March 1, 2008

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    "The Minnesota Zoo and eduweb are partnering to develop WolfQuest, an innovative new project that brings the immersive, compelling drama and action of video games to informal science learning while creating a model for nationwide distribution."WolfQuest

    FIRST: Watch This

    Back? Let's continue.

    Education is a great thing. Video games are also great things, mostly. Unfortunately, just like Aliens and Predators, they aren't always great together.

    Enter WolfQuest, the game where you get to make your own wolf persona, hunt elk and sniff wolf piss in the hopes that your animal spirit will rage so hard that Mom and Dad will be calling your local senator before you can say A.N.W.R.

    Let me take a minute and say that:
    1. This game is free
    2. It's for kids...I think
    3. It means well
    4. You will truly enjoy this game...

    ...for about 3 minutes. You start by naming and customizing your own wolf. The attributes are dictated by three sliders which basically boil down to speed, strength and endurance. The sliders, using some kind of magical relevance, are supposed to maintain that classic RPG ratio and balance, so that if you jack-up your strength, your speed will suffer. It doesn't quite work. If you "jiggle the handle" a bit with the sliders you can pretty much freak it out and get everything close to its max.

    WOLF TIP #1Don't initially try and make a 700lb super wolf. You need speed more than strength.

    Once your wolf-self is in the game you'll be treated to a sweeping shot of your wolf situated in the landscape, scored to some appropriately rugged music which, all comes together in an emotionally stirring moment that would make Peter Jackson weep. Then the game starts. You'll be prompted to find a mate, but really you'll want to go kill something. I mean, you're a damn wolf.

    WOLF TIP #2Before you start screaming "how in the shit can there not be a Howl Key!", it's 'H'.
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    You can follow your compass to find some elk, and chances are will eventually find them. Here's where that speed comes in handy. You race up to an elk and sink your teeth into his fluffy posterior by clicking the mouse button. Then you stay there, fused with his behind, while he drags you to Hell and back like only an elk with a wolf attached to his ass can. Eventually the elk's health meter will drop and so will he. At this point you and walk up to it and eat you some fresh kill. Just click and desiccate. There you have it. Hunting.

    After you've had your fill of that glory you'll want to find your mate, or just quit the game. Let's assume you want to find your mate. You can go into "Scent Mode" which is kind of cool. When you toggle this first person view you can track the scents of different animals, including that ever elusive Wolf-tang.

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    I'll skip to the chase and assume you've found your lady friend. Here's where WolfQuest truly enters the bizarre. You'll enter a dialogue-ish tree-ish, conversation-like interaction with the other wolf. You'll say something like "You're Strong" and do a pathetic little cower animation. She'll respond with "I want to be boss!" and growl. It's truly something you need to experience. After clicking through the options enough times she'll probably run away.

    And that's when I turned the game off.

    I've heard from other WolfQuest packies that you can woo the ladies, and the game kind of hits its "end game" phase, with no new objectives. I've also heard you can start your own pack and, if you believe the site, go online and where you can run free with the other pitied kids that aren't allowed to play Grand Theft Auto 4

    Wolf Quest is genuinely entertaining for a bit. I appreciate the learning through games, I really do. Unfortunately though, I don't think I learned anything about wolves other than it sucks to be a wolf and hanging on an elk's ass is a shitty way to spend a life.

    DOWNLOAD IT: WolfQuest

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    Kid Sunshine

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 2:45 PM | Comments (1)

December 21, 2007

    gwen_cooper.jpgI'm here to talk about my love/hate relationship with the sci-fi series Torchwood, but first I need to get something out in the open. It's no secret that I'm no fan of bangs. I don't know where I got ruined on them but, I suspect, if I were to be put under deep hypnosis, someone might hear me mutter something akin to Juliette Lewis. That being said, Torchwood has two big strikes against it from the outset. It is made by the folks who keep renting out my mother's basement to film episodes of Doctor Who and it has some big ass bangs.

    Torchwood, the series, gets its name from the super-secret-we-answer-to-no-one alien hunting agency based in Cardiff, Wales. Being based in Cardiff is Torchwood's first eyebrow raising element. I mean really, how much of anything is based in Wales? Show me a map and I'm pretty sure you'd have to slide my finger over a few inches to hit the target. Also, it never gets old hearing the gap-toothed, bang afflicted, yet somehow adorable Gwen Cooper say "That's naught foony Ohwen!"

