30Jan2008 2329: Resolution
Apparently the techs at NFS are not high-fiving each other, even though they did find and fix a problem on the back end. Whatever magical load-balancing they have load-balanced me in with a bunch of other sites that were also including self-referential URLs, and their spambot detection said "teh hell NO". That led to another mysterious error that was closing 1/3rd of the includes, which also got fixed. Hee, I like "strange related issues", it reminds me of work. Every damn day.
So yes, Morgion, it's nice to be hosted here.
30Jan2008 1931: Well Played
Fie upon thee, web hosts. Not thirty seconds after
I finished writing my sed script, I checked some pages for baseline data and every
one of them worked. Then my email beeped and I received another NFS email that
the problem may be that I -- and by extension, all of you -- was opening too many simultaneous
connections. Hear that? They're saying my site was breaking because
it was too popular. I hope their helpdesk is high-fiving each
other for fixing this problem on the backend without admitting
wrongdoing, because I totally
30Jan2008 1911: That's What I Sed
Okay, the site is "back", and by that I mean NearlyFreeSpeech must have changed something and I can work around it. Their official response is that no, my site didn't get upgraded to PHP5, but that I was including the header and navbar from URLs instead of local files. They didn't address why URLs would suddenly break after several years, or why my site still has allow_url_fopen switched to "on" (thanks, Morgion!). If I had to guess at this point I'd say that very next setting, allow_url_include, got switched off somewhere inaccessible to my phpconfig. WHATEVER. Now I have to write a sed script to update all the old archive files.
It's hard to believe that it was already one year ago today that the Boston Police Department received its new bomb-squad robot. I know this because it was one year ago tomorrow that the Boston Police Department flipped the fuck out and campaigned against menacing wires for a couple of weeks. Those two ad guys got their fifteen minutes, the Internet laughed at Boston, and Time Warner paid a ridiculous (greater than zero) amount to appease the mayor, but now that some time has passed I'd like to take a more objective look at the situation. If you handed me a remote-controlled robot whose sole purpose was to blow things up, I'd detonate you before you could make it out the goddamn door. The real tragedy is not the reponse of the bomb squad, it's the face-saving bitching from the city afterwards.
When I logged into iTunes today I saw that one album I had been storing in my shopping cart for a long time was now unavailable. This lit a small fire under my ass and I finally purchased Humanimals by Grand Ole Party. This album still rocks even though she's not shouting her lyrics with quite as much intensity as she did on stage.
The iTunes singles this week aren't that great, sadly. [Pedro Capo - Esta Noche] gets the closest to making the cut but still fails. I just can't imagine liking this song unless I'm sitting in a Mexican restaurant. Maybe that's insensitive to the proud musical tradition of Spain and I should be ashamed and blah blah blah, but I will bet you ten dollars that you don't think of the Colosseum when you hear "That's Amore", do you? No, you think of pizza or maybe spaghetti or perhaps dapper young gents shooting each other with tommy guns. So screw you, Pedro Capo, your song makes me hungry for pollo fundido.
[James Otto - Just Got Started Lovin' You] is so very very country.
[Raheem DeVaughn - Woman] had me facepalming before I even downloaded his song. I try to get through the iTunes checkout process without looking at genres or reviews so I can be surprised, but this guy's album cover...c'mon, really? The song treads ground worn smooth by Marvin Gaye and manages a rather surprising amount of misogyny in 4.5 minutes. This is not a song about loving a specific woman, oh no. This is an inept ode to all the womans out there, and I swear there's a lyric about "their home-cooked meals". Kudos, Raheem. That's one way to piss off the broads, and I know many.
29Jan2008 2329: PHP
Yeah, so something is up with the site. Over the weekend PHP decided to stop PHPing. The main index still redirects to the archive page properly, but once there I can't include the header or archive-bar files. How can function.main be missing? And how can it happen without my intervention? I've got a support ticket open with NearlyFreeSpeech and we'll see what happens.
26Jan2008 0918: No More
No More Heroes is everything I thought it would be. I wrote some words upon it and I just need to expand on that a little further. I think NMH may take the crown from Mario Galaxy in terms of "most appropriate use of wiimote". Yes! Hear me out. Mario Galaxy used the wiimote waggle for your main spin attack and to shoot the little shinies at foes. Both of those uses were dead-on accurate when it came to reading the actual input of the player...a definite step up in Wii gaming by itself. But was there really a reason that waggle did the spin attack? Aside from the lack of buttons to map it to? I don't think so. Whether you flailed like a madman, drew a nice circle, or just gave the wiimote a quick one-two shake, Mario did the same spin.
