Friday, October 29, 2010
I had Camera Club last night and managed to finally get Steph to go, and even got her to share a couple of shots she took. This one here, of our pet turtle Tico, shows what a good eye and what great patience Steph has for photography in general. While it may have been a little difficult for her to take some constructive criticism, I think in the long run she will actually take something from this experience and learn from it.
I brought a couple of shots of my absolutely cute god son at the Pumpkin festival this weekend past at Lester's Farm. Personal bias aside, I really don't think I've ever seen such a photo-genic child. He's easy to shoot, and smiles all the time. The pic below here wasn't one of the shots I presented, just one from the shoot. Cutest kid on the farm, bar none. :)
So the Islanders lost Wednesday night to what looked to be a far superior team in Montreal. While I know for a fact that the Islanders can skate with anyone, they seemingly laid the proverbial "egg" when it came to this game. Roloson wasn't on his game, the defence was shoddy, and it seemed only Doug Weight, James Wisneiwski and John Tavares cared about what was going on in the game. It's revenge night, and we're looking for a big night from Rick DiPietro. He'll be wearing his pink pads tonight.
That's it today.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I can understand the want to poke, to change a little, to change a font. It's part of the business of design. BUT TIMES NEW FUCKING ROMAN??? DEAR GOD.
I want to put the before and after here to really show, but for the privacy of the client, I won't put it in here.
Here's my vote to destroy, abolish, incinerate, anything really bad and destructive to Times New Roman.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Saturday past, I went to Henry's for a gift certificate thing. You get there, line up, hope to get the $500 certificate and likely get $10. I got 10, as did most, but it was still a good laugh, and Henry's does have a VERY nice store. There's plenty of stock, although it is missing some small things, and it doesn't carry pre-owned stuff like many of their stores on the mainland. I did notice that they were slightly higher priced on many stock items. These aren't such a big deal however, knowing that this IS the place to go for camera buffs, combining their good stock and great knowledge base.
My wife and I tend to frequent the Avalon Mall Flea Market each Sunday night. The summers can be very lean on variety and sellers, but when the fall comes, lookout. There are people and tables and stuff EVERYWHERE and it's quite the experience for someone who doesn't really go. It's a great place to find a deal on anything from crafts to collectibles. There are generally 3 major types of goods there. Hockey/sports collectibles, DVD/ Video Games, and books. The rest is a mish mash of crafts/ foods/ photography/ and junk.
There has been a predominent issue with a lot of the tables of late. They think they are a retail store, and price as such. Seriously though. For example, why would I pay $20 for a Nintendo DS game when I can buy that same DS game for 15 or 20 from EB Games or Microplay and get a warranty along with it? Many of these tables can be considered "fly-by-night" operations where they'll be there one week and not the next. If there is something wrong with the product, a scratch, a dead battery, etc. what will I do with it when I get it home? There's nobody to go back to reliably. Dvd's for 8 to 10 dollars, collectibles for even more. While I can appreciate wanting to get value for your things, this is essentially a GIANT GARAGE SALE. That game for $20 at EB? It should sell for $8-$10. That DVD for $10? Should be 3 dvd's for $10. It makes it almost not worth going anymore, as most of the stuff I can get there I can buy retail with the knowledge and comfort of knowing I have options should something be wrong with it. There's also the BIG fear that you may be purchasing stolen goods at the Flea Market as well.
I've started playing Fallout New Vegas in my spare time this past week. While I wasn't the biggest fan of Fallout 3, the game before this one, I still enjoyed it enough to pre-order this one. Anyway, the Fallout "universe" is a world approximately 100-125 years in the future. It's a barren wasteland after a nuclear war. The visual style and theme is something akin to 60's style advertising, right around the time of the cold war between the USSR and the USA. The people who survived the war are now nomadic and in many cases, insane ravagers. There are also "Vault Dwellers", who lived in underground vaults to protect them as the bombs fell.
I am enjoying this game quite a bit. The only flaw that I can see is that IT IS EXACTLY THE SAME AS FALLOUT 3. In many cases, the story is very similar. Even the graphical elements are all the same ones used from Fallout 3. There are little tweaks here and there, but seriously. Even the character building and development stuff is not only the same in the sense of how you do it, IT'S LITERALLY EXACTLY THE SAME, right down to the same graphics of "Vault-Boy" doing his thing to show what each skill means. The development team literally took the skeleton of Fallout 3, took all the elements, threw in a slightly different story, shook it all around a little, and put out a product with a different name on it. If you want a new experience in gaming, this isn't it. Luckily, Fallout 3 was a good game. So this, by default, is also good.
Given that I've had the true pleasure of watching most every Islander game this season, I feel confident enough in my analysis of the team to share some thoughts on them with what I have to say carrying a little weight.
So far this year, the Islanders are a far stronger, more aggressive team than they were last year. You can see a hunger in their play, and even a skill level that just wasn't apparent last year and the year before. Guys like John Tavares, Josh Bailey, and (though on a far lower scale ) Blake Comeau have elevated their games to a point to where they can carry a team. New Islanders such as Zenon Konopka, Milan Jurcina, and Mike Mattau are really contributing to a team that has taken them in.
As well, Garth Snow has really looked like a genius when it comes to reclaimation projects. Look at Matt Moulson and Rob Shremp from last year. Each contributed greatly to the development of the team. This year, look no further than P.A.Parenteau, who leads the team in points as of this date, and Micheal Grabner, who's speed has really added a dynamic flair to the team this year.
