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What I’ve Been Up To
A couple of friends have asked what I think about the Xbox One reveal the other day and to be honest, I didn’t really pay much attention to it. I just got my 360 last year, so the idea of upgrading it hadn’t even occurred to me. I went and took a look at the One news and there isn’t much there that would tempt me to do so.
I joked on Twitter that the only question I’d have about the new console is, “Does it play Borderlands 2?” since that’s seemingly all I ever play (look, I had to try out the new Psycho character class, didn’t I? And there’s Tiny Tiny DLC coming soon!) Turns out my joke question has an answer, and that answer is: No. There’s no backwards compatability. Well, that’s kind of all I need to know, for now.
There are seven years worth of Xbox 360 games that are all new to me. Brand new Calls of Duty and Grands Theft Auto can similarly wait. I’m currently not even in a big hurry to play the brand new stuff on the system I already have. As with most things, I’m pretty content to let others try it out first and see if it’s any good before I jump in on it.
The other relevent news is that it won’t run used or borrowed games. That kind of sucks, though more for the latter. The whole reason I even got Borderlands 2 in the first place was because Dan loaned me Borderlands and I really enjoyed it. So that’s a sale that specifically came about thanks to loaning! (We’ll not talk about the many more sales that were lost because Dan’s loaned me games.) I don’t really like buying games used, but I like the option of getting rid of games I don’t want anymore. I’m about to put Tomb Raider in the mail for Chris Sims because it was okay, but I don’t see myself playing it again. Why not send it to someone who wants it? In the Xbox One world, that game would now just be a big chunk of worthless nothing. In that scenario, I will be less likely to buy a game unless I’m pretty sure I’ll get multiple plays out of it.
The main focus of the announcement seemed to be on how the new console is an all-in-one super entertainment system, which couldn’t speak to me personally less. I really don’t care about picture-in-picture stuff or skyping on my Xbox or Halo TV shows or any of that stuff. We do use the Xbox for watching DVDs and stuff on Netflix and the occasional perfectly legal download of Justified but the current system’s performance in these areas is absolutely fine for our needs.
Then there’s the bit about the Kinect. It’s now an obligatory part of the system. You can say “Xbox On!” to turn it on because before there was all that tedious pushing of a button on the controller to do that. I’m not a paranoid (much) but I just don’t see the need for my Xbox to literally be looking at me all the time.
There’s just nothing “must-have” about any of this for me, and in fact a fair amount of “would prefer not to have”. I think I’m going to be just fine ignoring this thing and sticking with the machine I already have and like.
Of course, that might change once Borderlands 3 is announced.
And now, a sexy quiz for you!
Here are two ladies enjoying some sensual activity time.
What are they going to do as soon as the climactic moment is over?
Why, immediately put their bras back on and then lay back again and relax, of course!
I just finished the comic Aldebaran by Léo. It’s the first part in a series, and the first book in Betelgeuse, the sequel, is coming my way soon. Aldebaran was pretty good and I’m looking forward to part two.
The original work is French, and there’s a fair amount of sexy sex involved. Cinebook, which translated and published these works in English, decided to “modify” certain illustrations, “in order not to upset our more sensitive readers”. (They say this is with the author’s consent.) Their solution is bras, bras everywhere! In addition to the examples above, there are scenes in which a person who is clearly going “au naturel” lifts up her shirt to reveal…sudden magic bra!
Look, I’m sitting at a computer connected to the Internet, the Aladdin’s Lamp of Porn. If I want to see a breast, I have literally dozens to choose from, in whatever size, shape, and density I desire. It’s okay by me if I read comics that don’t have boobs in them. However, these weird stealthy ninja bras, appearing out of nowhere, are just ridiculous. I would seriously prefer if instead Cinebook did this:
Now the offensive body parts are replaced with adorable French pixie Amélie! Your mind doesn’t go, “Wait a minute, there wasn’t one Amélie there a moment ago, much less two!” Instead it correctly realizes material is being censored and moves on accordingly. With the bras, it’s a sort of uncanny valley of sexiness because it’s almost familiar yet not quite right.
I’m not much for reading interviews with artists and creators because I’d much rather just look at the work, but man, I want someone to track down whoever had to draw in all those bras and interview them. I want to know that person’s story.
Oh, the comic itself? Something about a mysterious sea creature and an oppressive government and also bras.
I like me some beer. I didn’t always, because for a long time I didn’t realize that the Budweiser and Miller swill people drink in high school (at least in high school in the 80s) is garbage and beer is supposed to actually taste like something. I’m not, however, a very knowledgeable beer drinker. I know what I like — Sam Adams’ Octoberfest, Dogfish Head Chicory Stout, and no, I don’t mind a Blue Moon at all — but I don’t know enough about beer to know how to look at a description of a beer and know if it’s something I might like. Trial and error seems to be my only tool, and since there are a million different beers and I can never remember what I’ve had and liked, it hasn’t really gained me much traction. Every time I’m beer shopping I may as well be that guy from Memento.
There’s a newish place nearby called The Beer Shop. It’s a great store and it could be a godsend if I knew enough to use it properly. They sell beer by the single bottles, so you can explore away, but that of course assumes you have some kind of competence and memory to draw from. Instead, I just pick six things more or less at random and hope for the best.
I did this recently and the results were not spectacular. Here’s how it went.
