Now Playing, Watching, and Reading

I have a smorgasbord of games in my current rotation, which is really unusually because I almost always sick to 2-3 games at the most. In no particular order:

Joe Danger – What a fun little game. It is going to be really hard for me to get 100% (from a Trophy consideration) on this one because some of the Time trials are really tough. This has to be one of the best games I have purchased from the PSN (got it when it was 50% off).

FIFA 11 – I play this one a few times a week when I want to get my soccer/football jones satisfied. I love the Virtual Pro feature.

Marvel Superhero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet – I picked up this one to play with my 4-year old, as he is really into superheroes right now. One of our favorites is Captain America (for me) and Bucky (for my son), so it was really cool that the version of the game I purchased had a good for this DLC.

Dead Nation – Only when the kids are in bed. To be fair, I have not played it in a while, but would play it more if I could play when I was not such a sleepyhead!

Gran Turismo 5 – Need I say more? It is really the only racer I am playing right now, but at some point I have plans to jump back to a couple of forgotten titles.

Space Invaders Infinity Gene – I got this one a couple of weeks ago for the low, low price of $4.99. What a great pickup. As a fan of shooters, I have to say that this game provides a lot of nice shooter pleasure. The music mode is incredible; nothing like putting in some Cure Disintegration and just sort of zoning out.

LittleBigPlanet – Mostly the Game of the Year Edition right now, but I plan to jump right back into LBP2 Collector’s Edition soon enough. Actually waiting for a patch to make sure all my goodies from LBP1 correctly import. I wrote about my love for all things LBP a couple of weeks ago. Not sure how I made it this long without discovering the pure pleasure of LBP. Collectively, these two titles are easily in my Top 5 favorite PS3 gaming experiences (that is another article!)

PS+ Gets Some Love
I wanted to do a quick link to this article, which pretty much sums up how I feel right now about PS+. Subscribing to the PS+ service has been one of the best uses of $50 gaming bucks that I have made in the last calendar year. I am going to stack my subscripting in the new few weeks to take advantage of the continued opening gambit of 3 free months. If you have not subscribed to PS+, you should really check out the last 90 days of content and discounts, which have been incredible.

Looking Forward To …
ICO and Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection, MLB 11: The Show, the next NASCAR game, Journey, and Catherine (as of right now, Atlus has not announced a US release date).

Now Watching
Spartacus: Blood and Sand. OMG (wanted an excuse to talk like the cool kids) is this one over the top, but from a story standpoint, it is actually really good. I am just starting disk 3, so I am about 8-9 episodes in, and I have to admit that I anticipate see what happens next. Some of the characters are really fascinating; I want to see how their story lines progress and see how certain political motivations will screw over various targets.

I could do without all the meat just flapping around; I have never seen so many dongs just out in front of my face. I guess turnabout is fair play for the fairer sex, but still, I am glad that the developers toned it down a little after the first couple of episodes.

On Blu-ray some of the scenes such as “… have your way with the girl’s ass a bit while I watch …” are nice, if not a little bit excessive. I could never get my wife to watch this with me; not because of the gratuitous sex. The blood and gore is so over the top that at times I find myself turning my head or at least cringing in a “I really didn’t want to see that” sort of way.

Good stuff. Picked up the Season 1 Blu-ray in the low $30s from Amazon; hopefully the rest of the shows are equally as appealing.

Now Reading
Bloom County Volume 3. Sometimes I have to have some light reading before heading off to la-la land.

Yesterday, Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal (I love Amazon Prime two-day shipping) showed up on my front porch. I decided to order immediately after see Ms. McGonigal on Attack of the Show earlier this week. I am looking forward to a book that actually advocates gaming. What a great tag line – Why games make us better and how they can change the world. Seriously; hope this one is as good as the tag line.


More PSP Woes – DRM Incompatibilities

Over the weekend I started transferring some of my digital movies included with my Blu-ray library to my PC. Lord of the Rings trilogy, X-Men trilogy, and a handful of others. Something to help pass the time while traveling.

For the most part I have been selecting iTunes; I swear one of these days I should get a Mac. At any rate, one of my movies (the Lord of the Ring animated movie from 1978) was WMV format, which does not really matter except that I do not use Windows Media Player and it would be nice to have all my movies under iTunes.

Imagine my surprise when I realized that none of my digital movies would work on my PSP! Actually, I should not be surprised, because of DRM incompatibilities with the PSP, but seriously, this is disappointing. None of my music or movies will play on my PSP.