Goaltending, I feel, will be the biggest issue this team has this year. Rick Dipietro, in the 4 or 5 games I've seen him, just isn't himself anymore. We're seeing some of the signs of his former self, especially in Saturday night's game against the Panthers, but overall he has visibly been shaky compared to what a man of his considerable dollar value should be like. His biggest issue so far, from my eyes, has been a combination of really BIG rebounds (see game winning goal for the Panthers Saturday) and his inability to deal with traffic in front of the net effectively. He has made some really big saves (the Tampa game had a few) but has also coupled them with some real stinker goals. Dwayne Roloson, the defacto backup, has been solid, but he's done beyond this year, so the team cannot depend on him to be anything more than trade bait come the spring. If the Islanders do manage to make it to the playoffs, no matter how well Roloson is playing, Dipietro is the go to man. Roloson will not want to sit on the bench knowing he can contribute somewhere else. I know I wouldn't.
Another issue I've seen in the play this year has been the lack of puck control. Passes missing, too many turnovers, and all and all scrambly play. I mentioned it this past week after both the Maple Leaf and Lightning games, it feels like I'm watching PEE WEE hockey. The other teams (the Lightning in particular) have really made the Islanders look bad when it comes to puck control. Luckily, the Islanders have gotten a few bounces and calls in their favor, something that hasn't happened much in the past. These flaws in their game have been compensated for with their skill level and determination, but I don't think that it will last all year.
With their injuries to key personnel (Okposo, Streit, Shremp, and now MacDonald and Bailey) it's amazing how they've been able to skate with some superior teams. I watched the Caps game and even though it was obvious the Caps were a better team, the Islanders played them hard and made a real entertaining game out of it.
So that is it for me for today. See you next time.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Given the abundance of info for Islanders Hockey coming from over twitter, I've started tweeting along with the folks from many Islanders message lists. Follow me at:
Sports fans definitely follow. Some thoughts on Islanders hockey and the NHL in general, hopefully entertaining. For instance, my last couple of tweets refer to the word "tradition" as one of the words many Islanders fans are sick of. Follow and read for more. :D
This was seemingly written to completely contrast my article on why everyone should be an Islanders fan. Anyone who is, read on and sneer, as this is written for Rangers fans everywhere. Written in jest to fill one's quota or to get a paycheck, this is actually quite silly.
For those of you who have been living under a curling stone these past 38 years, the New York City area has another hockey team beside the New York Rangers. No, not the New Jersey Devils, I am talking about the New York Islanders.
The Islanders are, bar none, the worst team in the NHL. I know what you are thinking, "but, Ted, aren't the Islanders third in their conference while the Devils and Rangers languish at the bottom?" (Current standings) Yes, my friend, what you say is, unfortunately, true. However, that is why their poor record is only one item on my list of not two, not three, but five reasons to not only never support the Islanders, but why we should all actively root against them.
So, without further ado, I give you the list:
Reason One: They Suck
Let me to take care of some low-hanging fruit here. Simply put, the Islanders just aren't that great. Sure they had some good seasons in the early '80s (see Reason Two), but from then through the mid-'90s they ranged from mediocre to declining.
Then they got worse.
In fact, they are so bad they refer to the year they made (not won, made) the playoffs and did kinda sorta O.K. as the "Miracle of '93." If you need a miracle to lose the playoffs maybe you ought to rethink this whole hockey thing.
Since then they have not won a single playoff series, nor have they been division champions since the late '80s.
Reason Two: They Can Do Better
Allow me demonstrate. Enter "Texas 'Rangers Suck'" in Yahoo! and will get about 1,300 results. Search for "New York 'Mets suck'" and you get about 370,000. In fact, even the nonsensical "Texas 'Mets Suck'" returns about 3,000 hits!
Which brings me to the Islanders. Granted they stink now (see Reason One), but from '77 to '88 they won took six conference championships and six division titles. Not too shabby. Moreover, between 1980-83 they won the Stanley Cup four consecutive times. That ties them with Detroit (in the '50s) for the longest U.S. Stanley Cup dynasty. (Official list of Stanley Cup dynasties)
That means they can do better than their recent abysmal record, and until they do they're fair game!
Reason Three: Founded on Spite
Sports teams get founded for all kinds of reasons, but the Islanders stand out as being one of the few franchises started with the sole purpose of blocking another team.
Here's a history lesson. In 1972 Nassau County (Long Island, NY) had a nice shiny brand-new sports complex: the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The World Hockey Association—an upstart league that sought to challenge the NHL's supremacy in North America by building new franchises in cities that did not have hockey teams—wanted to put a team there, the New York Raiders.
But county officials did not think the WHA was "good enough" for Long Island. The only legal way to keep the Raiders out, however, was to have a franchise from the NHL.
Did NYC need another NHL team? Did they even want another NHL team? No, sir they did not. Nevertheless, in cahoots with the league (who wanted to crush the fledgling WHA) the county obtained a new franchise and even paid a $4 million territorial fee to the Rangers for the privilege. (Full story on whahockey.com).
Thus the Islanders were born.
So to recap, the Islanders were founded (a) to give Long Island a team of its own (b) to keep major league hockey competitive in the U.S. or (c) to block a team and upstart league that wanted to do both (a) and (b)? If you said (c) move to the front of the class, if you said (a) or (b) you probably already root for the Islanders.
Reason Four: Poor Management
Just as it is no fun to boo a team that has no chance, it is also no fun to boo a team constrained by factors beyond its control. Take, for example, the Oakland A's. The A's aren't bad because they stink so much as because they're an under-funded team in a crummy complex in a run-down city.
