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Whomever
06 January 2012 @ 09:25 am
Red Tails on Jan. 20 - Probably will wind up seeing this with my dad.

One for the Money on Jan. 27 - Maria likes these novels and is interested in seeing this. I'm not sure if we'll try to make it to the theater or wait on it.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance on Feb. 17 - This is the first "must-see" of my new year. I'm guessing I'll go with my dad, since we saw the original together and Maria isn't really caring about this.

John Carter on March 9 - We both want to see this. You have to admit it's looking cooler with each new trailer. Of course, there might a bigger priority later in the month...

The Hunger Games on March 23 - Yeah, this one might be a bigger deal. Maria really liked this book, and I'm really interested in it myself.

The Cabin in the Woods on April 13 - Joss Whedon and his Mutant Enemy cohort Drew Goddard serve up an off-kilter, winking spin at an old horror movie trope. Might pay to see or wait for rental, hard to say.

The Avengers on May 4 - Well, obviously there's no choice here.

Men in Black III on May 25 - The second one was awful, but Maria loves the first one so much that I imagine we'll try to get to this one.

Prometheus on June 8 - My most-anticipated film of the year. I will be there with my eyes taped open so I DON'T MISS A SINGLE DETAIL.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation on June 29 - Combine "drooling anticipation" with "growing dread," and you get my feelings on this one.

The Amazing Spider-Man on July 3 - This might be skippable for us. I don't know if we're really beating down the doors on this one, y'know?

The Dark Knight Rises on July 20 - This, on the other hand, is a no-brainer. Maria might go with one of her friends, though, so we might end up seeing it separately.

Resident Evil: Retribution on Sept. 14 - Hard to say if Maria will join me for this or if I'll go alone. It's high on my priority list, but I dunno where it stands on hers.

Dredd on Sept. 21 - This is another "might-be-skippable" comic book movie. I want to see the new approach to Judge Dredd (complete with Evil Lena Headey as the villian!), but maybe not enough to pay ticket prices.

Skyfall on Nov. 9 - The third Daniel Craig James Bond film will probably be a boys' night for me, my dad and my brother - just as the second one was.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 on Nov. 16 - We're certain to close the book on this series together.

Silent Hill: Revelations 3D on ??? - They can't seem to decide if this will release in March, April, September or October of this year. Mandatory viewing for me, but Maria's not interested.

And that's probably our list of "known quantities" going into this year. Other properties that we MIGHT end up caring about exist, but don't seem like priorities right now. At least... not yet.
 
 
Whomever
31 December 2011 @ 07:17 pm
I kinda had a busy year at home, so it's not too surprising that I didn't see as many films in theaters this year as I usually do. I only saw 20, in fact, plus 2 new direct-to-DVD releases. Are there any movies I didn't see in theaters that I wish I had gotten to? Oh, only a couple. I'll just have to rent those, though, and that's no big loss for me. It doesn't seem as much of a priority with Oliver around, y'know? But don't worry - I'm not just going to quit. I still love the theater experience, and there are movies we'll definitely make time for next year, such as Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises.

Theatrical:
Green Hornet
Beastly
The Adjustment Bureau
Scream 4
Fast Five
Thor
X-Men: First Class
Green Lantern
(x2)
Friends with Benefits
Horrible Bosses
Captain America: The First Avenger
(x2)
Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part Two
Cowboys & Aliens
The Help
Abduction
Dolphin Tale
The Thing
The Three Musketeers
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol


Direct-To-DVD:
Death Race 2
All-Star Superman
 
 
Whomever
31 December 2011 @ 07:11 pm
And so the year ends with 40 games finished!

