New Cubes: Thoughts (Camouflage 3x3x4 & FF 3x3x5)

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Cubing on August 16, 2013 by slateman

c4u-ff3x3x5I sold The Last Of Us (remarkable game) and got myself a pair of cubes for less than $2. I was psyched to add to the collection, like always, but this first one is more of a replacement/upgrade. After my surgery and hospital visit, I returned to work to find my Cube4U 3x3x5 gone. I haven’t located it in the seven months prior so I figured why not get a fully-functional 3x3x5 this time. The cube is identical in solving methods; it just adds a shape-shifting element to its first step. However, I find it just to be OK. The cube is great, though a little lube wouldn’t hurt, but I guess after a 3x3x5 and 3x3x7, the simple method of solving isn’t so exciting. There’s nothing wrong w/ the cube…and it’s certainly worth the money. It’s just not my favorite.

camouflage3x3x4
Now to a completely different puzzle. The WitEden Camouflage 3x3x4. This holds a special place in the collection because I have absolutely no clue how to solve it. It baffles me and even comprehending its existence proves elusive. I just mean that it’s an entirely different beast. Turning on the axis that it does gives it an element I’ve never seen before (unlike the familiarity of the FF 3x3x5 and I suspect once I figure out WTF is going on, it could be fun. However, for now, it’s in a solved state and may remain that way for a while. This is the first cube to completely beat me (tho the 3x4x5 had me going for a good week). I suppose that’s a good thing…but I can’t say I like it!!!

Kidrobot x Street Fighter: The Odds

Posted in Best / Worst, Games, Street Fighter on August 14, 2013 by slateman

kidrobotThis is the type of spur-of-the-moment purchase I never make. Seeing this type of thing online almost never ends up being a purchase. However, yesterday, it was my treat. I allowed Aiden to pick a box (they’re all blind) and off we went to pay. I looked at the box (pic to the left) and pondered…Blanka, Chun, Guile…OK. I like Honda nowadays. Balrog (U.S. Vega) would be sweet. Ryu, Ken, OK. Sagat, Zangief or Dhalsim would be cool. The only one I wasn’t into was M. Bison (U.S. Balrog). His design (well, Mike Tyson), was never my favorite. I prefer Dudley as my boxer anyways. And you know it, the 1/40 chance (2.5%) came true to find an M. Bison. Ah well. He’s kinda cool and fits well with the small collection of SF toys I have. Most are still in boxes, but I’ve got some stuff on the shelf now. Ryu from the SFIV collector’s edition. Reko from Mushihimesama, Barrett from Final Fantasy VII and a handful of other SF chars. Oh, a Lego stormtrooper and a chocobo, too! Anyways, I’d love to go back and get another…I guess that’s how this stuff hooks you. That 1/80 is Vega (U.S. M. Bison). That would be cool too. Those Comic-Con ones are sweet too! Evil Ryu & Shin Gouki in particular.

DuckTales Remastered

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games on August 14, 2013 by slateman

DuckTales-Remastered
With but one update in all of the month of July, I’m going to try anew to keep this site updated with the latest and greatest of my life. How great it all may be is up for debate, but I’ve had ideas of what to write…just not the inspiration to write any of it. Today, however, I downloaded DuckTales Remastered and thought I’d share some quick thoughts. First off, it’s all nostalgia-based. While I played the original back in the day, I don’t have those strong, fond memories of the theme song. I do, however, remember games playing like this one did and for that reason alone it’s a fun romp. Upon seeing Gamespot give it a 4.5/10, I was a bit shocked. Listen, this game really can’t be compared to anything but its ilk. You don’t review Scary Movie 5 compared to Gone With The Wind! You compare it to…Scary Movie 4 and The Naked Gun 33 1/3.

I had some fun going through the stages and memorizing the patterns. Let’s face it, that’s how games were and this remaster is just a visual overhaul. It’s not meant to be more. So, it looks pretty, it’s just like I remember and it’s kinda fun. It’s somewhat difficult but after a few runs through both the Amazon and Transylvania, I managed to come out alive.

There are so many complaints about these types of games but I never understand why. If it’s not for you, don’t buy it! With PS+, I got it for a discount (and with Ibb & Obb, got $3 back). The demand is there because our generation grew up on these things and now as 30 and 40-somethings, we pump the money back in. Nothing wrong w/ that. OK. That’s it for my 2nd update in two months. Pathetic. More soon?

New Bone Fire MP3: Thirteen IV

Posted in Blog, Downloads, MP3s, Music on July 11, 2013 by slateman

I have had zero interest in posting anything online as of late. All my web sites are suffering and I haven’t been motivated enough to care, sadly. Tonight, however, I had a few minutes and now since the boy is no longer in our bedroom (he’s sharing a room with his sister), I have free reign of the PC after hours. The product is an interesting one. After playing some Saints Row: The Third w/ a friend, our game ended and I let the game idle on the title screen. The theme song was kind of catchy and so I grabbed my guitar, wrote a little theme and this track was born. Therefore, I must give credit to Malcolm Kirby Jr. as he is the author of the basis of this track. Please don’t sue me…it’s just a bit of fun and I won’t be making any money on this! So, here it is!

The Last Of Us

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, The Walking Dead with tags on June 19, 2013 by slateman

The_Last_of_Us_logo_RGB_whiteSo far, I’m not entirely sure what to think of this game. The basics are obvious. It’s gorgeous. The voice-acting is spectacular. It’s grueling and intense and conveys the most evident of facts: I want nothing to do with the undead…or whatever these infected are. The gameplay truly is intense and I’d much rather avoid combat entirely if at all possible. I don’t have enough bullets and it’s tiring fighting these guys. The downside of all of this is that for the first few hours, the game almost didn’t seem…fun. I want to go back to it because of all the polish, but the fun-factor is…strange. I’m scared to death of running around clickers. I don’t particularly want to go into that room! Scavenging materials is so essential; I’m thoroughly excited finding a few scraps of metal and half a pair of scissors. It’s insane!

