Saturday, December 31, 2011

...I'm growing up and I don't like it...

So another holiday season has come and gone. Another holiday season spent with the family cooking a fucking phenomenal prime rib roast and guzzling down wine. And like seasons past, my parents had no idea what to get me (because they apparently don't know what it is I do with my time) and so I ended up with electric toothbrushes and a pretty decent wad of cash.

Now before you all get up in arms about how lucky I should feel and how I'm selfish and rude and an entitled asshole and that there are kids out there who aren't getting anything this year and blah blah blah, this isn't a post about that. I know I'm fortunate. I have a job, I can afford a comfortable life, and I know it. Believe me I know it. This is not a post about that, so put your fucking torches and pitchforks away. There will be plenty of time for that later (especially the way this world is going :P).

No, this is a post about how I think I'm slowly doing what I said I would never do. I'm (scarily enough) starting to grow up and possibly even becoming a wee bit more responsible.

Yeah, I know. That face you're making? The one where your jaw is agape and you're possibly drooling on yourself with shock? Yeah that's the one I'm making too.

See, normally when presented with a couple hundred dollars in cash I wasn't expecting to receive, what did I do? Well I went out and bought the newest, nicest toy that I always wanted by never got. You know what I did this year? Well, for one thing, I still have almost all of it. Do you know what I've spent it on? Groceries, jeans, underwear and a bathroom scale. You know what I'm going to go spend some more of it on? Curtains for my room, probably those thermal insulating ones that everyone keeps telling me to get.


What the fuck is wrong with me? If you approached me a year ago and said "Hey Eric, you got a couple hundred bucks for Christmas, what are you going to get with that money?" I'm sure (since you all know me and all of my deep dark secrets and personality flaws SO well) you would all have expected me to say "Well the iDroid Galaxy X platinum fire 5G just came out and I'm gonna get EIGHT OF THEM because I need one for EVERY ROOM IN MY HOUSE and sure it'll only cost SIX THOUSAND dollars but now I have a couple hundred to subsidize that cost now so I'M FUCKING GOLDEN BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA"

And now what am I thinking of? Fucking heat insulating curtains.

I think the worst part about all this is, I have no idea when this happened. Is this a good thing? I guess so? I think I should balance out this newfound maturity by making a slip-n-slide out of Ben 'n Jerry's ice cream in the driveway.

...And that's what I learned today.

Friday, December 16, 2011

...I never thought I would be writing this post...

So some context. I'm writing this in a state of mild to moderate delirium (as many of my blog posts seem to be going now). If you feel like making one yourself, you have to mix 2 parts cold with 1 part coming into work super early and a dash of...well...the topic of today's blog post.

Awkward and awfully written introduction piece over, lets get down to why I'm writing this post.

When I say I never thought I would be writing this blog post, I meant it. I never thought it would come to this...ever. But I guess it's finally that time.

I started playing an MMO. Yes that's right I've started playing Star Wars the Old Republic...and I'm enjoying it...
/social life.

"But why is this so weird? Lots of people play WoW and SWTOR just came out and you're lucky to get in early and blah blah blah blah" I hear you ask. Well I guess this deserves a bit of explanation as all of you out there in Internet land haven't lived your entire life with me the same way I have. (That's a lie...only my friends read this anyways...)

Flashback to the 1990s. Everquest hits the shelves to massive acclaim. What's Eric doing at this point in time (besides awkwardly staring at girls and running away screaming when they made eye contact?), well decrying the unjust system of payment levied by the greedy game companies that Everquest embodied. I swore that I would NEVER play a game that required me to first purchase the client and then PAY MONTHLY to play the damn thing.

Move forwards a bit. The Xbox is released. With it comes Xbox Live. What's Eric doing at this point in time? Playing Halo with his buddies in their basement all the while proclaiming "Never shall I give in to the tyranny of paying to play my games online! This is clearly just money grubbing from the obviously corrupt and greedy Microsoft! But I will stay strong! The internet should be a free and wild place where people can game for free and mod to their hearts' content!" (Did anyone else picture me wearing a monocle and top hat here? Well if you didn't before, you just did.)

Since then, WoW, Eve Online, Guild Wars, LOTRO, and many more have come and gone, yet I remained steadfast in my disapproval of subscription based payment models in gaming.

Well sadly, that has changed. After getting peer pressured into preordering a copy of SWTOR, I got an email saying that I got into the game early. So after logging off my work computer, I proceeded to create my character and start playing. And then I realized several things. First, I realized that it was midnight. Second, I realized I hadn't eaten dinner yet. Third, and most importantly, I realized just how easy it was for people to starve to death playing MMOs. Seriously! I went like 12 fucking hours without food and didn't even realize it. I'M A FAT KID. I LIKE FOOD. AND WHEN A FAT KID IGNORES FOOD FOR THAT LONG, OTHER PEOPLE WOULD ACTUALLY WASTE AWAY AND DIE. Luckily for me I had plenty of calories stored up and the fast didn't bother me, but GODDAMN.

So long story short, this is likely the last blog post I ever write because I will be dead by the end of the month after forgetting to eat or drink or breathe air thanks to this goddamn game. Fuck my life...

...And that's what I learned today.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What we need more of in this gaming world

I've come to a realization recently, that games as a whole are beginning to lose touch with what they are supposed to be. And that we, as the consumers of their product, are beginning to forget why we consume their product. I'll get into my reasoning and thoughts in a bit, but first, a thought experiment. Answer the questions honestly.

Do you play video games? Yes? Good. Do you know WHY you play video games? Is it for the story? Is it for the competition? Is it for the spectacle? Take a moment and really think WHY it is you play games.

I'm sure by this point you're all wondering "Why is Eric all srs business all of a sudden?" Well to tell you the truth, this is something that has been on my mind for a bit of time now, and I figured I'd finally get around to writing it. But first, let me tell you why I reached this conclusion.

A few months ago, I lost my xbox headset. Huge tragedy yes I know, and not satisfied with simply loaning my roommate's headset which, according to reports, barely worked, I decided to hop on Amazon and further abuse their free prime shipping with a brand spanking new xbox headset. Skipping over the more cheaply made and fragile official microsoft headsets, I decided on a slightly more robust, yet not overly gaudy Plantronics set. This was going to run me about 11 dollars. Not a big deal. I did however, have $20 promotional credit towards a video game related purchase sitting there that I had not yet used. Apparently Amazon took this purchase to mean that I wanted to use ALL of my promotional credit on an $11 mic. Finding no way around their forced spending, I decided to simply bite the bullet and buy myself a new game, or in this case, preorder. Yes I put money down for the much talked about Modern Warfare 3. Up until this point I had told myself that I wasn't going to buy this game, that i was going to be a battlefield 3 player through and through, that I wouldn't go back to Call of Duty after what it did to me in MW2, but like the cliche of an abused significant other I apparently am in the Lifetime channel TV Movie that is my life, I came crawling back. (Thanks fuckers)

On that fateful day when MW3 arrived, I opened the packaging and tore through the single player campaign. I'm not going to do an in depth review here, but suffice it to say, it's clear that to them, the story was just a vestigial end that needed tying up. So naturally, single player missions completed, I hopped onto the multiplayer. Yes it felt like the Modern Warfare 2 that I knew and loved, but somehow, less shitty. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but things seemed to be going pretty well. But this comfort and satisfaction was short lived to say the least.

Exactly one week after MW3's release, the bullshit began. The noscoping, the trick shots, the button pictures in the clan tags circumventing the swear filters childishly spelling out words like "anal", "fart" and once, a horrifically sad attempt at "queer". Like a greasy meal at a disgusting diner, all of my contempt and hatred for the series came flooding back in one horrific wave. I remembered everything I hated about the game, everything I hated about its fans, and everything I hated about Xbox live.

It was about at this point that I realized that, playing call of duty for me, was no longer about having fun. I did not play the game to have fun. I played the game to have a bigger numerical e-penis than the fuckstick 13 year old that was constantly calling me a "fucking gay ass fag" for killing him a couple too many times that last match. The fun isn't in the game anymore, the fun is in the stats, the fun is in gloating to all your friends that you have a 2.0 kill/death ratio in a game in which you are a digital soldier running around an enclosed space killing other digital soldiers. In other words, it's FUCKING MEANINGLESS.

And that's when it hit me. Games are losing touch with their intended purpose. What's that purpose you ask? Well that's to provide entertainment, to be FUN. We play games because they're meant to be FUN. Say what you want about escapism, about telling a proper story, about character development, it doesn't matter, the underlying purpose is FUN, and I can't help but believe that the industry at large has lost sight of that fact.

A while back, I played a game called Bulletstorm. It was developed by a tiny studio called People Can Fly and produced by masters of the brown and grey palette, Epic Studios. It generally flew under the radar, didn't make any kind of real splash in the market, and nobody was really talking about it (hipster status get). But, intrigued by the notion of skillshots, I downloaded the demo. I cannot even begin to count the number of times I played that demo. So I decided to spring for the full game, and it was worth every penny in my mind. This was a stupid purchase in the minds of many. It was an 8-10 hour campaign with only a co-op multiplay that nobody was playing, so why did I feel that paying 60 bucks for a game with no replayability was a good investment? Because I had fun with it. The entire notion of adding up points for killing in new and creative ways, trying to chain together combinations of tricks and gathering multipliers was childish, inane, gruesome and every bit as fun as I had hoped it would be. I had more fun with that game than I had being called a cock loving ass clown by the hick from kansas whom I had just killed in MW3 all for the sake of being able to tell my friends that I have a 1.39 KDR as if that means something.

