Apr 30, 2009

Dangerous gaming peripherals are dangerous

A friend of mine sent this article to me the other day, but I honestly forgot to post it. Gamespy did a great piece on 5 of the most dangerous gaming peripherals out there. What's bittersweet about this article is that I bet all of the ideas seemed like good ones at the time. "The time" of course, likely being happy hour and under the influence of enough tequila to give alcohol poisoning to an elephant.

They even have the PediSedate on this list!


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Apr 29, 2009

Awesome Alternative Business Models

Do you like BBQ? How about foot massages? Are you tired of having to go to two separate places to get your BBQ and foot massages? Why am I asking all these questions? THIS:

I want this to be real so very very badly, but given the video and the general quality of their site, I'm guessing "Jones' Good Ass BBQ and Foot Massasge" isn't a legit business venture.

Capitalism, you've let me down for the last time...

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Apr 28, 2009

Humanity's Foibles

I love witnessing the human condition in it's raw, pure form. Like when all the airs we put on and the social norms we're conditioned to build come crashing down upon us. While we all try to be gentlemen or gentleladies, we sometimes go against this grain either accidentally or intentionally, naievely or maliciously. It is these moments that expose our flaws and vulnerabilities - an intrinsically human act. And honestly, that's just part of mankind's charm.

It's not everyday you get to witness these kinds of things first hand, but two sites that I've come across sure give you innumerable tiny glimpses:

  • FmyLife - A constantly updated database of anecdotes in which people are trying to display exactly how F'd their lives are. I can't tell you how many times I was crying laughing, and how many times my jaw was dropped reading some of these stories. Seriously, there should be an internet rule 34(b) - if you can think it, someone probably did it (or at least wrote a story about it on this site).
  • Texts from Last Night - A site where people send in random texts or short correspondance they've received/had. While FmyLife has the advantage of being coherent stories, this site captures messages originally intended for a more intimate audience - a friend, family member, or significant other. The content here is simply more raw and random, but intruiging nonetheless.

If I could ever be bothered to sit down and do it, I'd add these and a few other sites to that frakking recommended list on the right.

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Apr 27, 2009

The US housing market crisis: A summary

About a week ago, while perusing the oft-interesting and irrefutably-titled This is a Blog, a challenge was laid to take a current event and put it into humorous picture squares. Or comics. Whichever term you prefer.

The point is I did one. And since I've been brought up to believe that sharing is good, here's my take on one of the many underlying reasons why the US housing market has tanked (what started this whole horrible economic mess we're in today):

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Apr 24, 2009

There's a zombie on your lawn

Sometimes, I really hate my friends.

Case in point: a few of them turned me onto an upcoming PopCap game, Plants vs. Zombies. Or to be more specific, they turned me onto a music video for Plants vs. Zombies. From what I can tell in this video it's a "defend your castle" type game which I can only assume will be executed to near-perfection, given PopCap's reputation.

But I can't get the f'ing song from the music video out of my head. It's brilliant in that it's catchy enough for me to repeat it ad nauseum, yet ridiculous and funny enough for me to not go insane for having it stuck in my head.

You win this round, PopCap. Actually you've won every round so far, but still...

There's a zombie on your lawn...

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Apr 23, 2009


I grew up in a town that had a church who was heavy into spreading the word of God. I'm all for religion (being Catholic myself) and spreading the message of one's religion, but their activities bordered on the cultish, particularly targeting teenagers. As such, they organized student events targeted at teenagers, hold regular fairs at their church - prominently displayed on a main road - and even once stood outside my middle school with clown suits and picket signs. They'd be handing out pamphlets and, no lie, comics to help get their message across to teenagers.

How is this anecdote relevant, rhetorical literary device I'm using to segue into my main point? Because there is a manga out that is trying to extol the benefits of Ubuntu, called Ubunchu. My keen cult senses and defenses I'd developed over the years aren't just tingling, they're going all Paul Revere "The British Are Coming!" in my system.

The sad thing is that I actually support Linux and Ubuntu in principle. True, they've yet to sway me from my familiar Windows operating systems, but they've come a long way and I likely will at least try it out with my next computer purchase. Just... don't do this again, ok Ubuntu community?