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (DS)
Ys: The Ark of Napishtim (PS2)
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (PS3)
Iron Man 2 (DS)
Golden Axe: Beast Rider (PS3)
Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)
Batman: The Brave & The Bold (Wii)
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (PS3)
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (Wii)
Aliens: Extermination (Arcade)
Mega Man Zero 2 (GBA)
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (PS3)
Splatterhouse (PS3)
Heavy Rain (PS3)
Portal (PS3)
Half-Life 2 (PS3)
Half-Life 2: Episode One (PS3)
L.A. Noire (PS3)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled (PS3)
Ys I Chronicles (PSP)
Bionic Commando Rearmed (PS3)
Again (DS)
TimeSplitters: Future Perfect (GC)
Super Adventure Island (SNES - VC)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - Reflex Edition (Wii)
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (PS3)
Dark Void (PS3)
Saw II: Flesh & Blood (PS3)
Super Bonk (SNES - VC)
Ys II Chronicles (PSP)
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (Xbox)
Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters (PS3)
Aliens: Infestation (DS)
Rainbow Six: Vegas (PS3)
inFamous (PS3)
Corpse Party (PSP)
The Legend of Kage 2 (DS)
Portal 2 (PS3)
Centipede: Infestation (Wii)
Thor: God of Thunder (DS)
 
 
Whomever
14 December 2011 @ 02:24 pm
Why is there a profane one-syllable insult for women that has a nice, harsh sound to it, but no equivalent for jerkass men? I mean, "bitch" honestly sounds mean thanks to that vicious little "CCHH" sound on the end. You can SPIT that insult through your teeth, and make it really sound hateful.

But the truth is, I've always run into way more guys I hate than girls. What am I suppposed to call them?

"Asshole"? Lack terseness.

"Dick?" Lacks brutality - plus it sounds roughly as profane as calling someone a "butt."

"Bastard"? We might as well be cuddling by this point.

I demand equality. Can we create a derogatory term for guys who are complete tools? Because there is certainly no shortage of them. Perhaps we can even imitate the pleasant "CH" sound that puts the exclamation mark on the word "bitch."

How about "skatch"? I think that sounds pretty good. (Besides, "sketch," "skitch" and "skotch" are all taken or sort-of taken by other words.) Go ahead, try it out: "You filthy fucking skatch!" See, that feels nice and solid.

Feel free to inform me of insults I'm unaware of, though, or suggest alternative made-up words.
 
 
Whomever
07 December 2011 @ 03:21 pm
Taken by my wife:

000060re

 
 
 
Whomever
Okay, so I never finished reviewing all of the #1 issues of DC's "New 52," but in my defense, I don't think anybody really cared.

Each month I have to weed something out or accept how little I care about something. Gradually, we're getting down to the books that're really grabbing me - the pinaccle. Amazingly, there's still more than 15 of those! And here are my top 15 for the moment...

