Archive for June, 2012

Mini-Review Format

Posted in Blog, Reviews on June 17, 2012 by slateman

I thought I should change the ‘scoring’ rules for mini-reviews. I like doing these, as they’re not too hefty and they convey my thoughts quickly after something (movie, music, game, etc.) Rather than doing numerical rankings, I’ll stick with something more basic. This could change, but this is a generic template for possible rankings.

OMFG: Kill It With Fire
I Liked
I Really Liked
I Loved
Epic Effin’ Greatness!

Something like this will suffice. Now to write a review of the new Module album.

Bathory: So Good!!!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Music, Video on June 13, 2012 by slateman

I haven’t listened to this in several years. On the way to work yesterday, something from Nordland II came on and I had vivid memories of driving out east on Long Island. It was a bright spring day and everything was just beginning to come to life. It was an interesting time of my life, for certain, but I remember how much I loved these two Nordland records (the second more than the first). On the way to work this morning, another Bathory song came on. Another flood of memories and utter fascination. This stuff rocks! (The production, of course, does not). Anyway, here is the song that came on this morning. So good!

Yankees: First Place – Best Record In AL. Boston In Last.

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Yankees on June 13, 2012 by slateman

This has been a very strange year in the AL, particularly in the AL East. However, after sweeping the Mets and tonight’s glorious comeback vs. the Braves (finally some kudos to A-Rod, who has been an easy target for mockery), we’re in sole possession of first, the best record in the AL and Boston is in last. Honestly, what more could I ask for??? Well, some runs with RISP and some better bases-loaded at bats. I’m psyched.

Mini-Review: Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light – I LOVE!

Posted in Blog, Games, Reviews with tags , on June 12, 2012 by slateman

Love This Game!

I’ve always wanted to try this game out and due to the free nature of it on PS+ this week, my wishes were answered. I tried the demo a while back with my wife and quite liked it. However, yesterday I got the chance to play with a buddy and go through a few levels. The verdict? It’s exactly what I love about games.

The two-player system is perfect and strikes a great balance between action and puzzles. Neither is too tough and both were surprisingly fun. The rewards system allows for great replay value (for those interested, my friend is not) and I even tested out a level in single player which was just as fun. The coop gameplay is solid and rewarding. Upgrading weapons, artifacts and relics give a boost which makes me want to go back and play more. It’s a perfect system, one which I wish other developers would employ more. Sure, it’s classic…it’s really nothing new. However, with so many games being so brainless, this is a nice change. Granted, a high IQ isn’t necessary, but I love thinking games.

As I won’t be canceling my PS+ account any time soon, I’ll have plenty of time to play this coop, and then to go back and collect all the hidden things. The only downside is that I have too much to play lately. This PS+ thing is almost a curse! So many excellent titles and so little time. I look forward to playing this to completion online, then to hopping into single player for speed runs & collecting. Fantastic stuff!

King Diamond Is Back! Sweden Setlist

Posted in Blog, Music with tags , , on June 10, 2012 by slateman

I’ll never forget the first time I heard King Diamond. A friend lent me “Them” and informed me I needed to listen to it all in one sitting. He told said it was a frightening experience and so I was excited. Of course, over the next 20+ years, I’ve been a huge fan of King and have just about everything he’s put out. Seeing the bands reunite to record songs for Guitar Hero: Metallica and then play with Metallica live in December, I was thoroughly excited to see King back. Two European shows are scheduled and man, the setlist for the first looks friggin’ incredible! Look at this stuff! (Info from Metal Shock)

  1. The Candle
  2. Welcome Home
  3. Matt Thompson drum solo
  4. Voodoo
  5. At The Graves
  6. Up From The Grave
  7. Let It Be Done
  8. Dreams
  9. Sleepless Nights
  10. La Rocque plus Mike Wead solo
  11. Shapes Of Black
  12. Come To The Sabbath (with Hank Shermann and Volbeat’s Michael Poulsen)
  13. Eye Of The Witch
  14. E: The Family Ghost
  15. Halloween (with Michael Denner and Mikkey Dee!!!)
  16. Black Horsemen

One of the coolest sets I’ve seen!