On the bright side, Remote Play with the Slim seems to work well, and my Slim has not accidentally powered on one single time (knocking on wood, crossing fingers, and other types of voodoo).


Saturday Stuffs Madness

It has been a while since I went hells blazing, stuffs to the wall crazy, so I figured it was time …

There And Back Again
I spent last week in Calgary, which explains why the site experienced a severe slowdown. Thursday and Friday marked the first time in over 150+ days (8 months) that I did not post something. That was a hell of a run; I suppose it had to end sooner or later.

Flying sucks. Everything stinks about flying from the airport parking experience, to get a boarding-pass, to security, to sitting next to overweight folks that have no business buying a single seat. It all makes for a crap experience. For this trip I had to go from Atlanta to Salt Lake City to Calgary, and returned via Minneapolis/St. Paul to Atlanta. Four different airplanes; 2000 sky miles. Glad to be home.

Now Drinking
I am sort of a homebody; I am not much for traveling unless it is with my wife. With three kids, that is just not something that occurs frequently these days. When I do travel, it is almost exclusively for work. If I had to pick a favorite part about traveling, it would have to be having the opportunity to sample different local beers. While I was in Calgary, I was able to enjoy 4-5 different beers, my favorite of which of Big Rock Honey Brown Lager. The Big Rock Black Amber Ale was a very close second.

New on Blu
While I was out of town, two new Blu-rays arrived – Never Ending Story and Clash of the Titans. Unfortunately it looks like both movies received absolutely nothing in the way of extras, which is extremely disappointing. We watched Never Ending Story for family night tonight. My youngest son was really into it, although he did not know what was going on except there was a really bad wolf. My oldest was pretty much soured on the whole “making him watch another stupid movie” routine. Thankfully my middle boy decided the movie was pretty good, even if he tried to play it off as a ho-hum experience.

Gaming Backlog
MLB 10: The Show arrived earlier in the week, but I have not had a chance to crack it open yet. I have not even come close to finishing Heavy Rain, and of course WKC:I is also uncompleted. FFXIII arrives next week, so I better get going. Or get eBay’ing.

I should have plenty of comments on these games over the next few days. Something video gaming related to make you stand up and clap your hands. Sorry; I think you get the point.

While I was in Canada, all hell broke loose in PS3 land. I guess I should be thankful for small favors. Non event for me, but from the best I can tell, there are some seriously pissed folks out there. Time heals all wounds? This too will pass.

Chrony In Action
Today was truly a blessed day; 60 or so degrees. Sunny, blue skies. I was finally able to get my Chrony setup for a few rounds from the Beeman R1 .22 Long and my Beeman R7. The good news is that I was able to get the shots to register. This was a huge improvement over my first experience, which was a non starter. I still do not know what I am doing, but it looks like my R1 is blazing at around 713.85 FPS while the R7 was cracking at 574.75 FPS. As the weather turns nicer, there will be a whole lot more of this for your airgun reading pleasure. I just hope the weather holds so I can break out the Chrony again and see how the Marauder fares.

Bring on Sunday!


Friday Coffee Break – NFL Playoffs and Star Trek: The Original Series (Season 1) on Blu-ray

I’m sipping on a cup of the delicious black nectar of the gods, contemplating the upcoming three day weekend. The weekend will be fun filled and action packed; well maybe not so much action, but undoubtedly fun.

For starters my youngest son turns three on the 19th. It’s kind of amazing that the little bugger is growing up so quickly. We are going to have a b-day party for him – Backyardigans is the theme – on Saturday.

NFL Playoffs
We should have some great NFL playoff action on Saturday and Sunday. I’m pulling for the Cardinals, Dallas, Indy, and the Jets. Unlike college football where there is some sort of pent up stupid pride for the SEC, as if victories by Georgia’s rivals somehow make Georgia look better, I have no such emotional attachments with the Saints. I do not want them to advance! Thus says the life-long Falcons fan. Dallas because my dad was a huge Cowboys fan, and they are a distant second favorite team. Indy because I like Peyton Manning, and finally the J-E-T-S, Jets!, Jets!, Jets! Because for some inexplicable reason my seven-year old likes the Jets. Go figure.

