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I’ve Had Enough for a Lifetime – What I’ve Been Doing 2 July 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jul 2nd, 2012 by Dan

I wish I could make up the fact that I’ve seen two episodes of this show. (Photo courtesy Screened.com)

As you may have figured out from the picture, weekends with Tiffany are a little different for my media experience. I like to think of it as a way to broaden my tastes and attitudes, but it’s also kind of tough to deal with some of these shows without laughing at how terrible they are.

Movies

Snow White and the Huntsman – Speaking of stuff I wouldn’t normally go to see…Look, this movie isn’t terrible, per se, it’s just…overlong. Like really long. It’s technically only 127 minutes, but it’s a long 127 minutes of watching K-Stew kind of pull it off. At least Chris Hemsworth has plenty of charisma. There were lots of lingering shots or just plain odd directorial choices, but I’m glad they trimmed it to what it was already. Also kind of weird that all of the dwarves were played by non-dwarves digitally put onto dwarven bodies. At least that allowed us to get Nick Frost smarming about, but I bet the dwarven union wasn’t happy.

TV

Futurama – Nothing says biting, relevant social commentary like an Ally McBeal parody, right? Right?! At least the criticisms lobbed at TV were less dated. Did enjoy the visual homage to Star Wars though. Beyond that, the Slurm episode was tremendously good. The show’s definitely on the uptick for me.

Louie – Season 2 hit Netflix, which is awesome. Didn’t get to finish the first episode because the power went out, but I’m glad it’s there and I’ll be checking it out for sure.

Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives – Best thing on the show: the stuffed porkchops. They took porkchops and, get this, they stuffed them with sausage. So much pig! So delicious looking.

Fashion Police – I think I’m starting to get the hang of this. Joan Rivers makes an inappropriate joke and everyone laughs at the wicked barb. Then they talk about a starlet’s dress. It could be worse, I guess.

The Client List – Not one, but two Lifetime shows this week. In this one Jennifer Love Hewitt lives in Texas and her husband abandoned her and her two kids. What’s a mom to do?! Work in a massage parlor called “The Rub” (not lying, that’s the name) and just do her best. Except her deadbeat husband showed up out of the blue and the cops are on to her…This show is just so melodramatic it’s hilarious. The deadbeat husband, he suggests they put peanut butter on the sandwiches his daughter made and it’s like he shot one of the kids. Why? She’s allergic to peanut butter. The way the music and their expressions changed…THAT made the whole thing worth it.

The Next Food Network Star – This is just like The Voice, but with cooking. Not terribly interesting to me because they were focusing more on being on-air personalities than on food this episode.

Cupcake Wars – All of the house, Tiffany’s roommate and his boyfriend, included, watched an episode where they were making cupcakes for the USO. I love when the show feels the need to subtitle Florian’s French accent.

Drop Dead Diva – I guess this is a show about a model who died and reincarnated into a larger woman’s body, but you wouldn’t know it from this 4th season episode. I mean, this show seems like it left its premise behind years ago (or maybe this is just an isolated episode?). The episode was kind of lawyer show-lite. I mean, it was like your typical network law show, but less good.

Music

Eric started checking out his last.fm milestones and he reminded me that I used to listen to The Zutons a lot. They were my first listens on the service and I hadn’t listened to them in a while. Guys, they’re good. At least I think so.

Books

1Q84 – Continues to be wildly interesting. I mean, this is good reading. Lots of suspense as Aomame prepares to assassinate Leader while Tengo is hiding out with Fuka-Eri.

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom – Look, this isn’t a bad book by any means. It’s just not for me. I admit I went into it with a lot of prejudice, but it does suffer from being over-technical, which I attribute to its author being a technical writer. Doctorow is a little more enamored with the interfaces and technology than he is with the character and action of his story. It’s a story driven more by nostalgia and rejection of technology than character action. Maybe I’m being nitpicky…I dunno. It’s worth a read since it’s so short, but it’s not gonna win any literary awards.

Video Games

No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise – Didn’t get to play as much of this as I wanted to because I was so tired this week. Still enjoying it, just gotta put more time in.