I'm honestly not sure if this manga is helping or hurting its cause. Either way it's an assault on your sanity. Go read it!

You can either visit the site, or jump right into the manga (like all mangas, the panels read right to left).

Click here to continue reading "Ubunchu"

Apr 22, 2009

Alphabet soup and sandwich

Do you like words? How about sandwiches? How about games that combine both words and sandwiches? If so, the aptly-titled "Word Sandwich" game is just for you!


It's a really addictive time-waster, in which you furiously mash the keyboard in frustration try to deduce 5 separate 5-letter words, one at a time, as quickly as possible. On each word, you take a guess and are told immediately if your guess was alphabetically higher or lower than the hidden word.

Each guess nets you less and less points until you run out of guesses (you have something to the tune of 25 guesses per word). However, if you take too much time between guesses, you lose your word multiplier.

Ironically, it's much easier to see in execution than it is to explain using words (or sandwiches). Check it out, but don't be surprised if you lose more time to it than anticipated.

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Apr 21, 2009

Hypothetical Drinks

At a random bar, a few friends and I decided to try to come up with hypothetical drinks that may or may not be good, but are hilarious. The below list are a mixture of a few that were tossed around and some I came up with.

For the record, everything on this list that won't outright kill me or contain illegal narcotics are drinks I want to try at some point.
  • Wily Wacker - Hypnotiq, Bombay Sapphire, Blue Raspberry Teeni. A variation of the Blue Bomber.
  • The Daft Punk - Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Orange Juice, Cranberry Juice and WD-40. It's basically a Sex On the Beach while adding the WD-40 robot cred. Something both men and women alike can enjoy.
  • The Terry Tate - Jagermeister, Jack Daniels, 151 rum. Mix anything with a .357 magnum (JD an 151) and the pain train's comin'.
  • Twilight - Sangria and Teen Angst. Best consumed in a Hot Topic.
  • Mario Brothers' Star - Limoncello and Cocaine. If this doesn't make you temporarily invincible, I don't know what will.
  • Taco Bell - Beefeater and Ex-Lax. Enough said.

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Apr 20, 2009

Death Race Double Dash

A while back, I put together the condensed version of the script of Death Race. Well, if you'd like it condensed even further, this 2 minute Youtube video does the job nicely. Only with less gruesome deaths and more appropriate (read: Mario Kart) sound effects.

This video comes courtesy of "Danger" Dan Robinson, who gives me yet another excuse to plug the Fair Use Law podcast (go listen to it!).

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Apr 17, 2009

Have a seat...

Ok, class. Who knows what's wrong with the following?

This is the PediSedate, a tool designed to distract and sedate children (with Nitrous or something similar) while they're distracted playing a gameboy. It's intended to be used for... I dunno, dentistry, maybe? Even then, why are you trying to engage the child's mind by having it focus on the game if you're trying to sedate them seems a little counter intuitive

I'm sure it won't be used inappropriately at all.

Via Gizmodo.

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Apr 16, 2009


Oh, I love it when celebrities do advertisements for other countries. Nicholas Cage is a celebrity who tried to cash in on his mediocre celebrity status over in Japan and did some Sankyo pachinko advertisements. As with all things Japanese, something is lost in the translation.

I'd be curious to know if at any point Mr. Cage wondered if he was actually having a really bad acid trip.

Click here to continue reading "PACHINKOOOOO!!!"

Apr 15, 2009

Nerf Now

In searching for good reading materials on the internet earlier today, specifically of the webcomic variety, I discovered Nerf Now. It's a video game webcomic that focuses primarily on Team Fortress 2, though does cross-over into other games such as StarCraft and Mega Man. But oh how I love me some TF2.

While it would be easy to dismiss it as yet another video game webcomic, I like this comic because it challenges itself. The dialogue is almost non-existent, or at least distilled to a Sims-like level, so the stories and ideas conveyed need to be that much more thought-out and executed upon. And, being largely TF2-based humor, I'm impressed how little of it is obvious "OMG it was a spy" jokes. Yes, I know the game lends itself to a lot of this kind of situational irony, but it's just that seems to be the punchline in most every other TF2 joke.

