On Brake Pads

What it’s like to brake in your average vehicle;

Me: Brake.
Vehicle: You got it, Boss.

What it’s like to brake in my father’s SUV;

Me: Brake.
SUV: Are you sure?
Me: Fucking brake holy shit.
SUV: Whoa, hey, there’s no need for that sort of language. I’ll slow down, but I think you should reconsider your position on this whole ‘stopping’ thing.
Me: I’m actually very much attached to the notion of ‘stopping’ and would appreciate if you would do that, like, right now please.
SUV: Look, we have places to be. The only way we’re going to get there is by moving, and we’re not going to do that if you reduce our forward momentum by braking.
Me: We’re not going to do that if I’m fucking dead which is literally about to happen holy sweet jesus stop.
SUV: Oh fine, you big baby. But we’re going to continue this conversation at the next stoplight.

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I’m Literally The Worst

I decided I’m going to be super lazy and wait until Sunday to finish the dumb countdown. So have a shitpost in the meantime.

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Ranting About Geek Squad

Okay, so earlier I took a trip to Best Buy with Mark where he made some dumb offhanded comment about Geek Squad, and I really didn’t give a damn because as far as I’m concerned Geek Squad can go bury itself in a hole out in the woods somewhere.

But now that it’s later and I have nothing better to do I figured I’d poke their website to see if maybe, just maybe, they were no longer giant sacks of overpriced shit. Best Buy itself has graduated to being somewhat decent ever since it decided to attempt to compete more directly with Amazon’s prices, so maybe Geek Squad had followed a similar line of thinking.

NOPE.

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Look at this bullshit. Computer & printer setup at fifty bucks? Fucking software installation? Two-hundred dollars to run a goddamn virus scan? Holy fuck, I’ve been doing this shit for free. Should I charge people money for the twenty seconds it takes to do literally any of this? I can’t possibly believe people would spend cash on that. I really can’t.

2015-04-09_03-40-43One hundred and thirty dollars to put a fucking CD into your computer’s disk drive. Holy goddamn hell, I don’t even have the words to describe how rustled my jimmies are right now. Nobody can be that stupid. I get that computers are strange and mystifying to some people, I really do, but there’s a line the separates a reasonable reluctance to operate what one sees as an overly complicated machine from pants-on-head retardation.

This has to be a drug front or something. Best Buy puts these numbers up to fool the government into believing the money they make is legitimate when, in fact, they’re running a money laundering scheme of some sort. That has to be the explanation.

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THAT HAS TO BE THE EXPLANATION. Nobody in this entire country is going to pay a hundred and fifty dollars for someone else to plug in their fucking television. Nobody. Best Buy is helping fund some terrorist organization overseas and they need to keep the books clean. I don’t even know, but literally any other explanation is more believable to me than people legitimately looking at these prices and thinking, “Yeah, this seems entirely reasonable.”

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BECAUSE ITS FUCKING NOT. Best Buy, please, if you ever feel the need to do anything approaching a semblance of sanity, find the jackass who came up with the concept of Geek Squad, take them out behind your corporate office and fucking shoot them in their goddamn stupid face. I’m begging you, because I am in actual fucking pain looking at this. It physically hurts my chest to think that people have been separated from their money in exchange for a “service” that a monkey could provide.

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My Top Five Favorite Videogames — Number Three: Bayonetta (1&2)

I’m lumping both the first Bayonetta as well as its sequel in this because there’s no way in hell I’m capable of choosing one over the other.

Bayonetta is baller as fuck. I don’t even know how else to express it — Bayonetta is, in my mind, the quintessential action game. Its pretty obvious that the first one was developed as a love letter to Devil May Cry (and hopefully one day the world may be blessed with that crossover), but it surpasses its spiritual predecessor in every way.

