Hell, Demons, and Insane Angels

February 28, 2005

Mood: Apprehensive.
Music: Bomb Massive, DJ Goo
Game: World of Warcraft (60 Rogue, 13 Priest)
Book: On The Road, Jack Kerouac.
Muffin: Strawberry-Raspberry (Warm!)
Punchline: Nothing’s funny today.

I saw Constantine last night.

I recommend it. But probably not for the reasons you might think. Forget the action and effects. Kind of hard to do, but forget that. Forget Keanu Reeves‘ delivery and presence…which is much easier to forget. Rachel Weisz, normally sexy and bright is kind of drab and sleepwalks through this, so it’s not that. Forget the stereotypical views of Hell, which are pretty, and well done…because you’ve seen ’em before. The whole post-apocalyptic world view, completely on fire, and so on. Thematically and storywise, fun, a bit predictable…especially if you’re even remotely a fan of Neil Gaiman. No…there’s a different reason why I really liked this.

The minor characters in this movie are brilliant. Amazing casting, beautifully acted and directed. Gorgeous costuming. I’m not a huge fan of spoilers, so I’ll say this: When Gabriel was on the screen, my eyes were riveted to the angel. Positively an amazing interpretation of an angel. And Lucifer was done brilliantly…if a bit on the overdone side. Midnight as the neutral, also really, really well done. Constantine’s “assistants” (The drunken priest, the recluse librarian kook, and the sidekick kid who wants to get his hands dirty.) These were all characters that had depth and beauty immediately…the exposition was deftly handled, and their dialogue nicely crafted. It all sort of made me wonder why the two main characters were not as well-balanced, nor deep enough. Acting? Perhaps. Don’t know…but I was willing to overlook the main characters and story to enjoy the world in which it was set. The neo-gothic look and feel didn’t hurt, either.

While this may not sound like a rave review, it really sort of was…in its own way. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the world revolve around Reeves and Weisz.

Anyway, I’d see it if you have some spare time…

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I win! Or, wait…no…

February 25, 2005

Mood: Snowy.
Music: Extreme Ways, Moby
Game: World of Warcraft (60 Rogue…12 Priest?)
Book: On The Road, Jack Kerouac.
Muffin: Apple-Raspberry.
Punchline: Hmmm…

As you’ve probably noticed, and probably don’t overly care, I’ve reached level 60 with my rogue in World of Warcraft.

If you don’t know anything about WoW, 60th is as high as ya go. There is no more levelling. No amount of exploring, questing, or killing will gain you more experience.

In other, non-MMORPG, games, this would mean that the game’s over, and you won. But not a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game! No! Here’s where the fun begins.

While I no longer gain experience, no longer boost my skills, there is still plenty to explore, plenty of quests to complete, more things to do and see…and of course, more phat lewts to raid.

Now, the game shifts from a rush to gain experience, and turns into a game of coordination with other players, planning, and tactically assaulting the tougher, more rewarding encounters of the game. It also opens up a whole new world of PvP…since you’re at the top of the foodchain, you’re now the Apache Helicopters of the battle of Horde vs. Alliance. Imagine my glee when I showed up to a battle where a bunch of level 20-25 Horde were being attacked repeatedly by some level 35-40 Alliance fools…and the cry went up “NOW we got ’em…” whereupon I fell on the Alliance attackers and promptly dispatched 4 of them, wounding 3 others that the rest of the Horde players killed. Welcome to Shock and Awe.

Anyway, there are a few high-level instance dungeons that I’m dying to try. An instance dungeon is basically a dungeon that’s “spawned” just for you and your party…no one else goes into it while you’re in it. I really, really want to get into Scholomance, because apparently there’s a vendor in there that sells blacksmithing patterns that I really want.

The point of all this is that even though I’ve levelled up as far as I’m going to, there’s still plenty for me to do, and I’m still excited about doing it. This is pretty cool to me. Additionally, I really want to help my Guildmates get up to 60 fast, so we can all do the same stuff together…and that’s fun too.

I guess it’s a Instancing Weekend…maybe.


The definition of dilemma…

February 24, 2005

Mood: Pretty good.
Music: Everything is Everything, Lauryn Hill
Game: World of Warcraft (60 Rogue…12 Priest?)
Book: The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco.
Muffin: Blackberry-Mango.
Punchline: And no, you can’t have your fucking convention in New York next time. Fuck off.

So my fookus got me a gift certificate for iTunes for Valentines Day.

