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"Those who go mad are merely thoughtful souls who failed to reach any conclusions." - Bloodborne

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Do Republicans seem... strange to anyone else?

Edit: I just wanted to add right up top that I'm not falling all over myself for Democrats either, but the level of Republican terribleness just has me really confused.

I'm no fan of your average Republican, obviously. During my childhood and early teen years I payed no attention whatsoever to politics. I didn't know what a Republican was, what liberal meant, nothing. My sad introduction to Politics happened to be in the form of George W Bush. Watching him led me from indifference to hate. I hated that guy. What an idiot, almost all of his decisions made things worse. A lot of things he said were either incredibly wrong or just plain stupid. I didn't understand how something like that could be elected... then re-elected.

Then came McCain, a "meh" Republican who picked perhaps one of the worst running mates in Presidential history, Sarah Palin. "Wow" I thought, "They actually managed to find someone dumber than Dubya, amazing." Fortunately he got absolutely trounced, but his decision to choose Palin as his VP was confusing. She wasn't just bad, she was fucking terrible. Since then, it's been one racist quote, homophobic quote, sexist quote and/or absolutely mind bogglingly dumb idea or decision after another. I truly believe that Republicans are getting worse at an incredible pace.

This leads me back to my initial thought, it seems... strange now. Not bad, not terrible or dumb just, odd. Republicans have spent so much time trying to put the square peg into the round hole that I'm genuinely not sure if they're morons or are just screwing with us at this point. I'm not suggesting any kind of conspiracy, just an observation. I honestly don't understand why they're doing the things they're doing. If it was a fourth, maybe, of what it is, I'd say they just have some idiots running their show. But this much... terribleness? I don't know. I'm just confused by it all.

Just look at some of this shit.

And this.
And this.
And this.
And this.
And this.
And this... okay, I'll stop now.

But, seriously though, what's going on? Do Republicans all share the same type of glue that they pass around and take turns sniffing? Are they trying to lower the bar so much that when the first semi-intelligent Republican comes along he gets voted into unanimously... okay, that's kind of a conspiracy, but I'm out of ideas at this point.

Wii U: Impressions.

So I got a Wii U not too long ago and have been messing around with that for a while. I thought I would post my thoughts about various aspects of the system.

The system itself looks a lot like the original Wii, but larger. In fact, the size is almost awkward looking, as if this is the prototype of the original Wii before they shrunk it for release. Although it's not an ugly system by any means. It's much smaller than its current competitors, the 360 and PS3, by a large margin. It should fit into any entertainment center. My favorite part of the appearance is the more rounded look compared to the Wii and its more jagged edges.

I have the black version, but both versions are covered in a glossy finish that looks nice but will attract dust and fingerprints like a magnet. The system features the same sort of slot loading disc drive as the Wii, which is a nice touch in my opinion. I think these types of disc drives seem a lot more... modern, compared to traditional tray loading versions.

The system has full compatibility with Wii games, controllers and accessories but unfortunately lacks ports for Gamecube controllers and memory cards leaving it unable to play Gamecube games. Playing Wii games is done via the Wii Menu which basically reboots the system into a sort of "Wii mode" that runs the OS of the original Wii. When in "Wii mode" you're unable to use any Wii U accessories or controllers such as the Wii U Pro Controller or the tablet-style gamepad.

As far as horsepower goes, it's good. Nintendo doesn't think that specs for consoles are very important and I agree. If you want a stat-box with 100 gigga-wombats and 18 gajillion terranoodles of RAM you should build a PC. I have a PC just for that purpose. Anyone arguing about hardware specs on a console are missing the point. Consoles are first and foremost about games. It is a capable system and in the right hands I can see some really amazing looking games coming out on it. If you have doubts about its abilities, here's a demo they did at E3 2011 to show off what kind of things the system is capable of on the graphics front. It's running in real time on the system in 1080p.