Star Trek: The Original Series, Season 1 (Blu-ray)
I have been working my way through Star Trek: The Original Series, Season 1 (ST: TOS) on gorgeous Blu-ray. I finished the first three disks; all episodes, bonus materials, etc. One of the more interesting features is something called Starfleet Access (so far on disk 1 and disk 3):

Disc One begins with Starfleet Access for the episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” a feature that “grants you security clearance to explore Starfleet Command’s Database.” This supplement features a diverse selection of “Trek” Producers, Writers, Historians, and Authors, including Michael and Denise Okuda, appearing throughout the show in a picture-in-picture window discussing the story, props, characters, score, updated effects, and more.

I would rather have a full commentary track, or at least more picture-in-picture discussions. With that said, what is included in fascinating.

If you are a fan of ST: TOS you owe it to yourself to pickup this collection. The material holds up great, mostly because the stories are well-written, and the characters are captivating and diverse. Of course the special effects are somewhat cheesy looking by today’s standards, but the producers have done a great job of upgrading the special effects to have a more modern look and feel. Purest should not be alarmed; the episodes in all their 1960’ish effects are included for your viewing pleasure. Highly recommended!

Happy Friday!


Sleeping Beauty (Blu-ray)

If you are a fan of Disney classics, and appreciate the finer glory of Blu-ray, you must check out Sleeping Beauty. It has been years since I have seen this classic. I watched it over the weekend with my youngest son, and I was left with “wow” as the best description I can offer.

Not only is Sleeping Beauty a timeless story, but the Blu-ray version of this moving is simply stunning – the vivid colors and art style are a sight to behold. I also made a second viewing with the commentary track, which has highly entertaining due to the intelligent comments and the picture-in-picture snippets.

Disney is about to place Sleeping Beauty in the “vault” [per] which means no more Sleeping Beauty for a few years. This may or may not be a big deal – fans of the movie have probably already picked it up, but as new Blu-ray adaptors look for the movie they will have to go the expensive “collectors” route on eBay and other second-hand markets.


The “other” Lord of the Rings movie

I enjoy lurking around on the forums; stumbled across this thread yesterday – the 1978 animated version of The Lord of the Rings will be released on Blu-ray April 6. I immediately made a pre-order on amazon; “blind” purchase and all.

I do not care how much cheese factor this movie has; it has always been a person favorite from childhood days and I cannot wait to see what sort of goodness high-def brings to this animated classic. Besides, I cannot get my kid into the books or movies, so maybe the animated version will do the trick.

If you are a fan of the 1978 animated version, or even just have a passing interest in knocking everything that is wrong with this film, you should really check out this review. I think it is overly harsh, but it is highly entertaining and worth a read. For example,

Did you know that The Last Alliance lost? Evidently so. “As the Last Alliance of Men and Elves fell beneath his power”, however, Sauron failed to notice “the heroic shadow who slipped in”; Isildur, according to the movie, heroically snuck up behind Sauron and heroically hacked his hand off while he was looking the other way, and so came by the Ring. Hah! Some hero: “Isildur the Backstabbing Sneak”.

Sometimes I just like what I like; the pundits be damned. Of course no offense intended to the reviewer; I actually enjoyed the review!


Everywhere I look there are Apes …

I have had the Planet of the Apes 40th Anniversary Collection Blu-ray in my Amazon shopping cart for the better part of year, but I have held back on a purchase because I just could not justify the price. Yesterday, on an impulse purchase, I picked up the set from Amazon during one of their spectacular “Lighten Deal” specials, which made the collection $49.99.

Even heavily discounted, I thought that was a little too high, but it comes out to just $10 per movie. The set includes all five Ape movies – Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape From the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, and Battle For the Planet of the Apes – plus some extra frills such as a bonus movie book and other junk fans of the Ape movies will appreciate.

To sweeten the pot, I actually got the set for free thanks to a rather large gift certificate received from trading in a box of unwanted DVDs. I wrote about this trade-in special last week, and I have to say that I am pretty impressed. My wife shipped the DVDs with a free UPS label last Wednesday, the package arrived a few days later on Monday, and by the time I got home from work yesterday, a credit had already been deposited in my account, which worked out well considering I went ape shit on the before mentioned Blu-ray set.


Friday hodgepodge of anniversary goodness

Friday December 18, 2009. What I like to call my 16th Wedding Anniversary. With lots of love to my better half for sticking with me this far!