But this isn't the studios faults entirely. The fact of the matter is, this is what we wanted. MW3 is simply a victim of the times. From the impotent 5 hour campaign to the incessant stat tracking, THIS is the future we imagined for ourselves and THIS is what we got. Could this be the harbinger of things to come? Hopefully not. Certainly not if Bethesda, the makers of Skyrim keep doing what they're doing. And I can tell you right now that between Just Cause 2 and Saints Row The Third (which produced the best teaser trailer I've EVER seen), I will have plenty of physics breaking, madcap fun to distract myself from how much I hate everything and everyone when I play MW3.

The fact of the matter is, we have plenty of numbers in our every day lives that we can use to make ourselves feel superior to the lowly peons and assholes around us, be it test scores, GPA, paycheck, home value, number of people slept with or even just height. Why do we need another?

...And that's what I learned today. Well not week...but you know...whatever.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

...The state of politics in this country is a sad affair...

This blog post is thanks to my cool, gay (soon to be ex :( ) room mate James.

Firstly, I want you to skim this article. Go on, I'll wait.

All set? Good.

Now I'm sure the first thing you're thinking of right now is "Oh that's horrible, I can't believe a fast food chain would do such a thing! I love gay people! They're great! I'm never going to eat Chick-fil-A ever again!" or perhaps even something like "Go figure...the south is at it again..."

And that is all well and good, but I'd like to draw your attention in a slightly different direction. This isn't about southerners, this isn't about the definition of traditional marriage or gay rights or any of that political nonsense. (Not to say it's not important, that's just not the kind of blog this is....all serious 'n shit...)

No lets focus on the fact that a company is making donations to anti-gay foundations...a company...that is primarily concerned...with the production and sale...of fried...fucking...chicken...

Am I the only one seeing something wrong with this? Yes I understand that it is nothing new for companies to donate to charities and that many companies take part in this practice. I mean even McDonalds has that little donation box thing near their registers that gives your unwanted pocket change to a charity which apparently prides itself in building freakishly colorful Kremlin building replicas in other parts of the world. It's not the donating thing that gets to me...Do me a favor, go back to the beginning of that article again...go ahead...I'll wait.

Did you read that first sentence? No? Fine I'll copy it here. It says:

"The Georgia-based fast-food chain Chick-fil-A has never hid its conservative leanings"

I'm sorry but what? A fast food company can have "conservative leanings?" How the fuck does that work? THEY MAKE GODDAMN FRIED CHICKEN. I don't know about you, but I don't really like the people who make FUCKING FRIED CHICKEN to tell me what is morally right or not.

And it's at this point that we start to get to the root of the issue. The problem here is corporations meddling with political affairs. Companies should concern themselves with the issues around their company. In this case, Chick-fil-A should really be focusing on the product they make (fried chicken), their customer base (mall-goers), their operations (acquiring cutting edge fried chicken technologies), and their locations (that super hot location between the Sbarro and that generic place that sells "cajun food", usually called "Big Easy", "Cajun Grill", or "Down in N'Orleans we eat this shit all day but if you eat it you'll shit your brains out for a week"). The last thing that a FRIED CHICKEN COMPANY should be concerning themselves with is who their next door neighbor is marrying or what the definition of family is.

Maybe this is all just me. Maybe I grew up during a time where companies didn't meddle with the political goings on (or perhaps I was just too concerned with pokemon and picking my nose to notice/care). But the fact is, there should be no reason that a corporation should have political leanings of any kind, conservative, liberal or otherwise. A corporation should concern itself with one thing, and that is their product. I don't give a fuck if the CEO of that company donates to whatever charity or organization he or she wants, that is their right as an American no matter how much I personally disagree with the motive of the organization they donate to (though donating to an organization that has been classified as a Hate Group ain't right). So here's a quick pro-tip Chick-fil-A. If you spent nearly as much money donating to disallowing gays to marry as you did improving your chicken recipe, maybe...JUST'd be able to find some semblance of success up here in the North East and finally breach that ever coveted top 10 spot that you can't seem to grasp. KFC doesn't tell me what to do or think and so far as I can tell, they're still beating your asses in the rankings, so suck on those 11 secret herbs and spices.

...And that's what I learned today...

PS: In case you were wondering, Chipotle would seek looser immigration laws, Subway would support legislation stating that tessellating cheese triangles is punishable by law, White Castle would look to legalize pot, Wendy's is a firm activist for women's equality in the work place (as well as a major backer for Gingers' rights) and Burger King is looking to reorganize our government into a Parliamentary Monarchy, headed by none other than the king himself.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

...I have lots of first world problems...

Chief amongst them is neglecting my blog. Oh hi, yes I know you still exist and that you probably don't care about this anymore, but that's not going to stop me from spewing my self-righteous gibberish into the intertubes.

Quite a few things have happened since I last posted, so I guess I finally have more things to talk about at least for a little while. So why don't we just take a quick run-down of things going on in my life. And yes I'll be getting back the aforementioned topic of this post in a little bit.

First and foremost, I reached a huge milestone in my life, realized a goal that has ever sat in the corners of my mind. I have finally built a gaming computer. Now many of you readers out there (who aren't gamers in the strictest sense) are wondering "how is that at all significant in any way, shape or form?" Well dear readers, the fact of the matter is, this is something that I have been thinking and talking about doing since I was in MIDDLE SCHOOL. (Back when most kids were just hoping for more money to fund their Neopets addictions, I was thinking BIG.)

This whole gaming addiction started back when I was young. Back in the day, my parents were pretty controlling about TV usage (remember how we didn't get cable until I was in college? Yeah.) and I was typically tied up with my extended day program in elementary school, so it didn't leave much time for me to watch what few cartoons I had access to at the time. But one day, my cousin sent me back his old game system from Taiwan. It was a Chinese NES clone that had a single cart which could play something to the tune of 80 DIFFERENT NES games. I played a TON of them without even knowing what they were or what system I was playing. I played Mario, Excite Bike, Elevator Action, Baseball, Penguin Adventure and even Battle Tanks (complete with a level editor!).

But my favorite of all time was Contra.

(For those of you who feel like waxing nostalgic for a bit here, throw on the Jungle Jam music on youtube for this next section).

The cheap little Chinese knock off cart that I was playing on had every possible permutation of Contra, complete with the 30 lives konami cheat preloaded. I loved that game. Can't say why or how, perhaps it was because it was the first game I ever beat (with the help of my cousin...and the 30 lives cheat...SHUT UP I WAS FUCKING 7). That was what started this addiction in me. This eternal lust for all things gaming was furthered along by the afterschool program's decision to buy a Sega Genesis to allow us kids to play on. This was my exposure to all things Sega. From Sonic and Sonic 2, to Aladdin and even Ecco The Dolphin, I was a genius. (By which I mean I could get past the first level). Children from all around flocked to watch me work my magic. Even the children after me opted to let me take their turn so they could catch a rare glimpse into Marble Zone Act 2. Vacation weeks were especially wondrous for me. This same program held a special vacation week for school vacations full of field trips to the roller rink and Disney on Ice shows. There were movies and snacks and it was a wonderful time. But I was more interested in the Super Nintendo they had. This was an area of gaming that I had no idea about. All I knew was the controller made different things on the screen do different stuff, and that was enough for me.

Eventually playing these weren't enough. I eventually begged and pleaded my parents for a Game Boy. They said it would kill my eyes and I'd go blind, but I begged and begged. Finally one christmas, I got my very own Game Boy Pocket. It was bright yellow and glorious. I kept that thing in immaculate condition and fed it a constant stream of triple A batteries. I fought my way through Zelda: Link's Awakening, got retro with Super Mario Lands 1 AND 2, and beat the Elite 4 at least four dozen times in Pokemon Blue. Then the school banned game boys in all forms. So my nerd-dom took off in new directions. Magic the Gathering, pokemon cards, Dungeons and Dragons, Pogs, Crazy Bones everything.

Finally I made it to middles school. Thoroughly indoctrinated in nerd lore, steeped in geek culture and infused with dorky tendencies, I got involved with the hitherto undiscovered world of PC games. Prior to this point, I was running a Mac LC520 and playing freeware games and rocking the shit out of space blaster and number muncher. But it wasn't until the middle school started a fundraiser by having us sell magazines that I realized what gaming truly was. In case your school didn't run these kinds of fundraisers, the gist is that you go around and annoy your neighbors, parents, parents' coworkers and extended family, trying to sell them magazine subscriptions which you could then trade in for points which you could use to buy stupid bullshit prizes like "SPY SUNGLASSES" that had SUPER AWESOME REAR VIEW MIRRORS TO SEE WHO IS "FOLLOWING" YOU! I used this opportunity to buy myself (and by buy myself, I mean make my parents buy) a subscription to PC Gamer.

The stuff I saw in that magazine entranced me. I wanted all of it. I had to have all of it, play all of it. The colors, the graphics, 3D! Words couldn't describe how badly I wanted to get my hands on these games. I wanted, no needed to play Starcraft, Oddworld, Half Life, Doom, EVERYTHING. But my computer at the time couldn't handle any of them. Thus started my desire for a properly built gaming PC. I didn't know anything about computers or how they worked, I just knew that the higher the numbers were, the better it was and the more expensive it was. So I stared at the Alienware and Falcon Northwest ads with envy, wanting it all. I even remember a time when, in middle school, we were given the task to furnish our dream room (probably as a lesson on looking shit up on the internet, I don't remember...) Given a budget of a few thousand dollars, we were told to look up prices and figure out how much items cost and to stay under our budget. Needless to say, I factored in my would be new computer into this mix. Sure I wanted a TV and I needed a bed and the like, but I found ways to cut costs there (I bought a futon so that I didn't need BOTH a sofa AND a bed). Every spare dollar I had was spent into customizing my very own Alienware Area 51 desktop, complete with lights and glass side panel.