I also really like the art style of the comic. It's detailed, but not overly complex which I think is very much in line with the way TF2 plays out as a game. If I were ever to stop dabbling in drawing and start taking it more seriously, I'd like to think this style would be ideal for me to emulate.

Click here to continue reading "Nerf Now"

Apr 14, 2009

Rooting for the under (scurvy) dog

So there's been a lot of piracy in the news these days. No, not the kind that the RIAA and the MPAA give a damn about - those oh-so-crazy Somalian pirates recently came into the spotlight when they held a US Navy captain hostage recently. While I don't condone the actions of these pirates, I do sympathize with them.

Yes, you heard me correctly, I sympathize with them. Also, I fiercely love my country and was very happy when Cpt. Richard Philips was returned safely (though regrettably only by means of lethal force). I don't think these two ideas are mutually exclusive.

Today's pirates, despite what culture has raised us to believe, aren't eye patch-wearing swashbucklers. They aren't Johnny Depp or Orlando Bloom types roaming the high-seas for adventure and lost treasure. They are people who do bad things like take hostages, hold ransoms, steal, and murder. And for the record, these are despicable acts that, again, I don't condone.

But, you see, I believe people are generally good. I sincerely believe that no one takes up the profession of "pirate" in times of peace and prosperity. They do it because they are forced to, or at least feel that there are no other alternatives.

So why are Somalians taking to piracy? Well, turns out the developed world's taking advantage of them. According to wikipedia, the tsunami of 2005 had kicked up a quite a bit of nuclear waste that was being dumped in Somalian waters, causing a lot of Somalians to get sick. Oh, and fishing ships are have been hauling off a lot fish that are causing other Somalians to starve. So they're being both poisoned and having food taken off their plates. It's not difficult to understand why they'd be a little hostile to foreign ships.

I can't help but wonder if the anger and frustrations Somalians today feel is the same kind the British colonial settlers, my country's forefathers, felt when they got all uppity about that "taxation without representation" thing. They fought back. They waged war chock full of guerrilla tactics, not unlike the Somalian pirates' methods, to eventually get the British off their backs and establish The United States of America.

Why does history generally write us a free pass on this while we currently take a hard stance against Somalian piracy? Because our tactics were land-based? Because we were successful?

From what I can tell, these pirates are defending themselves and their country. And nothing more. How is that a bad thing?

I don't entirely know why I feel compelled to write about this. I guess I have a soft spot for the underdog.

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Apr 13, 2009

A man, a plan, a plant: Cilantro

I'm a big fan of pointless endeavours. And I really admire people who can get passionate about them - there's something genuine and honest in listening to a fanboy prattle on about their chosen interest.

Why do I bring this up? Well, I found a site by a guy who loves him some cilantro (coriander, to most of the rest of the world). I mean, really loves cilantro. He takes a militant stance against those who don't take a militant stance in support cilantro. He's the closest thing you'll ever get to an extremist in the culinary world.


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Apr 10, 2009

Snatch Wars

I've been a little bit of a Star Wars kick lately. So when I came across this video, I nearly died laughing. Who would have thought combining Brick Top's lines with Darth Vader would produce such sublime comedy?

Enjoy some Good Friday goodness, and have a Happy Easter, everyone! You know, if that's your thing...

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Apr 9, 2009


How I get interested in any particular video game is a curious process. The goal of which, simply put, is to try quantify an unknown entertainment experience to determine whether or not my time and money would be well spent on this hypothetical experience. This is not an insignificant task.

There are several tools I employ to help mitigate the uncertainty. I read the reviews and opinions of those in the gaming field, assigning various internal "gravitas" values depending on how well their opinions match up with my own. I talk with friends who have played the game themselves to get an idea for what I'm getting into. When possible, I play demos of the game - kicking the tires and taking it for a test drive, if you will.

Trackmania, however, seems to be a horse of a different color. My interest piqued when I was happened upon TM-Tube, a portal entirely devoted to fan-made videos of TrackMania. While the game's gorgeous graphics, sense of speed and creative racing tacks are notable, the videos on this site may have sold me on the game. These videos look fun. The sheer number of them tell me there is a healthy user community having fun. I mean, how can zipping around on a stunt track like this not be fun?