I am taking the day off, which sets me up for a nice three day weekend. Technically I took half a day off yesterday as well, but since I was in the office butt early, it almost doesn’t count. Then again, whenever I can get out of the office before 5PM I count that day as a win. I hardly ever write about work, so work with me for a minute. The point here is that I have the day off; what to do and how to spend it?

Tonya and I have a babysitter lined up for tonight, but it is a long push from 5AM to 6PM before the babysitter arrives! Plus the weather sucks – rain, rain, rain. The boys are going to be stuck in the house; who wants to go out and get seriously wet in the process? Besides, it is the week before Christmas; every store this side of the Chattahoochee will be packed.

Thankfully we got all our shopping done early. 95% accomplished via Amazon. What would we do without internet shopping? If I could get beer delivered direct to my front porch I would never have to step foot in a store again!

I was thinking about having a Star Trek the Original Series (Star Trek TOS) marathon – the Blu-ray versions are spectacular – but no one else in the house appreciates the classics. I watched several episodes on Season 1, Disc 2 last night, which means I still have 18.25 discs of Star Trek TOS of joy in front of me. Needless to say, the family is thrilled.

I’m sure we will sort it out – trying to figure out what to do with the kids on a day off, even a rainy day, is a good problem to have to sort out.


Amazon Marketplace Blu-ray deal

I ran across this deal from the forums at

Submit a DVD trade-in order with a total value of $50 or more in our Movies & TV Trade-In store before December 31, 2009 and in addition to your Gift Card, you’ll receive an extra $10 credit good toward your next purchase in the Blu-ray store at

I normally sell stuff on eBay, but I decided to give Amazon a try for a couple of reasons. First, with eBay any “profits” I expect to make take a hit with various fees – listing fees, final sale price fees, PayPal fees, and there is a set price of shipping/handling charges that can be applied, which is often too small for larger DVD sets. Second, the Amazon deal looks too good to pass up because it is simple – I pack everything up, print off a free UPS shipping label, and the money along with the $10 credit is posted to my Amazon account.

If sold individually on eBay I could probably make more than the $75 ($85 with that $10 bonus credit) that I am getting with Amazon, but this is really a simple way to clean out my collection of older DVDs that I have watched, never really wanted (gifts), or just no longer need in my collection. Plus my wife does not have to stand in the dreaded U.S. Post Office lines with my three boys during the peak of the Christmas shipping season.


All is quiet on the videogame front.

My PS3 has not been getting much of a workout of late; except for playing the occasional Blu-ray (watched X-Men 1 last weekend), the PS3 is off most of these days. It is not as if I have nothing to play – FIFA 10 and Madden 10 should get plenty of sports time with Ferrari Challenge getting my racing pleasure on, but things have just not worked out that way.

I also have Demon’s Souls just sitting around (no guidebook cover problem if you do not use the damn thing) and Dragon Age: Origins is a possibility, although the latter is technically being saved for Christmas. One of these days I could actually jump back into Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, which is a splendid game, but much like the rest of my collection, it is gathering dust.

Usually I am looking forward to some upcoming release. I have no idea what is next, what the next “it” game happens to be, which videogame magazines are pimping reviews. It is kind of an awkward time for me as a gamer. My free time is focused on other interests, but as I wrote several months ago, these days video gaming is sort of a season hobby. There are only two Falcons home games left, of course the upcoming Bowls and NFL Playoffs, and then the weather will turn nasty. Well, as nasty as it manages to get in Columbus, GA.

As we head into the Christmas season, maybe a couple of days off here and there will motivate me to jump back into some of these games, but for now it is not even fair to call video gaming a hobby. My how times have changed!


Shopping deals on Blu-ray and video games.

Shopping was easy this year – my wife and I did almost everything exclusively by Amazon, which means we beat the crowds and got plenty of great deals.

I ordered my boys “replacement” Nintendo DS systems because 11 and 7 year-old boys cannot keep these things damage free for two years. I managed to snag my 7 year-old one of the sliver systems for a shade under $99, or about $30 off the regular price. There are also golf clubs and Nerf guns in their future!

Some combination of birthday, anniversary, and Christmas, will land me Dragon Age: Origins for PS3 ($34.99), and a whole host of Blu-ray movies – Braveheart Sapphire Edition ($10), Gladiator Extended and Theatrical Cut / Sapphire Edition ($10), X-Men Trilogy ($29.99), 300: The Complete Experience ($12.99 – but this one will not arrive until after Christmas). Blazing Saddles ($8.99 – this one is for date night after the kids are in bed; my wife loves this movie). So I have a lot of quality time in front of the boob-tube in my future!