Not so the Islanders. They are in a hole entirely of their own digging. From 1992 to 1994, manager Don Maloney sat on his butt and did pretty much nothing. Suddenly, in 1995 he decided to "save" the team by trading core players like Turgeon, Malakhov, and Hogue for mediocre ones like Eric Fichaud, an unproven rookie who would never really pan out. (New York Times Sports Section)
Then in 1996 John Spano agreed to buy the team from longtime owner John Pickett for $165 million. The only problem: Spano was a swindler who didn't have the dough. How did he get away with such fraud? Did he bribe the banks? Counterfeit bills? Well, not really, Pickett and the NHL only spent a few hundred bucks checking his background and let him buy on credit. Hey Islanders, I got a bridge to sell ya!
With a record like this there should be no pity and no mercy for the poor devils (no offense, Jersey!)
Reason Five: New York Rivalry
Because hockey divisions are regional, the Islanders, Rangers, and Devils all play in the same family. This means they get to duke it out six times a year, plus an increased likelihood of meeting in the playoffs.
Compare that with the Jets and the Giants who only play each other once every four years. Even the Mets-Yankees rivalry, where they face off for a few games during the long baseball season—games that didn't even count for anything until Bud Selig and MLB allowed interleague play—does not really compare to the battle royal that is New York hockey.
There's almost 40 years of history between the Rangers and Islanders, all the way back to that $4 million dollar kickback (see Reason Three). That has been plenty of time for the personal feuds, competing fan bases, and rivalry to build up that make for great spectatorship and great fan culture. (An editorial on Lighthouse Hockey also makes this argument). All these variables come together to make New York Hockey the best local rivalry in the country, so wherever you live get involved in it!
Conclusion, Personal Testimony
The mere fact that I of all people have written this list (and didn't even need a Long Island joke to do it!) is testament to the Islanders' impressive hatability.
First, I don't live in New York anymore. The fact that I still want to see them crushed by the Devils and Rangers tells you how fun it is to hate the Islanders.
Second, hockey isn't even my number one sport. Unquestionably the thrill of a live hockey game puts any other sport to shame, but I just don't find it as fun to follow as baseball. So if even I, a hockey fan of middling rabidness can find room in my heart for a grudge against the islanders, anyone can.
Gah. I respect anyone decision to have loyalties, but this was just stupid.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Seeing All of these makes me sad that the EA NHL11 Hockey can't put at least SOME effort into doing them correctly, instead of the generic logo masks they generally put in. They put some much more work in on authenticity.
More to come.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Dwayne Roloson's two looks on the Island.
Never was a fan of Biron's mask. It was like he always knew that his time on the Island was short lived.
Joey MacDonald. An AHL goalie thrown into the "let's get first overall" mess two years ago. Sorry man, you were like a rubber wall to create rebounds. It's like they were shooting tennis balls off of your pads.
Yann Danis, if he had a better team in front of him, would have been an allstar. Lost now... sigh.
Go Dubie! I always wished the fisherman was smokin weed on this one.
Captain America himself, Rick Dipietro.
Attached Article from the Globe and Mail
Wow, who could have seen this coming? Less than two weeks into the NHL’s 2010-11 regular season and the battle of New York is being won by ... the Islanders!?
Monday’s controversial win over the Leafs left the Isles in a tie for top spot in the Atlantic with Pittsburgh; and they’re doing it despite the absence of their best defenceman, Mark Streit, and one of their most promising young players, Kyle Okposo. Goaltending, from both Dwayne Roloson and Rick Dipietro, is a factor in the Islanders’ surge, as is an unexpectedly potent offence, keyed by Blake Comeau and Josh Bailey.
The Devils, meanwhile, are muddling along after a 1-4-1 start, with their goaltending tandem of Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg ranked 27th out of 30 teams. So much for the new run-and-gun era. Even Brodeur was going on about that the other day - that the Devils need to get back to the smothering defensive style that’s made them effective in years past, and if they do that, the goals will come. For now, Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise have been split up; what looked like a superior line in camp (that also included Travis Zajac) has been mediocre thus far in the season.
If anything, it’s worse across the bridge in Manhattan, where the Rangers were dead last in goals against and lost at home Monday to the visiting Colorado Avalanche. Without Marian Gaborik, Chris Drury and Vaclav Prospal, they need to go with kids the way the Islanders have. So far, it hasn’t worked out - and all-world goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s GAA is just a shade under 4.00. Ugly - and at a time when the Original Six looks pretty good in five other precincts, it looks grim in New York, bad right now and with the prospects of it getting a lot worse until Gaborik and Co. finally return.
Whoops, posted without a post. :) I caught most of this chaos that was called a game there last night and I have to say, I was very entertained.
A grand description of this game would be thus:
Outside of some fantastic goaltending on behalf of Roloson and Guigere, this was like watching Pee Wee Hockey. The puck was all over the place, something akin to a tennis ball. Both teams were having a hell of a time setting ANYTHING up because both teams were skating so hard at one another. Everytime the puck stopped, it felt like there were 5 rabid players ready to pounce on it. It was hilarious, fantastic, and very entertaining all in one.
I saw this on Leafs TV, and man, you guys LOVE your Leafs, and need to stop watching Daytime Television. Far too over-dramatic graphics and visuals. Dear God I thought I was about to see a presidential debate, not a hockey game. It was really out of place. The last second interview with Ron Wilson before he heads to the bench and the shaky cam following of him as he goes was just short of ridiculous.