There’s nothing about Bayonetta that I don’t derive an enormous amount of enjoyment from. The artstyle is fantastic, the levels are varied and creative, and combat is fluid and deep without being overly complicated, the enemies are numerous and unique from one another, the story is entertaining as well as hilarious, and there’s never a single moment where the game ever takes itself too seriously. Its a game where even the protagonist is having fun the entire time.

And the music — good heavens, the music. If I had to pick one thing from these two games that stood head and shoulders above the rest, it would be the music. All of it. From the simple to the dramatic to the outrageous, its all so. Fucking. Good.

The game can even be as difficult or as simple as you want. Feel like you just wanna mellow out to the rocking soundtrack as you tear through hordes of angels? Turn the difficulty down and the game pretty much plays itself — taking you along for the wonderful ride. Wanna pull your way forward by the tips of your fingernails as your forced to learn every precise movement and dodge and attack so that you’ve earned that dancing cinematic at the end of the game? Nonstop Infinite Climax.

Bayonetta 2 even has umlitplayer. Multiplayer. I can now share in my nirvana with a friend. Honestly, the only legitimate gripe I could understand concerning Bayonetta is that its on the Wii U. Not everything can be flawless.

Anybody who plays Bayonetta will have fun with it. Anyone. This is something that I firmly and staunchly believe, to the point that I get super fucking rustled if/when I see Bayonetta getting shit-talked over the internet. Its like… did we even play the same game? How is this not the best fun you’ve ever had? I just don’t understand — between riding a wave of lava, surfing missiles, playing hot-potato with satellites and punching out two different deities, where did you not have fun? 

The outrage becomes understandable when you realize the only way someone can find fault with Bayonetta is if they’ve never played the fucking game to begin with. Insult born of ignorance.

I pity thou, because there is only joy to be found within Bayonetta’s light.

fuck you, anita
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Never Forget

So after playing around with some settings on my VHS recording nonsense, I realized I could actually save video that didn’t look like it was filmed with a potato. So now I have to rerecord all seven hours of home movies again. Yay.

On the upside, I discovered this moment in time where I was almost devoured by an army of birds. Figured I’d share.

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My Top Five Favorite Videogames — Number Four: Timesplitters 2

When my parents first made the mistake of giving me a Playstation 2 for Christmas they had managed to grab one the year it had come out. The only games the PS2 had at the time were the launch titles that were available at the time. I was lucky enough to get two; X-Squad and and Timesplitters.

They were both decent enough to me at the time, although looking back on it now X-Squad was an abominable piece of shit that deserves to share ET’s landfill.

It was a few years later that I received Timesplitters 2, and oh man did that become my game. I don’t know what it was — probably just the sheer number of hours I sunk into it given that it was pretty much the only new game I had to mess around with for who-knows-how-long, but I was not unlike a deity in my level of skill. Or at least that’s what I remember. Its admittedly been over a decade since then, and I’ll admit that my pool of opponents were limited to whatever poor schmucks I could trick into playing a game or two against me, so my sample size isn’t what you would call extensive.

At the very least I was the biggest fish in my small pond, and that was enough for 12 year-old me.

Timesplitters 2 is pretty much the epitome of what a first-person arena shooter should strive for. Fast-paced, with varied and interesting weapons and creative level themes and designs, Timesplitters 2 is a shining jewel that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with other FPS greats such as Halo and Goldeneye.

It also served as my first foray into level-design — TS2 had an in-game level editor where you could create your own maps to play on. I could never get the hang of creating actual missions with objectives, but I got pretty good at silly multiplayer maps.

Then again my most successful map was just two rooms stacked on top of each other — you’d spawn on the bottom with a dozen other AI bots or players, and then make a mad dash up the stairs to where the remote explosives were. The madness that would ensue entertained friends and I for weeks.

Timesplitters 2 is a game whose adoration is fueled mostly by nostalgia. I haven’t touched it in years. Its sitting in my drawer right now, next to a few other PS2 games that survived the Great Gamestop Purge of ’08. I consider picking it up every so often, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be nearly as enjoyable as I remember, or that I’m remotely as good as I used to be. 12 year-old me would wreck my shit.