    Torchwood is not Firefly, it's more like a high school production of some Firefly fan-fiction. Everyone is romantically involved with everyone, the set pieces range from Star Trek-esque colander as Alien Mind Melter to full-on CG pterodactyls, and it seems like family and friends are used for all the roles outside of the core five actors. So why did you bring up Firefly again? Well, the writing and dialogue is actually pretty decent, the dialogue more so than the plot.
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    The natural dialogue helps sell some of the more ridiculous sci-fi elements. One episode in particular finds the Torchwood staff in danger of being destroyed by an android that looks more at home serving food at Cafe FemBot than delivering inescapable death.

    So should you check it out? Sure, why not? The first season just wrapped up on BBC America, and will be available on DVD in January 2008. While it's not the greatest sci-fi series, it's got some of that charm that made early Star Trek episodes so endearing, just with a little more Kirk on Spock action.


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    Kid Sunshine

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 1:50 AM | Comments (4)

October 28, 2005

October 3, 2005

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    From the waxed handlebars of the British armed forces to soul chips of 90s urban hipsters, facial hair has always been fun. But this! This is just above and beyond! It may be no surprise to learn that Germany is the dominant power in the championships, with at least 85 contestants entered in this year's championship. Considering that there are 6 categories in the moustache class alone, you can see where 85 entries can really be a bonus.

    At the last world championships, held in Carson City, Nevada, in 2003, Germany took home a total of 32 trophies to the USA’s nine. Among the winners in Carson City was overall champion Karl-Heinz Hille, a native Berliner and member of the host Berlin Beard Club. -- The Beard Team USA Blog

    What may, perhaps, be surprising is that the First Berlin Beard Club - the generous hosts of this year's championship - was founded as recently as 1996. Although the beard itself has a long and bushy history, perhaps it was only fairly recently that beard owners began to feel under-celebrated, and decided to fight back with the First Berlin Beard Club. Well done, gentlemen!

    Full Article: World Beard and Moustache Championships
    (Via KALIBER10000)

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    Cheeky Monkey

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 3:18 PM

September 13, 2005

    syrianaposter_sm.jpg Fiction is engaging, and people love their movie stars. For better or for worse, you're going to get more eyeballs on a fictionalized version of the global oil industry than a New York Times article about it. In this case, I suspect it will be for the better. George Clooney (star & producer), Steven Soderbergh (producer) and Stephen Gaghan (screenwriter, credits include "Traffic") have something to tell us about the global oil industry, and they've chosen to do it in a film.

    The movie is based on a book called "See No Evil: the True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism." It was written by Robert Baer, a 21-year veteran CIA case officer, and author of another book called "Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude." Clooney apparently plays Baer himself, as he discovers horrifying things about what he's been employed to do for the past 21 years.

    Not having seen it (or read it), there's not much to say one way or the other. But let me state, for the record, that I have high hopes, friends. High hopes.

    Full Article: ClooneyNetwork.com | Syriana
    (Via dTheatre.com - Movie News)

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    Cheeky Monkey

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 1:38 PM

August 31, 2005

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    People do puzzles for many reasons. Chief among them is that puzzles give the solver a feeling of being in control. Most of life's challenges don't have black-and-white solutions, and many have no resolution at all. We jump into the middle of problems and muddle through as best we can. With sudoku - or any other human-made puzzle - carrying it through from start to finish, and finding the perfect solution in the end, can produce a feeling of great pride. - NY Times

    Although I am not entirely convinced of this explanation of why people like puzzles, I AM convinced that this kind of puzzle - Sudoku - is a new craze, mainly because I saw a girl doing one on the subway last week. Yes, the New York Times is the kind of paper where you can read about what the girl on the train next to you was doing earlier in the week.

    So, for those of you even farther out of the loop than I, Sudoku is a computer-generated puzzle where you've got a grid (like the one you see above) and you've got to fill the grid with numbers so that every row, every column and every 3-by-3 box contains the digits 1 to 9, without repeating. It's based on the Latin Squares introduced by mathematician Leonhard Euler in 1783, grew to popularity in Japan, and made its debut in the NY Post in April.