Mini-Review: Prometheus – I Definitely Liked!

Posted in Aliens, Best / Worst, Movies, Reviews with tags on June 10, 2012 by slateman

There WILL Be Spoilers

I have not been this excited for a movie since Return Of The King. That was 9 years ago. In all honesty, I have been waiting for this movie to be made for 20 years. We survived Alien: Resurrection and a pair of Alien vs. Predator films. While this may not be an official prequel, anyone who gives a damn about this series knows it is the only film to matter in almost quarter a century. As the days progressed, I kept my expectations low but the fact remained; I was excited beyond belief. Therefore, as the 1pm showing crept closer, I could hardly contain myself. Prometheus is here.

It is an interesting tale. We all yearned to know the origins of the aliens, the mythical Space Jockey’s details, the reason the space craft crashed. Ultimately however, we don’t get all the answers we desired. In fact, there is much left unclear and many new questions are raised.

  • This wasn’t LV426, so this setting isn’t the same as Alien.
  • Assuming this is an actual prequel, a different ship crash landed. Was that Dr. Shaw’s?
  • Therefore, could the space jockey w/ the chest burster be Dr. Shaw?
  • Guy Pearce played Weyland. Why not just get an older actor?
  • Vickers (Charlize Theron – rowr) – Was she an android? Why should I care that David calls her mother and she calls Weyland father?
  • The xenomorph at the end is different from what we know. Since it was all CG, recreating the classic alien should have been easy. Why opt for a different style?
  • The tattooed guy returned with super-human strength. What exactly was he?
  • Similarly, Dr. Holloway was infected with the black liquid. What was he becoming?

What I Liked..

Ridley Scott separated himself from the Alien mythos and for good reason. He would have been inundated with xenomorph questions for the entire 2-year publicity run. Once again though, we knew it was a prequel and I just kept trying to prepare myself for a different type of movie. This was not meant to be Alien and Aliens. That’s OK with me. Some of the best parts were ones removed from that style. On the other hand…

Fifield and Milburn – the scenes with them after they were trapped overnight. There was an intensity to the waiting and barring the stupidity of wanting to play with alien snakes, that whole attack scene was awesome.

The self-abortion scene was insane.

David was an excellent part of the movie. Unlike the anti-android sentiment you got in the first two movies, this was different. I never quite knew what to think of him and what his agenda was. Couple this with Vickers hatred for Weyland and their relationship, there was always a level of underlying strife.

The sandstorm was pretty cool. As were the scanning orbs (pups).

The entire look of the ship was just like the Nostromo and the outfits were classic looking. The look was familiar and awesome.

Final Thoughts

There were a few iffy moments but it avoided being cheesy and that was worth it alone. (remember Alien: Resurrection?) While it created more questions than it answered, I actually quite liked the final product. It was not what we had been expecting and that almost made it more interesting. The intense moments were intense. The thought-provoking concept was deep (and I’m still thinking about it) and barring a few small qualms, I think I liked the movie quite a lot. Now to wait for the blu-ray release, see if there are any cool extras (answers?!?!) and then rethink the whole thing all over again. Definitely thumbs up!

Mini-Review: That Game Company & Journey – I Like…ish

Posted in Blog, Games, Reviews with tags on June 9, 2012 by slateman

That Game Company

I am a sucker for good downloadable games and when I first got my PS3, I jumped all over Fl0w. Later, I had some extra funds and Flower was my choice after reading such stellar reviews. Finally, Journey has landed and I was intrigued from the get go. I had to try this out. Now, none are games in the classic sense, but all were rather entertaining. Ultimately, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the whole lot, so here are reviews for each.

This was one of the first games I got on the PSN…you know, around launch when new consoles just don’t have a ton of stuff. It was cool and different. The Sixaxis controller was gimmicky but I thought the game was OK. Months later I went back to finish the game off and it was an OK game. It was relatively fun but nothing I had much desire to return to. After getting a bunch of trophies, I was good and haven’t touched it since.