All of this was eventually sidelined by the acquisition of my N64 and eventually my PS2 and later my Xbox 360. From the moment that N64 entered my house, I was a console gamer through and through. Everything else pretty much fell by the wayside. I realized that the constant fight with PC required specs was a losing battle and that I should just stick with the relative simplicity of console gaming. Recently though, I began entertaining the idea of building that computer again. And now that I could (barely) afford it, I finally decided to dive in head first (leaving my bank account significantly lighter than before).

So at this point, all of you are probably wondering what this has to do with first world problems, (especially those of who you DIDN'T BOTHER READING MY IN DEPTH AND HEARTFELT RECOUNT OF MY DESCENT INTO THE DEPTHS OF NERDDOM.) Well to put it simply, I'm finding that I need to prioritize in a way I never had to in the past. Let me make a list of things on my to do list right now. (In no particular order)

1) Buy Curtains
2) Buy Groceries
3) Beat Batman Arkham City
4) Play Battlefield 3
5) Beat Battlefield 3's single player
4) Re-rank myself in Starcraft 2
5) Get better at Team Fortress 2
6) Begrudgingly give Modern Warfare 3 a shot (because Amazon forced me to)
7) Improve my Minecraft fortress (and find even more goddamn diamonds)
9) Go to the damn gym more
10) Play Gears 2 AND THEN Gears 3.

And that's just the top 10 items...there's also Just Cause 2, finishing The Hunger Games, starting Catching Fire, figuring out when I'm going to buy Skyrim (because lets be honest, I'm GOING to play it) and getting better at drafting MTG (among quite a number of other things I forgot to know like continuing to update this blog...).

So what's my first world problem? I've got too many fucking video games to play through and not enough time to play through them (because I work).

That's my first world problem du jour.

...And that's what I learned today.

PS If you're not a gamer and didn't like this post, too fucking bad. If you REALLY want me to write about something you want to hear about, why don't you suggest something on TILT's facebook group?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

...Some concepts just aren't theme park material...

Theme parks are an interesting concept to me. No where else will you find such flagrant milking of a piece of intellectual property. The simple fact is that, if you have a moderately successful IP, be it a movie, book or tv show, if there is a theme park tribute to it, not only is it officially a successful business endeavor, but your producers/publishing companies believe that there is still money to be made off of it by luring tourists into a fiberglass world full of falsehoods and facades (both literally AND figuratively LOLOLOLOLOLOL). That said though, I do love the shit out of my theme parks and roller coasters. In fact, just a few weeks ago I spent three days and an exorbitant amount of money at Universal pretending I was a wizard right there with the soccer moms and their 12 year olds. (yes that's right, given the opportunity I would have dueled every kid I found and probably just defaulted to the killing curse because I like winning and they should have seen it coming from someone with a giant fuck-off skull on the end of their wand and a slytherin patch in his hand)

That said, I like to believe that there is a certain limit to what kinds of intellectual properties can get turned into theme park attractions. In fact, it's generally safe to say that most non-kid-friendly IPs (or at least IPs that most sane human beings figured their kids have already watched behind their backs on HBO while they were out to dinner) are perfectly safe for family consumption. So that said, the most hardcore thing you'll find at a theme park (besides a few seriously awesome roller coasters) are based around things that are strictly PG13 (Jaws, The Mummy, that fucking holy land know...somewhat childish fiction). So naturally something like Pookie the pedophile bear's adventures in touchy-feely land really wouldn't be considered for theme park material. (Though I have to admit, the nightmarish Doctor Seuss land they have a Islands of adventure does come fucking close to that level of creepy)

Well color me surprised when I heard that Eli Roth of Hostel fame would be designing a theme park exhibit for Hollywood's iteration of Universal Studios. Now Hostel, in case you didn't know, falls into the niche genre of movies delightfully known as torture porn (or gore porn). For those of you who are still with me and who still don't know what I'm talking about, whatever you're thinking it stands for is probably, if not definitely, accurate. In retrospect, Hostel was an interesting movie insofar as I realize now that it could be a litmus test for normality on whomever you choose to watch it with. Act one of the small art-house film that was Hostel takes place guessed it...a hostel somewhere in Europe (the exact locale escapes me and I'm too lazy to google it so you'll just have to deal with it). And in typical teen summer movie fashion, there were more boobs than you could shake a stick at. But beyond the near soft-core porn levels of nudity, there was little to no horror (or gore, or torture...just porn). No all of the blood and guts were saved solely for the second act. No lead up. No justification. No suspense. Just a smash cut to a torture chamber where our previously scantily clad young male and female leads (if you could REALLY call them that) were being cut on by psychopathic eurotrash with far too many power tools and surgical equipment. Why did I say this would be a good litmus test for your friends? Well put it this way. For the average teenage boy (because this kind of movie should attract pretty much no other demographic) 45 minutes of straight nudity should, in any healthy teenage boy, cause him to stir in his shorts. (And before you jump down my throat about the heteronormativity of that statement, there were plenty of shirtless guys too, so calm the fuck down). Suffice it to say, after flipping the switch from sex to death, if any of your buddies is still rocking his hard on, it's probably best to avoid talking to them from now on....just saying.

Anyways back to the point (heh heh boners...) of this piece, SOMEONE with a LOT of money got it in his head (and I say his because again as with the vanity plates issue, no self respecting female would ever think this idea up) that this halloween, they should open a special section of the park just for Eli Roth himself to design a tribute to his glorious contribution to film, Hostel. That's right, this halloween, if you're in the hollywood area, you two can feel the sheer terror of bored rich Europeans chaining you to a chair and burning your face off with a blow torch. No really I don't understand how these people expect to pull ANY of this off. The entire POINT of the movie was that youth hostels are kinda creepy and that Europeans are prone to kidnapping and torturing unsuspecting teenagers that are trying only to bring a bit of money to their obviously destitute countries (because I mean really...if Europe had...y' money...they' able to renovate all those silly castles...amirite?). And that said, unless there are actors who are paid to randomly grab toursits as the pass through this "horror maze" only to horribly maim and ultimately kill them while their friends gawk gormlessly wondering where their buddy got all that super real looking (and tasting) fake blood, then this maze feels like it's going to miss the mark somewhere.

Ultimately, if the point of a theme park is to make one feel as though they are a part of whatever movie or book it is based off of, I for will will accept nothing less than 45 minutes of girls jumping around shirtless followed by being tortured and killed for the next 45 minutes. Because that is the only way they can claim ANY kind of immersion into the Hostel IP.

Come to think of remember how I said that you could tell if your friends were fucked in the head if they were still pitching a tent into the second act? This kind of attraction will probably only attract THOSE types. Do not want.

...And that's what I learned today.

(PS That's actually the justification for the whole movie [SPOILER ALERT]. It's all just rich bored Europeans who pay the kidnappers money so that they can "legally" kill another person...THAT'S THE WHOLE FUCKING )
(PPS Did anyone else reading that castles bit do it in a dumb blonde/valley girl accent in their head?)

Monday, July 18, 2011

...Duke Nukem should have stayed dead...

Lets start off with a few ground rules here. If you're reading this, you've likely already formed your opinions on Duke Nukem Forever. Most gamers will fall into one of two categories. The first of these groups will be the gamers that played Duke Nukem back in the day and have been looking to this day much the same way as crazily-religious folks were looking forward to the rapture. The remainder of you will likely fall into the "I never really played it, so there isn't any real nostalgia factor here for me" group. And since my gaming CV didn't really start until the N64, (and it was heavily regulated until halfway through my PS2 ownership cycle), naturally I never really played much Duke Nukem, which places me firmly in that latter group. I will state again for the record, that you have already likely formulated your opinions about this game and nothing I say will change how you feel, but feel free to read on and maybe you’ll be able to see the game through the dark smoky tint of my cynical, hateful eyes.

I agree with Yahtzee that Duke Nukem Forever was a game that could (and probably should) have been shat out by any halfway decent studio in an incredibly short period of time. And I don’t remember what production cycles were like back then. But looking at a game like Half Life, they came out with Half-Life, Opposing Forces AND Blue Shift within 3 years. That’s one super hit game and two full length add-ons in a matter of 3 years. Compared to the 15 fucking years it took to make Duke Nukem Forever (DNF HAHAHAHA GET IT? IT’S LIKE THE ACRONYM FOR DID NOT FINISHLTROLOLOLOLOLOL), the legendary “valve time” seems like fucking nothing at this point. But, intrigued and perturbed by the prospect of getting a playable demo of Duke Nukem, I decided to give it a shot and see what it was all about.

Yes I already knew the critics were lambasting the game, crucifying it for not being the second coming of Christ in video game form. But I, being the impartial, unbiased, objective paragon of critical quality that I am, decided to give the game a shot just to be fair to it. Well needless to say, even having not held my breath for 15 years for this game, I was still somehow sorely disappointed. Rife with piss a shit jokes, the demo certainly kept the immature tone of the original works. The very beginning of the demo started with Duke peeing into a urinal (as a quicktime event). Naturally, Duke is not known for his silent stoicism, and as such, takes every opportunity to speak. This gave me the strange and somewhat uneasy feeling that I was actually controlling another person against their will (as opposed to most other games where the protagonists do us all the favor of keeping their fucking mouths shut). This was most prescient when I, as allowed by the game, forced Duke to pick a large turd out of the toilet and fling it around the locker room. Quite frankly, his protests of "why am I doing this?" only made me want to continue, cackling with glee the way one would imagine an evil puppeteer would. Finally growing weary of that nonsense (and with the vast majority of flat surfaces now stained with digital feces) I exited the locker room to find some NPCs dressed in military wear, discussing a fight with a large alien that had taken up residence on the football field outside. After a brief mechanic where Duke (again through quicktime type events) draws up a battle plan (with markers that actually leave no visible mark on the white board), I could only conclude that not only did Duke suffer from some kind of massive psychosis that not only causes him to believe that someone else is controlling him, but similarly, he hallucinates drawings marks on a whiteboard.

