things from 2004 that i missed until 2005

best cd from 2004: the killers - hot fuss

had i listened to this cd in time for last year's awards, it probably would have won best album.

best game from 2004: sid meier's pirates!
runners-up: burnout 3, the chronicles of riddick: escape from butcher bay

i was hoping the the remake of pirates! would come close to recreating the fun of the 1987 classic from my childhood. not only is it as good as the original, it's probably better. sid meier has a special talent for making games that are more addictive than crack.

best movie from 2004: hero
runners-up: eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, the life aquatic with steve zissou, house of flying daggers, shaun of the dead

all of these are really great movies. each one could have made a case to be one of the runners-up for last year's best movie, but none would have displaced the incredibles.

things from 2005 i missed that might have made it:

pc games: call of duty 2, quake 4, star wars battlefront 2, gun

x-box games: burnout revenge, mercenaries

movies: harry potter & the goblet of fire; the chronicles of narnia: the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe; hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy; syriana

2006 preview:

pc games: half-life 2: aftermath, star wars: empire at war, battle for middle-earth II, UT 2007, s.t.a.l.k.e.r., company of heroes, sin episodes, red orchestra

next year looks to be a fun year for pc games. aftermath is scheduled for release at the end of april, which will be fantastic. empire at war will hopefully be the first real-time strategy star wars game to get it right. will 2006 be the year that s.t.a.l.k.e.r. is finally released? i'm getting tired of world war II games, but heroes looks like a great rts entry into the genre. the sin episodes will be episodic content distributed periodically over valve's steam. steam was great with its exclusive content in 2005, and i think it will only get better as 2006 goes on, with other releases on it like the award winning wwII mod red orchestra.

movies: x-men 3, flags of our fathers, casino royale, miami vice, superman returns

the x-men movies have yet to disappoint, so hopefully the third one will keep that going. flags is clint eastwood's movie on the battle of iwo jima. i don't know much about the movie, but i hope it's good. i'm interested to see how daniel craig will as james bond fare in casino. he's no clive owen (my personal pick for the new bond), but he's a lot better than some of the rumored actors. miami vice may have colin farrell, but even he has to be better than don johnson. jamie foxx is great, and michael mann has made some excellent movies. i haven't been very optimistic of the new superman, but i do like the idea of kevin spacey as lex luthor.

there you have it. here's to 2006.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

i been wheeling and dealing whatever will bring you to me

wow, what a low-class organization. nothing like watching a group of cheap, classless players shove our team around and put late shots on them all game. at least the whole nation got to see what a bunch of chumps the steelers are. at first i thought von oelhoffen's hit on palmer was just accidently, but if you look, he definitely wraps his arms around palmer's leg. whether he was pushed into palmer or not, no one made him grab and twist his leg. then big troy polamalu decided to be cool and punch of one our players in the face with the ball. and that's after they molested everyone one of our players like t.j. after the play was over. maybe if the refs had woken up and thrown a few flags the game would have been more under control. throw in joey porter talking trash during warm-ups and the bill cower saliva shower, and they've got a real class act.

it's too bad, with how much we were in the game, you can't help but wonder whow things would have turned out if palmer was healthy. but marvin lewis summed it up greatly:

"the guy got hurt. forget it. let it go. nothing we can do to get it back. what, sit there and baby and cry like their quarterback did? rediculous."

that's right, roethlisberger, marvin lewis says you're a little girl. go broncos, go colts.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

feel a fever burnin' inside of me

i really wish i knew what happened to my bengals santa clause hat. where is it?

in case you thought things might have changed, you can rest at ease, because pat robertson is still a moron.

tomorrow morning is going to be yet another day when i kick myself for not going to bed sooner.

people i'd like to punch in the face
  • pat robertson
  • whoever decided people should live their lives waking up early and not staying up late
  • mahmoud ahmadinejad

at least i've got foreigner to keep my happy.

edit: the leader of iran seems to be just as big of a moron. funny how it's all the super-fundamentalist religious types, who use "religion" as a tool to amass money and power. of course, mahmoud is the same idiot who said the holocaust was a myth.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

show me the world as i'd love to see it

penny-arcade has yielded a vast wealth of interesting information lately. first they mentioned the GameTunnel site, which distinguishes itself from other gaming sites because of its focus on games made by independent developers. i've been trying some of the demos from their top independent games of 2005, and they seem enjoyable. games like oasis, democracy, and mexican motor mafia are all fun and amusing, but they just feel too low-grade for me to
want to shell out $20 for the full versions (with the possible exception of
oasis, which i'm still deliberating over). darwinia is a different story. valve software released the game over steam, and the demo was pretty cool. it also feels a lot more like a full game then some of the others. the graphics seem low quality at first, but in game they really fit in well, and give it a unique look.

then today
penny-arcade talked about their apparent obsession over nerf guns, and brought my attention to the maverick. doug and i have been talking about getting some nerf guns for awhile, and in lieu of finding any that use the big foam balls, the maverick seems like a pretty good, cheap alternative.

ok, now i'm just procrastinating going to sleep. its a shame that the time of the day that i feel most awake is when i have to go to sleep.