Mass Effect 3 – Did you guys realize how well written this game is? I started playing again to get to the new endings, but man does the game put you a far way back. Not to mention that I’m not confident about my readiness level. Want to play more this week, but Spelunky’s coming, so we’ll see.

The Binding of Isaac – Beat another challenge. Love this game. Got like three challenges to go (and they’re toughies).

Travis Touchdown – What I’ve Been Doing 25 June 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jun 25th, 2012 by Dan

Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes

No More Heroes is good for some easy cosplay. Travis Touchdown is pretty awesome (Photo by Elliot Trinidad)

Last week felt super long! Thank god it’s all over. At least I enjoyed myself plenty. Week two of the swimming experiment continued as well, reminding me of how woefully out of shape I am. Glad to have seen Kai again too. It’s a bummer that she no longer has work/business in Baltimore.

Movies

Prometheus – I went to see this with Ian last Monday. Despite what some critics might tell you, it’s not aggressively terrible. I think that my lack of prior Alien knowledge is what allows me to enjoy the movie so much. I came in with zero preconceptions and zero expectation and I left having seen the coolest surgical procedure ever and a pretty sweet squid vs. Engineer fight. This is not an A+, high-caliber piece of cinema, but it’s a fun summer film. Oh, before I forget, Michael Fassbender as David was INCREDIBLE.

Rampart – Woody Harrelson plays a dirty cop who is all kinds of damaged. The movie kind of starts in the middle and ends in the middle, but it was interesting, if not fragmented. I think most of you guys wouldn’t really dig it.

TV

Futurama – I’ll admit that the fat robot in the Mars University episode was pretty funny. I’m enjoying pushing through this show a few episodes at a time. I hope to get some more in this week.

The Thick of It – Watched the entire first series (I mean, it’s only three episodes. British television, everybody!). The first episode wasn’t particularly funny at all. It was just a lot of meanness and snarkiness, although it’s situationally hilarious in retrospect. In fact, it’s making me smile quite broadly. This show, in case you didn’t know, was Armando Iannucci’s show about English politics that precedes Veep (although it seems that they’re making a new series for 2012). It’s biting and it’s downright mean most of the time (meaner than Veep), but it’s still quite funny, especially past the first episode.

Music

You can get “Black Sheep” by Metric off of the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack, but if you want the Brie Larson version I recommend searching for it on last.fm where they have a downloadable 128 kbps one you can get. Great song.

Here’s another good Metric song:

Books

1Q84 – I’m in so hard for this book. It has gotten so good. I finally know how Tengo and Aomame relate to each other, but I’m not even 1/3 of the way done with this epic. So far the Little People are the scariest thing I’ve ever heard of. I think Aomame is gonna end up infiltrating Sakigake and maybe Tengo is gonna have to save her and Fuka-Eri. We’ll see.

Video Games

Diablo III – Inferno…yay? As you might expect I’m more interested in playing new or unfinished games so I haven’t logged into D3 in a while. I’ll get more time in this week during Marlins games (unless I end up reading between innings instead).

Civilization V – The Gods and Kings expansion pack came out and I’m really enjoying it. The new Faith system is neat and I enjoyed founding Buddhism, but I have yet to see how it will impact the whole game so far. Haven’t put too much time into it (sometimes I try and rest my arms when I get home since being on the computer all day makes my shoulders hurt), but I expect to win as the Siam empire!

No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise – There’s so much going on in this game that it’s hard to pick out just one thing. It seems that Suda51 is intentionally satirizing the video game fan and his pathetic existence in Travis. He has a lust for blood, is an otaku (he is mocked for this), and he endlessly and pathetically lusts over women. Most of the other assassins are similarly psychopaths and the game pretty heavily breaks the fourth wall. For what you’d think would be a mindless game, this has some hidden depth that I’m thoroughly enjoying.

2011 in Music [F]
Jan 3rd, 2012 by Dan

last.fm t-shirt

Thanks to last.fm, I can tell you what my personal favorite music of 2011 has been!