The interface seems more modern than the Wii interface, which I found good but kind of goofy. The channel system on the Wii worked well but some of the channels didn't make much sense to me, like the "everybody votes" channel which seemed like a novelty for small children. The Wii U interface is separated into two parts. The gamepad displays a DS-like arrangement of icons for system features and games. The TV displays the front page of Miiverse, which is a sort of social network that Nintendo has developed for Wii U. People can post screenshots, drawings and text regarding various games and even things like Netflix. Here's a pretty good video.

As far as games, I only have a few right now. The game that comes with the system, Nintendo Land, along with New Super Mario Bros 2, ZombiU and Ninja Gaiden Black Razor's Edge. All very good games and I would highly recommend them. I don't think any of them really show off what the system is capable of yet, although Mario Bros is a very beautiful game and Ninja Gaiden looks great as it always does. Going back to the system itself, one of the things that impresses me about the Wii U is that a lot of the games are available digitally through the Wii U itself. The Wii U supports external HDD's up to 2TB in size to store games and game content on, along with SD cards like the original system. I didn't expect Nintendo to embrace digital distribution to this degree, but I'm pleasantly surprised by it.

Okay, back to the games. The system has a decent selection of games out now, including the ones I listed, which, again, are all awesome. This system is in somewhat of a temporary drought right now with not much in the way of releases until March. On the horizon, Nintendo fans have a lot to look forward to with Wii U. Games such as Bayonetta 2 (which is a Wii U exclusive) Lego City, the usual suspects such as Zelda, Smash Bros, Mario, etc and many more from Nintendo and other third parties not yet announced. Nintendo has already confirmed a new 3D Mario and Mario Kart to be at E3 and in playable form with a new Zelda (along with an HD remake of Wind Waker) coming in the not-too-distant future. There's a lot more that will be undoubtedly announced at E3 so watch for that.

The main attraction of Wii U is the gamepad. It features... almost everything, really. It has the standard ABXY start/select button layout along with L and R bumpers and ZL and ZR triggers on the back with two (clickable) analog sticks and a Dpad. It also has stereo speakers, a mic, a headphone jack, a front facing camera, a built in sensor bar, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, a magnetometer, an NFC (near field communication) reader, a volume slider, a stylus, a power button and a "TV" button which allows you to use the gamepad as a remote for your TV via the IR emitter. Oh, and it has a 16:9 ratio touch screen on the front. Some games use it extensively and very well, such as ZombiU. Other games like New Mario Bros U use it mostly as a replacement for the TV, should the need arise. This allows you to play the game entirely on the gamepad while the TV is free to be used for anything else. Only some games support this and I haven't personally had a use for it, but it's a really cool feature.

The gamepad is light and comfortable, although really large for a controller. The battery life is about 3 - 4 hours, which isn't that great. The good news is that Nyko (along with others soon, I would imagine) will be releasing batteries far better that you can simply swap out yourself to get more life out of the thing. I'll be doing that ASAP. The gamepad offers a ton of possibilities for games and should give us a lot of interesting experiences only available on this system. Don't forget that the Wii U also supports your standard Wii remotes (with or without Wii Motion Plus) and Nunchucks along with or instead of the gamepad.

I've written too much already so I think that's probably enough from me on this subject for now. Overall, I'm enjoying the system and looking forward to what the future holds for it. If you're a fan of Nintendo, I'd highly recommend getting a Wii U. If you aren't a big Nintendo fan or are on the fence about the system for any reason, keep an eye on it. It might surprise you.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The problem isn't guns, it's gun nuts.

Since everyone is weighing in about the current gun debate, I will too. Here goes.

I think the problem we're having with guns isn't due to the guns themselves, but gun nuts. What is a gun nut, exactly? I don't mean people who love guns, have a lot of guns or support the Second Amendment, that's not it all. When I say gun nut I mean someone who lets their love of guns, love of the second amendment and/or their irrational fear of the government affect their judgement.