You'll have to excuse the Youtube quality, I couldn't get the HD version on TM-Tube to embed. Needless to say, the graphics on the HD version are so much better.

Also, the older version of the game (TrackMania: Nations Forever) is free.

Will I have fun playing it? Can't really say. But if all the fun others seem to be having are any indication, yeah, it'll probably be worth my time.

Click here to continue reading "TrackMania"

Apr 8, 2009

Photoshop Flailing: What famous movie characters are up to these days

This week's Cracked.com photoshop contest asked readers what famous movie characters are doing today. I was happy to oblige, and was able to come up with the following. Click any of them for a higher res version.

This was the role Anakin Skywalker was born to play!

Wait until you hear him sing "It's a Hard Knock Life"!

Once a pirate, always a pirate they say.

Though sad that this form of piracy lacks the adventure of the good old days, Jack is warmed to the fact that he has access to limitless porn.

And lastly, I was thinking really hard on how I wanted to use Robocop in a photoshop. Suddenly, the answer dawned upon me like a zen master coming to enlightenment:

The only reason Robocop hasn't joined Daft Punk is because scientists are worried that the universe would then implode on its own awesomeness.

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Apr 7, 2009

Toastmaster Speech: What I want to be when I grow up

Two things you may or may not know about me:

  • I like to blog here about once every weekday as it keeps me actively writing and generally allows me to be a giant ass express myself creatively.
  • I am an active member of a few Toastmasters groups, where I write and deliver several speeches in an effort to improve my public speaking and leadership abilities.
Every so often, I get lazy and want to multitask. This is one of those times. After the break, you can find a speech I plan on delivering at tomorrow's Toastmaster's meeting "What I want to be when I grow up". It's meant to emphasize storytelling elements of a personal natures. In it, I retell a recent story on how it was confirmed to me that teaching is what I ultimately want to do.

It's posted, as always, after the break.

I never really understood the whole notion of "finding your calling". Certainly, people have natural predispositions and strengths that help dictate what someone may be good at. Someone with great interpersonal skills may excel and gravitate towards a career in coaching. Someone who has great analytical skills could wind up an actuary. But I'm under the impression that people more or less winded up doing what it was they were good at, not something that compelled and inspired their vocation.

Or rather, this was my way of thinking until about 2 weeks ago. That was when I realized I knew teaching was my calling.

The facts of the story were these: my girlfriend is a wonderful elementary teacher who is finding it, along with most of her fellow young teachers-to-be, difficult to secure a full time teaching position. This has more to do with the employment landscape and economy than anything else. Since she will need a master's degree at some point to get tenure, she decided to look into full-time masters programs about a month ago.

One such program, Boston College's Master's in Education, had really appealed to her. When she had contacted them, their deadline to apply had long since past. But with a little persistence, a lot of courage and an excellent personal background, she was able to convince BC to accept her into the program.

On one condition: she would need to take and report to them GRE scores. Their deadline: 3 week's time.

Now, my girlfriend is an amazingly smart and talented individual. She can write and manipulate language as easily as you or I could breathe air. And I have met very few people who have the ability to network and possess the interpersonal skills she does. But taking standardized tests and math in general (one major component to the GRE) are not among her strengths. Fortunately, they are among mine.

So we got Kaplan GRE preparation book, and made promises to one another. I promised to tutor and help her in any way that I could to prepare for this test, and she promised to give her very best effort.

Unfortunately, her schedule was complicated. She was teaching a classroom full time for a teacher on maternity leave. For those who don't know, teaching - at least at the elementary level - is a very taxing profession. I know first hand that a teacher's job is not done at the end of the school day. It requires lesson planning, preparation, grading, and dealing with children, parents and administration every day in ways that can border on chaos. So when she had some time to actually prepare for her GRE, oftentimes she was run down and wanted to sleep.

In preparing, for math, I helped re-teach her old concepts she'd long since forgotten, developing my own additional tests and practice exercises to further reinforce concepts. We took practice test after practice test to get her familiar with the format of the tests and the types of questions she'd be likely to face. We did this for as many hours as she was able, seven days a week, for three weeks.