By nearly removing the wiimote from the moment-to-moment battles, No More Heroes actually integrates it more tightly. I say nearly because, as I said in the link above, you tilt up or down to do quick or slow attacks. This works because it doesn't have to be precise; just yank the wiimote up or down in the middle of a combo and your strikes change instantly. Because it uses the waggle so sparingly I've begun to look forward to those special moments. When it prompts you to strike "down" you swing down and then your character strikes downward and slices a dude in half. When it prompts "left" you swing left and your character swings the saber in a leftward decapitating arc. There's no "extra" swings like in Wii Tennis, no guessing, and it's not any-motion-mapped-to-move-X like in Mario Galaxy.
This is most beautifully demonstrated in the wrestling moves you learn throughout the game. Each suplex and brainbuster is perfectly but succintly rendered in one or two motion steps. A simple bodyslam asks you to whip left with the nunchuck and up with the wiimote; I've never failed to input this in time. When you do, Travis' left hand comes inward across the guys back while his right hand comes up under the enemy's crotch, and then he lifts and plants them into the ground. Last night I learned the belly-to-belly suplex, which asks you to bring both wiimote and nuncheck in (locking the enemy's arms) and then up (flipping the enemy). It's just perfectly executed and...y'know, would it help to see it?
Oh hey, did you guys see this video linked from Penny Arcade? I know I showed Outlaw at work, but that video seems really important.
23Jan2008 2123: Heroes
It is apparently still way harder to get a decent copy of a first-run movie than a just-aired TV show. So no, my Cloverfield bravado has yet to bear fruit, but take heart! There's still no more Heroes, but now there's No More Heroes! This is a game that speaks to something deep inside of me: an anime fan who sits around his apartment all day wins a lightsaber on eBay and works his way up to the #1 assassin in the world in an effort to make time with a hot mysterious French blond. That's me. Also there is a minigame where you rescue lost kittens. Every word I type keeps me away from this game, so I must be brief.
[Ashton Shepherd - Takin' Off This Pain] is twangy and heartbroken but not going to put up with her husband's shit anymore. She's also showing a huge amount of leg on her album cover. This distinguishes her from absolutely no other female country artist on the entire fucking planet. I listened to it once in hopes that verse three would be about robots, but nay.
[Astra Heights - The March] put me in mind of Cake almost immediately. iTunes didn't help matters by jumping to Italian Leather Sofa afterwards. Now that I've had time to reflect I think the band (that I know) that they're closest to is probably The Kinks. You should download the hell out of this song. Maybe delete it and download it again, so iTunes knows what we want.
I'll be back in a few days with more impressions of No More Heroes, if there is still a civilization to talk to. I give it even odds that humanity will be annihilated by Saturday, as it has begun.
16Jan2008 2146: Marcus is a Bitch
When Marcus Theatres took over the entire Fargo-Moorhead area I was just a little concerned. We started getting all the theater problems I'd read about from "real" cities: higher prices, more previews, actual TV-commercial ads after the local ad reel. I just learned to start showing up as late as Morgion and skip all that crap. I can deal with a slightly worse seat better than I can deal with three Pepsi Max ads before an Epic Movie trailer.
This weekend Cloverfield comes out, a movie I've been moderately hyped for since the initial "not-yet-rated, not-yet-named" trailer last year. "Cloverfield" easily edged out alternate titles "The Parasite" and "Unnamed JJ Abrams Project" among the crucial five-year-old girl demographic. But guess what? Go to their site and search for Cloverfield. As of right now, I get nothing. They're not carrying it. Fuck that. I've never pirated a first-run movie before, I figure the dragnet is tighter on those guys, but come Friday night Marcus Theatres will come to know the might of my Intertubes.
Potential bonus, according to Morgion: the shaky-cam of the pirates may cancel the shaky-cam of the movie, resulting in a steady picture.
16Jan2008 1815: Nothing At All
Man, when I sat down to write this post I realized how little I've done since that Bollshit post. I took Sunday the hell off from everything and I can't quite recall if I did anything...oh yeah, I watched The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. It's pretty awesome throughout, though I admit the explanation section at the end did seem a little stupid. It helps now that wiki has told me it's the sequel to a book where Makoto's aunt was the protagonist.
Yeah, I think that's it. The Terminator series started, and Atlantis is going again, but those have to wait until the weekend.
[Angie Mattson - Thank You] has ended a drought of so-so iTunes singles. This kind of slow acoustic folking may not seem like something to get excited over but screw you buddy, I'm writing the review here. I've let it run through four times, and it's starting to wear thin but it's perfect on-the-laptop-in-the-background music and it doesn't overstay or get huge and orchestral or anything dumb.
The other hit today, [Black Tide - Shockwave], has probably already landed them in talks with Guitar Hero or Rock Band. I can immediately picture this song playing over the opening cinematic; that specific mix of energy and adherence to rock music staples. And a solo that wouldn't be too hard on Expert while still making you feel like a badass.