Well after a good deal of faffing about, Dicktits McGee wanders out into the hallway only to watch a few unnamed soldiers get destroyed by....something. After guiding the addlebrained ape through a series of corridors and picking up something called a "devastator", I rise up onto the field via an unexplained (and entirely impractical) elevator to confront my foe. The thing is hard to describe. But suffice it to say, it is ugly and shoots missiles. Well I will give it one thing, it doesn't suffer from the "glowing-weak-point-shoot-me-here" syndrome that some other games fall into. That said, it also means that would-be boss battle was BEYOND easy. It charges, I move and shoot at it. I run out of ammo, go pick some up, dodge missiles, shoot at it. Rinse. Repeat. After probably 15 minutes of this drool inducing bullshit, the monster goes down and Duke kicks its eye through the field goal posts. Cue American flag, title and fireworks. So far, so cliche.

Zoom out of the TV and Duke is playing the game about himself while two likely illegal school girls finish up their...homework.... They crack a joke about how the game "had better be good after fifteen fucking years of waiting" as the girls wipe their mouths. Suddenly, I find myself in a monster truck, nuclear logo plastered on every surface dodging helicopters dropping bombs on me. And that is as far as I got. I'm sure there was a joke somewhere in there about a shitty vehicle section or what have you, but I just was not in the mood. I'm sorry Duke, but you put a fucking vehicle section in your goddamn demo?! You must either be seriously stupid or just not give a flying fuck to do something like that. A shitty vehicle section is not something you show off when you are trying to wow customers into buying your game. A shitty vehicle section is something you surprise and dismay your customers with AFTER they've bought the game, much like herpes or a cajun demon baby.

I am all for a game that is over the top. I loved the hell out of Bulletstorm and its unending torrent of dick jokes. And a game that is aware of how bad it is generally manages to endear itself to me much like Nick Cage's entire repertoir. However something about this game feels dated and out of place...even after a game like Bulletstorm. It feels childish and old, immature and crude, but somehow misses the nostalgia mark completely. Duke is ultimately an aging relic of games past, and ultimately, was only kept fond in memory. And that's where he deserved to stay. Bringing back the Duke was the one thing they could have done to destroy the franchise completely, and they did it. In the end, I feel bad for everyone who bought the game for nostalgia's sake, because the utter disappointment of this game could only be comparable to hiring a hooker to come to your house, only to find out that not only is she packing a rod of her own, but hers is bigger than yours.

Duke should have stayed dead.

...And that's what I learned today.

Monday, July 11, 2011

...Technology is changing our lives...

And in this case...not really for the better. These days, everything is about integration. You don't just want a phone anymore. You want a phone that is also a camera that is also a computer that is also a video camera that is also a prophylactic which can surf the web, check email, make phone calls, send texts, stalk people on facebook, test the mineral content of your tap water AND transform into a smart car. (For an extra $30 a month, AT&T will upgrade you to a Prius, but you can only drive it 20 miles each month...)

Now all of this is well and good from a consumer standpoint, but to be quite honest, there have been some serious downsides to this trend in technology as well. If you have been to a concert in recent history, you'll know what I'm talking about. Yes I'm talking about "that person" that everyone hates. You know which one I'm talking about. The one who pushes their way to the front and, rather than enjoying the music and the crowd, or even basking in the glory that is the band's lead singer. Nope, that person insists on trying to capture every moment of it on their phone. Yes this is that person. That person that insists on experiencing the concert through the 3 inch screen of their phone, attempting to capture every single moment, despite the fact that their phone's camera has the resolution of a brick and the sound capture capabilities of a jar of old mayonnaise. Inevitably, this video makes its way onto youtube, and you, like I, eventually stumble on it. You, like I, think "hey, someone took a video of that concert I went to! Maybe it will be a professional quality video of the great time I had!" and you, like I, click on that link, hoping to recall all those good times you had that night. But calamity strikes the moment the video loads. The camera can't see a goddamn thing and the bass keeps blowing the levels on that puny microphone that was only designed to capture the sound of a human voice from 2-3 inches away. But SOMEHOW, despite the cacophony of the concert, one sound ALWAYS finds its way through the noise. At first you don't want to believe what you are hearing...but as it continues and continues, you can no longer deny your ears. The camera operator is singing...and INCREDIBLY poorly at that. It is pretty clear that they are singing vicariously through the lead singer of the band, and you wish that they could hear themselves...because if they could, they would never EVER sing at a concert again...because what they interpret as singing is not singing, it's rhythmic screaming...and we all know how I feel about that...

Nowhere is there a more prescient example of this than what I encountered over the 4th of July celebrations down in Altamonte Springs, Florida. Every year we gather as a country to celebrate the birth of our nation by getting drunk and blowing shit up. More to that point, fireworks, in my opinion, are the manifest definition of transient beauty (that's right I'm getting all philosophical up in this bitch). Fireworks, by nature, are meant to burst and burn bright before fading away quickly, beautiful in its brevity. Well I was quite dismayed to see that, out of every 5 or so people around me, one of them had their phone pointed towards the sky, attempting to capture the fireworks display. Now it's not as though I've never seen fireworks before in my life, but there is definitely something lacking when you watch even a professional display like the Pops goes the Fourth on television. You miss the percussive wave of the explosion, the feeling of your eardrums discontent with being subjected to such noise, the smell of sulfur afterwards. All these things are, in my opinion, crucial for the proper fireworks experience. To say that these same people, the ones who would attempt to capture a concert on their phones, were filming fireworks struck me as an incredibly backwards way of thinking. Not only would their phones have an INCREDIBLY difficult time focusing with the changing light levels, the noise would do quite a number on the mic AND when there were no loud bangs, only the chatter of the crowd would come through. All technical issues aside, to film fireworks is, in my opinion, entirely contrary to the POINT of fireworks. More than that, these people were staring at their screens trying to make sure that the shot was framed well. This is a perfect manifestation of everything that is wrong with this mentality. You, a spectator at a fireworks show, are opting to STARE AT YOUR PHONE'S SCREEN because you want to make sure that your shot of the fireworks going on RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU is good so that you can GO BACK AND WATCH IT LATER.

I hope I'm not the only one here who things that this kind of behavior warrants some kind of phone-suspension or at least a severe talking to. Sure I have no real moral ground here because there is nothing illegal about recording a fireworks show, but if you're just going to record it and watch it on youtube later, why don't you just skip a step and watch it on TV while recording it on TiVO and don't bother showing up for the real thing? Just saying.

...And that's what I learned today.

PS saying "that person" to be PC was incredibly difficult for me, I hope you appreciate the effort :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

...Video games alter one's perceptions...

I'm a gamer. And a pretty big one at that. No I don't spend all my time on WoW nor am I part of an MLG wannabe CoDBlOps clan (though I totally COULD be if I wanted to.... /self aggrandization). But yeah I play games. Violent ones. I just finished up systematically dismembering infected former space colonists turned insane mutant zombie like shambling affronts to god to leaping around the rooftops of Rome stabbing countless Roman PMC-type solders in their respective throats. Well naturally all of this has left me a twisted husk of a person, plotting the murder of everyone around me as I listen to Marylin Manson and scribble dark poetry in blood all over the shrine to satan I keep in my closet. Of course, that's what the vast majority of violent game critics would have you believe, that playing violent video games somehow turns everyone who plays even a little bit of it into a murderous sociopath who believes that shooting everything that moves in the face and that entering another person's home and rifling through their stuff looking for potions and weapons to take with you when you leave are both perfectly acceptable forms of behavior in this modern society we live in today.

Well given my criminal record of no counts of murder, no charges of breaking and entering, no charges of assault and battery and no chickens kicked, I think I can say that I've somehow managed to make it through this purportedly harsh transition period somewhat unscathed. Of course, as a psych major, I've been incredibly interested in this sort of thing from a research standpoint (so interested that I wrote my senior thesis on this topic AND somehow managed to convince the UMass Social Psych department to buy an Xbox 360 AND and HDTV for my experiments). But I can now say, without the shadow of a doubt, that in my own personal experience, yes playing video games altered my perceptions.

Now let me clarify that statement. In case you didn't pick up on the blatant sarcasm, I obviously don't mean that I plan on going on some kind of murderous rampage because the little master chief on my shoulder told me to murder and tea-bag everyone around me. No, I've been more affected by games like Assassin's Creed or Mirror's Edge. Yup that's right, video games have made me liken myself to a renaissance assassin or skinny asian free-runner. More importantly though, I tend to think I am some kind of parkour badass. In what I can only imagine is the best example of fantasy intruding on reality, I will look at a building and immediately think of what Ezio Auditore would be able to do on that particular surface.

Perhaps this is a credit to Ubisoft and their ability to make incredibly immersive games, but there have been more than one occasion where I have looked at a building and immediately thought "Oh I know how I can get on the top of that building. I can just climb up the outside here, then jump to that hold, scurry up that dome..." and by the time I'm halfway done with that thought, I find that I'm already trying to wipe the sweat from my hands and making sure I have the right pair of shoes on for climbing (a function for which converse low tops really don't cut it, stylish though they may be). It is usually at this point that I stop myself and wonder what the hell I'm thinking (this is what some would call "maturity") and go on my way.