Top 10 Artists of 2011

1. The Beatles (1,156)

I’d say the number of tracks in my collection that are by The Beatles or by the Rx Bandits far outweighs the number of other tracks. It’s not a coincidence, since I love both bands, but I don’t think you’ll see these positions change much in the future.

2. RX Bandits (571)

The Bandits split up this year. It’s tragic, but that concert was amazing and I’ll always love their music.

3. Jonathan Coulton (343)

Coulton’s new release sparked way more interest in his work than I’d had last year. Adding in the band allowed his music to grow in a great way.

4. Arctic Monkeys (328)

The Monkeys are a pretty solid band and I got to see them live for the first time in 2011. Their new tracks are pretty solid, especially “Black Treacle”

5. Sambo Master (277)

I’ve written thousands of words about why I love this J-Rock band. They’ve got so much energy and emotion in their lyrics (that I can’t even understand!) and their place on this list is well-earned.

6. Kanye West (185)

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was an incredible album. It got lots of playtime throughout the year, but the final push that put it above OK Go happened as a result of the Giant Bombcast and their obsession with “Power”. I literally listened gave Kanye the listens he needed to get #6 in the last two days of the year.

7. OK Go (184)

OK Go is just a solid rock band. They’ve got great lyrics, great hooks, and they’re always great fun to listen to.

8. Rita Indiana & Los Misterios (172)

I ran into this fantastic merengue band thanks to Alt Latino. Rita makes merengue even more frantic and fun than you remember it being and I love her for it.

9. Sondre Lerche (163)

Everyone’s favorite Norwegian crooner. I like this guy because he’s got a clean

10. Janelle Monáe (161)

Janelle gets funkier than any human has any right to. Her latest, The ArchAndroid, was so well put together that I’m on the edge of my seat to see what she does next. A definite can’t miss.

11. Vampire Weekend (154)

I think these listens were front-ended on 2011. Not that I dislike VW now, but I can’t remember listening to their stuff all that much in recent months. I like busting out Contra in the cold winter to warm me up, but it’s been a mild one so far.

12. The Civil Wars (133)

Joy Williams and John Paul White have one of the most incredible duos I’ve ever been lucky enough to listen to. Their voices just go so well together and have this longing quality that is surprising considering they’re both happily married…to other people.

13. Alex Cuba (132)

This Cuban-Canadian crooner makes pretty chill, easy listening Spanish music that I can’t get enough of.

14. Keiichi Suzuki, Hirokazu Tanaka, Hiroshi Kanazu, Toshiyuki Ueno (127)

This would be the staff behind the music of Mother games. I picked up the soundtracks to the second and third game, but they’re so massive that this team rose quickly.

15. Wild Flag (123)

One of my favorite new bands of the past year, I still remember queuing for two hours (to no avail) on Record Store Day for a chance at their single. Their album turned out fantastically (easily one of the best of 2011) and seeing them live was awesome.

Top Tracks of 2011

1. Rita Indiana & Los Misterios – “El juidero” (27)

My go-to track for merengue that makes my legs want to move. “El juidero” was just fantastic and I remember putting it on all the time just to get my heartbeat up.

2. RX Bandits – “…And The Battle Begun” (25)

I have so many versions of the tracks on …And the Battle Begun that I listen to with such regularity that this song not appearing on this list would be weird.

3. RX Bandits – “Only For The Night” (24)

My favorite song makes the list? Shocker!

4. April Smith and The Great Picture Show – “Colors”, The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger – “Jardin du Luxembourg”, & The Book of Mormon Cast – “All-American Prophet” (22)

April Smith is awesome, we already know that, but I also fell in love with Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl’s little duo thanks to NPR. We also can’t forget how awesome The Book of Mormon‘s soundtrack is. Great stuff.

7. Wild Flag – “Glass Tambourine” & Jonathan Coulton – “Nemeses (Featuring John Roderick)” (21)

The first single of both band’s discs from this year got lots of listens from me in anticipation of the full tracks.

