Thursday, May 28, 2009

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

7 years ago Grand Theft Auto: Vice City came out and single handily made me a video game addict again. I remember frothing at the mouth for the build up for this game as I would visit the games website everyday looking at the screencaps and game trailers fantasizing to what the game would play like.

The game itself took place in 1986 in Vice City (a play on Miami) immediately I had a hard on for this game seeing how I have a pension for the 80's as well as anything Miami due to my severe love for Miami Vice. Needless to say this said hard on lasted easily more then a year as my eyeballs would practically bleed from endless hours on end of game play.

With Grand Theft Auto: Vice City came the introduction of Motorcycles into the game. This may not seem like a huge deal to some but the fact of being able to redline a bike a bike and hit jumps for some sweet air almost put me into a convulsion. Along with that there was something so sweet of cruising down a virtual Miami Beach front and pull a drive-by on someone that I wouldn't get a satisfaction of in real life (as if I needed too).

Motorcycles weren't the only thing that would make me go into shakes of withdrawal by the sheer thought of. In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City gamers were introduced to the luxury of cruising around in boats in the cool beautiful sea green waters of Vice City. The only downfall of this is if you fell in the water you were as good as dead because the game developers didn't create the ability to swim in the game until the next installment of the series; Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Along with Motorcycles and Watercraft you could also take to the sky in helicopters and prop planes as you could float around in the gorgeous Vice City skyline while overseeing the beautiful landscape from a bird's eye view. If I was able to sleep after playing days on end I would dream of this as I slobbered all over my pillow case.

Another feature that the game developers added to the game was the ability to bailout of a car while it was moving. This brought about one of the fondest memories about this game that I will never forget. When I first got the game I brought it over to my buddy Dan Raps' place so we could all crack out on the game. When my buddy Martin (who miss the hell out of!!) got a hold of the game the first thing he did was pick up a hooker and then bailout on a jump into the water, I couldn't stop laughing.

The gameplay of Vice City wasn't the only thing that kept me up at night as it also had a phenomenal soundtrack! The soundtrack featured such giant 80s hits by Cutting Crew, Rick James, Michael Jackson, Hall & Oates, the Buggles, the Outfield, Motley Crue, Quiet Riot, Gary Numan, A Flock of Seagulls, Run DMC & Kurtis Blow all of which captured the time perfectly (coming from someone who was born in 85 and has no recollection of the 80s at all!).

Besides all of the little elements of the game I already described the fact that you could own store fronts that created missions itself to go along with the story line missions was brilliant. The missions and all the elements alone took a good portion of my life that I will never feel that I wasted. 

I have been debating on whether or not to start a whole new game and try to complete it without codes but I'm already thoroughly addicted to Fallout 3. This being said all the while I need to be applying myself get a real job and do something with my degree. After this weekend I'm going to start getting serious about that whole job thing so we'll see what actually happens in due time.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Sport of the Gods!

Baseball may be the Old National Past Time but Wiffle Ball truly is the Backyard Classic. There is something about the curve of a rubbery plastic ball and the contact of the plastic bat that sends chills up my back.

My love for the sport of Wiffle Ball even proceeds that of Kickball, which is equally in it's own right a great backyard sport. Some people may beg to defer but I'm not the only one who feels this way though as there is a large Wiffle Ball family world wide.

There are many cases which exist predominately in the New England area where people have made there own Fenway Wiffle Ball Field. If I ever become a home owner one thing that will be a necessity to me is that my home will have a expansive backyard so I can build my own Wiffle Ball Field.

Part of the fun of Wiffle Ball is each field's diversity of angles to play in the field. This creates for each to game to have a spontaneous outcome that can sometime lead to multiple games played until you can't even see the ball anymore as daylight dissipates.

How do you play Wiffle Ball you ask? Well it essentially is baseball but it differs in that there is no baserunning and rather that the distance of the ball determines a Single, Double, Triple or a Home Run. 

Pitch counts vary by players but it usually is 3 Strikes and 4 or more balls and always 2 outs per inning. The 4 or more balls creates for more opportunities to hit the ball and a less likelihood of constantly walking batters. The 2 Outs Per inning create for fasting moving games.

The strike zone itself is usually determined by either a chair, a backstop with a marked strike zone or sometimes even a trash can.

The size of teams typically consists of 2 to 5 players. I myself find that 2 to 3 players a team usuallly creates for the most fun and a more competitive game.

Wiffle Ball itself was created in 1953 in Fairfield, Connecticut by David N. Mullany. Mullany created it for his 12 year-old son and it got it's name when his son and his friends would describe the sound of a strikeout as a "Whiff."