Interestingly enough, one of the main mechanics of the game for the main character Desmond is called the "bleeding effect". Without going into TOO much detail, suffice it to say the skills he leans while playing a video game (which is actually just a machine designed to help him relive the genetic memories of his assassin ancestry, locked away in his genes as a sort of imprint passed from generation to's highly technical...don't worry about it) ultimately begin to translate into the real world. Picture Neo learning Kung Fu in the Matrix AND THEN being able to do ALL the same things in the real world (rather than spend all his time sitting there and whining like a sad sack of shit). Maybe that's some kind of subtle commentary on what's happening with me. Perhaps they've realized that their games are so immersive that, through playing their games, we too can begin to see the way an assassin sees. After three games and countless hours of gameplay, I too can see buildings the way Ezio would see them. The routes, the weaknesses, the numerous paths to the top.

Or the alternate (and more likely) scenario, I'm actually related to a long line of middle eastern and Italian assassins who have been maintaining peace and balance in the world, ensuring that the Templars don't take over the world and bend it to their evil ways.

Yeah...I think that sounds about right.

Monday, June 20, 2011

...Video editing is time consuming...

...But totally worth it. I present you with the first ever, TILT Gaming Videocast. In this, I'll be going over some of my favorite moments from Microsoft's E3 press conference. Please comment the video and let me know what I could be doing better (bearing in mind that I was pretty sick while I was recording this)

Check out the video on my youtube channel!

Also thanks for bearing with me as the Bruins went to win the stanley cup. I know I've been neglecting writing for my blog, but now that hockey season is over, I'll be sure to post regularly from now on.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Shitty Music Monday 8

I already know that I'm going to sound like my dad writing this goddamn post...It's really an inevitability, even within the first few sentences of this post, my fate is sealed. But goes...

Do you remember that time when you were a kid, probably in middle school, first setting out to explore and discover the wide world of music on your own? Think back to that time, that time that you finally found something really awesome, that you loved and that hadn't been force fed to you by your parental types. Do you remember that feeling of epiphany? That feeling of realizing there was more to this world than the motown, Beatles, classical and jazz that your parents ALWAYS played in the car? You felt cool, independent, like a motherfucking adult for that moment in your life. You were so proud of yourself for having found something so wonderful, so glorious, so beautiful, and you wanted to share that feeling with your parents. (Of course, this could all just have been my personal experience of breaking out from my incredibly sheltered childhood...remember I said we didn't have cable until I was in college? Yeah...THAT sheltered...) Well, if you, like me, went straight from Vivaldi to Blink 182, naturally your (my) parents were likely in for one HELL of a surprise. Well needless to say, they weren't happy with my newfound choice of music, decrying it as "meaningless noise", claiming that if gave them "headaches". But none of that mattered to you. You found what you liked and by god you were going to stick with it right up until your musical tastes changed drastically 6 months later. Well I hate to sound like my dad right about now, but I honestly find it difficult to believe that anyone, even stupid, young, impressionably teens and pre-teens are listening to this shit.

I present to you:
Scream For My Ice Cream - Blood On The Dance Floor

1) Music: Apparently I missed some kind of memo, but when did 90's style rave-pop become awesome again? (And yes, you can correctly infer from this previous sentence that I still do absolutely rock out to Cascada, Alice Deejay, and Darude...) Seriously, between this song and that poor excuse for a bridge those crabcore weirdos came out with, I like to think that that overly cheerful, needlessly bright ecstasyrave is back. Though while Alice Deejay and Cascada kept to old, outdate topics like love and happiness, Blood On The Dance Floor have localized ravepop for a whole new generation of misanthropic teens with weird hair. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Here the music is best summarized as something that I think I can safely say we all knew and loved, a reminiscent memory of a past life, the smell of your childhood home, the familiar creak of a playground swing, the feel of your favorite article of clothing, this, like those, is like a familiar sound of something you held dear to your heart, now played through the shit colored filter of terrible lyrics.

2) Vocals: (I'm going to sound like a terrible person...but here goes). You know that voice that everyone does to sound like a flamboyant gay guy or a ditzy blonde valley girl? Well that's what these vocals are. That's all they are. And yes sure sure you can make the argument that these guys are bi (yes I did some research, no I didn't look it up on wikipedia, this time the youtube comments section was my source) but that doesn't make these "vocals" acceptable by any standards. Maybe they're trying to be different, maybe they're trying to be Ke$ha (why do I keep coming back to her for some reason???), maybe that's just the way they talk, but the fact of the matter is, in the end, in a performance piece, to me anyways, it simply comes off as needlessly obnoxious, kind of like how your younger sibling would be annoying you by holding his/her finger as close to you as physically possible while screaming "NOT TOUCHING YOU NOT TOUCHING YOU NOT TOUCHING YOU!" Yeah, THOSE are the memories that these vocals bring to mind...And then the song goes to screamo...(so I guess that makes this the inversecrabcore...and no BOTDF, if you're reading this, inverting someone else's style does not make you not formulaic...just FYI)

3) Lyrics: Once again, here is where things quell up the majority of my bile. These lyrics are beyond filthy, and once again, that voice isn't doing them any help. Now this isn't the first time anyone has used the lollypop analogy (HE MEANS HIS PENIS) but somehow, it just seems creepy now. And once that bit is done, let the screaming begin. Now I've always assumed that screaming had it's place, mostly to express some kind of inner angst that's filling you up to the point that you just have to scream it out loud (see what I did there?). Perhaps this is a narrow point of view, but somehow, screaming about dancing and moving one's body on the dance floor (you know, modern, hip, poppy bullshit?) just seems beyond stupid. I mean you could scream about your goldfish dying and we, the consumer, would be understanding. We know that goldfish meant the world to you oh poor emo child, we know now that it was the only one that got you...and now that fish, your one and only friend has met its demise. You scream and we get it. But this? It equates to something like "AAAAARGH I'M HAVING SUCH A GOOD TIME! RRARARRAGGGGHHHH I'M SO GLAD WE CAME TO THIS CLUB! BLUGHUGHUHGBLBGUHUHLGLLGBGH I SEE AN ATTRACTIVE FEMALE THAT I WISH TO SPEAK TO!!! PERHAPS SHE WILL DANCE WITH ME RAHGHAHGHAHHUHGUHGH!!!" That's right BOTDF, you've even managed to fuck up screamo...and that was a sentence I NEVER thought I would have to type...All in all, the lyrics are a sad mess of hypersexualized content, misplaced lyrical/musical decisions, overused (and now creepified) penis/lollipop metaphors and a whole lot of repetition (you the kids REALLY get the point)...I think I've said enough, the video has all the lyrics in it, when you're done reading along, you'll want to take a shower too...

4) Video: There is none, only lyrics that some fan put up on youtube. That's probably because whatever label they've signed to is too destitute to produce one for them, and so they've gone to the likes to myspace and other such social media sites to spread their word to all the poor little teen girls who have all finished twilight and are looking for their proverbial edward cullen in something more concrete.

5) Summary: Some quick background, does everyone know the story of Jessi Slaughter, the 11 year old girl who managed to piss off 4chan and suffered their wrath for it? (If not, go look it'll make you lose faith in this country's future) Well SHE listened to this nonsense religiously and that's how she turned out. I'm not one to draw conclusions from just this one instance, but I reeeaaaalllllyyyy can't think of any adult listening to this and thinking "Hmm yes, this is a fine specimen of a tune. I cannot wait to show this to all my friends so that they too may partake in this glorious example of modernity and cultural advancement!" (did you read this and imagine me wearing a top hat and monocle while sipping daintily on a cup of tea?)

Suggested Audience: Your parents. No seriously, send this to your parents, because if they listen to this, you can simply point to BOTDF and all of a sudden, your obsession with GWAR and Turisas (or whatever else your parents deem offensive) seems perfectly reasonable by comparison.

PS: Thank god that's over, I really started to sound like my dad there...also did y'all manage to make it all the way through the song? I didn't, not even for the sake of journalistic this case, FUCK journalistic integrity right in the eye...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

...It's the end of the world as we know it...

...and I feel fine. Actually I feel kind of twitchy, but that's only because I recently drank a Worx Energy Shot (think 5 hour energy but no calories...cuz you know how fattening those damn 5 hour energies are...) Seriously though, this is probably the most awake I've felt all day, and on top of that, i can taste colors! Right, back to the point, I'm apologizing right here and right now if this post seems kind of...wander...y...because that's how my brain is working right now (that is more or less circumventing what little mental filter I ever had). Seriously, go look at my twitter stream and you'll see EXACTLY where things started to go downhill.

So here's the deal, apparently the world is ending this Saturday at around 6PM, as predicted by some christian radio station out on the West Coast. Now normally the vast majority of thinking people, would simply pay this small band of nutjobs no heed, but thanks to our recent obsession with the end of the world (take for example the movie 2012 or every other show that now plays on the History Channel...isn't that a bit fucked up? That the goddamn HISTORY channel is playing shows predicting the future? Seriously guys, go back to repeat episodes of WW2 stuff and that god awful red-neck circus called Pawn Stars), people are actually perking up their ears and paying attention. CNN has written a good blog post on the issue, recounting the stories of several individuals who have given up all their worldly possessions, forsaking their homes for large RVs upon which they have slathered their doomsday logos, travelling from city to city handing out pamphlets urging people to save themselves before Jesus makes his return. (When asked by the CNN journalist if they could cover their gatherings on saturday prior to being raptured, they effectively said "why's the end of the world...not like anyone's going to edit that or even watch it afterwards anyways" which really just reads as a polite way of saying "no and go fuck yourself").