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My Top Five Favorite Videogames — Number Five: World of Warcraft

I was enormously hesitant to put Warcraft as my number five. I still am. I enjoy playing WoW, but I can’t say with unassailable conviction that it is my fifth favorite game ever made. There are plenty of other contenders; Dark Souls, Skyrim, Bioshock: Infinite, Mass Effect 3, Fable II, the original Halo, Final Fantasy VIII, Pokemon — I could keep listing the games that would qualify for the number five with practically no end in sight. Mass Effect in particular comes close, but falls short if only because I’m still super salty about how it ended.

At the end of the day we gave number five to WoW if only because ten years from now I’ll probably still be playing it.

I used to give WoW a lot of shit. I don’t even remember about what or why, other than that it was just cool to hate on people who played Warcraft. The only reason I succumbed in the first place was because I spent a week one summer languishing within the deepest, darkest depths of utter boredom and Gamestop was sold out of Red Dead Redemption.

World of Warcraft is fucking fun. There’s a reason why it consistently boasts a subscriber count of several million — even ten years after it came out. And there’s a really simple, easy answer as to why.

A little while back, one of Warcraft’s developers, popularly known to the community as Ghostcrawler, left Blizzard to take a job at Riot to help develop League of Legends. Not too long thereafter, GC was questioned as to whether he regrets opening up WoW to be more casual, and he responds, “Let’s just say that after working on Age of Empires and World of Warcraft for a total of 16 years, it’s really refreshing to work on a game where I don’t have to worry whether someone’s grandmother can pick it up or not.”

Now, at first glance this sounds incredibly dickish. I was a bit peeved when I first read it myself. he just left and he’s already talking smack? League isn’t even a difficult game by comparison. Just, what the hell?

But then it dawned on me — that’s why Warcraft is so enjoyable for so many people. The accessibility factor. Damn near anyone can pick up the game and learn how to play it within an hour. You might not play it well, and you certainly won’t be first pick to go hit up Raids, but that isn’t going to damper your enjoyment at the beginning.

Leveling is fun, especially the first time. Wandering around the massive world Blizzard created is fantastic, even when you end up in the Plaguelands about thirty levels before you’re supposed to. Killing mobs, completing quests, running dungeons or even just wandering — its all open to the player to decide how they want to play. This mentality extends throughout the game, even when you hit the level cap; You can raid, you can achievement hunt, you can look for rare mounts, you can pet battle, you can play dress up with your character, you can level up alternate characters to the cap and get them decked out, you PvP in Battlegrounds or camp lowbie areas because you want to channel your inner asshole.

Warlords of Draenor made current content raiding a doable prospect for the people like me who aren’t in very large guilds, or who don’t want to invest dozens of hours every week into progression. I miss how nice LFR was in that regard, but I’ll take what I can get.

Even still, the vast amount of my enjoyment doesn’t stem from gearing my toon out mindlessly every week for no reason other than just getting bigger numbers. My enjoyment comes from doing all the old shit that the veteran elites did years ago. I have fun having occasional discussions with the Lich King on why he won’t drop me his invisible pony, or skipping through the Firelands in search of Ragnaros’s hammer, or punching Deathwing in the face because I want that Alexstrasza recolor’d mount.

And I can do all of this because while it might not start out simple and easy, it becomes simple and easy given enough time. Soon enough I’ll be walking through Throne of Thunder for those delicious Heroic Achievements.

Warcraft isn’t great despite how simple and easy it is to get into and play. Its great because of how simple and easy it is to play. All the fantastic art and music and even how creative and challenging the raiding and dungeons are — its all secondary to the one immovable fact that WoW’s success is because at the end of the day its a game for casuals.

I am a casual. I embrace that title and mindset. And I’m glad that WoW is here for me.

Now if they could just give me a Death Knight class quest, that’d be great.

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