Hell, even my old man played Wiffle Ball when he was a kid which shocked me because I didn't know they had plastic back in the stone age. Yuck, I so went for the hack comedian route on that stinker.

I don't want to brag but I consider myself the Johan Santana of Wiffle Ball and a great contact hitter. The variety of pitches is determined by your fingering of the ball, the direction the holes are in your hand and the angle of your arm.

This isn't me but this kid is pretty nasty when it comes to pitching. Later in the video it shows him in what looks like a organized league Wiffle Ball game which made me insanely jealous because I want to do that!

While I was searching for images for this post I came across this image for a Nintendo DS Wiffle Ball game. I don't own a Nintendo DS but if this game ever came to the Wii I would seriously go out and buy a Wii for it (I'm already contemplating doing that for the new Punch-Out! game).

Of coarse they would have to do the game right and make it that you had the ability to design your field and set your rules. That would be the only way I would buy the game, plus the Wii would be the perfect platform for it as you could swing and throw just like you would in a real game.

If anybody wants to play this spring/summer hit me up! I know a couple of places we could play and this summer I was planning on having a few BBQ's at my place so I'm sure that there will be a few games breaking out here and there on their own.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I am becoming an 86 year-old Woman

While I was at work today I realized as I was talking to my co-workers Anthony and Lynne that I have the mind set of an old bag. As we were talking about food and cooking, I soon became enthralled with the idea of grocery shopping today as I have recently discovered this to be the case in the past 2 or 3  months now.
blanche.jpg image by dvsross
I prep my grocery list in a ritual like way like Blanche Devereaux would prep her diaphragm for a night out at the Knights of Columbus (wait a second, that makes no sense? Whatever). Before I take to the aisles, I go through all the coupon flyers as I stalk for deals like gamey prey. 

By the time I get to the Super Market I have my grocery list in hand and sock full of coupons in my pocket. As I grab my Rickety Wheeled Grocery Cart I hit Shuffle Songs on my iPod as I prepare to rock out in my Grocery Experience. 

Some people however take this experience to the extreme though like my brother who has been known to Rollerblade through the store. This makes question whether or not my brother is a little light in the loafers, but hey to each their own am I right?

My passion for grocery shopping can be taken to the next level as you can sometimes find me yelling things at the bag boy like "HEY! This Coupon says it's 50 cents off the Sunny Delight Bucko!"

Getting excited about Grocery shopping doesn't necessarily make you old though but if it directly results in the purposeful preparation for certain television programs then hell yea it does.

Which leads me to my next example of me having the mentally of a geriatric; Television Programs. If I have the time during the day and I am around the house I'll watch all the old cop shows like Rockford Files, Magnum P.I. and Miami Vice.

There's just something about those shows that captivate my senile mind as gum away on some Apple Sauce. Maybe it has to deal with their cheesy style of cool and the fantastic character and script development is the reason I prefer to watch these shows while I mack on some cupcakes in my snuggie.

To prove even further my mind is Geritol bound, if any old school game shows like Press Your Luck, Family Fued (only with Richard Dawson) or Super Market Sweep are on you can bet your bottom dollar that my TV is tuned to it (Christ almighty; Bet Your Bottom Dollar? Did I just say that? Even I'm embarrassed for myself).

Normally I would also gush about my obsession for the Price is Right and how I would stay home from school back in the day just for my fix of Bob's Beauties but that hasn't been the case in over year. Sadly since Drew Carey has taken over the show he has single handily derailed the show. The producers of the show should have gone with John O'Hurley as the show host instead but thats just my opinion. 

I feel like I should have one of those stupid TV antennas on my roof with all the ancient shit that I watch on TV when I get the chance. Seriously though, who really has one of those TV antennas still? I haven't seen any of those since Richard Bey was the Jerry Springer of Day Time Talk.

My worries of my progressing age doesn't just apply to my actions though. I mean I'm getting all sorts of aches and pains here and there in places I never knew I had. My knees and my back have been shit for a while now but even now I'm starting to develop eye problems particularly in my right eye. 

I don't know if it's Macular Degeneration or Glaucoma but if it gets worse and if I can get a prescription to the funny stuff then I'm not complaining. Either way I'm sure staring at computer screens for extended periods of time is going to result in me needing to take out Large Print books from the library in the immediate future.

The fact that I'm already wanting to live in Florida for the warm weather has me spooked. Soon enough I'm going to be doing water aerobics before I go to early bird specials at the local Denny's before calling it a night at 8pm right after Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dawn of the Dead

Dawn of the Dead is by far my favorite movie of all time. When people ask me for a good horror movie Dawn of the Dead is the first movie I suggest. There's something about it's comic book like nature that I love that makes it so original and definitive of the golden era of horror movies.