9. RX Bandits – “Decrescendo”, The Beatles – “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window”, Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich+Fussible – “I Count the Ways”, & Wild Flag – “Future Crimes” (19)

“Decrescendo” closes off a bunch of Rx Bandits recordings I own. “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” is my favorite part of the Abbey Road medley. “I Count the Ways” is my second favorite Nortec song on that album. “Future Crimes” is the other single from Wild Flag released before their debut album.

13. The Beatles – “Happiness Is a Warm Gun”, Barenaked Ladies – “Enid”, & OK Go – “WTF?” (17)

I listen to “Enid” a lot. Mostly when I’m mad at a girl, but sometimes just to get the heartbeat up. “WTF?” is not my favorite songs on OK Go’s new album, but it was their first single and it was free. “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” is one of The Beatles’ late, weirder songs, but man do I love it. So creepy and weird and awesome.

My 2010 in Music [Feedback]
Dec 31st, 2010 by Dan

last.fm t-shirt

Thanks to last.fm, I can tell you what my personal favorite music of 2010 has been!

Top 10 Artists of 2010

1. The Beatles (989 listens)

The re-release of the entire catalog reinvigorated my love for The Beatles as I more thoroughly explored their catalog and loved songs I’d never realized were by the Fab Four. Heaping praise on The Beatles is almost ridiculous, so I’ll leave it at that.

2. April Smith and The Great Picture Show (385)

This one doesn’t make as much sense to me. I think there might be some miscounting by one of my tagging services, but, regardless, I’ve loved April Smith since the first time I heard her singing “Terrible Things” on All Songs Considered. She was absolutely my breakout sensation of this year. There will be more on her in the New Year…

3. Rx Bandits (370)

“We get it, Dan. You love the Bandits, even though almost no one on earth has heard of them…”

4. Arctic Monkeys (295)

Kees van Dijkhuizen’s fantastic Youtube video Cinema 2009 featured “Crying Lightning” and I was hooked. Then I gave Favourite Worst Nightmare and I knew that these kids from Sheffield really knew what they were doing. We’ll see if 2011 will bring a new album.

5. Sambomaster (268)

“Shut up about Sambomaster already, Dan.”

6. The Zutons (179)

A fine band whose plays came mostly because I made “Put A Little Aside” the anthem for visiting a girl I was quite taken with. It’s a song about a guy having an affair, so I’m proving that we really only hear what we want to out of our favorite songs.

7. Jonathan Coulton (177)

Everyone’s favorite nerdy singer of songs about robots, monkeys, zombies, and evil geniuses continues to get tons of plays from me. Great stuff.

8 Glee Cast (165)

No comment.

9. Lucky Boys Confusion (163)

An old staple that will never get old. Too bad they broke up.

10. Girl Talk (147)

Talk about making a fast impression. With only two months of the year to make an impact, Girl Talk still finds itself in my top ten. Props.

Top Tracks of 2010

1. Felicia Day – “Penny’s Song” (88 listens)

Whoa, really? Wow. Didn’t realize I loved this song that much. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is one of my favorite musicals, but “Penny’s Song” isn’t really my favorite track from the movie. Oh well, I’m still happy to see this top the list.

2. Glee Cast (featuring Kristin Chenowith) – “Fire” (79)

I love this song. I’m just barely not embarrassed to admit it.

3. Sambomaster – “Ohベイビー” (70)

More Sambomaster love.

4. Stars – “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead” (68)

Another song I wouldn’t have heard if I never listened to All Songs Considered. Their episode on break-up songs featured this track by Stars and it blew me away. Always makes me think of Ashley. Nearly makes me cry plenty of times. This song is brutal and awesome at the same time.

5. Glee Cast (featuring Kristin Chenowith) – “One Less Bell to Answer/A House Is Not a Home” (65)

Kristin Chenowith’s voice is amazing.

6. Rx Bandits – “Mientras La Veo Soñar” (60)

A great song on a great 2009 album.

7. Lucky Boys Confusion – “Not About Debra” and April Smith and the Great Picture Show “Wow and Flutter” (58)

Probably my favorite song by LBC and one of April Smith’s best. Smith currently uses “Wow and Flutter” as the last song in her set and the band all plays fantastic solos. Love both of these songs.