I was pretty happy about it…and actually still am.

My problem? I’m vaguely afraid to spend it.

There’s nothing I want to run right out and buy…but when I browse, I hear a song…and I’m all “Ooh…I like that…” But then I hear the clip, remember the song, and then I don’t really want to buy it. Because then I’ll have LESS money on account at iTunes! Not worth having!

It’s weird. When I don’t think about it, I could probably easily spend a bunch of money. But now that I have the money, I don’t know what I want to buy.

So I’ll leave it to you all. Each person here should leave a comment with ONE song I should buy on iTunes.

If I own the song already, I will mention it. I will not reject any suggestion…and let’s be fair, folks. Please make it something you like…not just find bizarre ways to spend Glenn’s gift certificate.

If you think I’ll enjoy something that I don’t usually listen to, or think there’s a glaring hole in my collection, feel free to throw it up here!

In a few days, I’ll buy the music, and listen away!

Get to it!


The Pain…

February 23, 2005

Mood: Pain.
Music: Never Can Say Goodbye, Communards
Game: World of Warcraft (60 Rogue…12 Priest?)
Book: The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco.
Muffin: Peach-Raspberry.
Punchline: “These are definitely *not* bugs.” (Fulci, on getting rushed by rhino-like creatures when he was told to expect insects.)

My head is pounding. Woke up with one of those “Holy shit I can’t see” headaches. I have a pretty good idea what’s causing it.

I quit drinking Diet Coke.

I stopped when I realized that I was going through over 36 cans a week. That’s not an exaggeration, by the way. I was buying three 12-packs a week, and drinking them all. That doesn’t include whatever Diet Coke I was drinking at lunch, or during the day at work.

I understand that you can’t just drop caffeine cold turkey. This isn’t a newsflash to me. I’m trying to replace it with tea for now…which, for obvious reasons, I can’t just chug.

It also isn’t helping that the weather around here isn’t great, and my sinuses are acting up. I’ve always had bad sinuses. They aren’t getting any better as I get older. I also strongly suspect that spending three years after the destruction of the World Trade Center living not even 4 blocks away from the place didn’t help my respiratory system in the slightest. Hell, they were still putting out fires when I moved down there. Could smell the smoke for months.

Anyway, staring at a monitor all day at work (when I probably need glasses), coming home and staring at a monitor some more, cutting off my caffeine and aspertame, and throw in the changing weather? I am a very unhappy camper.

Occasionally I feel like I want to take a small drill or very large hypodermic syringe and suck out whatever’s causing that pressure. I know it can’t ACTUALLY be done…but it FEELS like it could, you know?

In response, I have taken 2 Tylenol, 2 Tylenol Sinus, and I am drinking tea (Ginger Peach) as fast as I can without burning my tongue (having failed in this already, in any case.)

I’m sure you’re all fascinated in regards to this, so I’ve re-enabled commenting. I’ve missed your fabulous comments, and should immediately comment on this post, commiserating with my inability to see at this point.

More when the gremlins get out of my head with the jackhammers.


Good night, Mr. Duke.

February 22, 2005

Mood: Sad.
Music: Give Blood, Pete Townshend
Game: World of Warcrack. (Rogue 60…and that’s a wrap!)
Book: The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco.
Muffin: Strawberry-Blackberry.
Punchline: “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

I was going to write about making level 60, and then I was gonna put something in about some of the guys from ijsmp starting blogs of their own…but then…

If you hadn’t heard yet, Hunter S. Thompson killed himself on Sunday. Going out in true Duke style, he shot himself in the head with a .45 pistol.

I can’t exactly explain to you how much HST meant to me developmentally, not just as a writer, but as a person. I feel that my style of writing comes directly from Thompson. I’ll put up some articles I wrote for Gamertagdatabase.com…which they’ve since taken down because they’re now run by a bunch of tasteless heathens. (I still love ’em…but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t tasteless heathens.)

Curiously, I came to reading Thompson via Doonesbury. My mother was/is a huge Garry Trudeau fan, and as a result, I was exposed to it at a very early age. At that point, Vietnam was still going on, and Thompson was in his prime. Trudeau put a character in his strip named “Uncle Duke”…being Zonker Harris’ uncle. Duke went on to go to China, become the governor of Samoa (making his nephew Zonker Lt. Governor), and did all manner of very Thompsonlike things…including looking exactly like him.

I was so intrigued with this character, that I picked up Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. And the rest, as they say, is history.