This preparation was grueling - she was often exhausted when trying to learn materials. The practice test scores kept coming in much lower than we both had hope, which were particularly demoralizing for her. She would question why it is she's even bother taking a test she believed she wouldn't do well in. But I kept cheering her on and she persevered.

Test day came and it was the moment of truth. She went off to take her 4 hour test, and I was anxiously waiting for the result. When the phone rang, I heard a smile in her voice. Her scores were way higher than we had expected. In a test who's maximum point score in any given area is 800, similar to the SATs, she improved 80 points over her best verbal score, and 140 points over her best math score.

When she told me this, I was driving at the time, and had to pull over to the side of the road - the tears that were welling up in my eyes made it too difficult to see clearly. What came out of both our mouths for the next 5 minutes were a mixture of shouting, expletives and joy. I had never felt such pride for accomplishments that weren't my own.

I knew, then and there, that teaching was for me. It was then that I was confident that my decision to go back to school this fall to ultimately teach at the college level was the right one. I guess every now and then people really do find their calling.

Click here to continue reading "Toastmaster Speech: What I want to be when I grow up"

Apr 6, 2009

BRB, getting dunked on by Patrick Chewing

Patrick Ewing FTW! Being born and raised a New Yorker, he was my childhood sports idol and makes this commercial all the better. It inspired me to buy a Snickers bar. Patrick didn't dunk on me, though.


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Apr 3, 2009

OMG Omegle

Reading up on a few other blogs from around the interwebs, a site called Omegle has recently popped up onto my radar. It's a site that connects you to a random, anonymous person for some one on one chatting.

On the surface, this would be an ideal service for meeting new people online in a direct, yet safe way. In reality it is a magical place that turns people into incoherent imbeciles (I hope, and I'm not immune). The imbeciles then get together and have conversations much like these:

You're now chatting with a random stranger. Say hi!
You: yo
Stranger: not you again.
You: it's always me
Stranger: so did you figure it out?
You: maybe
Stranger: tell me.
You: I already did
Stranger: wait a sec
Stranger: i feel...
Stranger: *farts*
Your conversational partner has disconnected.

You're now chatting with a random stranger. Say hi!
Stranger: W3WT
Your conversational partner has disconnected.

As a point of reference: these were some of the more intellectually stimulating conversations I had. It's kind of difficult to believe that this is the end result of eons of evolution and millennia of human progress.

And yet, much like a trainwreck, I just can't seem to look away.

Click here to continue reading "OMG Omegle"

Apr 2, 2009

April Fool's Day, crusher of dreams

The internet has always been a scary, yet wonderful place. This only gets amplified on April Fool's Day. Of course, you always see or hear a few elaborate pranks that really amaze. But there are other pranks, ones that are played on you, the internet surfer, that I feel are truly malicious.

At first glance, many of these pranks seem real. You might even want to take them at face value because you desperately want it to be true. But then, at the moment where you've truly become excited or interested in something, your hopes come crashing down on you:

  • Such was the case with the "announcement" of a new class in Diablo 3, the Archivist. I'm hungry for any details, Blizzard, why do you do this to me? The description they have is tongue-in-cheek, and the videos are of some variant of Deckard Cain feebly hobbling through levels. Stay (there) awhile and listen.
  • Valve possibly teased at what the next class due up for a weapons pack might be (the Sniper), but did so in a way that calls into question it's validity. Jarate? Throwing jars of urine on your opponents? Come on, Valve, this isn't South Park for the N64...
  • And lastly, when I first saw this, part of me kinda wanted a USB Pet Rock. But then I realized it was a prank and that I already have better technology sitting outside my front door (those rocks are wifi).

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Apr 1, 2009

Ed McMahon rapping

I don't care that this is a thinly-veiled marketing ploy by FreeCreditReport.com. In fact, I don't even care that this is done by FreeCreditReport.com, who I don't care for because they charge you (and aren't actually free). What I do care about is watching an iconic 86 year old man gangster rap, because that just makes me happy.

Oh and there's a part 2.

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