Kudos to Roloson for a strong game. The Leafs Nation needed a poke to get them out of their nice guy delirious haze with their Stanley Cup Parade plans. Let's go ISLANDERS! People are starting to notice.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Thank you for reading! I shall endeavor to do better with each post.
Onto today, as I find myself with some dead time left on my lunch break.
Tonight I have Camera Club, with submissions to two different contests. The first, an Open Competition for CAPA members, I have 3 shots from my summer travels and weddings. The second, an internal contest for club members only, is called Street Photography. I did mention it in a previous post, actually. I did get 3 shots for the contest, but I believe that none of them will score well at all. I found myself very uncomfortable taking these shots, as even though it's "street photography", taking shots of the street, in my mind the key focus of the shot is to catch people doing things, thus you are actually taking pictures of people on the street. I don't have any super zoom, so I was running around shooting hoping not to get caught. I did learn some I feel, better cropping and such when actually shooting. But I did get some strange looks. Hopefully the next contest will provide a different subject that isn't so intrusive on other people.
The Islanders have started out 1-1-1. They've looked good offensively so far, with almost everyone contributing, even with Tavares, Okposo, and Streit not in the lineup. They lost last night, fighting the Capitals to a standstill until near the end, when a questionable call cost them big time. Roloson looked good, DiPietro is still shaking off rust, and El Nino even got his first goal! I'm still thinking 11th overall in the conference, but it has been a fun first week on the Island.
I've been commenting on a number of NHL players recently, with Theodore getting signed and Carey Price sticking it to the absolutely AWFUL Montreal fan base. Today I wanted to comment on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Now, we all love to poke fun at how bad they've generally always been. I can feel for the fans, as I being a NY Islanders fan, I do understand what you have been going through. But, unlike the Islanders fanbase, who have in general walked away from the team, the Leafs fans, while comically dedicated, are just that, dedicated and can quite possibly be called the best fans of any team in the league. Think about it, no matter how bad the team has been since the 60's (which is a VERY long time), there has never been a day that I or any other hockey fan hasn't lived to see some sort of blue and white jersey or logo or website. No matter how bad they are, the fans are ALWAYS going to be there for them, and cheer them on, and keep coming back for more, even if it is Toskala-like bad.
No matter how foolish you are, Maple Laffs fans, here's to you. At least you are real fans.
Next post, I shall bash the Habs fans gleefully, as most of you truly are the suckage of hockey, and even are a detriment to the team. Just a thought... how many players either leave or don't sign there simply because you guys SUCK SO MUCH? I remember one player... he won you a couple of cups before you ran him out of town... oh yeah. Patrick Roy.
Finally today, a little on gaming. I'm between games right now, but start in on the second "cash-in" title coming this fall, in Fallout New Vegas. It's the same game engine as Fallout 3, but just made into a new game. Not necessarily a bad thing. But still, a "new" game would be nice. The first, Dead Rising 2, was essentially the same game as the first with fun tweaks. I loved it, but it was even the same engine. The third, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, lands in November. It's the EXACT SAME GAME ENGINE as AC2, but with multiplayer added. Do we see a trend happening here yet? I guess if it's a hit, why stray from what works? Sequels are fun in general. The best ones are the ones that not only take the last one and build on it, they are theones that change them, and make them better. If you need to see prime example el numero uno, look no further than Mass Effect 2.
That's it today folks. See you next time.
For all you Carey Price detractors out there... quotes from last night's article on the Habs 4-3 loss to the Lightning:
...The Lightning outshot Montreal 47-27, and only solid goaltending from Carey Price kept the home team in a game marked by sloppy passing and defensive play...
...Price was Montreal's best player for a second game in a row after his 36-save effort in a 3-2 win Saturday in Pittsburgh...
IMO, Price is a fantastic goalie still learning his craft is probably the SHITTIEST hockey market in the league for up and coming players. With all the history of the franchise, these players have big shoes to fill, and if it's not done immediately, then the fans get on them.
Montreal has the WORST fans in the league, bar none.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
A blog post by Chris Dixon, faithful Islanders fan for nearly 30 years. Well, closer to 25, but who is counting?
It's fun being a New York Islanders fan. I run into fans of the team all over the place and we all share that special bond, knowing that we are fans of a team that is truly "ours". Not many other people would have such a team, with no playoff victories since the early 90's. (Specifically when we took out Mario and the Penguins in what is hailed as similar to a Cup win for some of us) Just the past two weeks I've come across 3 full fledged fanatics, knowing as much or more about the current makeup of the team as I do. (Granted the NHL Centre Ice free preview makes it far easier for us!)
Now, onto the subject of this blog, why everyone should be a New York Islanders Fan.
I won't get into the tradition of the dynasty years, we've all heard that crap stun by PR Guys for years, it's getting stale and old. Let's talk the current teams.
1. Everyone loves an underdog. This is a team, even when it was doing reasonably well back between 2001-2004, was still looked at as a long shot for anything beyond a playoff spot. They never did win a round, but still put a lot of hurt and pain on the opponents. (Darcy Tucker of the Leafs still gets booed when he's in town... and he's RETIRED!) Now that the Isles have been bad for a few years again during a well planned rebuild, that opinion of the team couldn't be any lower, and they couldn't be more of an underdog.
2. They are actually fun to watch. Think the Devils, the Wild, the Canadiens even. They are all teams with strong followings, but are dreadful to watch. The Islanders play a run and gun, up tempo game revolving around strong pressure on the puck carrier. They make mistakes, they do give up goals, they ARE still young afterall. But they are so fun to sit and watch. This is hockey, a form of entertainment. They are VERY entertaining, thus they are filling their primary responsibilities to their fans. Now, they are starting to win too...