1) Deathstroke - Sooooo good. So incredibly fun. I never thought I'd love a comic about a "villian" like this, but honestly, it's hard not to be on Deathstroke's side given what he's dealing with. His anger and irritation at the world is something I can latch onto easily.
2) Birds of Prey - This continues to be one of the surprise powerhouse comics of the new run. I was really skeptical of Poison Ivy being on the team, but it seems in the reboot, she's not as monstrous as she used to be. She's an ecoterrorist, sure, but she only has killed people who have caused serious environmental damage. And the rest of the team comes off awesome.
3) Batwing - The story of Batman's protege in South Africa is a brutal one, but a really awesome one. It's beautiful to look at, and the notion of a Batman who is also a police officer by day really spins the concept on its head. Violent and gory? Yeah, but also full of impact and insight.
4) Red Lanterns - As forms of justice, I'm a big fan of both vengeance and rage. So what's not to like about the Red Lanterns? Despite lacking a single human character, this is one of the most relatable comics in the new lineup on a simple, human level. Atrocitus and Bleez... I get them.
5) Justice League International - A middling first issue has given way to a wonderful series with cool lesser-known characters. Booster Gold is worthy of new respect, August General in Iron is new favorite, and even Fire and Ice have new elements to their personalities that don't betray what came before!
6) Detective Comics - The first issue was okay, but a little below average. The second issue was the best issue of any Batman-focused comic in the relaunch, and the third kept up the pace. This is really kicking some ass right now.
7) Captain Atom - Captain Atom is a character often played as either a jerk or a joke, but not here. Here, we really get reminded of just how powerful he is, and just how that responsibility weighs on him. The Captain is able to do amazing things and is dealing with some really heavy stuff, but you can't NOT feel for him. And this is another one that just LOOKS gorgeous.
8) Mister Terrific - Comics in general have too many "billionaire industrialists who are also superheroes." I never expected to love yet another one. This is perhaps the most traditional, old-fashioned of the comics on this list... but I really dig Michael Holt. He feels more relatable than Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark or even Oliver Queen.
9) I, Vampire - Vampires are becoming a genuine threat in the DC Universe, attempting a huge overthrow of the status quo. One vampire who controls his thirst is fighting against the others, but this ain't Angel or Twilight. This is a different spin with distinct rules that would make a great series or movie by itself. Something different for the modern vampire-lover.
10) Men of War - I never expected to like a comic about soldiers this much. But the world they've been dropped into - a world where they have to deal with regular military strikes while being surrounded by the super-powered and supernatural - further highlights how amazing the characters are.
11) Green Lantern Corps - The best comic with "Green Lantern" in the title is the one starring Guy Gardner and John Stewart? I didn't see THAT coming. But it's true, and the way those two opposing characters interact is one of the big draws. Not that the new villian is shabby either... willpower-based aliens who are full of rage against the Corps, making the green power rings not as useful as they'd like.
12) Aquaman - The second and third issues haven't been as strong as the first one, but they get more into what Aquaman's about, and the monsters from the deep trenches of the ocean remain interesting. I still want to understand how Aquaman deals with juggling his crown, his wife and his reputation on the land.
13) DC Universe Presents - This one will probably ebb and flow based on what story it's telling. Right now, the story about Deadman is easily one of the strongest in the entire lineup of new comics. But when his story's over and we shift focus to another DC character, what'll happen? The uncertain future drops this one lower.
14) Batman & Robin - It doesn't provide the easiest entry point for the universe, but this book is one of the most consistent in quality. It's yet to be AWESOME, but it's yet to disappoint. Bruce and Damian are trying to come to terms with each other as both partners against crime and as a family, and the drama is solid.
15) Voodoo - The mystery is intriguing, the art is gorgeous. This is easily the strongest of the "Wildstorm"-based comics they've got - sorry, Grifter - but it's also got some problems. It's oversexualized at times, and it feels really pathetic and pandering when it is. Priscilla/Voodoo is taking MUCH too long to realize that she needs to be a hero. Three issues in, and she's still not there, nor anywhere near getting a costume. Thank god this one's been full of good characterizations, surprising twists, cool face-offs, and lovely artwork.

It's amazing how some of the comics I absolutely loved right out of the gate - Action Comics, Animal Man, Swamp Thing - have fallen greatly in my esteem since those powerful first issues. Yet I still am following them, along with The Flash and Superman and Justice League - which are decent books that aren't GRABBING me quite now. 21 books in total that have managed to retain my interest. But the above 15 are the ones I really get excited about when they're about to hit.
 
 
Whomever
30 November 2011 @ 11:20 am
Now is the time when many outlets will start to discuss their favorite/best games and movies of this year.

However, when it comes to games, I'm usually a few years behind. I tend to wait for a game to a little older before I get it, so that I can save more money in doing so. Which means that, if I tried to rank or discuss my favorite games from this year, I wouldn't have many games to talk about.

So instead I'm going to do something entirely different. I'm going to tell you my favorite games from 1999-2009! Why end in 2009? Because it's the last year that I feel adequately caught up on! Why start in 1999? Because 10 years is nice and round.

Besides, I almost went with "My favorite game that I actually *played* every year," but that was far less challenging for me and more boring for you.

Let's do this list!

1999 - Soul Calibur (DC)
2000 - Shenmue (DC)
2001 - Wave Race: Blue Storm (GC)
2002 - Super Mario Sunshine (GC)
2003 - Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (GC)
2004 - Sonic Advance 3 (GBA)
2005 - Doom 3 (Xbox)
2006 - Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (DS)
2007 - The Orange Box (PS3)
2008 - Endless Ocean (Wii)
2009 - Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (Wii)

The main thing I learned from compiling this list is that 2005 was a really great year - so many contenders that could've taken that slot - and 2006, uh, really wasn't. Neither was 2001 for that matter.