What can be said about Fear and Loathing that hasn’t been said a million times by writers, critics, and journalists? Thompson didn’t break through the objective third wall of journalism…he blew a huge gaping hole in it with an M1 tank, and rode, drunk and drugged through it, cackling madly the entire time. Bill Murray, who remained a friend of Thompson’s until his death, played Thompson in “Where the Buffalo Roam“, Hollywood’s first crack and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Johnny Depp played Thompson in, you guessed it, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”(Terry Gilliam directing!) Depp also remained friends with Thompson until his death, and, in fact, delivered Thompson’s eulogy of Allen Ginsberg at Ginsberg’s funeral, as Thompson was too ill to attend. Apparently, the audience was in stitches.

Thompson was unquestionably larger than life…his huge fascination with living life, taking massive quantities of drugs and alcohol, sports (Richard Nixon agreed to be interviewed by Thompson when Thompson promised only to ask the former president questions about Football), owning and firing huge weapons, and making everyone laugh along the way. Everyone who came in contact with him, no matter how famous, apparently came away from him a lifelong friend and supporter.

Thompson taught me many things…that being radical was OK. That being a non-conformist wasn’t just acceptable…it was fun, and important. He was incredibly successful…but he was successful HIS way. He missed deadlines, he sent in scraps of paper with scrawl on it as stories, he ran up enormous expense bills with nothing to show for it. In short, he was living life the way he wanted.

While no comment was made as to why he might have taken his own life, it was known that he had been in poor health over the last few years, and in a fair amount of pain. His son Juan was quoted as saying that he and his mother know it was a suicide, and that settles it.

In a way, blogging is all because of Thompson. Ignore the technical and the internet phenomenon…but the way that bloggers immerse themselves in their own lives and share it with an audience who, with greater or lesser interest, looks on with involved fascination. Subjective journalism. Showing the world by living in it.

Good night, Hunter. Thanks for everything.

“We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”


February 17, 2005

Mood: I’ll get back to you on this…I’m not sure.
Music: Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Queen
Game: World of Warcrack. (Rogue 58)
Book: The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco.
Muffin: None…I didn’t want a banana-blueberry muffin.
Punchline: “It is my sad duty to announce that because a solution has not yet been attained, it is no longer practical to conduct even an abbreviated season. Accordingly, I have no choice but to announce the formal cancellation of play.”

In spite of the fact that the NHL season really probably ended the moment they announced the lockout in September, yesterday still bothered me a great deal. I suppose it’s not unlike being in a relationship that can’t succeed, knowing it can’t, and still being pissed when you break up.

I am pretty upset about the whole thing, really. Hockey has always been the thread that ran through my life, tying together years…remembering when things occurred with my life by who was playing on the Rangers that year.

Remembering where I was during that whole Stanley Cup run…taking every last penny out of my bank account to buy a scalped ticket…being in the building when Messier hoisted the cup over his head. Calling my mother in tears…missing my father more than ever. Meeting my cousin outside the Garden and hustling down to Hop Kee to celebrate. The mounted cops outside the Garden, expecting the riots that never came. Pandemonium in Penn Station…people glued to TVs in all the bars…you could hear the shouting from the Garden all the way in Penn Station. People weren’t going anywhere, even as I ran down the back stairs.

Years of waiting.

Section 341, Row C, Seats 7-8. My season tickets. Been there for years now…except I won’t be going back. Ever.

The great folks all around me…the nice people behind me who brought me homemade cookies, and commiserated over all those horrific teams. Dressing as blind referees for Halloween. The folks to the left, all those guys, bringing a variety of girlfriends over the years. The creative acquisition of the Section 341 signs every season. Watching the kids in front of us grow up over several years…getting big! The folks in the seats…electricians, plumbers, accountants, shopkeepers, teachers. Celebrating high school graduations…college selections. Passing off tickets that you couldn’t use so that a parent could take both kids instead of just one this time. Recalling with dismay all the former 50 goal scorers that the Rangers had that then became not even 20 goal scorers when they got here. Remembering Greg Gilbert was on the Stanley Cup team. Watching Messier become the 2nd leading scorer in NHL history…by scoring twice in a game. Watching Messier against the Sabres on that last game, banging in that goal from his spot, and celebrating…the Garden chanting his name for minutes, standing ovation…knowing that we probably saw his last goal ever. It didn’t matter that the Rangers lost that game. Messier coming out to center ice after the game, bowing to the four corners of the Garden crowd, who, if anything, were even more deafening than when they raised Richter’s number to the rafters that season. The Sabres tapping their sticks on the ice in applause for probably one of the greatest players in NHL history. Belonging to a group of people, 18,200 of ’em every game, who yelled, screamed, cheered, complained, sighed, shook their heads in disgust, or cried in triumph.