3. They aren't so bad anymore. I've had the opportunity to watch a half dozen games of the Islanders this year so far and I gotta say, they aren't half bad. The games that they've lost it was to well established teams and they made them really struggle. Guys like Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau have arrived, each having banner years. All this without their top 3 guys in the lineup. Go Isles! When they win, you get bigger bragging rights. :)
4. Their jerseys are classic AND fashionable. They've had what seems like DOZENS of Jersey designs over the past couple of years, and all save the Pilon Orange ones were easy to wear publicly. I was a fan of the RBK jerseys of last year. The current "classic" jerseys are more a marketing tool to reach out to the lost fanbase, but are still easy on the eyes.
5. Being a fan of The Habs or the Leafs here in Canada, while a popular option, IS STALE. All you see around these parts is Blue and White or "rouge-bleu-blanc". The Islanders are a new fashionable choice that is different, while comfortingly familiar. I live on an Island (Newfoundland), I am an Islanders fan. It makes sense.
These are just a couple of ideas and thoughts. There are lots more, but do I need to say more? Be an Islanders fan. It's so easy, and all the cool kids are doing it. :D
Friday, October 8, 2010
Here's a fun little except from a British Guy who played Dead Rising 2.
All in all, Dead Rising 2 is a very satisfying game. It certainly has its flaws, and thus will not be supplanting Left 4 Dead 2 as the best zombie game for your buck. When it's all about the weapon making, zombie killing fun, this game can be as satisfying as they come. When they try to make you care about anything other than where more zombies are and why their heads remain unsmashed, however, the flaws come screaming in to the room with air horns and megaphones. If you're someone who is a fan of the idea of a game where the overall concept is you + stuff + zombies = smash zombies with stuff, then you will find this game a hearty entrant into the zombie milieu. Those who cannot adapt to somewhat dodgy controls, or who care about characters or a worthwhile narrative, may find this game lackluster. But seriously, I have two words that should get those types to come around:
While I don't agree with the Left for Dead comment, his thoughts on the game were quite similar to mine. Everything is by the book when it comes to story, and the control can be a little flaky at times. But if you want a game about smashing zombies with stuff, it's as good as it gets! :D I've just started back in on the first Dead Rising, and I really see the tweaks in the overall system. DR2 is far better than DR1. Not to say the first was bad, but 2 is just the same thing, with the problems MOSTLY fixed. The Psychopath Bosses are just as cheesy and frustratingly hard to beat as ever.Anyway, check them both out if you want some fun times with random, silly violence. And yes, you CAN have a light saber!!!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
First things first, you have to know your enemy. Zombies come in two flavors: fast and slow. Fast are definitely cool, but you'll need more than a baseball bat and a pair of running sneakers to survive that zombie attack. Slow zombies - well why the heck would anyone die from a slow zombie? If you can't get away from a slow zombie, you earned dismemberment.
Let's suppose that you made it through the first 10 minutes of the zombie-fest, and while most of your town are looking for live flesh to feast on, you're wondering how to hot-wire a car and get out of town. You need a plan of action...
I'm assuming the reader isn't currently experiencing a zombie outbreak. If you are, skip down to the next section.
Preparing now for zombiedom is a good idea. Remember what the TV preacher said, "When hell is full, the dead will walk the earth." So it's bound to happen sooner or later. Since it would look wierd if you started bricking up your windows and stockpiling rifles, you have to be smart about this.
First, get to know the guy in town who bought a pallet of Spam to survive Y2K. He probably still has a ton of that stuff around, and knows all the good hiding places.
Next, scout out all the big box retailers that carry ammo and food. Not too many eh? Tough luck, blue-stater. Someplace like WalMart is ideal, especially with the Garden Center for seed and stuff for longterm survival. A big bonus would be a nearby Home Depot or some such place so you can get plenty of lumber and quick-mix concrete for fortification.
While you're preparing, always keep in mind locations where people congregate - you're likely to find lots of zombies there when things turn ugly. Highways, malls, and schools are especially bad. You also might want to mention to your friends and family in passing how well your hiding place could be defended, etc. That way, when the zombies come, they'll remember you said that and come help you. I don't recommend telling them you're preparing for a zombie invasion.
First, the Fun Stuff
After your initial panic, it's important to remember that a significant component of your surivival is the demise of the ghouls trying to get your tasty brains. Despite some reports to the contrary, the only way to permanently un-animate a zombie is to destroy its brain. This isn't rocket science (although that would be a cool way to do it). A gunshot to the head is the most direct way to disable a zombie, but not the only way. Decapitation also works, although the head will probably still function so don't let it bite you. If you survive long enough, and society collapses along with any hope of rescue, you'll need to develop some means of skull penetration that doesn't involve guns - a professional bowhunting setup works if you can get it. You might be squeamish at first, taking out your neighbors; with time this will pass, you might even adopt a gleeful hangman's sense of humor in your executions.
Run or Hide
This is a no-brainer. You gotta hole up somewhere eventually, but pick carefully. Let's say that the outbreak is localized to your city, but you know that the neighboring town is zombie-free. Flee to the neighboring town. I know this sounds obvious, but don't sit around waiting for grandma to bite you. Get to the safe town, find a gun store, and join the Minuteman Militia.