The reviews for Flower were remarkable and the colors looked phenomenal. The game was a very cool diversion, relaxing and free. I was actually a bit bummed as the game progressed and the bright, vibrant colors progressed into a dull, dark palette. Ultimately it was a great game, something I went back to more than once (as I lost my save game) but haven’t really given the time after 100%ing the trophies. Thinking of it now, I would even play it again soon. It’s calming and soothing. The motion controls felt more natural than in Fl0w.

As the news of Journey came, it was an almost-certain purchase. I waited a bit, but upon purchasing it I wasn’t immediately sold. Every time I wanted to go back to it, it was late at night and the game promptly put me to sleep. Today I had some time and managed to finish the game. The online integration was a very interesting change. The soundtrack was one of the best in a downloadable game (nothing is going to trump Shatter) and the title was as fitting a title as any game I’ve ever played. Ultimately though, I’m unsure of how I feel about the journey. I was told I need to go through the game in one sitting and I can see the draw to that. The ambience of Journey was a unique change to the norm and there were some incredible sequences. For the $15 price tag, I don’t know if the replay value makes it worth it. Will I go back to it? Not sure. I think I will, if only just for some trophies. Beyond that though? I don’t know. I can add that the entire outro sequence was exciting and exhilarating. It was a very cool and fun portion of the game and I would go back to play this again.

So, that makes three That Game Company games. I’m enamored with one of them. The first is something I’ll almost certainly never play again. I’m still on the fence about the last one.

Bigger than replay value though, all three games are unlike anything else I have played. Barring a generally weak concept for whatever they put out next, I’ll line up to get it immediately. New and interesting ideas are always welcome and really should be supported. Sure, Uncharted, Gear Of War and all those big titles are spectacular. There’s something to say about games like these. I would recommend it…but only to a certain type of gamer. That’s not a bad thing.

US Mint Set 2012 x2

Posted in Blog, Coins on June 8, 2012 by slateman

This is my first blog post about coins, but it’s another of my (geeky?) hobbies. However, as my type-set collection has grown, I’ve hit a wall where most of the remaining absences in my collection are far too expensive for it to remain a hobby! However, each spring (or so), I get my mint proof set and I’m usually rather thrilled. This time, however, I opted to get a pair of sets and break up one of them. The 2012-S coins are utterly beautiful and I’ve already added the quarters to my collection. It’s so much better than getting uncirculated coins (which I did for several years) and ultimately completely worth it. With the 50 state quarters and 6 territory coins, the 44-coin set of America The Beautiful quarters will bring this tally up to 100. It’s madness. Anyways…just a blog update that I collect these too.

The Last Of Us: OMG

Posted in Blog, Games, Uncharted, Video with tags on June 7, 2012 by slateman

Oh I miss E3. Having gone four years in a row, I almost avoid all coverage because I should be there (or something). Anyways, as a HUGE fan of the Uncharted series, the news of Naughty Dog’s The Last Of Us was eagerly eaten up. First, the game looks outrageously good. I mean…this could be the best-looking game I’ve ever laid eyes on. Second, OMG, this looks insane! This trailer below ends on an intense note. Clearly they’re not holding back. I’m not entirely sure the setting…I know there are zombie things going on, but I almost don’t care. This could rock!

Windmill Cube Tutorials!

Posted in Blog, Cubing, Guides, Video on June 6, 2012 by slateman

OK, we’ve established I’m a cubing geek. With that out of the way, I decided to make a tutorial on how to solve the Windmill Cube. I’m rather fond of this puzzle; it’s fun and looks pretty cool. However, I thought I could do a better job at a tutorial on how to solve the thing, so I decided to make one. It’s not my first video-editing project, of course, but it’s my first cubing video. So…I’ll post it here, though I can’t see anyone deciding to check it out unless you had a need…which you don’t. Who cares? I had fun making it!