But I am compelled to continue. I can’t wait to get a chance to sit down and play more. The audio is brilliant, with clear, crisp sounds coming from corners and every dialogue worthy of attention. I’m loving the relationship between Joel and Ellie and can feel the weight of the world. This is unlike any game I’ve played before, with the exception of The Walking Dead: The Game. It’s scary to think how vested we’re becoming with gaming characters; this is the true leap in gaming this generation IMO.

So…I’ve still got a long way to go…and I don’t see it getting any prettier as it goes along! That’s not to say it’s not worth it.

New Cubes On The Way!

Posted in Blog, Cubing on June 16, 2013 by slateman

CaseCubeLast year, I replaced my Windmill Cube with a new one and that puzzle remains one of my favorites to solve. It’s a lot of fun and while it’s relatively easy, it looks impressive. Now, a year later, the same student who wanted my original puzzle (I ordered one and gave her mine) wanted another one. So, I’m finally getting a Windmill Cube in black and I opted to get a Case Cube as well. This appears to be an extended Windmill Cube, really, and I don’t expect much out of it. However, it only cost me a few bucks in the deal and it should be a cool addition to the ever-growing collection. I’ll post my thoughts when it arrives, likely in a few weeks.

Kalmah: Seventh Swamphony

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Music, Reviews with tags on June 16, 2013 by slateman

Seventh SwamphonyAfter hearing the title track in advance, I was, for some reason, underwhelmed. Could Kalmah really put out a less-than-spectacular album? I was prepared for disappointment. Then, I listened to it.

Holy fucking hell, this album is incredible. Production? Flawless. Riffage? Old-school and fucking heavy. Solos? Better than ever. Drumming? Spot-on, solid, fast! Songwriting? Barring Moonsorrow’s masterpiece, this may be the best metal album in years. From the under-appreciated title song to the catchiest-song-in-their-catalogue, Deadfall, this album starts off with everything. Blistering fast, melodic grooves, memorable and heavy as hell. Hollo would have to be my least favorite, a very different type of track – but it is not bad, just different. Then the second half is impeccable. Windlake Tale, Wolves On The Throne, awesome. Black Marten’s Trace, whatever that means, is so fast and so heavy. The Trapper has its catchy intro riff and an epic outro that leads me straight back into track 1. I love this album. It’s got everything I love about metal and it proves that Kalmah is the best band of this century. They’ve yet to put out a bad album, and even the lackluster For The Revolution is better than most band’s better efforts. Play it again. And Again……

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug Poster

Posted in Blog, Books, Movies, Tolkien with tags , on June 16, 2013 by slateman

hobbit2-posterWhile The Lord Of The Rings was truly a cinematic event, I find The Hobbit films to be more of a fun jaunt. I’m psyched about the remaining two, but they certainly don’t have that epic grandeur that the LOTR films did. That’s OK, because the book was just a fun, lighthearted adventure. So, I’m quite looking forward to the film this December and here’s a poster for it. Sorry for no updates in a long time. Not like anyone is reading anyways!

Mini-Review: My Dying Bride – The Manuscript

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Music, Reviews on May 14, 2013 by slateman

The ManuscriptAnother EP from the kings of EPs. I recall a time when they had 2 LPs and 3 EPs and it was all downhill after that – in a sense. I recall The Angel And The Dark River and it took them a few years (and one interesting experiment) to get back to excellence. And since 1999, it’s been pretty consistent. The Dreadful Hours may be my favorite, Songs Of Light… not so good. A Line Of Deathless Kings came out in 2006 and since then, while solid, I haven’t been blown away. I like the stuff, but am not wowed and don’t tend to play any of the records/EPs/singles. I definitely liked the orchestral record and The Barghest O’Whitby is an excellent if not tough listen due to its length.

That long intro leads us to this four-song, half-hour offering that is both perfect in its duration and its quality. This stuff is fantastic, culling the best riffs and mood MDB has to offer from their vast catalog of sounds. From Var Gud Over Er‘s classic death growls to the chilling mood of the outro (Only Tears To Replace Her With), this EP is just about perfect. It’s got everything that the band does well. If that is considered playing it safe, then I hope for another LP of familiar safety. And in only one day of listening (four songs, remember), it’s up there with Amorphis’ Circle as the best of the year. Everything I love about MDB is right here. A+!!!

A Good Month For Metal!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Music on May 13, 2013 by slateman

Seventh SwamphonyOver the next month we’ll be treated to some exciting new metal releases! In fact, this is the biggest influx of new metal albums in recent memory. It’s simply impossible for them all to underwhelm, right? Let’s see what’s coming out. This is all stuff that’s set for release over a six-week period! I’m pretty psyched…that much should be clear.

My Dying Bride – The Manuscript (13th May)
Dark Tranquillity – Construct (27th May)
Megadeth – Super Collider (4th June)
Children Of Bodom – Halo Of Blood (7th June)
Summoning – Old Mornings Dawn (7th June)
The Black Dahlia Murder – Everblack (11th June)
Kalmah – Seventh Swamphony (17th June)
Amon Amarth – Deceiver Of The Gods (24th June)

I’m really psyched for the MDB, hoping for good things. The rest are pretty obvious. Strange that Dark Tranquillity still hasn’t released album art. The record comes out in two weeks!