But that isn't much fun, so let's think about what you'd do if the whole country is overrun. Since you already did your prep work, make a bee line for the WalMart you picked out earlier. Hot Tip: Pick a new WalMart if you can. Zombies tend try to do the things they were doing when they were alive, so they're gonna head to the mall, or WalMart, or school... you get the idea. And since we're on the subject, malls are a bad place to hole up in. Too many entrances, and not enough goodies for long term survival.
In short, pick a new general merchandise or grocery big box store. You get lots of canned food to eat, and only one or two large entrances to guard.
Use the Buddy System
Don't be a dummy. If your buddy is bitten by a zombie, shoot him in the head and get it over with. Otherwise, gather the refugees, Rambo, and lead them to safety. People will follow anyone who acts like they know what they're doing, and you need the manpower to subdue the throngs at WalMart.
Not to mention that a good zombie attack needs plenty of extras.
Since the average WalMart has enough food to keep a few thousand people fed for a week or more, you should have enough staples to get by for a few months if you limit your group to around 100 or so. There's a trade-off here between having enough people to defend your fort, and enough food to keep them fed. I don't know if zombies are edible, but that's a possibility if things get rough. It's not really cannibalism, is it?
The basic idea to get from this section is, have enough people to root out the zombies and block the entrances, but not so many people that you have to ration the food heavily. Also, make sure you have some girls. Preferably hot chicks, but in the absence of those some tough biker babes would work.
Zen and the Art of Fortification
How lame is this... you and a few buddies are holed up in a mall, with who knows how many entrances, and instead of bricking up the glass you eat hot dogs on the fine china Macy's?
First, you aren't going to do that, because you already picked out the big box retailer you're taking over. Second, you're going to spend the first day sealing all entrances. If you chose wisely, you have a store with some kind of concrete mix in it, or a home building center nearby. As soon as you've cleared the store of zombies, and maybe even before, you need to brick up the glass entrances. You can worry about the others later, they're smaller and harder to open from the outside anyway.
Be generous and thorough with your fortification. A few pieces of lumber nailed up is OK for an emergency start, but don't forget to make it permanent. You might consider some kind of buttress design as well, since I'm not sure what kind of force thousands of zombies could put on an amateur brickwork.
Finally, don't make the mistake of assuming your fortifications will hold. Check them everyday, measuring the wall to make sure it hasn't moved. You also might consider building a second wall in case the first gets broken through.
T-Shirts aren't Bite Proof
This is one I've never figured out. Zombification occurs shortly after being bit by a zombie. So why are people running around in t-shirts for days and weeks after Z-Day? Get some freakin armor! Thick leather will work in the short term. Later on, get some aluminum siding or something else metallic and affix it to your clothes. Even zombies can't bite through that stuff. Important areas to protect include the forearms, neck, and legs. Just make sure it's flexible enough to give you some freedom of movement. Helmets are a good idea too, but anything other than motorcycle helmets would look dorky, and I'd rather be a zombie than a dork with a pail on my head.
Long Term Survival
Let's recap: you've survived the initial zombie invasion, banded together a few dozen survivors, and fortified a big box retail store with plenty of food and goodies. So what's your long term prognosis? Not good.
You'll eventually run out of water, canned food, and fuel for the generator. In fact, you'll be in the dark in a day or two, and the water will be gone shortly after that. Unless, of course, you don't panic, and plan ahead. Don't worry, I'll help you out.
If you took a WalMart like I told you, you don't need to worry too much about lighting. The skylights do a fair job of illumination during the day, and battery powered flashlights will be OK at night time. But if you're brave, you can venture outside to get fuel from filling station. And if you're lucky, you'll find a tanker truck to drive back to home base. Personally, I'd rather live in the dark. It might be a good idea to keep a CB radio in your car for just this type of event, and try to get a trucker to bring the tanker to your fort when Z-Day arrives.
For water and food, I can help you out there. The first thing to do after securing your fort is fill every container in the store with tap water. You might have a few days of water available, but I wouldn't count on it. Electricity, water, and sewage will disappear soon, so you want all the drinking water you can get.
Now that you've got that straightened out, you're going to become a farmer. Lucky for you, the Garden Center has lots of seeds and soil, and the store has a big roof for planting. This is a good time to learn the art of composting and water filtration - your alternative to the toilet. I'd place that on the roof too, otherwise things could get smelly inside.
So now you are set. You've butressed the walls to protect against the press of the zombies, you have a few dozen armed followers, and enough veggies to keep everyone fed. You can hold out here for years.
What happens next depends on a lot of variables. Are there any other survivors? I can imagine a naval fleet having no problems defending itself from zombies. Nuclear powered submarines should be especially safe, they can run for decades. Maybe enough people survived somewhere to come rescue you. If everyone else is zombied, well that would suck.
How long will zombies "live"? This has never been addressed, to my knowledge. Even though they're dead, they still maintain some kind of metabolism and thought process. You'd think that eventually they'll cease activity and it will be safe enough to venture out. Then again, they might be immortal, in which case you are screwed. It's kinda hard to kill 6 billion zombies with just a few 22s and a shotgun.
In any case, I hope I've helped you in formulating your own zombie survival plan.
I just love how the guy suggests going to Walmart. Da WalMart has everythin.
In reading an editorial on IGN about the same thing, I feel this chap was able to express his thoughts far better than I. Mind you, he used quite a few big words, many I feel unnecessarily, but in the end we all knew where he stood. Here is the article:
Do you know who the Taliban are? The group that overthrew the Islamic State of Afghanistan appeared mysteriously in the southern part of the country in the middle of the last decade, the product of Gulf Arab support, Pakistani interest in forming a counterweight to Indian power, and a conviction to death in the severest interpretations of the Qur'an.