So let's see... five-year cycle of crap... does this mean 2011's games won't be so grand in retrospect, either?
 
 
Whomever
Ever since Oliver was born, I do a lot more of my gaming with a baby on my lap or leaning on my side - usually soon after he's enjoyed some delicious milk, but before he's managed to settle down to sleep.

So, let's update this thing!

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (DS)
Ys: The Ark of Napishtim (PS2)
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (PS3)
Iron Man 2 (DS)
Golden Axe: Beast Rider (PS3)
Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)
Batman: The Brave & The Bold (Wii)
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (PS3)
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (Wii)
Aliens: Extermination (Arcade)
Mega Man Zero 2 (GBA)
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (PS3)
Splatterhouse (PS3)
Heavy Rain (PS3)
Portal (PS3)
Half-Life 2 (PS3)
Half-Life 2: Episode One (PS3)
L.A. Noire (PS3)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled (PS3)
Ys I Chronicles (PSP)
Bionic Commando Rearmed (PS3)
Again (DS)
TimeSplitters: Future Perfect (GC)
Super Adventure Island (SNES - VC)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - Reflex Edition (Wii)
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (PS3)
Dark Void (PS3)
Saw II: Flesh & Blood (PS3)
Super Bonk (SNES - VC)
Ys II Chronicles (PSP)
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (Xbox)
Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters (PS3)
Aliens: Infestation (DS)
Rainbow Six: Vegas (PS3)
inFamous (PS3)
 
 
Whomever
Our baby, little Oliver, was born at 8:19 p.m. on November 2nd. His birth weight was 6 pounds, 14 ounces. He's a miracle, and we love him. We both cried when when we finally held him. Which we did for like, 3 or 4 minutes, before he was wheeled off to the nursery...


Two Beauties: Maria and Oliver.


Let me start at the beginning here.

We were brought in on Tuesday night to begin the process of getting Maria's body ready for labor. We weren't set to induce until the next day, just take a couple of drugs and get her body ready. After two different medications and 18 hours of prep time, though, nothing had changed. Her body was staying the same; the medication wasn't taking effect. So they sent us home.

We live almost an hour away from the hospital. About 45-55 minutes away, really, depending on traffic conditions. It is for this reason that going home was a mistake.

See, Maria started having contractions right before we arrived home. At first they were about 7 minutes apart. Within an hour, they were intensely painful for her, and she was having them 2 minutes apart.

We rushed back to the hospital, but she was in so much pain that she had to do it lying down. Which meant traveling in her stepdad's van. Which meant that, since all of our hospital supplies were still in my car (along with the installed carseat), I had to drive separately from her. Which, as you might expect, totally freaked me out.

It was raining as we zoomed to the hospital, and I do mean "zoomed." Before we knew it, Maria's contractions were 30 seconds apart, and her stepdad was driving 105 miles per hour. I had my flashers on and was desperately trying to keep up with them - I've never driven so fast in my life. I repeatedly called her mom for updates, asking how Maria was doing.


Oliver thinks that driving should really be for relaxing.


We arrived at the hospital with Maria still in painful labor. Her mom went inside and got Maria into a wheelchair, and we got up to the maternity ward. Once there, things only kept being crazy. They had to get some fluids into Maria before they could give her an epidural, but with all the blood rushing to her uterus, her veins had shrunk and they had trouble getting in the IV. They had to call in an IV Specialist, and then, once she had enough fluid, they called in the anesthesiologist. By this point, Maria was in crying pain - yelling out "Please, god!" as she had each contraction, and *I* was even crying like a baby just watching the love of my life in such agony. The anesthesiologist had trouble getting to Maria's spine, though - we think she was accidentally hitting the microfractures in Maria's lower back. She opted to change up to a ridiculously stupid-big needle and doing a direct spinal block. This, thankfully, gave Maria some pain relief... for a while.

It wasn't long before Maria was asked to starting pushing - a process that would go on for a couple of hours. She pushed so hard that her face went bright red (and she earned some compliments on her pushing prowess from the hospital staff). On two occasions, Oliver's heart rate dropped suddenly to 1/3 of what it was supposed to be. Nurses and doctors rushed into the room to put Maria on her side, bend her body around, and get Ollie back to a safe heartrate. It soon became clear that he was transverse - meaning that he wasn't going to be able to come out because he was sideways. So, in order to avoid a c-section, they called in a specialist with forceps.