It's been a while since I've liked all the songs in one week. It helps that there's only two of them; Apple must be taking a break from all that backbreaking underwhelment. APPLE! That reminds me! The Hellboy 2 trailer came out -- a sequel I still cannot adequately explain to myself -- and Hellboy is totally fighting the Wraith. I know that "creepy thin albinos with long hair" isn't exactly trademarkable, but you could have the decency to wait until Atlantis is off the air.
12Jan2008 1842: More Bollshit
I just saw In the Name of the King: a Dungeon Siege Tale for free, thanks to a Best Buy package deal that netted me Predator for $10. $0 is about how much this movie is worth, and yet! I can't bring myself to quite hate it. It comes at perhaps the perfect time and place for a Uwe Boll movie; last night I saw Dragon Wars, and in comparison even Boll's cinematics twitches are tolerable. Don't get me wrong, Uwe Boll is a horrible person and should stop doing everything and die alone and unloved. House of the Dead was laughably bad; Alone in the Dark and BloodRayne are movies that I know I've seen in theory, as a doubleheader. It's just that I drank so much to survive that I can't recall specifics of either. Like smoking opium while watching a train bear down on your prized collection of family members.
Dungeon Siege, though. It's...very nearly a movie. The only part I can say I truly enjoyed was watching Matthew Lillard's character grovel and prance through some extremely hammy scenes. Eventually his character is captured and is never heard from again, which makes me sad. And when Matthew Lillard is the best thing about your movie, you have some goddamn problems, okay? But still, in terms of script, editing, camerawork, and innappropriate soundtrack, this is more of a movie than Boll's ever made. A few more years, and he may be ready to break into SciFi Originals.
How about some joy after all that sadness? Cheshire Crossing #4 is out and continues its tradition of excellence. Also there is a game where you can play multiplayer with yourself, and it is named Cursor 10.
09Jan2008 1804: Juno
Last weekend I finished off Assassin's Creed late late at night, and was faced with nothing to do for two whole days. It was awesome. I did get out to see Juno; in the resurgent indie-offbeat-teen-coming-of-age-comedy, I'd put it higher than Napoleon Dynamite but lower than Superbad. There was more teen, less comedy. Tis true that Juno MacGuff carries the movie and her little MacGuffin. If I had any complaint it's that there seemed like a lot of downtime between events, interstitial scenes that didn't help our pacing. Oh, and are we narrating the movie or not? Make up your mind.
[Celebration - Pressure] is some sort of ambient synth-organ mush that is essentially a five-minute long wavering chord with wavering vocals. I didn't especially notice it, but when I went back and played it again I realized that I didn't like it.
[Mariajose - Quien Eres Tu (feat. Trey Songz)] has more structure, but sadly that structure is "dance pop". I'm just predisposed to dislike anything with a "feat." in there. Except "Mint Ice Cream (feat. Chocolate Chips)".
02Jan2008 1802: Day of the Jackal
I'm back! The vacation part of my vacation was exquisite, filled with family togetherness and Zack & Wiki and jokes about Mom wrecking the van. Unfortunately I returned last Friday and was immediately put to work on our Big Software Release. The core of this release was watching SQL scripts do things to our data for upwards of two hours per database. On twelve databases. By Sunday there was only the largest database left to contend with, so everybody but me went home to catch some sleep. Me? I stayed in the office with an Xbox 360 and Assassin's Creed. I logged 13 hours onto my timesheet that day, and it was necessary for somebody to be there, but I must also disclose that I knocked off four of AC's nine main assassinations that day along with a bunch of other acheivements. If you have an Xbox Live account you can go look at my gamercard and note the dates. Damn I am digging that game.
I'll just assume that the free iTunes I missed last week were all smarmy Christmas carols, completing their perfect December of pissing me off. This week is better in terms of variety but not in terms of me keeping the songs. [Insite - Sola] plays generic rock and, y'know, good for them. I think I've heard those opening chords in an Ataris song, too.
[DJ Envy & Red Cafe - Buck Buck (feat. Sheek Louch)] tries to be the standard tough gangsta-playa-whateva rap but is irreparably harmed by the ridiculous chicken chorus. They didn't actually sample chickens, which might have saved this song, they have one of their rappers making chicken sounds.
[Lanae' Hale - Spring Again] seems like just my type of song. Despite the inexplicable apostrophe in her name (I thought it might be a filename limitation on an accented "e", but it's also in the CD cover art) it starts off as the chick folk I so love. Sadly the refrain comes in as too pop, and it took me a couple minutes to figure out why her voice grates on me but it's because she sounds like one of the Chipmunks. It comes across as artificial and I wouldn't be surprised if it had been "enhanced." Terrible.