    To find out what the people on the train WILL be doing, like a month from now, you'd have to go to an edgier, more underground source. But the New York Times is just perfect for reading about what all the trendcasters have already spent a month yapping about.

    Full Article: A Few Words About Sudoku, Which Has None
    (Via NYT > Week in Review)

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    Cheeky Monkey

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 8:05 PM

August 24, 2005

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    ANGER

    "This isn’t about incremental change. It’s a revolution. Break out of linear and limited entertainment. Leave passive, one-size-fits-all fun behind. Unleash the power of human energy." &mdashGamestop.com - Xbox 360 Ultimate Bundle

    Could the gaming industry become any greedier? I'm going to wager $1,199.83 (not including shipping) that it can.

    That's right folks, for only $1,199.83 Gamestop is selling their 'Xbox 360 Ultimate Bundle'. Keep in mind Gamestop defines ultimate as "the $399.99 Xbox plus 11 really crap games."

    Banking on the failure of the Xbox 360 to sell, Gamestop is hoping to just shovel heaping loads of dung quickly and in large chunks. I'm not even sure some of the games they are offering are launch titles. Buyer beware, even if Xbox games were priced at $60 per shot, eleven games would still only cost you $660. Not to mention you get to pick which games you'd like. I suspect the person who buys the Xbox 360 to throw in Madden NFL '06 is not the same person who would be psyched to dabble in the princess-y shape changing magic of Kameo.

    The official list of what your 1,200 bones will get:
    1. Xbox 360 System
    2. Perfect Dark Collector's Edition
    3. Project Gotham Racing 3
    4. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
    5. Dead or Alive 4
    6. Call of Duty 2
    7. GUN
    8. Quake 4
    9. Tony Hawk's American Wasteland
    10. Condemned
    11. Madden NFL 06
    12. Kameo
    13. Xbox 360 Wireless Controller
    14. Xbox 360 Play and Charge Kit
    15. Xbox 360 Rechargeable Battery
    16. Xbox Live 12 Month Card
    17. 1 Year Product Replacement Plan
    18. Swift kick in the pants

    Full Article: Gamestop.com - Xbox 360 Ultimate Bundle
    (Via Money Whores)

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    Kid Sunshine

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 7:42 PM

August 23, 2005

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    "The girls are off to Vegas, baby! And it's sinfully delicious, what with all of the cocktails, birthday cake, flashing and wet 'n' wild group showers--yes, that's right, group showers!" &mdashE! Online

    Well, reality doesn't hit much closer to home than this, folks. Hugh Hefner has removed the opaque you're-not-fooling-anyone-i-know-that's-not-an-old-navy-catalogue black wrapper surrounding the Playboy Mansion and its infamous residents.

    In this eight-part series we'll be able to follow the 78 year old tomcat, who not only basically gets to sleep with these airbrushed beauties for a living; WHO NOT ONLY lives in a gigundo mansion filled with boobies and legs; But the man who has totally made walking around all day in his silk pjs not just acceptable, but expected.

    [Little personal note here. When I was a youngin' living with my folks, pjs past 7:30am would usually result in being called Oscar Madison, and I would be showered with yard work instead of beautiful blonde women.]

    So anyway, Hugh has three "girlfriends" with whom he "shares" the spotlight. They kind of all look like alien clones, but hey, to each his own, where own is getting three hotties to sleep with your geriatric (though personable) self. I like Hugh, I do. The idea of putting a camera in there kind of destroys some of the mystery and fantasy of the whole thing, seemingly for a buck and some cheap money shots, but I'm sure it will be done tastefully. Mostly though, I just watch it for the articles.

    Full Article: "Girls Next Door" — E! TV
    (Via [Heard About On] Air America)

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    Kid Sunshine

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 11:03 PM

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    "We've added a new section to the site offering Beastie Boys A Cappellas for you to download and use for your own personal remixes. So pull your shit together and make a remix." &mdashOfficial Beastie Boys Web Site

    This is a little bit of coolness. Before it was 'cool' to be a rapping Jew the Beastie Boys were sharing their personal thoughts on White Castle, the ladies and exactly what are and are not your rights. With a smile, some marijuana, a little 'joshin' somehow we all grew up the better for it. You, Me, Mike D and the Boys.