They told us in advance that when this guy retires, they're going to do a lot more c-sections because he's one of the last of his kind. And he was damn good at it. He had to cycle through a few types of forceps to get a grip on Oliver, but he finally got his little head and turned him into the right position. And then he was pulling with the forceps at the same time that Maria was pushing. Unfortunately, it was around now that Maria's spinal anesthesia was decidedly wearing off. Although she was having SOME pain relief, it wasn't much at all anymore. The last few pushes would be big and painful, but finally, the team of 10 people in the delivery room got Oliver into our world.

He came out purpleish, though, and he was silent. They quickly grabbed him away and put him into a side incubator/bassinet while a pediatrician and three nurses worked on him. They said he was breathing at least, but was really, really clogged. They had to put a tube down his throat to suck out the mucus blocking his passageways - all while Maria couldn't even see him because nurses were blocking her view! Finally, he cried out, and Maria shed tears of joy. When he turned red, they gave him over to us for a few minutes of relief and bliss.

Oliver was wheeled off to the nursery soon after. He was still hyperventilating - it was a stressful birth, after all. I followed him into the nursery, putting a hand on his chest and feeling overjoyed that he'd made it into the world. He cried a lot as they took blood from his foot, measuring his blood pressure with a tiny baby arm pump, and did other tests. I stayed beside him for a good half-hour before returning to check on Maria.

It was about 10-12 hours before Ollie finally slowed his breathing, and about 18 hours before we were allowed to have him join us in our hospital room. God, we missed him during that time. Ever since his birth, Maria's been in a lot of pain that's slowly been reducing. She's had some sharp pains and spasms in her right leg - possibly from how they made her bend her legs during labor, or possibly from the spinal, or possibly some third option we haven't figured out. But she's an absolute champ with Ollie. Oliver calms down a lot when he's in mommy's arms. He obviously knows her better than anybody. Roughly 36 hours after his birth, it seemed like he was healthy, happy and normal-looking. His initial "conehead" was gone, and even the bruises and swelling from the forceps had healed. The only problem was that we weren't getting any sleep! Why the hell do doctors and nurses keep telling you how important it is for you to sleep, and then interrupt you every 45 minutes? Do you really NEED to talk to us at 1:30 in the morning followed by 2:15 followed by 3, etc? (To be fair, sometimes it was every 30 minutes instead. What a bunch of assholes.)

We went home from the hospital around 4 p.m. on Friday, November 4th. Oliver's been a challenge, but a beautiful one. He's developing his own little personality. He gets a lot more sleep than both of us - my wife especially. Maria, for her part, has gone out of her way to make sure I'm well-rested for my return to work. But all I and her mom (who's staying in town for a few days) really want is for Maria to get some rest herself. It's hard, given that she's tied to Oliver's every-three-hour feeding schedule. But I hope it happens soon.

Watching Maria with Oliver, seeing how bravely she'd handled the task of his birth and the challenge of taking care of him - it only makes me love her even more. She's amazing. And if Maria is the first great love of my life, Oliver has to be the second. He's so small, so fascinating, so sweet and cute, so... miraculous. Everywhere I go now, I think I smell him. My bath towel? He never touched it, but it smells like his skin. The soap at work? That smells like his baby wipes. The exhaust blast off of a truck? It stinks like his poop.


He'll never fully understand how much we love him.


I have a beautiful family. I'm so, so lucky that Maria and Oliver are healthy. I love you guys so unbelievably much.
 
 
Whomever
27 October 2011 @ 09:07 am
BabyTime is almost here! We are nervous. Maria is waffling between "get this guy out of me ASAP" and "I want to wait it out for a natural birth." We really hope we're up to this task. Creating and maintaining a human life sounds really daunting sometimes, but I am feeling reasonably confident today that we're going to make the most of the opportunity and the experience. At the end of the day, all that matters is how much I love my family, and that's going to fuel my drive to take care of them.