Survival Dream Team, Who You Got? [The Walking Dead]

(The following discussion may contain spoilers of the TV show The Walking Dead. You have been warned.)

Fellow buttonmasher (and esteemed brother-in-law) James and I discuss The Walking Dead at length. Recently, we had a bit of a disagreement as to who you’d rather have on your side, Daryl Dixon (heart throb to thousands of teenage girls) or Tyreese (who counts Chuck Norris among his admirers).

So I propose a thought experiment that is popular among sports pundits. In the sports world, the question usually is, if you were starting a, say, basketball team, who would you pick to build around? Most would say that would want to build around a superstar like LeBron James or Kevin Durant. So let’s take that experiment to your own personal Zombie Survival Squad. You can choose others, but you have to pick either Daryl or Treese as your foundation. Your Zombie Killing Captain, as it were.

daryl_vs_tyreese

I don’t want to bias the vote, but I’ll tell you why I’d go with Tyreese. You know what a spirit animal is, right? Well, if there was an equivalent zombie killing device, the claw hammer would be mine. So it’s no surprise that when I saw Tyreese splitting some zombie skulls with one, it was a match made in Zombie heaven.

It doesn’t hurt that Tyreese has got a softer side, protecting his little sister and even has some time for romance. But Tyreese is the captain of my squad because he is a round mound of hammer pounds. I’ll go to battle with Tyreese wielding my own Estwing, cutting a righteous swath of claw hammer destruction.

So who would you pick? For the purposes of the poll, I’d like to keep it to just Daryl or Tyreese, but if it’s someone else, let us know in the comments!

You can only choose one: Daryl or Tyreese?

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What I’m Consuming

District 9Yeah, yeah. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. I noticed that during TV season, other entertainment (mostly TV) cuts into my gaming time (and consequently into my blogging time). Significantly. It’d be nice to do it all, but it just doesn’t work that way. I need more hours in a day…

But, I try to be culturally rich (even if it is mostly pop culture) so these are the sacrifices I make.

In terms of TV, I am still not sure how I feel about how final season of Lost ended. I orginally had my theory of how things were going to shake out but I was pretty far off. I’m okay with how it ended, I just felt unfulfilled. It was still worth it, sticking through the seasons, though. Outside of Lost, I’ve been watching the Thursday night offerings from NBC: Community, Parks & Recreation, The Office and 30 Rock. I hate to say it, but both The Office and 30 Rock are really losing steam while Community and Parks & Rec are really coming on strong. Modern Family and Cougar Town have been taking up my Wednesdays.

I haven’t seen many movies lately, but I did take in Avatar in IMAX 3D a few months ago. Not sure what to say that hasn’t already been said. I am a fan of 3D, but just for movies. Leave them out of my games. I recently saw Iron Man 2 which was better than “okay” but just that. I was finally able to see District 9 and I really enjoyed it. It has a couple plot holes that I have trouble reconciling, but overall it was an excellent movie. It is in the top 3 movies I’ve seen in the past few years, hands down. It may even make it in to the Top Ten All Time. (One of these days I’ll have to sit down and actually figure out what those top ten movies are.) Next up, hopefully soon, are Pan’s Labyrinth and Moon. I just haven’t had time to get to them. Oh, and I did finally see Fight Club, though. (I know, welcome to 1999, right?)

Since my last update, I’ve finished up a handful of books: Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson – As I said on Goodreads, HOLY Goto Dengo this book is long. I don’t know what I was thinking when I started that behemoth, but I’m glad I did. Overall it was an enjoyable book with plenty of math and cryptography to nerd out on. Stephenson certainly knows how to build elaborate, engrossing stories.

Dune – This was part of my ongoing education with the Sci-Fi Classics. I had seen the movie when I was younger but I never read the book until now. Dune still holds up pretty well after all these years.