When adherents to this political identity controlled the government music was outlawed along with alcohol and tobacco. Women were raped and maimed in punishment for resisting arranged marriages, or for showing more than their eyes in public. The economy suffocated as the country took a closed and hostile stance to most Western investors, many of whom were already committed to harsh sanctions. They also welcomed a small network of Arab militants, a nationless band of suicidal brats called Al Qaeda. It was in Afghanistan that the plans for the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Towers, the Pentagon, and the White House were created and ordered.
If you knew all that already, you might still notice how many questions it leaves unanswered. Who were the Taliban? Who are they now? What is the difference between a Talib and a grape farmer with a strict interpretation of his religion and a strong dislike for the American army? Who do you shoot and who do you help get a farm subsidy? Whatever opinion you take on the United States' decision to invade the country in 2001, it's hard to deny the shape and character of the subsequent nine years have been defined by those still unanswerable questions.
The real offense is a suspicion that the game will be tied to the cheap thrills of a multiplayer adrenaline bonanza that has as little to do with Afghanistan as space marines have to do with cosmology.
Today EA and Danger Close announced they have relabeled the Taliban as "Opposing Force" in the multiplayer menus of Medal of Honor. "While this change should not directly affect gamers, as it does not fundamentally alter the gameplay," Greg Goodrich of Danger Close wrote in a statement, "we are making this change for the men and women serving in the military and for the families of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice - this franchise will never willfully disrespect, intentionally or otherwise, your memory and service."
What's lacking in Goodrich's statement, and also in the attacks made against the game by people who've lost family members in Afghanistan, is an explanation of why using the word "Taliban" is not respectful. The weak spot is not in the word, nor in a game attempting to dramatically recreate one of the defining efforts of the century so far. The real offense is a suspicion that the game will be tied to the cheap thrills of a multiplayer adrenaline bonanza that has as little to do with Afghanistan as space marines have to do with cosmology.
I pressed Goodrich about this issue when I spoke to him at E3, asking how you can be respectful to the realities of an experience while making a game with a competitive multiplayer mode carved out of the bubblegum strategery of DICE's Bad Company series.
"We're making an experience for gamers," he told me. "There's a constant tension between telling a rich story, doing it with honor and respect. But again, you have to balance that with the game, and we're setting out to make a great game. If you don't make a great game, the player's going to set the controller down and walk away."
The game will still be set in Afghanistan, will still use convincing character models for Taliban, and will still allow soft-handed suburban consumers (like me) to extract some new sense of self-satisfaction at being able to experience quick and easy victories in a conflict where we well know that such an end is impossible.
It's not the tasteless part that's removed when "Taliban" is taken out of the matchmaking menu. I have not played the final game, but based on my experience with the beta, it's the multiplayer gameplay itself that most trivialized the irresolvable difficulties of the real world experience for a few laughs and some virtual ego-stroking. I don't have any major objection to that. It's tawdry and exploitative, but I don't think it's a great sin to consume tawdry and exploitive expression. We can survive exposure to a multiplicity of perspectives and still make our own personal choices.
What is less defensible is the dishonesty about what the game's conflicting intentions are. "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle," George Orwell wrote, describing the rhetorical schizophrenia of saying you believe in one thing while your actions demonstrate the opposite belief. If respecting the soldiers was paramount to Danger Close and DICE I'd think they'd have chosen to not make a multiplayer mode at all. And maybe they'd have done more with the single player experience than constantly press against the adrenal white line of killing another soldier in a long exasperated thread leading to a barely averted catastrophe.
Those design decisions were theirs, and they've made their choices, in good taste and bad. What deserves shame is that they've now lost the courage to name what they've done. It was their choice to look to Afghanistan and cull a game experience from it. And now when they are being called to the podium to defend the taste of their game and its setting, they demure under the cover of "respect." It's not respectful to take away the identity of the people whose deaths you've recreated in graphic detail. It's not respectful to encourage players to depersonalize conflict to the point of anonymity. And it's not respectful to those who've worked on the game in the attempt to take on the difficult questions about fun, theme, and whether the market will respond to a title that doesn't constantly tickle their "win" button.
EA has ducked this hard question for nothing more ignoble than preserving the reputation of their game from incoherent public attacks. They've made a concession to further obscure the connection between their game's theme, setting, and gameplay design. They've saved their own skins and said it was for the benefit of someone else. If that's respect, then words have no meaning. And the Opposing Forces in our own culture have made us afraid even to utter a name, one that remains too much a stranger.
Truth be told, I don't really know who the Taliban are besides Muslim extremists, and even that idea may be wrong. I do know that they are painted as "the bad guy". From the sounds of what this guy said, they deserve that title. While some of the things he mentions I do not agree with, such as his multiplayer comment, the heart of the idea is there for me. First off, if you were concerned about respect, why make a game about such a sensitive subject in the first place? The Taliban are still in the game, they are only removed from the multiplayer portion of the game. The game will have a true to life environment, with all the blood, guts, gore and violence supposedly prevalent in that part of the world.
It's all about money. It's a business and all they care about is making money. Can't fault them, really, it is what drives this world. But to hide behind the term "out of respect" is absolutely ridiculous. I'm glad they decided to take them out, they did take it a little far and crossed the line of respect, but doesn't this game in general do that anyway? A player will shoot a "muslim-like" character with a different name floating over his head. Hrm...