    Now the Beasties are sharing some more of the love by encouraging fans to download a cappella tracks for the purpose of remixing their own Beastie goodness. They were even so kind as to give the beats per minute. I have now finally been able to complete my opus...Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you: Beastly Onions!

    Accept no imitations

    Full Article: Beastie Boys - BeastieBoys.com - Official Beastie Boys Web Site
    (Via Boing Boing)

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    Kid Sunshine

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 7:37 PM

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    I guess the name really says it all: sundry items perched on cats. No, it's not very sophisticated. But come on, you chuckled. Don't lie.

    For more goofiness, check out the site:

    Full Article: StuffOnMyCat.com
    (Via k10k.net)

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    Cheeky Monkey

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 6:46 PM

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    Wired: The Daily Show really exemplifies that sort of new model. It's on a cable network, not broadcast. It's among the most popular shows traded online. People download and watch the whole thing, every day. Were you guys aware of that?

    Karlin: Not only am I not aware of that, I don't want to be aware of that.

    Wired: Well, don't go shutting it down.

    Stewart: We're not going to shut it down - we don't even know what it is. I'm having enough trouble just getting porn.

    Inspiring things this week include the announcement via this Wired Magazine interview that The Daily Show is among the most popular shows traded online. Not only is it exciting that angry, smart, funny folks trying to keep the political machine honest are getting heard, but it's also inspiring to learn that people ARE, in fact, interested in TV that doesn't suck! Take that, Reality Television!

    Although I do realize that this new non-television based TV creates the need for a newer, sneakier kind of advertising. We'll have to see what they come up with before truly doing the celebration dance.

    Full Article: Wired 13.09: Reinventing Television
    (Via )

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    Cheeky Monkey

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 5:11 PM

August 18, 2005

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    "Several players had their characters beaten and robbed of valuable virtual objects, which could have included the Earring of Wisdom or the Shield of Nightmare"&mdashNew Scientist

    We all fear it. That 4:00 am phone call. "Mom, mom...calm down, I'm ok, listen..I was just coming out of Ye Old Shoppe and this bot jumped out of nowhere and...I'm ok, my armor stats are shot but Mom, he took the of Shield of Nightmare."

    A man in Japan, let's call him 'Japan Man', was arrested for allegedly 'beating up' and 'mugging' other player characters in the MMORPG (if you don't know, look it up) Lineage II. So cowardly is this cowardly coward that he couldn't even swing the sword himself, instead hiring out bots (ok, this one is A.I. controlled characters) to do his dirty work for him.

    Bruce Schneir (New Scientist bills him as "a renowned computer security expert") forecasts a grim future:

    Perhaps every method of stealing real money will eventually be used to steal imaginary money, too.

    He then goes on to foretell of people within online gaming universes charging $60 to buy the 'Mirror of Alternate Persona' and then charging $20 a month just to use it, despite bugs, patches, downtime and character balancing issues. No refund for unused mirrors is expected.

    Really my biggest issue with this is who the hell is still playing Lineage II? Game sucks dude.

    Full Article: New Scientist Breaking News - Computer characters mugged in virtual crime spree
    (Via New Scientist)

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    Kid Sunshine

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 3:47 PM

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    "...buyers will be able to purchase a no-frills version for $299.99 or a bells-and-whistles version for $399.99."&mdashMicrosoft sets price for Xbox 360 - Aug. 17, 2005

    Well blow me down. Bells-and-whistles version? Apparently the 20GB hard drive (not standard on the $299.99 version) counts as either a bell or a whistle and, according to the article, you won't be able to play current Xbox titles without a hard drive. Backwards compatibility also a 'bonus' feature.

    XBL out of the box? Well possibly not, unless you shell out the extra $100. The Xbox live headset also only comes with the $399.99 version.
    [Edit: Apparently a wired headset comes will come with the $299.99 version and a fancy wireless headset will come with the $399.99]

    Oh this one is awesome. Wireless controller? Well the $399.99 'suped-up' version has one, but the $299.99 model only comes with a wired controller that needs to be plugged in to play.