Take for example, the NRA, the National Rifle Association. A very powerful group that lobbies the government for less gun restrictions and more freedom for gun ownership. Sounds fine, right? Rights should be protected and fought for, the right to bear arms is no different. The problem is that the NRA are gun nuts. Why? Because they aren't... what's the word... oh yeah, sane. Honestly though, that gives them too little credit. They aren't stupid, they just act incredibly stupid.

As soon as the gun debate started after the recent school shooting, instead of discussing the issue like rational adults, they immediately start pointing fingers, wildly at anything that will distract people from the real issues. They suggest things as insane as a national database of the mentally ill. They blame media such as movies and video games, which is pretty much the last ditch effort of someone who has no legitimate argument. The video game thing is so old and has been done to death. Penn and Teller did an an episode of their show Bullshit debunking this.

Instead of silly distractions, we should be having a real debate about this issue, but it's hard to do because of all the noise generated from panicky, finger pointing bullshit peddling gun nuts like the NRA. Let me be clear about something, I'm a liberal and I support the Second Amendment. I don't own any guns currently but that's not an impossibility for the future. Personally, when I think about the recent shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, I don't think "BAN ALL THE GUNS!" here's a few things that cross my mind...

  • How did he gain access to the guns in the first place?
  • Why was his mental illness not diagnosed and not being treated?
  • If a kid who is bullied does this, why wasn't it stopped? Why didn't someone do something?
  • Should the parents suffer ANY consequences for allowing the child access to their guns, either through permission or lax security of their guns?
  • Are there any types of guns that should legitimately be made illegal to own and why?

Again, because of gun nuts like the NRA and many (not all) of those who support and fund them, these types of issues aren't discussed in the depth or frequency they should be. I don't think any good solutions are going to be found until this changes.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Bad names for sports teams.

A lot of people who follow sports have a favorite team, whether it's football, baseball or any other team based sport. All of them have one thing in common, a name. You see names like "The Dallas Cowboys" or "The Chicago Bears" etc. I'd like to provide a few, very bad, suggestions of my own for anyone looking to name their sports team.

  • The Alabama Slave Drivers

  • The Fighting Pacifists

  • The Connecticut Shooters

  • The Nagasaki Explosion

  • The New York Skyscrapers

  • The Florida Hurricanes

  • The Quadruple Amputees

  • The Fighting Diabetics

  • The New Orleans Drillers

  • The League Of Incredibly Clumsy Gentlemen

  • The Autistic Fury

  • The Fighting Chain Smokers

Do you have any more ideas for sports team names? Leave a comment.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

You know what pisses me off? Not news.

Since everyone loves lists, here's a small list of some things that are NOT NEWS and should NOT be covered by news stations.

  • The British royal family

  • This is not England, why the fuck should I care about the fake, figurehead "royalty?" Why is this on American news? What effect does this have on us in the slightest? Hell, what effect on the people of ENGLAND does it even have?

  • The Kardashians

  • It's basically the same issue as with the news covering British "royalty" except slightly dumber. These people are nothing, literally, absolutely, nothing. Yet for some reason, news stations just love to waste time talking about them. I'll probably never understand it.

  • Let's check in on Twitter/Blogs/Facebook/etc

  • I have a blog, you're reading it right now. But you know what? It's not fucking news worthy. The same thing goes for Twitter posts, Facebook posts and every other kind of "social media" that exists. I don't turn on CNN to see what the "blogosphere" is saying. I have a computer, I can see that on my own. I don't need a national 24 hour news network to let me know.

  • Pets

  • Did someone find a lost dog? Did a cat that was missing for 7 years find its way home? That's great, but it's not NEWS. If I wanted random stories and pictures and videos of cats and other animals, I have the Internet for that.

  • Stupid criminals

  • Did some burglar get caught in a chimney? That's funny but... it's not news. Unless some random crook broke into the White House, slipped, fell, and landed on the "launch nuclear weapons" button, it's not important or news worthy in the slightest. Leave that kind of stuff to late night talk show hosts.

Is there anything that isn't news worthy that you're tired of hearing about on the news? Leave a comment and let me know.