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster – On the recommendation of a friend, I took in Into Thin Air, a book about the extremely ill-fated 1996 expedition up Mount Everest, as fast as I could. Even knowing how it ends, it was still a page turner. This book affected me a whole more than I thought it would. It starts out slowly, building the necessary foundation but quickly becomes riveting and then profoundly sad. Some people were meant to do and endure things I will never be fit for.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – It is no secret that I love McSweeney’s, but AHWOSG (written by the founder of McSweeneys) didn’t do it for me. There were moments that were heartbreaking and other parts that were clever or insightful enough to be considered genius, but as a whole I was left feeling mostly hollow. I’m not sure if I should be able to relate to Eggers, we both being Gen-X’ers, but I didn’t have to live through what he did. I do have respect for him after reading what he went through, though.

I don’t have a lot of new music to talk about. Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of movie soundtracks, mostly the Matrix Trilogy soundtracks. We’ve also been listening to a lot of children’s music by They Might Be Giants. If you have kids, their music is a must! The music is really catchy and beats listening to Row, Row, Row Your Boat and Kookaburra. Ooh la ooh la!

What have you been consuming?

Zune Marketplace on 360

Last night, in the middle of a mission in Borderlands, I got booted off of LIVE for an update. I saved my progress and applied the update.

Like most people who got into the preview program, I started playing with the new updates immediately after the update applied itself some 20 minutes later. Unlike most people, who probably went to Facebook or Last.fm first, I went directly to the Zune Marketplace to see how well the transition went.

Zune on PC video history

When I installed the Zune 4.0 software on the day it launched in September, one of the first things I noticed was that all of the videos I had downloaded on the 360 appeared in my download history. This made me happy, as I never understood why the Zune and Xbox 360 had two different video marketplaces. Although I couldn’t access any of those videos from the Zune software, I figured I would be able to when the 360 update went live. As the screenshot above shows, many of them still come up as unavailable. It is likely this will change once the update goes live to all 360s.

Zune on 360 video library

A week or so ago I downloaded the first episode of Battlestar Galactica, 33, from the Zune Marketplace. After applying last night’s update, I checked out my video library on the 360′s newly Zune-branded video marketplace and was pleased to find that episode sitting there, ready to play.

Caprica Six and Baltar talking on my Xbox 360

It only took a few seconds of buffering before I saw Caprica Six and Baltar talking to each other in 1080p. That was quite a step up for me, as I had seen the entire series in standard definition. The video transitions from a somewhat pixilated SD picture to a smooth HD picture quickly. I found the quality to be better than Netflix’s HD videos, which is surprising considering how long it takes an HD Netflix video to start compared to the Zune’s HD videos.

Caprica Six and Baltar talking on my Zune HD Caprica Six and Baltar talking on my PC

To demonstrate that Microsoft’s claim of “Buy video once, play it on HDTV, PC or ZUNE HD” is accurate, in the screenshots above you will see the same TV show running on my Zune HD and on my PC.

As a user of both the 360 and Zune, I am very happy to see how well the video portion of my Zune account is synced up with my 360. I would like to see Microsoft bring the Zune Pass service and some aspects of the Zune Social to the 360 as well.

Conventioneers

I’m not what you would call a “Comic Book Enthusiast” (read: NERD). People are trying to turn me into one but I’m not there yet. I don’t have the breadth of knowledge most comic book fans have. I’m not even sure I want to. I know I can’t afford another hobby, that’s for sure. I do know enough to be dangerous, however, and I do have my favorite characters, but the stories and histories are foreign to me. I’ve never fully immersed myself in the world but as I geek I feel a camaraderie with comic book fans and I respect them for their dedication. James, my bro-in-law and fellow blogger, is a comic book nerd of the highest order (with all due respect). So we decided to head to the yearly comic convention here in Central Ohio, the “Mid-Ohio Con“.

This was the first “con” for both of us. I think we had an inkling of what to expect, having read about conventions like the San Diego Comic Con or the New York Comic Con and seen the pictures online, but we weren’t sure exactly what to expect. Here are a few pictures recapping our trip (A complete set of these images can all be found on Flickr.).

(Note: I felt somewhat awkward asking people to pose for pictures. Most of these were snapped when other people were busy asking for poses.)