9. The Zutons – “Oh Stacey (Look What You’ve Done!)” (55)

It’s weird to have this so high when I love at least four or five Zutons songs more than this one. Guess that’s how it goes when you do a lot of random shuffling.

10. April Smith and The Great Picture Show – “Drop Dead Gorgeous” (54)

Brilliant song, because, really, “If you’re just drop dead gorgeous, you should just drop dead”

Sony: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
May 4th, 2008 by Dan

SPOILER ALERT: This review may cover plot points that will spoil MGS3.

Whoever wins, the battle does not end. The loser is set free from the battlefield, while the winner must remain there. And the survivor will live out his life as the warrior until the day he dies.

-Big Boss to Solid Snake

The Story

Metal Gear’s story completely revolves around the subjects of loyalty and betrayal. From the absolute first game for the MGX all the way to Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake is always manipulated and even betrayed by the very people he has put his trust in. MGS 3 explores what is probably not the first betrayal in the MG canon, but the first important one. Kojima hops into his way-back machine to take us to 1964, the height of the Cold War. Our protagonist, the man who started it all, the man who will become Big Boss, the man who is the genetic father to Solid, Liquid, and Solidus, and the man who first takes the codename (Naked) Snake. It turns out that the Cuban Missile Crisis was not really averted at all by removing missiles from Turkey. No, it was a direct result of the US returning a valuable weapon’s scientist to the USSR. Well guess what, the US wants Sokolov back and so begins the Virtuous Mission.

Naked Snake is air dropped into the heart of the Soviet jungle and instructed to keep a low profile as he recovers Sokolov. On his support squad are Major Zero, the movie-loving Para-Medic, and last, we have Snake’s mentor, The Boss. If you’ve been reading this review at all, you can probably guess what happens to Snake as he begins his escape from Russia with Sokolov. The Boss betrays Snake, her team, the Cobra Unit, abducts Sokolov, and Snake is hurled off a bridge with a broken arm by The Boss where he is eventually recovered by US forces and taken home.

On their way out, the main antagonist, Colonel Volgin, nukes the former research facility that Sokolov was working at using missiles The Boss gave him as goodwill gifts, steals the Shagohad super weapon, and flees with Sokolov, the Cobra Unit, and Ocelot. Snake is debriefed by Major Zero a week later. Both Snake and the Major are in danger of being executed for treason. Khrushchev is not happy about the nuke going off and the US government does not believe that Snake was not involved with the defection of The Boss, his former mentor. Major Zero, Snake, and Para-Medic have one last chance: Snake must infiltrate Soviet Russia yet again, rescue Sokolov, destroy the Shagohad, kill Colonel Volgin, and, to prove his loyalty, kill The Boss. Because The Boss leads the elite Cobra Unit, the mission is given the name Snake Eater and the main game begins.

In many ways, this story is truly the masterpiece of MGS to date. Big Boss was a character born out of the 8-bit days, so his personality and his motivations seem very one-dimensional to anyone who remembers Metal Gear. Naked Snake’s (the future Big Boss) betrayal at the hands of The Boss is absolutely meant to parallel Solid Snakes betrayal at the hands of Big Boss and shows the unfortunate and inevitable chain of events that plagues every protagonist of Metal Gear games. Naked, Solid, even Raiden have all had to murder their mentors and masters as a final test to prove their worth. The final battle between Snake and The Boss gave me chills, I could not believe how well-acted and well-put together it was. MGS3’s ending is also amazing. You honestly have no soul if the end of this game, from at least the fight with The Boss onwards does not touch you in some way.

I raised you. I loved you. I’ve given you weapons, taught you techniques, endowed you with knowledge. There is nothing more for me to give you. All that’s left for you to take is my life, by your own hand. One must die and one must live. No victory, no defeat. The survivor will carry on the fight. It is our destiny… The one who survives will inherit the title of Boss. And the one who inherits the title of Boss will face an existence of endless battle.

-The Boss to Naked Snake

Gameplay

If you thought MGS2 had its gameplay down to a science, wait until you boot up Metal Gear Solid 3. The camera, I think, should be the first things we talk about. MGS and MGS2 featured fixed cameras that restricted your view to preset, dynamic camera angles (less dymanic, more static in MGS) that oftentimes concealed guards, but was assisted by the super-accurate radar, complete with vision cones. Well Metal Gear Solid 3 takes place in 1964. There are no nanomachines or soliton radars to show you where all the enemies are. You have sonar and a motion detector. One makes an audible beep, the other is only useful when enemies are moving. Both can also pick up wildlife. If you haven’t yet figured this out, MGS3 takes out a large degree of the guard stupidity where you would be able to tell exactly how far a guard could see based on his vision cone. It’s another added bit of realism that is quite difficult to get used to at first, but eventually really adds to the game as it starts to feel like less of a game.

On the topic of realism…Snake now has a stamina bar that determines how well he can aim, how long he can hang, and will, I believe, begin to drain his life bar if fully depleted. Stamina is recovered by eating the food scattered throughout the jungle, from snakes to frogs to mushrooms to flying squirrels and more. These animals can be shot dead (or knifed dead, exploded dead, punched dead, etc.) and stored in that way or tranquilized and stored in cages to keep fresh or even use as weapons (ie: throwing a poisonous snake at a guard to freak him out and/or poison him) Food can spoil and actually give Snake indigestion, which brings us to our next point. Snake’s health bar can be artificially depleted through injury. Bullet wounds, cuts and gashes, broken bones, poisonous animals, leeches, and indigestion can all afflict Snake and he must either repair his maladies in the CURE menu or you can also just save and quit and let time do the healing for you.

Even more controversial than the stamina meter is the camouflage system. At any given moment in time, Snake has a percentage bar in the top right corner telling the player how well Snake is blending in with his surroundings. High camo ratings means the enemy cannot see you, even if you are on the floor right in front of him. Of course, if he runs right up next to you and you’re not 100% camo-ed (which is impossible with included camo) you will be spotted. It doesn’t sound all that bad at first pass, but since camo options are handled in the pause menu, it amounts to a whole lot of pausing and unpausing just to swap face paints or camo suits. The new system does help add to the realism and make for smarter guards, but your willingness to suspend disbelief can be tested when, like I said, a guard is standing right next to you, but your forest colored pants are preventing him from seeing you.

The same basic weapons and accessories/items are included, but with a 1960s twist. There are no laser sights and there is no C4, but you get dynamite instead. Included is a new “Backpack” system, where Snake can only hold eight items and eight weapons accessible from the in-game menu, each with individual weights. The more weight he’s carrying at a given moment, the faster his stamina depletes. Items and weapons are swapped using an option in the pause menu.

Snake also still has the option to go through the entire game without specifically killing one human being through his own actions (mostly). As you all know, this is one of my favorite features of the Metal Gear series and it actually made me start GTA IV this week wondering if I could get by without killing anyone (you can’t).

One last word on the setting. MGS has typically had Snake infiltrating modern facilities and bases, not traipsing through the jungle, which I feel is a bit weaker of a locale. Hiding in the grass is cool and all, but I just love sneaking through futuristic settings instead of through the jungle, where I get bit by leeches and have to burn them off with a cigar. MGS4 should include a nice mix of both the more open jungle environments and the typical closed MGS locations, which should be a nice change of pace.

Liquid and Solid hunted down Big Boss, trying to sever the tie that bound them to him. Unless you kill me and face your past, Jack, you will never escape. You’ll stay in the endless loop — your own double helix.

-Solidus Snake to Raiden

Graphics

As mentioned before, MGS3 instead deals with a jungle setting, which means that we get a nice green, damp, jungle-y look. The color is a bit washed out on my PS3, but I’m wiling to forget that. The character models all look superb and only showed their last-gen limitations sparingly. This is one of the best looking games on the PS2 though, it’s not to be missed.

You’re a soldier! Finish your mission! Prove your loyalty!