Maybe this is just typical me, but I've always kind of thought the end of the world would know...later. When faced with the culmination of my own life, it does make me pause for thought so that I may reflect on what I've done before I am plunged into years of battle and suffering against the Anti-christ and his legion of demon soldiers (because there is NO fucking way I am getting raptured). And, as you all probably already know, I'm not entirely sold on this end of the world idea yet. I mean, Y2K was probably the closest thing we had to a real end of the world scenario and what happened? One blockbuster video charged ONE guy 100 years worth of late fees. That was it. No glitchy nukes firing from Russian, no resetting of the entire world's credit records, no epic worldwide fact, not even a single computer had the common decency to gain sentience and try to take control of the world. The year 2000 passed with barely a hiccup and everything ended up fine. And THAT doomsday prophecy was based off of something real, something tangible, not just a 2000 plus year old book that has been cobbled together over centuries translated, edited, altered, translated again and reprinted at least a dozen times. To say that things MIGHT have gotten lost in translation is an incredible understatement. I mean, lets be honest, even in this day and age, they can't properly translate simple Chinese toy assembly instructions into proper English, let alone a language that has been dead for a couple fucking millenia.

I'll take this time to address my theory on the 2012 end of the world notion as well. This one is apparently based off of the Mayan Calendar ending (which, to their credit, was an incredibly accurate piece of work). There are a good number of people who subsequently took this to mean that the end of the world would end in the year 1012, you know, cuz the rest of their calendar was so accurate and all. Personally speaking though, I think that the dude just got tired of making the fucking thing. I mean, the "calendar" we're talking about here isn't some tearaway paper deal. It's a fucking slab of stone that dates back to the 5th century BCE...that's right the 5th fucking century. That means that motherfucker that carved that son of a bitch carved 25 centuries into a giant fuck-off stone block. Quite frankly, if I carved all of that, I'd want to fucking stop after a while. I'd be all "Here's your goddamn calendar, if you need a new one after that one runs out, then I'll make another one...for now, I'm gonna go take a fucking nap".

Anyways, we've had our doomsday theories before, and I'm sure we'll have even more coming. I guess what really sets this one apart from the rest is the fervor with which people are obeying it. I mean seriously, people gave up everything they owned. EVERYTHING. How embarrassed are they going to be when sunday rolls around, and everybody gets up like nothing happened and goes about their business as usual. THEY DON'T HAVE HOUSES ANYMORE. Now THAT is some poor planning. For now though, lets just take it for what this date really is, just another excuse for everyone to get plastered and make terrible decisions (because I mean really, how often in life can you use the line "It's the end of the world baby, you don't wanna die alone do you?")

...And that's what I learned today.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Shitty Music Monday #7

I feel like I'm starting more and more of these damn posts with a disclaimer, and that most people take them about as seriously as they take the rest of these damn posts. But this time, it's srs business. If you have epilepsy, you REALLY probably shouldn't watch this. I will not be held responsible for your death because you're too dumb to listen to me when I say you will LITERALLY DIE if you watch this video. Got it? don't make me repeat myself.

So if you know me, you know I'm into electronic music. And what goes with electronic music? Why drugs of course! (seriously, ecstasy makes people dance the way they really ought not call it "interpretive" would be an insult to black turtlenecked poet wanna-bes all over New York City). And naturally, the artists know this and tailor their music to those on drugs...which causes them to do more drugs and blah blah blah. Well there is a certain threshold (in the highly respected, critical opinion of the author) where one simply takes too many drugs and produces some shit that NOBODY understands. Sure you might be saying "well that's not the point you tard! The point is not to overthink it!" I absolutely get that point of view, but I defy even the most drug addled, beaded, fuzzy leg warmer wearing raver to explain this one to me.

I present to you:

1) Music: I will admit, there is a sort of odd retro charm to the music here. This is probably the least offensive part of the whole affair (except maybe the vocals...MAYBE). All of the tunes sound like they were recorded using Mr. Deacon's grandmother's old Casio keyboard with one speaker that is half blown out from the decades of abuse and cat hair clogging the speaker drivers. The drums sound like they were being played by a spastic 6 year old with only a vague understanding of how the damn things function, but somehow it all works....I don't know why or just....does...

2) Vocals: ok so as always, I had to look up the lyrics on this one because, while he isn't screaming them into the microphone, he mutters pretty badly, thus leading to ENTIRELY INCOMPREHENSIBLE words. That, combined with the high pitched mewing sound (which I can only assume Mr. Deacon recorded himself) that reminds us all of a cat being violated against its will makes for an experience that can only be compared to sitting in the front row of your old middle school history class, where your teacher is about 84 years old and muttering about something you can barely pay attention to. You lean forward and try to pick up on some vague historical fact when all of a sudden, his gnarled fingernails screech down the chalkboard, snapping your head back like you were rear ended by a Mac Truck and making your teeth to that involuntary grinding thing.'s kinda like that.

3) Lyrics: I'll record a personal video message for whoever can figure out what the fuck these lyrics are about...seriously...just...just go here....I don't even....

4) Video: Ok so for all of you with epilepsy WHO SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN WATCHING THIS VIDEO...are missing out on probably the strangest part of all of this nonsense. Maybe Mr. Deacon had a thing against epileptics...maybe one hurt his feelings when he was in the midst of his formative years, but it REALLY does not justify the flashing lights and stupid tribal symbols that are now burned into the centermost area of my visual field. Moreover, a good portion of the video is taken up by Dan himself convulsing over a table full of electronics while wearing the most fashion forward of matching grey sweats and coke bottle glasses...seriously...dude looks like a joke...The rest of the video is taken up by smash cuts to what I can only assume are Dan-o's creepy, awkward friends dancing about in thrift store halloween costumes that include such all american greats as "That one biker that's always picked last for kickball" and "awkward not-quite-mullet guy with cop-stache" and "reject shy guy native american drum circle" (that's all I could pick up on before my eyeballs turned backwards in my skull to have a stern talk with my brain...which probably went something like "I'll fucking kill you if you ever do this again")

5) Summary: Danny-boy, who made it famous with his "drinking out of cups" video CLAIMS to never have used drugs (at least during the making of that particular video). Quite honestly, I'd prefer it if he had been using drugs during the making of this fucking thing because quite frankly, the implications of a lack of drug use are FAR more frightening than if he simply did drugs. But anyways, in summary, quite the freaky experience and almost guaranteed to give you nightmares...seriously I hope you're not watching this thing right before bed...that's just dumb....seriously...that's as dumb as...watching the video...if you have epilepsy...

Suggested Audience: not drug users...just drugs. If you're a particularly potent tab of LSD or ecstasy, you'll probably enjoy this song...unless you're being actively consumed by someone who is trying to figure this song out...then you'd just be dead.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

...brokenCYDE even sucks IRL?!?!

Say it ain't so!

So these are some current events that aren't really current anymore, but I'll just say that there's a lag time around when I get an idea and when I post it...and let's just leave it at that shall we?

So early last week, BrokenCYDE made the news again, this time not being compared to an onion by Rolling Stone. No this time they're being accused of actual physical kind, not the kind where they rape our ears and collective consciousnesses.

According to the Alt Press, BrokenCYDE members got into a brawl with with another band Punchline, leaving their drummer pretty bloody. Now I don't have all of the facts, but in a classic case of "he said she said ON TEH INTARWEBZ!" Punchline drummer Cory Muro posted a picture (taken using the traditional iPhone/Mirror myspace technique) on twitter of him bleeding pretty profusely from his face and head. Accordingly Punchline's lead singer, BrokenCYDE members, along with a large group of other people (fans?) "jumped" Muro and beat him until they were pulled off of him. Well this is where things get REALLY mature. Instead of settling their problems like adults (by talking it out and/or suing the shit out of each other) or like "real men" (keep fighting until one person emerges as the winner), they get into a TWITTER FIGHT. Quoth the official BrokenCYDE twitter:

"We didn't jump anyone! Ur boy started popping off and got what happens! REALLY OVER MUSIC? grow up. A guy was talking shit for awhile and then he said it to the wrong guy and got socked up n the other guy that got into it got served as well! And all OVER MUSIC?! people need to grow up. People talk crap to us and don't realize it won't fly... Have common sense and don't hate on 10 people standing pissed off in front of you. We don't hate on anyone or any band doing their thing... Fighting over music is defeating the point of what were trying to accomplish. Literally 2 people were fighting and the rest of our crew was holding them back. The guy was talking a mass of shit before anything happened." (obviously that's taken over several tweets....)

Well lets just get right into this nonsense shall we? I'll forgive the contractions (because of the character restraint) and the poor grammar and just deal with the content of the message itself.

1) You're admitting you're guilty...I mean...I don't care who said what about whose music is shit and deserves to be killed with fire, you ADMITTED that you threw the first punch. You even said "A guy was talking shit for a while...and got socked up" (who the fuck says "socked up"...? Didn't that word die in the 90s?). So right there, you've admitted to starting the fight, which brings me to my next point.

2) You're admitting you had A BUNCH OF GUYS THERE. AGAIN you say "Don't hate on 10 people standing pissed in front of you". YET ANOTHER admission of guilt and having a BUNCH of guys there (thus fitting Punchline's side of the story that there were somewhere around 15 guys beating the shit out of their drummer).

3) You're taking the moral high ground? Aroo? Seriously? Now I'm not a legal expert by ANY means but I don't think you can say that "Ur boy was popping off and got what happens" then turn around and say "fighting over music is defeating the point of what we're trying to accomplish"....because you started the fight (physically speaking) over music (yours) and now try and claim that fighting over music (again started by you) is defeating the purpose of your music (shitty)??? And furthermore, WHAT IS THE POINT OF YOUR MUSIC? WHAT FUCKING POINT COULD YOU POSSIBLY BE DEFEATING?

Now I've been in my fair share of internet fights, but never on TWITTER (because really, it's difficult to properly formulate a logical argument/long string of curse words with a mere 140 charaters). But poor choice of venue aside, you don't defend your position by SAYING that the guy got what he deserved and that you were just defending your artistic....I'd say talent know....yeah...

Maybe I'm just not scene enough to understand the internet slapfight in front of me, but either way, I would have handled this differently...(that is, smiled and laughed, then posted mean things about then anonymously on my livejournal while crying and eating girl scout cookies....cuz that's how I roll BITCHES)

...And that's what I learned today.