Most of these photos are of the crowd, of the cos-players (a sub genre of comic book fans that amaze me).

The first up was the gathering of Ghostbusters. This seemed to be the most popular costume of the convention. I was under the impression there were four (five if you count Tully) but there were quite a few more than that in Columbus last weekend:

Ghostbusters

I think these two Predator costumes were the Best in Show for James and I. Both were extremely detailed (the masked Predator even had the three-laser sight, which was extremely cool). They even scared the kids. That brightened my cold, dead heart. GET TO DA CHOPPA!

Predator

Two Predators

Of course, no convention is complete without Darth Vader and his cadre of Storm Troopers and MOC had its Vader. Here he’s talking to Boba Fett with his helmet off. This Fett costume was actually very well done.

Vader discusses with Boba Fett

Vader and his entourage

Speaking of Boba Fett, one of the “celebrities” at this year’s MOC was Daniel Logan, the child actor who played the young Boba Fett in Attack of the Clones. It was actually kind of cool to see him there and being able to instantly recognize who he was. He seemed like a nice guy who was clinging to whatever was left of his fifteen minutes.

The highlight for me was meeting James Kyson Lee (AKA Ando Masahashi on Heroes). I haven’t been following Heroes as closely as I did the first few seasons, but all along Ando has been my favorite character, and it was pretty cool meeting him and snapping this picture (and professing my undying love to him):

Me and Ando

So, all in all, it was well worth the price of admission. I’m sure James could do a better report of which “Comic Book Celebrities” there were, but I was fascinated by the dedication of the fans, the talent of the artists on display and the general feeling of acceptance that permeated the show. I don’t know if I’d go back again, but it was definitely an experience.

(As a bonus, here’s my four year-old son with the Spiderman mask we brought him):

Spider-Mason

What I’m Consuming

I never meant for almost a year to pass since my last “What I’m Consuming post. I know the conversation around here is mostly video games, but I enjoy the occasional discussion of other forms of entertainment, and I feel bad that it’s taken me so long to get back to these posts. I enjoy the discussion and hearing what you guys are watching/reading/listening to. This one could get long. I won’t let that happen again.

First, this summer was supposed to be lousy with exciting blockbusters. It turned out to be a giant turd of a summer for me, movie-wise. With the exception of Star Trek and District 9, I think I caught them all. I’ve seen X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Terminator: Salvation, Transformers 2, Harry Potter: Half-Blood Prince, and G.I. Joe in the theater. To put in perspective how bad this summer was, G.I. Joe was my favorite movie of the lot. That says a lot, both for G.I. Joe and the rest of the movies. Wolverine didn’t impress, Terminator: Salvation was okay but nothing special, Harry Potter made no sense to me (it was my first HP movie, having still never read the books) and Transformers 2 was an unholy abomination that most likely ushered in the beginning of the apocalypse. It was so terrible I don’t have the vocabulary to sufficiently eviscerate its awfulness. On a positive note, I also got to see Up and “9” and loved them both. But it was kinda dusty in the theater where we saw Up. My eyes kept watering.

Through a combination of DVDs, cable and Netflix on the 360, I also finally was able to enjoy some movies I’ve missed in the past, filling some gaps in my movie reperotire. These included Anchorman: Legend of Ron Burgundy (had some hilarious moments), Matrix Revolutions (confusing, frustrating and ultimately buzz killing), Young Frankenstein (haven’t laughed this hard in a while), and No Country for Old Men (A must see, friend-oh).

Also, through the power of Netflix, I’ve been on a documentary binge. I mentioned Confessions of a Superhero earlier, but the wife and I have also watched Bigger, Stronger, Faster (a sad commentary on the state of sports) , The King of Kong (which Nat mentioned earlier and I think is one of the best documentaries ever) and Man on Wire (not as good as King of Kong, but still interesting. I got dizzy and sick to my stomach watching him lie down on the wire between the twin towers).