    So really people, make no mistake the Xbox 360 costs $400. I'm not so much miffed at the price point, but marketing a watered down $299.99 'Lite' version seems like a slap in the face. Keep in mind that consoles have never broken the $300 mark on launch, so Microsoft is probably trying to say "Look we're competitively priced", but really it's not the system they've been advertising.

    Kids make sure you put "Dear Santa, I would like 1 Xbox 360 (the $400 one only, don't go cheap on me now!)" on your Xmas list this year.

    Grumble Grumble

    Full Article: Microsoft sets price for Xbox 360 - Aug. 17, 2005
    (Via CNN.com - Technology )

    Image Courtesy of http://bastien.pons.free.fr/

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    Kid Sunshine

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 1:49 PM

August 17, 2005

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    "Game Boy micro measures just 4 inches wide, 2 inches long and 0.7 inches thin. It weighs 2.8 ounces, about the weight of 80 paper clips." - Nintendo Press Release

    Nintendo released more information today about its creepy, premie-birth handheld the Game Boy Micro (apparently named after Nintendo's latest console market share). After years of trying, they have finally gotten the Game Boy to weigh the same as 80 paper clips, which resulted in Microsoft buying the copyright on things that weigh more than 80 paper clips but less than 97 thumbtacks. Sony basically ignored the news and opted to buy a portion of Saturn with its PSP returns.

    Along with an MSRP of $99.99 (the same price as the Gamecube, mind you) Nintendo also states that:

    The edgy hardware will come in both silver and black versions, each with three removable, fun faceplates so users can personalize their Micro depending on their mood.

    WAIT!!.OMGZ!!1!!1 Please make one with FLAMES (and/or skulls)!!!

    The black Game Boy micro will include one faceplate with a "Flame" design...

    !!!!!!! GGGGGGAALAKJLJKL!!! Now only if it had sick, like totally l337 blue neon lig...

    ...and Start/Select buttons that glow with the cool, neon-like blue found on many cell phones.

    BLLLARRRGG!!1!!1!SHIFT+1!! Oh thank you Nintendo GODS. I've finally found something to replace that gaping void since calculator watches went out of style. Man, Nintendo you truly are GAMERZ! ROxXoR! Crap, be right back, my Nintendog is wiping his ass all over the screen.

    GB Micro Press Release: (Via Nintendo.)

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    Kid Sunshine

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 2:43 PM

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    "Warren Smith, the publisher of an evangelical Christian newspaper in Charlotte, N.C., compares the movie 'Jesus' to the jawbone of an ass."

    The New York Times has an interesting little story about a group called the Jesus Video Project America that is distributing (spamming) America with a free DVD of a movie chronicling the life and times of everyone's favorite martyr. A movie for which no other title could do save Jesus: A Man, a Corndog and a Dream (later shortened to just Jesus).

    Yes, Jesus has returned, and on DVD no less. Apparently the group shotgun-blasts this DVD all over town hoping that the locals realize high definition Jesus love is for real this time. Unlike that No-Money-Down-Real-Estate-Jesus horse doodie that came in the mail last week. The Devil is a clever fellow...

    Putting Jesus in Every Mailbox - (Via: New York Times)

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    Kid Sunshine

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 1:32 AM

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    "The complete soundtrack to Super Mario World, covered by one man using dozens of instruments" – Girls Won't Talk To Me

    Take a listen: Title Screen

    This 21 track homage to Super Mario World is a testament to the talent, creativity and utter abundance of free time that this level of crazy has to involve. I mean, I guess you get about five songs into this kind of thing and suddenly you don't know where the days have gone, nor your girlfriend...friends......the dog. In the end you'll gain new things, like respect. And that's what they'll remember, and if they can't appreciate your vision it's probably because they haven't heard it after a euphoric, finger staining, orgy of Fritos and Cheese Doodles.

    It's actually not that bad, for better or worse. I think I'm just jealous because the most I've done with my Pro Tools setup is make less room on my desk for other big ticket items. WHATEVER, it's not a waste of money.

    I've had sex.

    Check out the full joy: XOC – SMW (Via Kotaku.)

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    Kid Sunshine

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 12:17 AM