How do you do this to fans? Fans can tolerate bad play, bad players, lousy coaching, expensive concessions, an old building, poor ice, an ownership team that is so stupid it’s criminal, expansion teams that can’t even skate backwards, increased ticket prices…but we can’t tolerate you keeping the game from us.

Unforgivable.

The papers say that when hockey comes back, the fans will come back. Maybe they will.

I paid them in advance for my season tickets, unable to prevent myself…knowing that there might not be a season…but emotionally unable to believe that. Except that they took me for granted.

All the apologies in the world will not make up for the level of betrayal and disappointment I’m feeling right now. Taking something like this away from me, something that defines who I am, can only result in me being very, very angry. And I am.

Forget owners, players, Gary Fucking Bettman…I am pissed at a group of people who, for some unknown reason, think that their sport revolves around them. They are wrong…and I think there’s a generally sick feeling among them, like they were a bunch of kids playing with a grenade, and someone just pulled a pin accidentally.

Sure. A lot of fans will return…because they love the sport, and you can’t keep them away from it. Right now, I’m way too pissed and upset to even consider going back.

I probably will. Who am I kidding…? But isn’t that the real crime here? That they can get away with this because I DO love this sport as much as I do? If I didn’t, they could never risk such a cancellation, right?

But it won’t be soon.

And can someone do me a favor? Please tell the fucking sports media who thinks they know what the fuck they’re talking about in regards to Hockey to just shut the fuck up already? You’re fucking clueless.

Yes, we care the season’s been cancelled. Yes, we think it’s both sides’ fault. Yes, we’ll watch hockey again when it comes back. Yes, we know players like Yzerman, Lemieux, and Messier may never play again.

It’s not our fault you have no idea what the sport is about. Go write about your make believe Patriot “dynasty” and some made up feud between Trot Nixon and Alex Rodriguez. Who gives a fuck? If this stuff had happened a few weeks ago, you wouldn’t have even reported it. You were too busy wondering if Terrell Owens was going to start in the Superbowl.

I have a question…what will EA NHL 2006 be like? A box with no disk in it? And a manual that blames you for it not being there?

Now leave me to my headache and my videotapes of old Rangers games.


Man the walls! Prepare for assault!

February 16, 2005

Mood: Pissed.
Music: Friday I’m in Love, The Cure
Game: World of Warcrack. (Rogue 58)
Book: The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco.
Muffin: None! They were closed this morning!
Punchline: “It depends on if we can get the Union pricks off our backs and if those assholes at Home Depot ever deliver the fucking sheetrock!”

OK…starting yesterday afternoon, some prick decided to release a spambot against my blog.

I have no idea what makes my blog such an attractive target to these morons…I really don’t. But it pisses me off to no end. I don’t like spending my bandwidth on some asshole who somehow believes hijacking my site to post, no shit, 50 links to a site about online poker will somehow get him traffic from here. I refuse to allow these people to steal my bandwidth, and pester all of you.

Consequently, until I sort out a little quirk that seems to prevent registration/validation of users to work, I have shut off comments.

It really pisses me off that I have to do this…because, frankly, I love getting comments from all of you. But I cannot spend hours cleaning these spam entries out of my comment log. So until this guy has stopped, or I’ve figured out a way to keep this guy away from my blog, I’ll just have to rely on you commenting to me in other ways.

In other annoying news, Gary Bettman will be getting on a podium at 1pm (about 10-15 minutes!) to announce the future of the NHL season. Frankly, I am not going to buy season tickets again any time soon, and while I will go to whatever hockey they play this season, IF they play hockey this season, because it is hockey, and that’s good enough….

But they definitely destroyed any good will I had, and frankly, between Bettman, what the Dolans have done to NY sports, Glen Fucking Sather, the generally poor performance/hockey, and trading Brian Leetch, they are certainly making it VERY hard to be a Rangers fan. Let’s be honest…if Messier decides to retire rather than come back, I may well just sell my tickets for whatever little I can get for them, and sit at home, lamenting what the NHL used to be.

Anyway, the press conference is about to start, and while I’m at work, I think I want to go get some lunch. There is no truth to the rumor that I am heading to the Westin New York with a rifle.