Some of the lightning deals were fantastic – I snagged the X-Men Trilogy set (it sold out super fast), same for the sliver DS, and I got some great deals on jewelry for my wife (these sold out seemingly in seconds).

I started to get the kids DSi systems, but decided they probably do not need unsupervised access to the internet, and they have some GB Advanced games that they still play (DSi is not backwards compatible with the older, larger Advanced games).

All in all, it was a great couple of worry free, trouble free, no hassle shopping. Except for a few stocking stuffers, we are more or less done with Christmas shopping.

Happy Saturday!


Blu-ray safely hits home

According to, major studios are making a significant push to further the appeal and adoption of Blu-ray by enticing consumers with low prices. Several examples were cited in this article, but the kicker is the prediction that DVD is finally headed out.

Adams projects 9 million Blu-ray ready homes at the end of this year, up from 3 million at the end of last year. He said the format still has less than 10% market penetration, after discounting those PS3 gamers uninterested in buying movies.

Once the number of homes hits the 25 million to 50 million range, Adams said, studios should be able to safely phase out DVD completely.

Much like the PS2 spurred DVD forward; the PS3 is doing the same for Blu-ray adoption. Now that the PS3 has hit the magical $299 price point, this trend will obviously continue. I think we are still a while off from true digital distribution that is viable based on bandwidth and HDD space. Seriously, some of those Blu-ray releases have a heck of a lot of material stored on the shiny disc.


James Bond Blu-ray Collection: Volume 2

I finished up Volume 2 of the James Bond Blu-ray Collection last night, saving Thundarball, my favorite in the collection for last. All things considered, I know From Russia with Love is considered a classic, and it is a good film, but Thunderball in my humble opinion is a lot better. Not only does the story hold up well, but the underwater photography is still pretty damn good. Well, except for the fight scene at the end, which is pretty remarkably stupid.

Bond: “That looks like a women’s gun.”
Largo: “Do you know a lot about guns, Mr. Bond?”
Bond: “No, but I know a little about women.”

As quick ratings go, I will rank Thunderball 5-stars, For Your Eyes Only 4-stars, and From Russia with Love 3-stars. If you are a fan of Bond movies, these are worth picking up because the two 1960s movies in this set have never looked so good. Plus For Your Eyes Only is just a plain fun Sir Roger Moore movie.  Yes, some of the fights and special effects do not hold up well, but in general the photography is still top notch. To me this set was easily $30 well spent.


For Your Eyes Only

A couple of weeks ago Amazon run a Deal of the Day on the Blu-ray James Bond collections. I ended up picking up all three for a smidgen under $30 each. That is a lot of Bond; a lot of duckets for a lot of Blu-rays!

Last night I watch For Your Eyes Only which happens to be on Volume 2, and is also one of my favorite Sir Roger Moore Bond movies. I am not going to spend time reviewing the movies – other more capable reviewers have already done that part for you. I will say that I was impressed with the quality of the Blu-ray, and the extras are outstanding, especially the commentaries and featurettes. Last night I listened to some of the Moore commentary, which at times was kind of dry, but equally entertaining and informative. Then again it was closing in on midnight when I decided to call it a day, so my impression may have been different if I were not so sleepy.

I already had the James Bond Collection Volume 1 on DVD, so the real question was if the “upgrade” was worth the money. In short, yes, I think the video quality is exceptional, but I think you have to be more than a casual Bond fan to “upgrade” over your DVDs because (A) you are basically double dipping for the same content, with improved video quality (B) there is some overlap, but the DVD and Blu-ray collections do not contain the same movies. After purchasing all three Blu-ray collections, I do not have all the movies that are on DVD Volume 1. Missing movies are Diamonds Are Forever, The Man with The Golden Gun, and The Living Daylights. I assume these will be released in subsequent Blu-ray collections.


T&A Thursday Features PS3 Porn (sort of).

T&A Thursday returns with a little porn action for the PS3 courtesy of kotaku.

Japan’s is bringing on-demand Blu-ray quality HD adult movies to the PLAYSTATION 3.

The service requires a broadband connection, an HDMI cable and, obviously, a PS3 console — the only device the service works with presently.

Yeah. I think this is only in Japan, but where there is a will there is a way. I’m just saying. Read the article’s comments; some of them are screwed up.