PS: For the sake of being fair and balanced, Punchline isn't being 100% mature either. But they're going with the passive aggressive route (yes more passive aggressive than TWEETING) by registering the domain "brokencydesucks dot com" and giving their album out for free on there. And while that isn't the most mature move, I think it's fucking hilarious so I won't make too much noise about it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Shitty Music Monday 6

There are a few things that we can really rely on in this chaotic day and age. But if there is one thing that we will always have, even well into the twilight of our lives (assuming we don't all get cyborg-ified when the singularity comes) is the Jersey Shore. People often joked with me, asking me where does a psych major go to get advice. My response? I sit down and watch one episode of Jersey Shore and somehow, all of my problems seem to melt away and don't seem as bad. For a group of people with a pretty apparent dearth of functioning brain cells amongst the lot of them, they are all stupidly successful. Now you might think that this would make me angry, but quite to the contrary. None of them were ever burdened by an overabundance of functional neurons, and naturally in the good ol' US of A, that equates to WONDERFUL television. And while many argue that they are all very good at what they do (which is what exactly?) very rarely can one break out of the pigeonhole they are in and become truly successful across many media. In fact, only Will Smith has ever really been truly successful both as a movie star and as a musical artist (I mean COME ON! "Gettin' jiggy wit' it"? That is fucking GENIUS). So naturally, when this artist's already severely bloated ego got yet a further boost from the Jersey Shore tv show, he decided the most prudent thing to do with his amassed fame and fortune would be to release a single.

I present to you, for this, the 6th monday of shit music:

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino - "The Situation with the situation at the situation's house where you can hang out with the situation and his situation while he gets all up in your situation...situationsituationsituationsituationsituationsituationsituationsituationsituationsituationsituationsituationsituationsituationsituationsituationsituation"

1) Music: I would call this an utterly generic cookie cutter hip hop beat, but there is really something special about this one. In keeping with the Jersey Shore way, "The Situation" has added his own personal brand of crazy to this one. And, in keeping with the Jersey Shore way, that means actually SAMPLING the like "Woah, we've got a situation" and making it PART OF THE FUCKING SONG. We get it Mike, you like yourself, you wouldn't be on TV if you didn't. But seriously, that is the worst fucking sample in the history of things sampling things (Except for that one time that I went to Whole Foods and one of the free samples was a dose of cod liver oil. That was fucking nasty).

2) Vocals: Between The Situation's already barely comprehensible accent to the Lil Jon wannabe in the background, there's not much to be said here. I mean, the guy just basically talks at you in rhythm and gets his ass autotuned just like every other mediocre musician out there. But seriously, Lil Jon should be the ONLY person who does what he does in this lifetime. Accept no imitations, because everything else just comes off as a cheap knockoff of the original (and I'm Chinese so I know ALL ABOUT cheap knockoffs)

3) Lyrics: Once again, I find I have the most problem with the lyrics of this song. I can't even blame a ghost writer for these fucking words because The Situation's grubby little finger prints are ALL over this song. Lyrics about $85 cologne and girls riding shotgun back to the situation's pad just feel...icky...I think part of that stems from the fact that I don't know the intimate, personal details of the life of, say, any other singer with similar lyrical content, and thus I have reason to simply NOT believe what they're saying. With The Situation though, I've seen him work his mysterious guido magic on people. But anyways, back to the point...a lyrical wordsmith genius voice of a generation The Situation isn't. I mean quite frankly, from a professional standpoint, The Situation's ego has likely swollen in his head to the point that it is actually putting real physical pressure on his brain inside his skull, causing him to only be able to use the word situation (you know, kind of like a pokemon, only infinitely less cute and/or badass...unless having every STD known to science is an ability...whatever it'll still be more useful than splash). So here's a game you can play. Take a shot every single time you hear them say "situation" in the song. I guarantee you you'll be dead of alcohol poisoning before the end of this fucking song (or barring that, halfway through it you'll come to realize just what you're doing and end it yourself).

4) Video: There isn't one, just a picture of The Situation being skeevy and staring at you the same way that weirdo from the Human Centipede looked at his victims...only more "ripped up like rambo"...and tan.

5) Summary: I don't know any of the other names on this single, but if they thought riding The Situation's coat tails to fame and fortune would work, they are sorely mistaken. I honestly hope this song does not get any more recognition than it deserves, and what it deserves is to be taken out back behind the shed and put out of its misery. I would be incredibly surprised if the producers of the Jersey Shore show will even let it see airtime.

Suggested Audience: Anyone who feels as though they need to be closer to the situation will likely get a pretty good simulation of the experience by listening to this, staring at a picture and somehow ended up with herpes.

PS: someone go through and count up how many times I WROTE the word situation in this fucking post...I'm ashamed of myself.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Ok here's a quick post for you guys because I can't contain my INFINITE RAGEFACE over this bullshit.

So just a little while ago, Barack Obama released his birth certificate.....

If you're cheering, you should probably stop reading here, because you're just going to get angry over my "pinko-commie-liberal-socialist bullshit" anyways.

Ok are they all gone? Good. Now all of us rational and logical beings have known that this birth certificate nonsense is just noise created by the conservatives to distract everyone from the real issues and to garner more irrational hatred and fear towards the Obama administration. Well finally, Obama had enough, releasing his birth certificate and calling the entire affair "a sideshow". Quite frankly, I couldn't agree more. In the past, the vast majority of these comments were subtly slipped into larger comments, but apparently it caused enough of a stir amongst the republican "Birther" nutjobs such that EVERYTHING Obama says or does is called into question not by their own merits, but by the mere fact that "ZOMG OBAMA MIGHT NOT BE A CITIZEN!!!"

Well in recent days, this issue has died down. But...Enter Donald Trump, gazillionaire and hair product enthusiast. In case you didn't already know, Trump announced his candidacy for president and IMMEDIATELY jumped on the birther bandwagon and dragged that issue back up out of the muck. Every press release was "Birth certificate" this and "Not a natural-born citizen" that. Well today, Obama quashed all rumors by releasing his full birth certificate to the press. Well without missing a beat, Trump scheduled another press meeting, where he strokes his own ego for quite a while. Seriously, the first words out of his mouth in this speech are "Today, I'm very proud of myself because I've accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish". I mean I always knew the guy was an egotistical maniac, but this cements it. But again, this is not the part of this speech that triggered my need to post this blog post. Trump continues saying that he would "want to look at it" (I SEE WHAT YOU DID THAR!) and he hopes that it is real and that we can now continue with more important issues now that this one has been settled.

And that's where I begin to taste bile in my mouth.

Seriously Donald? (Can I call you Donald?). Donnie, lets get something straight here, YOU are the one who brought this issue back into the spotlight. YOU are the one who is dragging attention away from, and I'm quoting here "oil...gasoline prices...China ripping off this country... OPEC doing numbers on us like nobody has ever done before". And as though his hubris was not foul enough, he said that now he hoped that the press could stop bugging him about the birth certificate issue. I'm sorry Don, lets get one thing straight here. YOU are a fucking AMATEUR of you think that you can simply drop your own name in the hat, come out claiming that he's not a citizen and thinking that you won't be asked questions about that issue. If you couldn't even figure that out, you don't deserve a nod from the GOP.

Quite frankly, I see this press conference for what it is, a thinly veiled attempt to prolong the issue coupled with self aggrandizing nonsense. I can tell by the emphasis in your speech just what you wanted all your birther crazies to take away from this press conference. Even by saying that you want to look at it, make sure it's all valid, make sure everything is legal and correct etc. and then simply slipping in "I hope it checks out beautifully" and, WITHOUT EVEN TAKING A BREATH, moving on to other issues, I know that you mean to continue prodding that sore spot amongst the birthers.

So congratulations Donnie, you've managed to get Obama to produce his birth certificate. I hope you savor this victory for a long time, because in my eyes, you've only managed to convince me that you are absolutely not fit for office and certainly not fit to lead this country. Go deal with your corporations, it's what you're best at, you should just stick to that and your immensely inane reality shows.

*whew that felt good*

PS: I can't even make a "you're fired" joke here because I would never hire the fucknugget in the first place. Weak.

PPS: Even GOP candidates are in something of a "who fucking cares" mood at this point (Palin included)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Shitty Music Monday 5

I've said it once and I'll say it again....Today's music is all incredibly same-y. I'm not talking about tunes...I'm talking about lyrics. Listen to 90% of popular music out there and you will begin to hear the same themes pop up again and again. And that's fine. I don't much care about that. Pop music is fun to listen to and dance to. Then there is the less mainstream stuff, the music that you parents warn you about, the stuff that thrives on being different. Granted this covers quite a wide margin of music, and I've come to realize throughout my long and venerated career as a professional music critic, that this margin can typically be divided into two further sub-groups, those that could survive the mainstream but for whatever reason hasn't, and those that rely on their fringe status to survive. Does anyone remember the band Slipknot? Yeah...that's the kind of band I'm talking about. While this band doesn't quite reach the same levels of batshit insanity that Slipknot does, they definitely have something else going for them. Wanna guess what it is? Did anyone else guess skeevy white boy rap? Good job!

I present to you:

Bitches by Hollywood Undead

1) Music: I will admit, the beat is pretty catchy. It's unusual for me to think that, especially because everything about this beat evokes images of a carnival of horrors in the absolute worst way possible. (Then again, I guess that's the whole goddamn point...) That said though, it was a nice break to be able to listen to something outside of the generic synth-hop tracks again and again. Still though, there is something innately unnerving about it...I keep picturing something out of ICP...Dark Carnivals and Juggalos wandering around wondering how magnets work and the like...anybody with me on this one?