Ithaca Apricot Wheat — Not actually part of the mixed six I bought, instead I jumped in on an entire six pack of this. One of them was okay, but six? No. I made it through five of them and then swapped the remaining one with pal Brian for
Lagutinas Sucks (Brown Shugga’ Substitute Ale) — I don’t know the Brown Shugga’ that this is a substitution for (it’s apparently pretty popular, which is why Lagutinas “sucks” for not making it this year) but this was pretty good.
Okay, with those two out of the way, let’s look at my six pack of failure.
City Steam Innocence — An “XXXtra India Pale Ale” that was more of whatever it is about IPAs that makes me not the biggest fan of them.
Clown Shoes Clementine White Ale — I don’t remember much about this one. I think it was okay.
Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron — I don’t even know what the hell this is. It’s described as a “malt beverage”, which should have been my first clue. It was like drinking horrible sweet glue and, though I’ve never done this, I nearly just quit and switched to something else. Pal Brian, who is an avid beer explorer, took a sniff of this and declined a taste. Horrid.
Het Anker Gouden Carolus (Red Stripe) — Way, way too sweet. Ugh.
North Coast Brother Thelonious — Here was an attempt to use the ol’ noggin. I had tried this one before and liked it, so I was actually learning from previous efforts in an attempt to impress my handlers. Didn’t grab me as much this time around, but not too bad.
Orkney Skull Splitter — After the disappointments above (note, I didn’t drink all of these in one sitting) this was a pleasant change. Hit just about the right spot for me.
I’m not looking to become a connoisseur. I don’t want to be the beer equivalent of the guy who only listens to bands nobody’s heard of. All I’d really like is enough knowledge to make informed guesses as to what I might like. So like, if I’m in a restaurant and they have a bunch of beers described, I can think, “Oh, this might be a good one to go with!” That’s really all I’m trying to do. Is there a “Beer for Dummies Who Don’t Necessarily Want to Be Experts” guide out there?
The Convoy is a new two-player game by the creator of and set in the world of Neuroshima Hex and 51st State/The New Era, which is a ravaged, post-apocalyptic USA. In The Convoy, the robotic hordes of Moloch are headed for New York City, and the forces of the Outpost must stop them. Fierce battles take place along the way, with five particularly notable stops. I’ll probably be talking about the game itself eventually, but for now I’m focusing on one interesting detail. These are the cards that show where the battles take place:
If you look closely (click on the image for a close-up) you can see that the location cards have latitude and longitude on them, which means we can use Google Maps to see exactly where these battles take place!
The first step along Moloch’s convoy is “Ziggy One”, located at 47°20’2″, -93°0’2″. Probably your first thought is that this refers to Ziggy Stardust or Ziggy the beloved comic strip loser or maybe Ziggy Marley. In fact, “Ziggy” is short for “Ziggurat”, a tower with its top in the heavens, located in Hibbing, MN.
Actually, it’s about five miles southwest of Hibbing. Specifically, it seems, at the corner of S. Leighton Road and where Malmquist becomes Owens. Look, I’m not the one who provided these very specific coordinates. I guess the ziggurat hasn’t been built quite yet. I guess Hibbing really develops between now and the Neuroshima setting.
The next stop on the Convoy is “Iron Gate”, located at 41°16’29″, -88°14’41″. Iron Gate turns out to be this place:
Google Maps claims this is in Wilmington, IL, but it’s actually much closer to Braidwood, IL. The city of Braidwood’s web page lists several nearby sights and attractions, but nothing about an Iron Gate. We’re about 50 miles southwest of Chicago and not far from Kankakee. I’ve been to Kankakee and if Moloch wants to raze it with war robots, it is more than welcome to.
So far this is not a very good road trip, but look what’s next! “Cleveland Harbour”, coordinates 41°30’7″, -81°42’19″, which Google Maps confirms is in Cleveland, OH, and right in the harbo(u)r!
This battle will be taking place near Cleveland Browns stadium and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It looks like they’re building something right at the battle site itself.
Ha ha, don’t spend too much time building that, suckers!
Enough of the Midwest. The Convoy puts the pedal to the metal and its next stop is “Jersey Crust”. Its coordinates are 40°5’17″, -74°15’16″, which is in Lakewood Township, NJ.
It’s been a long drive, so I’m sure Moloch is happy there’s a pizza place here! Lakewood Township is about 60 miles SSW of New York City, so it’s probably not a bad idea to grab a bite an have a battle here first, as those things will probably be much more expensive once they get there.
Finally, The Convoy makes it to “New York” itself, and has its final showdown against The Outpost at 40°43’8″, -74°0’15″, which is, of course in New York City, NY. Looks like it’s in Tribeca or Soho, but I’m no expert at the intricacies of NYC geography.
This is the first stop on the itinerary where the Street View car bothered to go, so we can actually see the battle site up close and personal! Here it is:
According to my sources, the final battle of this game takes place at Let There Be Neon, a store specializing in neon signs.
Here’s the whole trip:
According to Google Maps, the journey encompasses 1500 miles (2414 km) and should take about 24 hours. If you are playing Moloch, be advised that there are toll roads along the way.
Another obscure song has resurfaced! Years of looking for the song “Somebody Tell Me” by Tirez Tirez have finally paid off.
It’s not that great of a song, a bit of mid-80s jangle-pop, but it was on one of my mix tapes and I’ve never been able to find a digital version of it.
For your entertainment, for anyone else looking for this, and for a limited time, here’s the track: