Friday, December 30, 2005

Taking A Look At Blogger Gen-3

In the blogosphere, there are three "generations" of bloggers. The first are the Founders, the ones who started it all. These are the guys and gals who laid the foundations of blogging, started companies like Blogger and Six Apart, and established the technology that we all use today. Bloggers like Neil Gaiman, Xeni Jardin, Cory Doctrow and Wil Wheaton fall into this generation.

The second generation of bloggers are the Extroverts, the generation I fall into. We're the ones who initially discovered blogging thanks to the founders, and have used it to express our diverse, sometimes wild, and always opinionated views on the world around us. Our blogs are our soap box, and even if we fail, we're going to use them to try and exact societal change, no matter how little an effect we have on our peers.

And then, there's Gen-3, the subject of today's little rant. Gen-3 are the general public, mostly high school kids, who blog because they merely think it's "cool," and sometimes, they have a valid opinion on important issues. But, for the most part, they use it to talk about their school days, how much they like/hate this or that person, and to post stupid graphics (especially those gay little Bratz-looking avatars the kids love to use). My time on Blog$hares has afforded me a window into the world of Gen-3, with links to their sites. And now, I present to you, reviews of a few piss-poor Gen-3 blogs, and why they suck.

Steph's Lil' Secret Diary - Not much of a secret if it's on the Net, is it, Stephy? If you're going to keep a 'secret' diary, go get one of those GirlTek Password Journals or something, jeez! Upon first viewing the page, you can tell you're in for a choppy ride. There's a starfield background that showcases right to left motion, which can give you motion sickness if you're so inclined. I'm not, so it's just something distracting and takes away from the true purpose of the blog. Which, by the way, isn't even the main page! All it is is a pic of some stupid Adidas ad, the starfield, and a pink-bordered box with exactly seven words, four of which make absolutely no sense to anyone with an IQ over 80. Clicking the Rants link, you finally find her posts, and good lord, are they a mess. Overuse of color is a big turn-off, and get the spelling and grammar:

yeapz..may al my lovely frens stay hapi n healthy..
esp dear Yanti....

may me n darlin's love be evealasting...
i love him! muackz!*
Said what? Come on! If you're going to blog, at least use proper English, for Pete's sake! It's a whole bunch easier to understand someone when you don't use AOL Kiddie Speak. I don't care if you are from a foreign country. If you're going to use English (like this guy), use English, not Engrish or the aforementioned Kiddie Script. No trophy for you.

My Escape To Freedom - News flash, honey. Getting out of High School isn't the Escape you're looking for. Trust me on this one. When you get to be my age (28), you'll WISH you were back in the carefree days of High School, I promise. While I hated high school as much as you do, it still beats the tar out of real life hands down. Now, on to the meat of the review. This chick has a HUGE header graphic that took a relatively long time to load up, and I'm on Cable over here! On the Web, smaller is better in terms of filesize. If any of your readers are on dialup, they're going to have a bit of a wait to read your drivel thanks to that asinine graphic. Yeah, it's neat looking, but damn, woman, shrink the filesize! Image Compression Algorhythms are your friends. And now, for the text byte:
love my prezzies.. :D and I got a necklace from Tiffany from my aunt... lol i was like 0.O omg omg haha.. ok that was smth realli nice to rmbr...
been ultra ultra bz this past few weeks.. moving stuff and everything.. i haven't even had time to watch t.v!!! T.T
went to the new campus and bought my books... you know you get the floor plan all nicely memorized but when you get there it's like you're walking around blind.. haha
Well, for the most part, the English use here is sound, but it still has Kiddie Script moments. Are you kids really, truely that lazy? Is it too much of an effort to type three letters, like "Are" or "Our," that you have to shorten it to "r?" You're not saving much time at all, unless you're the hunt-and-peck keyboard type. Here Comes The Schooling: It's "presents," not "prezzies." Sentences begin with Capital Letters. It's "busy," not "bz." You only need one "OMG" to get your point across. There are no dots in "TV," it's an acronym, not an initial. And you might want to discover the line break tag (
), as it can make paragraphs easier to read. No trophy for you, either...

Jen's Lovely Little Space - Oh. Dear. Lord. This chick is 30? You'd swear by her blog that she was 13! Now, I'm not familiar with MSN Spaces, since I think Microsoft is the ultimate Digital Evil, but damn! You think she'd organize her space a little better. Most MSN people keep their photo albums off to the side, but this chick has them front and center, and you've got to scroll down a bit to get to any blog content whatsoever. Kinda defeats the purpose of having a blog to begin with. But I digress, as there are such things as strictly photo blogs (I have two of them, but they tie in to my sites, and don't take up more than a few hundred square pixel area in my sidebars). No text byte this time, since all of her text is peppered with gay little images and what not, which totally throw the paragraph formatting all out of whack. At least her spelling and grammar are consistent. No trophy for you until you learn how to organize. And there's nothing wrong with being 30. It's 50+ you gotta worry about. That's when you really get old. This blog stands as proof that there are people over 18 in Gen-3, and their lack of computer or design knowledge makes them no better than the kiddies they're sharing a blog generation with...

:+:s o . n e a r . y e t . s o . f a r:+: - OK. Seriously. This whole stylized title thing? Played out. Yeah, I did it with The Ranch, but it wasn't overkill like that. Here we have yet another typical Gen-3 blog, as is evident from the text byte:
hmmmm...this 2 days sux til the max!!SIGH..
well,smth really bad happened..and thx 2 myself!! i made this happened..arghh..
no matter what,thx nic..> u calm me down n b there when i really need sum1 2 talk =) u're a great friend!!
then,acc me msg til i fall asleep.muahah..
Ugh. Again, if you're going to use English, use it right. No trophyt for you.

As you can probably tell, viewing these blogs long enough to review them here is a painful process. Sure, I might be a Grammar Nazi, but hey. If you're going to communicate, and you want to be percieved as a rational thinking, intelligent human being, then please, blog like one. Not like some damned 12 year old...

Thursday, December 29, 2005


Click To Enlarge -- Flound on B$

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

NES Review: Ghosts'N Goblins

One of the best things about reviewing old school NES carts is the time I get to spend with so many classic games. Now, the good majority of you probably wouldn't call these "classics" if you define a classic as a franchise that survived into the modern console age. But to us Gen-Xers, the original NES was our altar, and our rewards were side-scrolling action titles that we spent endless hours playing, trying in vain (mostly) to reach the end and save the damsel/princess/weird mushroom dude. Ghosts'N Goblins (and it's 'sequel/remake' Ghouls'N Ghosts) is one of those uberclassics. JC will back me up on that one...Here's the deal: Christian wingnuts (not regular Christians, you guys are cool) leave now, because this game deals with Satan. But in a fictional sense, so there's no need to tweak out. Besides. He's the guy you're trying to best at the end of the map there, so you can honestly say you're doing "God's work" if you're hard-up for a positive message.

At any rate, you're hanging out in your loin cloth with your hottie-bo-bottie, when out of nowhere, The Man Downstairs shows up and snatches her straight from your picnicing bliss. Obviously, you're jacked, because hey: Beelzebubbabutt just stole your woman! If the great Evil wants honey-girl, she must be worth it, right? Right. So, into your armor you jump, and off you go to fight your way to and through the underworld to do battle with Lucy Furr.

But that's no easy task, let me tell you. Your little Arthur dude can only take two hits before biting thine bullet. One hit pops you into your skivvies until you find yourself another tin suit to keep you modest. Thankfully, this knight of the triangle drawz has an array of weapons at his disposal to ward off the Minions of Satan (TM). You start off with what amounts to a lance of holy tossing and destruction, but can pick up knives, torches, and more. The torches are rather nifty when baddies come-a-runnin', since it flares up for a second or two after hitting the ground. Mindless Zombies become Kamikombies and walk right into a firey gateway, ensuring their one-way return trip back to Heck is, in fact, in a flaming Handbasket of Doom (R).

But Zombies aren't Lu's only weapon. He's got hairball-spewing plants, annoying little devil critters that swoop about and cause general havoc, and bosses at the end of each of the five enormous, increasingly difficult levels. I'm serious. You have to be a pro to get anywhere in this game. n00bs will spend the first two days just trying to get beyond level two at best, ensuring the frustration which often drives marathon gaming sessions. That and the combination of Jolt and Doritos.

In the end, if you can best the Worst of the Worst, you rescue the girl (obviously the hottest woman in the world if Satan's after that booty) and live happily ever after. That is, until you restart the game and she gets Bogarted again. All in all though, G'NG remains one of my all-time favorite games, and deserves to be dusted off every once in a while, if only to whoop the forces of darkness in your medieval boxer shorts...

Ghosts'N Goblins - NES - Arcade Port

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Ghosts Of Christmas Past...

The magic is gone. The joy has departed. All I have left? Just another day of the year. 2005 has been like that a lot for me. New Years? Questions. Easter? Questions. Summer? You guessed it, questions. My Birthday? While I did get to spend time in Pittsburgh with friends, still Questions. Thanksgiving? Questions.

Sadly, for Christmas, I got answers.

Oh. And new shoes, a pair of blue jeans, and a 250GB hard drive. The hard drive has really come in handy, eliminating my storage woes. You see, I'm revamping this machine entirely, and now (thanks to Western Digital, the bums) it's a bit of a necessity. First on the install block is Windows XP. Now, call me crazy for trying to run it on a 566 Celeron, but hey, at least I can run half the software I need. While I'm not a big fan of XP at all, it'll have to be there for some things.

The 20GB drive (my old storage drive, which has been through hell) will be reformated and cut into either thirds or fourths, ready to play host to a few Linux distributions. Long have I used Mandrake (since 7.2), and now I'm going to give Fedora Core and Ubuntu a go-round. If I go for fourths, I'll probably pick a random distro, but for now, three is cool. Quad Boot sounds better than Quint Boot, anyway.

Because I'm working on redoing the machine I have doesn't mean I'm not working on getting a better one. For that, I have to call in some favors, but I think I can swing it now that the crush of the Holidays is pretty much over and done with. The presents are long since opened, the kids are playing happily or visiting with the grandfolk and cousins, and me? I've been here long enough, sitting in my room.

Years ago, we started a bit of an odd tradition. When I was 16, I had long since quit going to church at all, let alone on Christmas. The suggestion was made (by Chris, I think) that we open presents after they arrived home from services, which was around midnight anyway, given their gift of gab with the Churchies. So, technically, we were opening presents on Christmas morning, having bailed on the "Santa" routine (though some presents are still tagged from the Fat Man in my mother's dead-giveaway handwriting) long ago.

So, like I said, I've been sitting here in my room vegitating long enough. It's time I went and did my Holiday visiting routine, and there's only one place I have to go: Angel's. She's moved back from Milwaukee to Clearfield, and hopefully she'll be getting high-speed soon. I'm trying to talk her into writing for Blog Prophyts, as well as keeping her own blog. But why do I need to go over there?

Silly Eric left his laundry there last night. Folded, bagged, ready to go, and completely passed over when I walked out the friggin door. Remembered my damn mug this time, but hell if I could remember all my socks, drawz, and quite the load of black shirts. Damnit, damnit, damnit all to hell. Oh well. Christmas Visit, here I come...

Merry Christmas to all, and to all: Don't get killed, OK?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005





Friday, December 16, 2005

NES Review: Kung Fu

This was one of the first carts I got for the NES, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in 1986. You know how it is. 8/9 year old kid, hears the words Kung Fu, thinks "man, bet I get to bitchslap some fools!" Well, sortakinda.

I wasn't aware of it until some time later, but Kung Fu is an arcade port, and it's one of the ones that suffers graphically in the translation. Damn the four-color-per-sprite limitations of the NES. Oh well, what can you do. You can't ask for Halo 2 in 1986, can you. Heck, back then, the best CGI we had was Tron and The Great Mouse Detective.

The objective of Kung Fu is to whoop ass and climb stairs. Simple if not for the plethora of baddies that come at you from both sides, as well as above on later floors. Basically, you have to punch, kick, jump and duck your way to each floor's boss, until you get to floor 5.

There are plenty of baddies to choose from, including the grunts in the fruity looking outfits, knife throwing Daniel-san wannabes, snakes and dragons that fall in pots (or balls, can't tell) from the ceiling, and booby traps galore. There are even midgets (or is it little people? Damn political correctness) that come at you! Yikes! You know that if there's midgets, you're in some serious trouble...

Your reward for clearing all five floors? To be sent back to the begining all over again, doomed to forever climb and fall, climb and fall. And each time you make it through, the game gets progressively harder (as do most early games like this for the NES, before the advents of passwords and save batteries). Always a joy, right? Right.

This game killed alot of my time early on, before the video store started renting out carts and before my library (or those of my friends) grew. Sadly, I remember that one of my friends hadn't quite gone 8bit yet, and was still playing an Atari 2600. I felt sorry for him. Really sorry. But those are the breaks. I did envy him for a while, though, when all I had was an Intellivision II which wouldn't play Coleco games. Sad days, they were. Kids these days are spoiled with their XBoxes and their TRL.

But I'm getting off on a rant here. Wait a second... Isn't that the reason I have a blog? Oh well. Either way, Kung Fu was good, mindless fun back in the day, and kids today might appreciate its simplicity when they want a break from fragging losers on XBox Live...

Kung Fu - NES - Arcade Port

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Insider Trading

Wow. Neato. I'm listed at Blogshares. Think of it as a stock market for Blogs. I guess I've got BP listed there as well, though it isn't being traded yet. If this sort of thing interests you, I suggest giving it a try. It's like the Hollywood Stock Exchange. I used to do that a bit, but forgot my login and password combo, and that account is still registered to a defunct email addy of mine, if the account even exists anymore...

NES Review: Kid Icarus

I remember that day well. We had gone to Altoona with the Reese's, and JC and I were each promised an NES cart apiece. I can't for the life of me remember what JC picked, because quite frankly, I didn't give a crap. I was too focused on what I would choose off of the rack. This was back before the Nintendo Power days, where we each had a subscription and knew about all the latest before everyone else. This was back in the Fun Club days, when info rags were heinously short and came out quarterly, if you were lucky.

Nope, we were pretty much forced to go by the cover of the box. And on this fateful night, I was to select Kid Icarus, thanks to my general knowledge of Greek Mythology, even at the tender age of 9.

What I ended up with was one of the first password-enabled games ever! When you died, you were given Sacred Words that allowed you to continue from the beginning of the level you were on when you bit it. It was ingenious, and many, many games afterwards would use the password system. Some still do today, but not as many.

Basically, here's the scenario. Medusa has taken control of the world, and it's up to Pit, the little angel with the bow and arrows, to journey from the underworld to the clouds, finding the three treasures on the way, and take ol' Snakeylocks down. But this isn't easy, Medusa has sent quite the army of interesting critters your way. Snakes, floating eyeballs, the infamous Eggplant Wizard (who can and will turn you into an eggplant, no joke), and quite the cadre beyond.

But fear not, because you'll have help along the way. As you kill critters, you'll get hearts (little, half-big and big) that you can use as cash to buy items that will help you on your journey. There are also hot springs where you can refill your life bar, and items like the harp, which turns baddies into useful hammers for a short time.

Heh. Check out the reaper tweaking out. The music that plays when this happens is quite annoying, but hey. That's what you get for ticking the reaper off.

The game is split into four levels: The Underworld, The Mortal Plane, The Path Through the Clouds, and The Skyway to Medusa. Levels one and three are bottom-top scroll, while two and four are side scroll left to right. Level four, after you have the treasures from the previous levels, auto-scrolls while you use the Wings to fly. That's the fun level, let me tell you. And the battle with Medusa at the end? You'd think a crazy mythical witch with the power to turn folks to stone would be five kinds of hard to beat. But...

She's not. Sad, really. There's a blind spot in her defenses, a position on the screen (shown in this screenshot) where you can stash Pit, never get hit by anything she throws at you, and wail away on her giant eyeball. Terribly easy. But once you wax Medusa, you save the entire mythological universe, and all is well. Until you find out you start the game over, have to regain the treasures, and beat Medusa all over again. This time, though, the game is harder.

A classic indeed, I'm surprised it didn't become a franchise for Nintendo. Pit and his adventures would have easily translated through the evolving structures provided by their subsequent consoles (especially the 64 and GameCube). But alas, this is all we have, really, which is just plain sad. Still, this classic always merits replay, if only for the cheesy music. Guess what...

Kid Icarus - NES - Platform Shooter

Monday, December 12, 2005

LiveBlog Experiment #2

Here we go. I'm gonna make an honest attempt at live-blogging a sit-n-go on Party Poker (since Poker Room seems to not want to connect at all right now, which is totally bogus). It's a 10+1 NLTHE, and I'll warn you up front. There'll probably be a good deal of chip movement on the first hand. Since it's play money, some fools like to go all-in on the first hand regardless of their down cards, and someone almost always calls. Hopefully I can get behind the button or as far from the blinds as I can. Here we go. Time to log in.

4:21AM - Folded my first hand, a 6-2o, and will be the big next hand. Oh well. At least there wasn't an all-in love-in.Board came A-3-2-5-5, so I would have been low man anyway. Just dealt a 3h7d in the big, maybe I can check in...

4:26AM - Yep. Got in cheap, flopped a set of 7s which brought in many, many chips. Love that slow playing. Next hand caught an A-10o, and won with top pair when I flopped 10s, taking out three players in the process. Nice haul for two hands, no? Yes!

4:29AM - Finally able to fold a few. Chip count: $4475, haven't lost a showdown yet! Rock on! Clearly the big stack at the table, and only one real contender is shaping up. Should be a quick game, and I should certainly place top three. Time to call with 9-10o...

4:32AM - That 9-10 cost me $30, and the next two hands cost me a total of $55, but oh well. Still in good shape, that's for sure. Table's down to five, biggest stack next to mine is in seat 10. The others are in the triple digits. Sad. I'm folding off good cards just to blog now, passed up a J-9h, just called a A-Jo, but folded to a bet too big for my tastes right now. I'll just wait it out until people fall. One already did, down to four now...

4:45AM - It's down to 3, $4990. Action is fast now, so don't expect much...

4:50AM - Down to two, still big stack. Here we go!

4:52AM - Aftermath - Yep, seat 10 turned out to be my adversary in showdown play, and I didn't lose a single hand down the stretch. All I did was fold one in the small blind, a 2-3o. The last hand, I took him all-in on a pair of kings, and he couldn't catch anything helpful. Table victories come often to me on Party Poker. Wish they would do the same on Poker Room, if only I could log in. Maybe I'll give Poker Stars a whirl...

All Kids Out Of The Pool

Since our local paper, The Regress, doesn't carry much more than traditional comic strips (can't upset the old folks, no), I haven't really been able to get into The Boondocks all that much. Aaron McGruder's own special brand of humor has managed to escape me for too long. So, when I heard Adult Swim had signed on to develop it into an animated show, I was happy.

Long I waited in the pits of Clearfield County, stranded in a sea of conservative stagnation, for this show to come along and breathe life into relatively dull nights. And it was well worth the wait.

Warning: If the word "nigger" and its many forms offend you, too bad. It's used a lot in this show. Doesn't bother me in the least, but you try living in an area that more or less is intolerant of anyone who isn't of Eastern European descent.

I just got done watching the latest episode during the [adult swim] repeat run for the night, and man, it was hillarious. With Mos Def guest starring as a rapper who's as phoney as the music he produces, the best joke came when the animated version of MTV's Sway (voiced by Sway himself, no less) came on the TV and said "Hi, I'm Sway. And this... is my inexplicable head wrap."

Teh. Funnay.

Not the first time Sway has lampooned himself, either. He did it once on Robot Chicken as the host of a show on the fictional XSPAN network, an MTV-ish version of CSPAN. Now that I mention it, Adult Swim has been more or less hitting home runs as far as programming. You have your "classics" like Aqua Teens, Sealab, Brak, Space Ghost Coast To Coast, and Harvey Birdman, sure. But with regards to new programming, they're batting somewhere in the neighborhood of .750. Here's what I mean:

Squidbillies - I wasn't too keen on the concept in the beginning: thanks to a receeding ocean and God's misguided purpose, a clan of squids was stranded in the north Georgia mountains. Thanks to generations of inbreeding, they're pretty much as out there hillbilly as you can get. But the show has grown on me a bit. Not super funny, but it's still cool to laugh at hillbillies, squids or not.

Stroker and Hoop - A buddy PI show in the vein of Starsky and Hutch, with some Knight Rider thrown in and a whole mess of insanity besides. I think it's pretty damn funny myself, and enjoy the absurdist humor that AS originals are known for.

Tom Goes To The Mayor - The title is the long, drawn out way to say "crap." Tim and Eric, the show's creators, are simply buffoons. Whatever they're trying to parody, they suck at it tremendously. The visual style is harsh and insipid, and the toilet humor is way overused. I can't believe Jack Black and Kyle Gass (AKA Tenacious D) signed on to do their "Traps All Day" episode. The biggest blemish on AS's impecible record.

Robot Chicken - Nostalgic hillarity. It's all the action figures I ever had as a kid, along with dolls and other toys of those bygone days of yore, in situations much to hillarious to accurately describe. Seth Green and company have developed a masterpiece tha sadly only clocks in at 12 minutes per episode, but those 12 minutes are more often than not packed with laughs. Optimus Prime gets prostate cancer. Voltron gets served. Teela is involved in a sex tape scandal with Beastman. And you can't ever forget those wacky bloopers...

Super Milk Chan - I'm still on the fence on this one. It's not AS influenced, though the level of insanity is right up there with that of Williams Street. Milk is a foul-mouthed 5 year old super hero with no discernable powers, who along with Tetsuko her farting robot and pet slug Hanage, take care of problems for the President of Everything, with help from gadgets from King's Idea Laboratory's Dr. Eyepatch. She also flim-flams her gay alien landlord. Funniest moment? The episode where a counterfitter is printing up bills to satisfy his addiction to Belgian Waffles. Yeah. It's like that.

The Boondocks - Love it. Beautiful style, funny as all get out. As I said before, it's the shizzle, nizzle.

Yeah, I have too much time on my hands, and stay up way too late. But hey, it's not by choice...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Fresh Horizons

You know, closing the Ranch and opening up this blog (and BP) has been a sort of refresher for me, and I kindof enjoy it. I'm blogging way more often than I did with the Ranch, and without the need to edit a boat load of HTML in order to get something published. Yes, there was the satisfaction of knowing that nearly every drop of code on that page was mine and mine alone, written the hard way by me. But ease takes over right now.

And since I have alot to say, and a very short time to say it, ease wins hands down.

Writing NES reviews is quick and painless, and since I have alot of carts to review, I've taken to writing them up and saving them as drafts, waiting to be posted at a future date. It makes things easier down the road, less I have to write and format in the future. At least the format process is easier this time around...

Now, if only I could convince Derreck to come up with something a little more often than he does...

NES Review: Gun.Smoke

There's a good reason why this review says NES as opposed to ROM. Earthbound Zero is more or less only available as a ROM, while all the other games I'll review are available as legal carts. Thanks to my local old-school NES buddies who've kept their systems and carts in immaculate condition, I'm able to review these classics for all 3 of you.

Gun.Smoke was one of my favorite rentals when the 8bit system was the hot box of the day. I used to know a cheat code or two that would afford me all the weapons up front, which was fun, and the turbo controler (the NES Advantage, if I remember correctly) made my standard gun more deadly than the machine gun the cheat gave me.

Sounds like it could be Houtzdale, doesn't it. Heh. That's the first thing I thought of when I looked at that screen for the first time in well over 15 years. Anywho, you're out to capture bad guys, and in Houtz... I mean Hicksville, it doesn't get any badder than this guy:

Bandit Bill. That's right. Mean looking hombre, ain't he. Well, you've got to take this bad seed down, and the local authorities will give you $10K if you succeed. All you have are your sidearms, an unlimited supply of ammo for said sidearms, and the occasional helpful townsfolk who will sell you goods, but don't expect them to jump in the line of fire so they can off stuff cheap. You'll need the cash you find along the way, that's for srue.

The streets are mean, that's for sure. Roaming banditos working for the big burrito on campus attack you from all angles in all sorts of ways. Beware death from above, as snipers have positionend themselves as well. Wandering miscreants like that dude over yonder will lob dynamite sticks (which, curiously, are blue), but you can actually pick these things up before they asplode.

With only a standard NES controler to play these games with these days, all the rabid fun was taken out of it, but at least I got to spend about 20 minutes reliving my childhood. It's a fun shooter varient with some pretty decent challange to it (unless, of course, you have a good controller).

Gun.Smoke - NES - Arcade Port/Shooter

Friday, December 09, 2005

Don't Hurt The Cheat

Found this over on Fark, and posted it to BP just a moment ago. I love Homestar Runner. It's gotta be the most creative flash comic on the web today. The characters are simply way too much fun, and the fun doesn't get any better than it does with everyone's favorite little yellow sidekick:

Yep. The Cheat. Gotta love that The Cheat.

Apparently, when he's not throwing Lightswitch Raves or starring in his own Video Game, The Cheat is moonlighting as a model for names of places. He's got a bridge, waterfall, and even a functioning tourist rail car. How pimpin' is that, right? Not bad for a The Cheat. Especially when you consider his choice of employer. But then again, having your employer's dumber yet significantly stronger older brother in your back pocket doesn't hurt things any.

Why am I getting into the intricacies of a cartoon character?

Because he's The Cheat, damnit. The Cheat is lovable, cute, mischevious, devious, talented... He could very well be the new millennium's first classic character. Apart from the ones I have listed above, let's take a look at some of The Cheat's finest moments.

New Boots - A Powered By The Cheat special, which The Cheat animated and voiced all on his own. The Cheat gets some cool boots, Strong bad brings him is favorite, and Coach Z just wants a chance to do a hip-hop dance, and has our boy animate his music video!

Cheat Commandos - Apparently, those of The Cheat's kind have a TV show and toy line. Fun with the Cheat Commandos as they battle the evil forces of the Blue Laser! Buy it! Buy! Buy! BUY! Rock Rock On!

Bottom 10 - Not really one of The Cheat's finer moments, but at the time this SBEmail came out, it was the first appearance of our beloved The Cheat in quite some time on H*R.

Do Over - This one's a bit bizzare, so I'll just let you watch it and find out for yourself. The Cheat proves just how much of a lady's The Cheat he really is, but only if you can locate the easter egg...

That's just a small sampling of the fine work of The Cheat. I urge you to explore more of Homestar Runner for more of The Cheat's exploits. Now go kill some time. With the snow on the ground today, there's no excuse for you not to.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Waiting Game

For well over a year now, I've been basically sitting on my ass, waiting for things to happen. And this isn't really my choice, either. It's a situation I've more or less placed myself in, and as a result, I don't have much room to maneuver. Which sucks, because I really want to just get things moving. I want to get as far away from Central PA as I can, as soon as I can. I figure, once I'm away from this place, I'll be able to breathe a little easier.

I should be getting a new hard drive sometime in the near future, which is VERY good. For too long, I've been limited to around 30 gigs of space, and most of that is earmarked. I've managed to burn some stuff onto CD for now, but I'd like to keep all my data on-drive so I can access it quickly. I'm hoping I can score bigger than 200 gig (I saw one 300 gig drive online for cheap), then I won't really have to much worry about space for quite a while.

Once it's here, the fun can begin! My current main drive will remain my main drive, but will be an all-Winblowz drive. I haven't decided if I'm gonna go with 98 still, or try to run XP. At 450mhz, things won't run very nicely under XP, I'm sure. Maybe I'll try Win2K. Who knows. Anywho, the 20 gig drive, which is used for storage at the moment, will be sectioned off into four 4.5 gig partitions, each of which will have a different flavor of Linux on it.

Mandrake will be there for sure, and I'm thinking of trying out Fedora Core as well. Debian sounds like a sound third choice, but I'm not too sure on the fourth. Maybe an on-drive install of Knoppix, maybe SuSE. Or maybe I'll totally weird out and put a completely different OS on there alltogether, like QNX or a BSD. That'd be interesting, wouldn't it?

So many options. I'd best get to downloading and burning all this crap, eh? Right...

Tuesday Night Blues

Wow. What a dull night. So dull I couldn't think of anything to blog about, so here I am, writing about how there's nothing special to do at all. I went to the Avenue for a little while, but with just Kera, Justin, Brandi and myself there, it wasn't much of a fun night at all, so they closed down early, and back I came.

My brother is at the Bryce Jordan Center, working the Dave Matthews Band show. Yay. Hippie magnet of a show that is. Bet the whole place smells like patchouli and haven't-showered-in-a-while. In all honesty, I do like one Dave Matthews song, Satelites. Nice, easy going song, and a good use of Matthews' nasaly voice.

Speaking of working shows, I'm due to return to the roadie scene this Saturday, helping Big Jim do sound for Face Down, featuring my boy Nate Socoski and John's good buddy Chris Kane. Should be a bitchin' rock and roll show given the promo pieces they have up over at the Ave. I know these guys have mad talent for sure, so I'm looking forward to not paying a cover and getting paid (not much, but something) to rock out once again.

And suddenly, I remember why I love the live music scene in the first place. When I started roadie-ing for Tom's bands back in College, I fell in love with the life. First Plan 9, then Dick Dastardly. Just going out, moving a few slides, pushing a few buttons and drinking a few beers was enough to keep me lugging drums and speaker cabinets to and from the car.

And that's how I got addicted to the stage. But we all how how that story has played out. I'm still doing small-time Karaoke contests for a little bit of cash, and just going out to keep myself practiced once or twice a week. Don't get me wrong, I love going to the Ave. or Mary's and singing, but it's not what I really want. What sucks is, I can't have what I really want right now. My situation won't allow me to make a commitment to a project.

Tempered Edge was all well and good. The tunes were worth believing in, but Bill's "originals only" attitude got us nowhere show-wise. It was hard to book a band who's Guitar Player could only make weekend shows, every once in a while at best. Mel at Pete N' Mel's liked us plenty good, but still, we never had a crowd of more than 20. Better than zero, yes, but not enough (just seven times in two years total) to make a solid commitment to.

Thank the maker for John and Sherry. Those two have been SO gracious to me, and I love them to death for it. Letting me sit on my little stool and sing some songs with them. Me and my fake superstition about Sherry's mic stand, which was in reality a joke about how short she is compared to me. Doing Hotel California that one Bike Night at the Avenue with Paul on accoustic lead. Fumbling through Stairway to Heaven. Swapping my name for that of Freddie Mercury on Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Floyd blocks.

Having fun.

That's why I'm addicted to the stage. It's not about the kudos (though they are nice), it's about having a good time.

Go figure, this turns into a rant about music. I'd best curb that now.

Yep, just another boring Tuesday night in lovely Houtzdale, PA. Hopefully, my scenery changes soon. I don't know how many more of these impossibly frigid winters I can take. The ball is freaking out, that's for sure...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Poker Prophyt

Ahh, there we go. Poker Room is the first site to let me create and upload my own custom avatar, no questions asked. And so, introducing version 1.0, which will appear here on the site when I make poker posts. Version 1.5 should be up on my Poker Room Profile within the day...

5:42AM - I'm gonna try and liveblog a tournament at Poker Room now. I'm in seat 6, and my first hole cards are J3o, so I'll be folding. This should be interesting...

5:47AM - Not much to speak of card-wise, but I have noticed that the table is rather conservative. No outrageous betting (thank St. Pete), so I've been able to see a few flops here and there. I've started in decent position pre-flop a few times, but always lost it on the flop itself. Oh well. I'll catch something...

5:54AM - Still nothing new to report, other than I'm down a wee bit. No need to panic, though. Still it it. In the meantime, here's a screenshot (222K JPG) of my table. I'm in the bottom center seat. Yay.

5:58AM - Busted already. Stupid call with a straight draw on the table. Stupid, stupid Eric. And after I took 1st in the game I played prior to this. Oh well. 7th isn't 10th, that's for diggity dang sure. Oh well. At least I know I can Live Blog for 10 mintues. Heh...

Monday, December 05, 2005

ROM Review: Earthbound Zero

When I was a kid, I had an NES. Then, as I got older, my loyalty to Nintendo consoles led me to get a SuperNES. There was a game for the SNES called Earthbound, a charming, kid-friendly RPG with an engaging storyline, interesting characters and nifty options with regards to magic. But what we didn't know at the time was that Earthbound was actually a sequel to a game for the original NES which, sadly, never saw release onto the American game market.

Well, thanks to the advent of ROMs and Emulation, we can finally play this game, and even with a half decent translation!

You'll notice a few similarities to Earthbound right off the bat. You get to name your four characters, dog, and favorite food. The martial arts character from the SNES version was obviously a replacement of Teddy, a 50's looking Fonzie tough guy you meet later in the game. At this point you start to notice that a lot of the "basic" features of the SNES version are actually additions to the game. Kind of makes you appreciate the SNES version all the more.

Anyway, you're Ninten (or Stewy, as I have him named here), and you're awoken one night by troubles in your sister's room. It appears her dolly is possessed. Not cool. After whomping some demonic lamps and the eerie dolly itself, you find that you have to embark on a quest to save the world from renegade paranormal forces.

Along the way, you meet the girl (Ana, or Amanda in my screen shot), the nerdy boy (Loid, Jester in my screen shot) and the aforementioned Teddy, Who'm I called Remo in my game, but isn't in any of my screen shots. Each one is tailored to a specific kind of attack: Ninten can use ball bats and some PSI (magic) spells; Ana is a PSI wonder who has pans for secondary weapons; Loid is a technology master, specializing in guns and offensive items like bottle rockets and beam weapons; Teddy is pretty darn good with a sword, if you've got one for him. Neither Loid nor Teddy can use PSI.

As with any RPG, you get to have fun spending quality time with the monsters of EBZ, going through the rite of passage known as "leveling up." This makes the monsters easier to deal with after a while, but can be time consuming and monotonous. But hey, that's why RPGs have storylines. It's the story that really gets you hooked, and as with the SNES incarnation of Earthbound, this one has a cute an engaging story to follow along with.

If you think I'm going to hook you all up with a link to the ROM file, you can forget it. You can all find it on your own. If you do, just make sure that your title screen has that little ZERO underneath Earthbound. That way you know for sure that you have the right one. A little effort is all it takes. Just remember: You can only have a ROM for about 24 hours, then you're obligated to delete it. Not my rule, just a good general guideline.

Earthbound Zero - Unreleased in USA - RPG

Shady... Aftermath... Q-Unit?!?

When I found this on BoingBoing, I was a bit stunned. I'd heard of the mash-up scene's recent bombardment, but this took the bloody cake. 50 Cent and Queen. If ever there was a combination to the gates of Hell and Damnation, that would be it. Here's my post on Blog Prophyts...

I'm a diehard Queen fan. I love their music, and sing some of it rather often at Karaoke, as well as when I do shows with John and Sherry. It's rock and roll in its purest form, as well as going above and beyond experimentation to blend so much more into the mix. They were and are musical masters in the most revered sense.

And I don't much care for 50 Cent. I hear it all the freakin' time, over and over. It all runs together after a little while, really.

Curious as I am, I downloaded the whole shebang and gave it a listen, cover art and all. No, I don't plan on producing CDs with these files, I just want to give it a go-round. The first track I listened to was Bohemian Wanksta. Gotta go for the uber-classic all-time most well known Queen jam and see what these goofy kids did to it. What I found was a very haunting remix indeed. I'm impressed with the whole mix. Forget the fact that 50's rapping over this beat. The beat itself is the magic here. In fact, the entire "album" is like this. This Is How We Bite The Dust is ingenious, and made me want to get up and shake what little money maker my scrawny self has.

Holy crap. I'm four tracks in and I'm already thinking twice about this idea. Kids' got skillz, no doubt about it. After plowing through each track, I find no reason why the RIAA should be tracking these sites down. If anything, these are free marketing tools in disguise. 50 Fans will discover the joys of Queen, and Queen Fans will find a reason to appreciate 50 Cent for a little while. Not a bad trade off. And who knows. They might just go out and buy some legal CDs in the process.

But no, the RIAA never thinks of logical things like that. They're too busy treating us like criminals.

Go and get this while you can. Enjoy this artform before the RIAA gets crankier still and squashes it, along with our purchasing rights.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Learning Curve

I'm starting to play with the style template here on BlogSpot. So far, it appears that I've been able to pretty much customize what I want without much hassle. Might be worth it to learn this particular practice. I've been out of the loop so long and so dependant on plain old HTML that I haven't figured out dynamic pages. Damn the dot-com bubble pop in the late 90s...

This system is pretty simple, really. The code doesn't intimidate me at all, that's for sure. The main thing I'm concerned with is the color code system. So far, I've figured out that #ccc gives me the grey that I've changed the entry titles to. Next comes deciphering the font system, how it parses different sections of the page, and how to put it all together.

And since I usually have quite a bit of time on my hands these days, it shouldn't take me too long.

My little brother has built himself qutie the DJ setup if I do say so myself. I'm totally impressed. He's in the garage running it now, I can hear (and kinda feel) the boom-tss-boom-tss of whatever it is he's playing. Thank the maker for the TV to drown it out!

The Prophycy Begins

Yay! Team blog go! *cue cute J-Pop theme song, most likely titled Boraagu Prophytu*

--Funny Fact: Hi-Hi PuffyAmiYumi just came on. Cute J-Pop theme song indeed...

Oh, and Derreck: I'm sorry I stole your colors. But I think it's OK if we share, seeing as how millions of other BlogSpot users have this choice, and I'm sure quite a few like it much. If you're that cranky, learn how to modify the css template color scheme and customize the darn thing. I will be here in the coming days...

But yes, Blog Prophyts has launched. Hopefully I can use word-of-IM (aka annoying the pi$$ out of my friends) "advertising" to get a small readership happening. I'm hoping that some of you have tagged along for the ride to this new blog. I should have it redirect, I think... But that's something for later.

Finished Fable: The Lost Chapters the other night, and even did some hard (as in physical, on paper, not difficult) math to figure out gem fencing numbers. I'll throw up a review of TLC sooner or later. I had one written for the original version, prepped for the Ranch and all, but TLC came out before I wrote it, Jester bought it, and now we've plowed through it. Changes, new tricks, glitches, and more!

I like this blog better. I don't have to do 35 minutes worth of page duplication each time I post, which leads to me posting more often as the mood strikes me. This is a good thing...

Blog Prophyts

Like I said, we're gonna give this team blog thing a try. Introducing Blog Prophyts, an attempt at teaming up with other area bloggers to try and create something usable, fun, and somewhat popular. Derreck has signed on so far, but I'm still looking for about four more people who can dedicate some time each day to scouring the net for interesting crap, then writing up a short blurb about it with a link on the blog.

If you can at all help it, having a Blogger/Blogspot account would really help ease the process of joining in along (I think, not sure how they have this set up just yet). Regular posting is, unfortunately, a pre-requisite, since hey, let's face it: We're Bloggers. A few posts a week is fine, I'm not talkint two or three a day. Hell, I was guilty of going an entire month without posting something at the Ranch just before I moved here...

So check out the new site and tell us what you think. Bookmark it and check it often, since I'll be making quite a few posts to it with interesting crap as I find it...

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Heh. Gee whiz, Derreck. 3 updates in one day not enough? Time to make it an even four! That's right, Derreck has signed on as the first post-Ranch commenter, and has thrown his hat into the ring to be part of the team blog, which will be coming soon. I'm thinking of calling it The Blog Prophyts Network. Sounds like a decently non-lame title.

So, what to update about? Well, as soon as I publish this bad boy, I'm off to meet up with Holly, head over to Jester's real quick, and then I'm meeting Holly again to help her with her Photoshop homework. After that, it's over to the Roadtrip Lounge at the Days Inn in Clearfield for booty shaking.

Not like I have much of a booty to shake.

So there you go, Derreck. Another update! How cool is that?

Final Ranch Post Repeat

Yep, here we go. Time to rehash the final post to Rancho Relaxo and begin anew here at the Lost Prophyt Blog. This post was simply a picture of me and Jill. Don't we look cute together?

A bit of backstory. This picture is the first one taken of us in the 12 years that we've known each other. It's also the reason Jill finally thinks we look good together. Go figure, took her 12 years to figure that out. Ohy. Oh well, I still love her to death.

The rest of the final post was just ramblings about me never posting anything to the Ranch for like, what, a month? Well, as you can already see, posts are more frequent here at LPB. This is because I don't have to wrestle with archiving each individual post! Rock on! So, enjoy the new blog. Fee free to leave comments...

Whaddaya Think?

Alright. Since I want to break some new ground here, I might as well toss a few ideas out to you, the readership, get some feedback, and see what pops up.

First thing: I'm interested in starting a group blog, and here's what I need. If any of you ever wanted to get into blogging, I reccomend doing so right here on BlogSpot. Sign up, start your own blog, and then contact me at lostprophyt @ gmail . com. Once you have your BlogSpot account, I'll add you to the team list and you can post whatever you want to the team blog. Just a thought.

Also. I'm looking for a temporary host and mirror hosts for the podcast. If you have some spare web server space that's taking up dust, not getting used, and wouldn't mind allocating to my relatively small .ogg podcast files, I'd appreciate it tons. Just contact me at the addy above.

Third, I want to know what you'd like to see in the new blog. More wacky news stories? More political banter? More "Local To Houtzdale" type crap? Or less of this stuff and more of other things? Let me know, aight?

Welcome To A Brave New World

Welcome to my new home. The strains of keeping up with a site like Rancho Relaxo was a little too much, so I figured I'd close it down and move myself somewhere more managable, like Blogspot. Pretty handy when you get down to it, really. I can make posts with email if I so desire, which is pretty handy when I'm on the fly.

So, what will happen to Rancho Relaxo? It will still exist, since some of my other work is dependant on the site location itself. Plus, instead of me working my butt of trying to import all of my previous entries from the last two and a half years, it'll serve as an archive for them. Should you ever want to read them, you'll find the old blog link over there on the right.

Along with the change in blogosphere locale, I'm instituting a podcast. That's right, a podcast. Hopefully, I'll be able to get a few pilot episodes up and going before my plans inadvertantly change for the worse. What will it be about? I dunno, really. I'm going to see if I can score an interview with mc chris when I head down to his show in Pittsburgh on Thursday. If I can score that, then my podcast has purpose! Rock!

So change your bookmarks, folks. Rancho Relaxo has officially closed it's gates, and now come the writings of The Lost Prophyt...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Monday, October 31, 2005