Thursday, September 29, 2011

Where Does One Find 'Roids In The Post-Apocalyptic Future?

If you check out my "Now Playing" sidebar, you'll see that this is what I've been busy with as of late. Yes, it's Gears of War 3, which was just released for the Xbox 360 last week. I've been off from work these past several days, so I've had the luxury of getting in some pretty good game time. It's been a while since I've gamed so consistently and thoroughly -- WHEEEE!

The game is, of course, the third in the series. The initial game was my very first title for the 360 when I got one for Christmas back in 2007. It's a third-person action shooter, with team-based squad tactics against horrific alien foes. So it's a cross between sci-fi and horror, with a war backdrop to boot. And I must say, I get a lot of joy out of using my chainsaw bayonet to get up close and rip out some Locust grub guts. Yes, that's right: I said CHAINSAW BAYONET!!!

Thing is, this 3rd game in the saga is supposed to take place some 2 years after the first game when the human race is on its last legs. These guys have been doggedly trying to outrun extinction for a while now, see, but I have to laugh at just how buff they managed to stay in all that time.

It's utterly hilarious to anyone who weight trains and knows a thing or two about muscle building. And I can tell you there is no way in hell these soldiers could maintain that density of muscle mass while constantly in the field and fighting for their lives. Real soldiers come out of years-long conflicts more wiry than buff. So when I play titles like this I have to laugh at the rather adolescent view of male physicality being depicted in these games, especially the war ones.

Muscles like that take constant dedication day-in and day-out in the gym, with careful nutritional intake and supplements thrown into the mix. Running through bombed-out cities and devastated countryside constantly on the run do not a muscle-bound superman make. In such extremes, your body tries to conserve energy and keep one's profile sleek and fast. The soldiers I know--the ones who have seen constant combat--are usually lean and wiry, not puffed-out bulky like in these games. This is the type of build than can maintain energy levels for long periods of time. Plus, I mean the amount of calories one would have to consume each day to support a hulked-out physique -- there aren't nearly enough chickens running around the fictional world of Sera to sustain all that!

Still, silly exaggerations aside, Gears 3 is so far shaping up to be a much better game than its predecessor. Gears 2 left a bad taste in my mouth because it was too much of an all-out frag fest and lite on story. But the final installment in the series brings us back to what I loved so much from the first game--action AND story, blended perfectly.

Sometimes, I love gaming!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Ago, On This Day

*I've decided to update and repost this blog entry I wrote 3 years ago in honor of the tenth anniversary of that terrible tragedy which befell my city.*

10 years ago, on this day . . .

It was a bright Tuesday morning, I recall. Cool and refreshing, with a hint of summer coming to an end. I was walking to work from the West 4th street subway when I saw a plane flying low over the Hudson River. My company was located on the extreme west side of lower Manhattan, just one mile directly north of the World Trade Center. Something about the sight of that plane felt odd to me, as commercial airliners don't usually fly over that part of the city. And certainly not that low in the sky. But as I was running late, I put it out of mind and rushed to get to my office.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Favorite Month

Buh-Bye, Summer.

Yes, summer is finally winding down to a close and we've come to my favorite month of the year -- September! It's my best month not just because it marks the end of my most hated season, but because both Lisa and I have our birthdays in September. How cool is that?

Grillin' and Chillin'.

With Labor Day upon us, I've decided to bust out the brand new Foreman grill and fire up some burgers and dogs. I've got the patties marinating in the fridge now, and will be preparing the corn on the cob in just a few minutes. You may recall that I busted my old grill to pieces last Memorial Day weekend, much to my grief. But I went out and got a similar version and now all is well. I usually only ever eat this type of food on patriotic holidays--especially the ones that give us 3-day weekends to enjoy. Call it a bygone effect of my childhood. Plus, Lisa absolutely LOVES corn! Must be why she laughs at all my jokes. [crickets chirping]

And On The 14th Day, He Rested.

It was 2 weeks ago that I mentioned I was going to be getting down and dirty with this infected PC of mine. Well, I wasn't joking. It's taken me this long to finally get everything squared away and my machine running at top speed once again. Phew! It seems I was infected by a great many things, the biggest of which was a nasty rootkit takeover. That one took a lot out of me to repair, but eventually I got rid of the nasty bugger! And I learned that I really need to stay more on top of my various protective spells programs that have kept this PC running smoothly for the past 8 years. If I weren't so busy of late this might never have happened, and I intend for it to never happen again. But, yes, all is well now. Hopefully this means I won't be so scarce around the blogosphere anymore. Having Windows running under multiple scans and cleanup protocols for hours on end each day can make one not want to hang around a PC much, let me just say. But now I'm up and running again. Hurrah!

Fun, Fun, Fun 'Till Daddy Takes My Word Doc Away!

And speaking of up and running again, you may notice a certain word counter at the top of the page is showing larger digits than the number ZERO again. Yes, yes . . . I have started working on the Castlevania novel once more. As I mentioned in another post earlier last month, I've decided to start all over and rewrite what's already been written down on the project. Which, last time I checked, was around 12 chapters and some 50,000 words. The good news is that I now know what to expect, and have a much clearer idea of what I want to do with these same chapters. I'm going to be streamlining the plot a little, completely re-doing a certain character's voice (which was getting pretty annoying to me in the first run), and trying not to overwrite my sentences, which I have a tendency to do a lot. After just one day's work, I've already written some 2,300 words and finished an entire chapter. Full steam ahead!

So, I hope you all are having a great weekend. If you live in the U.S. of A., have a wonderful Labor Day. Eat lots of burgers and corn and dogs, or combine the last two and have a corndog on me! :)

Panama Trip - Day 1: Here There Be Balboas!

In late May, 2017 I embarked on a trip of a lifetime. A trip to Panama's steamy tropical province, Bocas del Toro. Now, before 2017 ...