I am still glad they took the name out, as it's the start of developers possibly getting what they are doing may be offensive. We can't pussy foot around any, there will always be someone who will be offended. But there is a line that goes past the boundaries of taste, and EA with their Call of Duty series, in many people's minds, have done just that.
I don't want to sound like a censor or an old fart. There are lots of things in this world that are produced that can be considered without taste. There are people who think this very blog steps out of line from time to time. It is all about choice now. These tasteless games, movies, etc. provide a choice, and if you want to buy them, watch them, play them, or whatever, the choice is yours. I choose not to play Call of Duty, and I share my opinion on that. If you or someone else chooses to play, then that is their choice and so long as it doesn't affect someone else's life, then to me, it's ok.
The choice to put the Taliban in that game affected many people's lives. To me, that's not ok.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
As I've mentioned in this blog a few times before, I'm not much of a first person shooter player. To me, they are all the same. The world you are in may be different or prettier, the guns may be different, but in the end, it's still just a swaying gun that you somehow have coming out of your chest shooting, while looking for keycards (or something of their ilk) to get you to the next level. It's like each game is a different skin of the same Doom concept (actually, I believe Wolfenstein 3d was the original game, but that for another post), as the old saying goes, a "Doom-clone".
Anyway, Medal of Honor has always been one of the bigger series in this run of clone games. The most recent title, Black Ops, was supposed to have the Taliban in it, which in my mind was a little tasteless. Dramatizing such a group for the purpose of sales and the want to be controversial is really tasteless, actually. While there is the whole "immersion" thing going for games these days, in this humble bloggers opinion, there is that line of going to far. How long until Osama Bin Laden gets his own multiplayer character?
To me , this is less about sheltering children from violent games and more having a respect for the lives of people who the Taliban have touched in an adverse way.
Thankfully, EA has renamed the Taliban in the game, and all will be well in the world. After many stores had pulled the Medal of Honor games from their shelves, mind you. The almighty dollar speaks again. :) This time though, in a good way.
I generally don't like to just copy and past an article, but this one I felt was a nice one. In the NHL this year, we're seeing so many veterans not getting on a team because there are simply cheaper options to them. THe result of the new salary cap system.
It looked like Jose Theodore was going to be one of the vets left on the sidelines, but last night Minnesota signed him to a 1 year deal. Jose has already jumped his hurdles, going from poster child to the Habs to the down and outs and then he redeemed himself again. He had dealt with personal torture as well, with the loss of a child. While he's never been an Islander, my team of choice, he's always been a favorite player of mine. Good on you Jose. Hope you have a good year, you deserve it.
Link and article from TSN below.
Wild Sign Theodore to 1 year contract
It appears as though the Minnesota Wild have a backup plan after losing Josh Harding for the season.
Montreal radio station CKAC is reporting that the Wild have signed goaltender Jose Theodore to a one-year, $1.1 million contract.
The 33-year old Theodore posted a 30-7-7 record with a 2.81 goals against average and a .911 save percentage in 47 games with the Washington Capitals last season.
The Laval, Quebec native enjoyed his best season in 2001-02 when he captured both the Hart and Vezina trophies while with the Montreal Canadiens.
Theodore is expected to report to the Wild's AHL affiliate in Houston on Monday and will miss the Wild's trip to Europe to start the season. The Wild are set to face Finnish side Tampere on Monday before opening their season against the Hurricanes on Thursday in Helsinki.The Wild were in the market for a backup netminder when Harding tore both his ACL and MCL last month in a pre-season contest with the St. Louis Blues when he collided with Blues' forward Brad Boyes. Harding will undergo surgery and is expected to miss the entire season.
Friday, October 1, 2010
Way back in the days of me first blogging, I wrote a little about an unhealthy obsession with the undead. I had started playing Dead Rising and mentioned how I enjoyed it. I recently started playing Dead Rising 2, and all other games have suddenly disappeared. Spider-man: Shattered Dimensions... traded. GTA 4, traded. NHL 11, gathering dust. This game is just plain flat out fun. Chopping zombies up into day old sandwich meat just NEVER gets old. This game there are literally HORDES of the undead, waiting to be chopped into little bits and pieces. You get to combine weapons, a great one being tapping two chainsaws to a canoe paddle to get a paddle saw, which you can wreak havoc with. Another one, called "The Defiler", combines a fire axe and a sledge hammer. Lots of fun.
The story? Meh, who cares. It mirrors the first game somewhat and is far less than original, but the game isn't about the story, it's the zombie genocide. There is actually an achievement for killing 72000 zombies. SEVENTY TWO THOUSAND! That more people than many communities. Good Lord above! This, of course, will set the stage for me to finally properly finish the first game, as I got the bad ending the last time I played back in the spring. Now, how do I fit in trying to be more active with all this gaming? Sigh...
Wikipedia as a type of documentary photography that features subjects in candid situations within public places such as streets, parks, beaches, malls, political conventions and other settings. How will I get this shot without pissing someone off? This will be quite the challenge. I have 2 weeks to pull it off. The one thing that this competition has done is given me my fire for photography back. I have been pictured out for so long now that I have really had to push myself to even pick up my camera and dust it off. Now I have a little direction, I'm literally itching to get back at it.
Now, for one last little note before I sign off for the week, this weekend I celebrate my 1st wedding anniversary with my amazingly beautiful, kind, intelligent, and patient wife Stephanie. I often mention her in my posts, and do so because she is such a large and loving part of my life, I rarely have a thought without having her in mind in some way shape or form being involved. Steph, I love you and can't wait for the rest of our very fun filled and joyful life together. :) Happy Anniversary.