2) Vocals: THEY'RE WHITE. Again I don't mean that rap should have only one sound, but even Vanilla Ice had to fake it a little bit. There's just something about rap that, when "sung" with no accent, just kind of makes you want to pat them on the head and go "Oh you! You're so silly!" Until someone truly spectacular comes along and "changes the game up", I'm going to stick by this clearly narrow-minded point of view. And no, Lonely Island doesn't count, though I do like them quite a bit.

3) Lyrics: Here's where we run into some real problems. Normally when I listen to rap, and they claim to have drank, fucked, and murdered their way to success, some internal safety mechanism stops that thought process and goes full reverse into complete and utter denial. Somehow though, when Hollywood Undead says these things...I totally believe it. With such choice lyrics as "This girl is seventeen, now I'm a pedophile", "Then she munched on his dick like a macho burrito", and "Undead dick", you know you've already hit the bottom of that massive bucket of cocaine you keep in the corner (for "creativity") and have started licking the sides out of desperation. But back to my original point, somehow when these masked hooligans talk about fucking underage girls and zombie penises, I really do believe they're telling the truth...(also zombie penis is probably the most abhorrent thing I've written on this blog to date...)

4) Video: There isn't one. The use of speech bubble youtube annotation was adorable though.

5) Summary: Maybe it's the masks, maybe it's the fact that they all sound like serial killers, maybe I've been watching wayyyy too much TV recently and my overactive imagination is starting to take over, but either way, these kinds kinda freak me out at some base, core level, and I'm not easily unnerved. OH Maybe it's actually just the fact that I'm doped out of my mind on allergy meds and don't have a solid grasp on reality right now. Either way, in trying to merge the psychotic fringe look with the mainstream lyrical subject matter, Hollywood Undead has only managed to create a weird circus of John Wayne Gacy impersonators drinking 40s in my mind. Thanks for giving me nightmares for the next month you assholes.

Suggested Audience: Juggalos looking to "broaden their horizons" and who don't want to pursue an elementary school level education to do so. Fucking juggalos...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

...You know you're doing it wrong when...

So lets start things off with a MASSIVE disclaimer (gotta love posts that start this way huh?). I do NOT in ANY way condone racism of any kind. I am all for gay marriage, I am all for equal rights across the board, I am pro choice, I am an atheist, and I respect all those around me as I would expect them to respect me (pretty much a Republican's worst nightmare...). That said, I do not condone the actions or the stances of such organizations as the Ku Klux Klan, whose history of white supremacy and hatred towards all things different from themselves is deplorable, disgusting, and should be ignored with all our collective might until they go away for good...

...That said though...I have to bring some of their more recent actions into light....more on this as it develops.

Now as stated above, I'm no fan of conservatism, and I'm no fan of religious fanatics in any way, shape or form. I stand by your right as a US citizen to practice whatever religion you wish, however religion has no place in government, and it has no right to intrude on my private life. Thus, two of my most reviled groups in this world right now are the Westboro Baptist Church and the United States Tea Party.

Lets start with those ever-lovable tea-baggers shall we? I mean where to begin....for one, they're all insane. I don't think that I have heard a single convincing argument as to why I should listen to a tea-party candidate with any degree of seriousness whatsoever, because lets be honest, the most publicity their most famous candidate got was over her supposed affiliation with fucking witchcraft...and that, a solid political platform, does not make. I do have to admit though, I applaud their spirit in trying to change the political landscape in the US. I mean, if we had to tolerate having only two flavors of ice cream, violent revolt would have broken out in this country LONG ago. So I really do appreciate their trying to break out of the mold...RIGHT up until the republican party nervously laughed and pulled them all back under the dark, evil, vampiric cloak that is their political agenda.

And on to the WBC....You remember how I said I respect everyone's right to practice their religion privately? Yeah the WBC is a perfect example of a religious group that does EXACTLY the opposite of that. Someone once said, "religion is like a penis, what you do with it in private is your business, but what I don't want is you whipping it out in public and I DEFINITELY do not want you shoving it down my or my child's throat". Well shove it down our throats they did. From protesting soldiers' funerals to performances of The Laramie Project all the way to picketing SAN DIEGO COMICON toting signs with slogans like "Thank god for dead soldiers" and "God hates fags" (pardon the language), it's really hard to like these guys, even to support their right to practice their religion. I mean seriously, I'm not hardcore stars and stripes nationalist, but I would NEVER go that far.

So back to the beginning of my post...what does the KKK have to do with any of this? Well it seems as though, the actions of the aforementioned establishments are simply too extreme for the KKK...that's right...the WBC and the Tea Party are TOO MUCH FOR THE KKK TO HANDLE. In official press releases (can they actually have press releases?) the Ku Klux Klan LLC " has not or EVER will have ANY connection with The “Westboro Baptist Church”. We absolutely repudiate their tactics of protesting the funerals of U.S. soldiers, men and women who die serving our Nation." and urge their followers to distance themselves from the Tea Party citing their involvement in politics and having "compromised their agenda to support the Progressive Socialist enslavement of the American people." THAT'S RIGHT LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. The WBC and the Tea Party apparently make the INFAMOUS KKK a little uncomfortable.

I'm really not sure what to say...I mean, I don't support the KKK, but it's kind of hard not to agree with their disagreement with the WBC and the Tea Party. More the the point though, HOW FUCKING HARD do you have to FAIL that the KKK of ALL THE FUCKING PEOPLE IN THE WORLD come out with the official stance of "oh yeah we aren't touching that bucket of bueno there...we'll be over here...being all white...and stuff". I think that actually takes some real fucking effort...I mean you really have to try to get the KKK to dislike you...and to disagree with you, and to officially disallow ALL MEMBERS to go to your little club meetings (I'm looking at you Tea Party). So I guess all that's left to say is, good job WBC and Tea Party, you've managed to turn the single oldest, most well established repository of crazy in this country against you...and that in and of itself, is worthy of praise... take your goddamn pills.

...And that's what I learned today.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

...This world holds some universal truths...

I'm something of a relativist when it comes to the big super serious issues. I don't like to lock myself into the notion that there are universal truths. I find that kind of thinking terribly closed and limiting. Therefore I tend not to speak in absolutes (though I'm sure my shitty music Mondays would have convinced you otherwise....) However there are occasionally things, concepts, ideas, that end up bringing my otherwise accepting and open mind to a halt. It turns out there are some things that are absolute in this world. Nothing serious like good and evil or the value of life or anything like that. No the one absolute truth in this world is far less serious, yet just as sinister.

Let me draw up a scenario for you. You're a sophomore in college (probably a girl...lets be honest here...), and it's your first day with your brand new macbook. You've already set it up just the way you like it, and downloaded your favorite non-standard browser (chrome most likely...Firefox if you're a stumble addict like me...) and now you're poking around the preloaded software to see if there's anything interesting. Lo and behold, you come across a little application called "photo booth". Curious, you click on it and it obeys your commands, bouncing happily on the dock as it loads. The webcam activates and your face appears on the monitor. Curiouser still you click on the camera. The application counts down and, unprepared for the picture, you make a stupid face as though you were paused unexpectedly mid-sentence (a place where nobody and I do mean NOBODY is photogenic).

Well after a few retakes, you finally have a vaguely acceptable picture. But then, oh what's that? This button says effects. I wonder what that does. Barely able to contain your excitement, you click the button and up pops a menu. Like a kid on christmas, you tear through each and every single filter. From sepia tone to that stupid Andy Worhol multi-colored one, from the filter that makes your head skinny to the fish-eye one that makes you fat. Of course, seeing as you've been given this VIP access to instant hilarity, you must take one photo with every filter. Like a mad scientist, you giggle incessantly to your own distorted visage as though this is the most hilarious thing you've ever come across (as if you'd never EVER seen a funhouse mirror in your life before). Naturally this infinite well-spring of good cheer simply cannot go unshared. So you run down the hall and get all of your friends to come experience the glory that is your new-found photo-taking-application. Inevitably, they find this application hilarious as well and, giggling like a group of teenagers who bought their first ever copy of Cosmo (and yes I'm talking to you too know you laughed at that thing). After you've had your fill of hilarity and mirth, your rampage is not complete yet...oh no. Now, like the ever loving philanthropist you are, you feel the need, no the compulsion to share your treasure trove of laughs with the rest of the world. So what do you do? You put them all up on facebook.

That's right ladies and gents. The ONE universal truth in this world is that somehow macbooks inevitably mean that YOU, the OWNER of said macbook will create an ENTIRE 300 PHOTO ALBUM ON FACEBOOK of you going through EVERY. SINGLE. FILTER. and taking pictures with your friends. Now I may be a jaded, cynical internet superstar, but there has to be a line drawn somewhere. I mean one can only look at so many permutations of a person using that half-of-your-face-mirrored-so-that-it-looks-like-your-whole-face-but-isn't-quite-perfect filter or that REALLY OBNOXIOUS Andy Worhol multi-colored unicorn vomit of a filter before you become a hateful son of a bitch like me. I don't know how many albums there are of this swill on facebook, but I don't think we have even INVENTED a number that goes THAT HIGH yet. So, to all you macbook owners out there, PLEASE stop taking A BILLION photos of yourself and your friends with photo booth. I get it, there are filters that make your face look funnier than it already is. Fine, have fun with that. But you HAVE to draw the line somewhere, and that somewhere is spamming MY newsfeed with that nonsense. I don't need to know that you've just tagged yourself in 300 new pictures of YOU taking pictures of YOU sitting in your room alone. I know that you're not that vain (and if you are, how have you not starved to death admiring your own face in the mirror yet?!)

...And that's what I learned today.

PS Those runs of pictures make it SUPER annoying to creep your profile on facebook too...just saying...