-The Boss to Naked Snake

Sound

Jungle sounds! Birds, frogs, snakes, etc. They all sound about right. The strength of MGS3 lies in its superb soundtrack. If you ever go to my last.fm page, you may have noticed that I very recently received about six CDs worth of Metal Gear Solid soundtracks, which I am loving to death. The music in this game continually wows me as I listen to it.

The voice acting in this game continues to hold up to the high levels of quality one would expect. Snake, still voiced by David Hayter, is still the man and his team is still funny, if not just a wee bit less interesting this time around. There are still funny moments though:

“Sigint: Uh, Snake… What are you doing?

Snake: I’m in a box.

Sigint: A cardboard box? Why are you…?

Snake: I dunno. I was just looking at it and I suddenly got this urge to get inside. No, not just an urge – more than that. It was my destiny to be here; in the box.

Sigint: Destiny…?

Snake: Yeah. And then when I put it on, I suddenly got this feeling of inner peace. I can’t put it into words. I feel… safe. Like this is where I was meant to be. Like I’d found the key to true happiness.

Sigint: …

Snake: Does any of that make sense?

Sigint: Not even a little.

Snake: You should come inside the box… Then you’ll know what I mean.

Sigint: Man, I don’t wanna know what you mean! Between you and Para-Medic, is everyone but me that is hooked up with the Major strange!?

Snake: …

Sigint: Yeah, well, anyway, I suppose even that dumbass box might make a decent disguise if you wear it inside a building.”

Overall

I’m still absolutely in love with the Metal Gear Solid series, even after three games. The characteristic humor is still there (when you die you get a message that fades into “Time Paradox.” this message can also be prompted by killing Ocelot, a character in the later (chronologically) MGS games), the gameplay is still 100% superb, and the stories all get better with each game. I’m starting to approach a bit of a bittersweet point with MGS4, since I’ve heard it’s the pinnacle of the series, but I don’t want it all to end. Should you play Metal Gear Solid 3? Absolutely.

There’s only room for one Boss… and one Snake…

-The Boss to Naked Snake

Mr. Digital: iPod Touch
Apr 17th, 2008 by Dan

So my iPod Video decided that my right ear was incidental, so it stopped transmitting sound to my right headphone, unless I applied pressure is some sort of arcane, randomly determined direction at all times. Lucky for me, since I got it pre-owned off of eBay, I put a SquareTrade warranty on it, so they will cut me a check to replace my old iPod.

With said money being more than half the cost of an iPod Touch, I forked over the cash to pick up a brand-spanking new iPod touch. Let me just say that it is awesome. Here’s the Pro/Con breakdown

Pros

-Sleek, small, sexy
-Flash memory instead of a hard drive
-Connects to the internet through 802.11
-Touch screen interface is totally intuitive and works well
-If you do Jailbreak your iPod Touch, you can update in Amarok via 802.11 and scrobble while listening and a connection is present. Otherwise, scrobble data is stored and uploaded when network resources do become available
-Tons of neat little things you can do with it, especially if you Jailbreak it

Cons

-POOR LINUX COMPATIBILITY (when not Jailbreak-ed)
-Hard to impossible to adjust volume and skip tracks without seeing screen
-Unless you have magically oil-less fingers, you will smudge the glass screen to all hell
-Apple SDK is not out yet, so you have to Jailbreak the iPod for now to download third party software and interface with Linux

I don’t know if it’s too subtle, but my main gripe is said lack of Linux support at the moment. God knows Apple’s never going to waste its time adding Linux support to their product just to appease a computing minority, but why do they have to radically change their systems so that they no longer function or interface with old software? Until I either Jailbreak my iPod, Amarok comes out with better Touch support, or the SDK fixes things, I can neither easily scrobble tracks or even use Amarok to interface with my iPod. Instead, I have to use the one piece of software that I loathe, yet deal with as a necessary evil as rarely as humanly possible: iTunes.

Everything else is great though. Great sound output, internet capability, easy e-mail checking of Gmail, Google Maps integration, and the usual video, music, and picture capabilities. My recommendation: worth a purchase, especially now that there’s a 32 GB model available.

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