Dawn of the Dead is the second installment of George A. Romero's living dead movie series. The movie was filmed outside of Pittsburgh in the winter of 1977. Most of the zombies in the film were actually fans of George Romero's work and were paid $2 along with a cup of coffee & a doughnut. 
Dawn of the Dead opens up right in midst of a pandemic from the zombie outbreak that began in Night of the Living Dead. The movie follows the lives on the run by a news producer named Francine, her news traffic copter pilot boyfriend Stephen "Flyboy" Andrews as well as special op agents Peter & Roger. 

As the news keeps coming in of rescue stations going offlinem Flyboy and his girlfriend Francine take to the sky to find refuge. At this time Peter and Roger are clearing out an apartment complex that is storing the living dead. 

While clearing out the apartments a guy in the special ops unit by the name of "Wolly" losses it and starts blowing away anything that moves. After clearing out the apartment complex Roger informs Peter he has a friend with a helicopter and that there on the run.

It is here in the film when the group is on the run that we are first introduced to the fantastic make up and special effects work of the Tom Savini. The attention to detail on the zombies make up and the brilliant special effects through out the film really defined Tom Savini as the master of his field. Since Dawn of the Dead, Tom Savini has gone on to do make up and special effects in Friday the 13ths, Creepshow and Day of the Dead.

After a few zombie encounters and a few pit stops along the way Flyboy, Francine, Peter and Roger discover a mall infested with zombies. After setting up shop in the mall the gang set out to fortify the mall. 

This idea of fortifying a mall in a zombie apocalypse I think is awesome. I would love to roll around on a segway and blast away some Zombies before hitting up the Food Court.

While fortifying the mall, Roger, the gunslinger of the group, gets infected after being bitten a few times. After losing Roger, the group begins to develop acute depression and the cabin fever that would be associated with a long subdued encapsulation from a zombie apocalypse.

I find the mental impact of a Zombie apocalypse portrayed in the film to be so insanely accurate. Your mind would eventually get so bent from lack of activity as well as the knowledge that most if not all of your loved ones are Zombies. Not too mention the constant groaning you would hear from the zombies that would circle your fortified location which over time would grow short of supplies.
Before long though the groups' presence at the mall is discovered by a large traveling gang of motorcycle raiders after spoting the group's helicopter on the roof of the mall. 

As far as what happens in the rest of the movie I am not going to tell you any further to what happens. You yourself will have to get out and rent/buy the film and enjoy it on your own terms. 

I would happen to suggest however to watch George Romero's series of zombie films in order from Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead and Diary of the Dead to get the full history of the series.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I can say without a doubt in my mind that "COPS" is the greatest reality TV show of all time. For 20 years FOX has brought the cream of the criminal crop to our idiot boxes every Saturday night. Anytime I hear that "HUHHHH!" from the theme song "Bad Boys" by Inner Circle, my mouth begins to water for White Trash & Speed Freaks as if I were Pavlov's Dog.

Basically, I use the show as positive reinforcement in my life. No matter how bad life gets I can always put on the TV and say to myself "Well, at least your not being caught in Drag stealing copper wire from a construction site and insisting your buddy Steve said you could borrow it."

There are times when I question myself though, especially when they bust prostitutes. I'll sit there in my plastic fantastic furniture expecting Cindy Crawford and when it turns out to be a Ernest Borgnine look a like in pumps I kind of get disappointed as I try to look past his/her's Adams Apple as I gaze into the bounty of their Crustache questioning myself Would Ya? But that's neither here nor there....

One thing that still perplexes me still to this day though is why does at least 85% of the people on the show lack the ability to wear a common everyday T-shirt? Are there lack of T-shirts in these communities to go around? Is it something Medical like a deficiency towards cotton? 

Whatever the case may be there is one thing that is always guaranteed and that is the presence of Mullets on COPS. Yea, you might be saying "This Kid is still talking about Mullets?" and yes I am because I am infatuated with the idea of keeping your neck warm but yet emulating Goose's hair from Top Gun in the Front.

My absolute favorite thing on COPS though are the Crackheads/Speed Freaks. They have the best attire and the most fabulous outlandish stories. I saw one episode when one of these prodigies explained to the Fuzz that the reason he was hanging out at a closed Gas Station @ 4am was because he just got married to Elvis's daughter and his brand new Baby Blue Roles Royce just broke down. That alone is worth it's weight in gold.

Finally, I have a theory when it comes to COPS and that theory is no matter what time of the day it is you can find COPS on TV. Whether it be on FOX, CourtTV, UPN, or even G4 COPS is on somewhere in the world.