I’ve also continued down my educational path of the Sci-Fi classics, this time finishing up Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (still holds up exceptionally well, but I could help but hear Ford’s Deckard in my mind as I read it), Snow Crash (with the exception of one section, I really enjoyed this one), and Ringworld (whether this was an inspiration to Halo or not, it was still an exceptional read). I also gave Codex a read (nothing special, but has a gamer slant which was enjoyable) and I got my first taste of Pratchett with The Color of Magic (I am deifnitely looking forward to the next one). Now I’m in the thick of Dune, a book I wish I would have read years ago.

Music-wise, I haven’t been listening to a whole lot of new stuff. I’m still digging on No More Kings and I’ve been dabbling in the nerd-core, mostly listening to MC Frontalot. (Here’s “Final Boss” by Frontalot, a favorite of mine. I think it gets played at the end of Penny Arcade’s first game on XBLA)

Phew, that’s a lot. What have you been consuming?

Countdown to 9

Just a quick post to show off a few images of the movie “9″ which comes out tomorrow. I can’t wait for this one!

DC COMICS: Blackest Night

Not really game-related, but epic nonetheless!

The blackest night may sound familiar if you’ve ever been exposed to DC Comics and the green lantern’s oath:

~

“In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power… Green Lantern’s light!”

~

That blackest night part of the green lantern oath is what’s going on in the DC universe right now. Here’s a description from the DC website, “The dead rise across the DC Universe, bringing terror and darkness with them. What are the Black Lanterns? What do they want? Will Earth’s greatest heroes survive long enough to find out – or will they join the Black Lantern Corps?”

Basically there is a villain named, “The Black Hand” (in the picture above on the left with the skull in his hand) who has become the first black lantern and is bringing back all of the dead characters from the DC universe. Those who have risen from the dead, superhero and villain alike, are returned as a dark and evil version of their former selves. The goal of the black lanterns so far is to wipe out all sentient life in the universe. There has been further information/developments and the main bad guy of the story has been discovered and you can find it if you look hard enough.

Just putting this out there for anyone who may be interested. If you are interested then you probably already know about it. This series claims to have some really lasting changes in the DC universe, but the always say these kinds of events will. The story so far is really great from several of the tie-in’s I’ve read and has been the only comics to make me want next month to come today.

A bonus that came with the first issue is this plastic black ring. There are rumors that there may be other rings to come for each of the different color of corps. Each corps has an emotion associated with it and a description of each is on the link.

It’s A Me, Conan O’BRiiiiiiiaaaaan

The internet + people = amazing coincidences?

UPDATE: The video is no longer there thanks to the butt-funks at NBC Universal. And they wonder why they are almost dead last in ratings right now.

UPDATE 2: The butt-funks have posted the video on their alien website Hulu.

 

IP law is the pits. I give you FREE advertising, and you make it hard for me to do so. Idiots.

9

I saw this trailer a couple nights ago on The Ultimate Trailer Show. I can’t get this trailer out of my head. I’ve watched a dozen times and it doesn’t get old. So even though this has nothing to do with E3 or video games or anything else, I’m still posting it because it needs to be seen by all.

Actually, don’t waste your time watching the embedded version. You need to get yourself to Apple’s Trailer page and download the 1080p HD version. It is well worth it.

While the movie looks amazing and intriguing, I am a trailer junkie and this trailer has made it in to my top-5 all time trailers. I should put that entire list together one of these days.

Guess Who’s Back!!!

Not video game related but still cool. I’ve always liked Superman since I was a kid and only recently have I started to like Superboy, AKA ‘Connor Kent’. Then they went and killed him off in DCU’s Infinite Crisis, which just happened to coincide with some legal issues involving the usage of the character by the company.

Here’s a little snipet from the DCU blog: The Source – “Superboy is back, and starring in the pages of ADVENTURE COMICS, which hits in August from writer Geoff Johns and artist Francis Manapul.” Looks like Superboy is going to be taking over Adventure Comics for a little while. Now that artwork is something special. Here’s some great prelim art. More at the site that’s linked.

Wow. I like his style.