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Malik (9/27/10)

I went into this weekend with one thought in mind; this is my weekend. I mean I've had enough trouble and problems lately with everything in my home dying a slow (or sometimes, a quick) death. I've watched two refrigerators, my desktop, my laptop, two original DSes, and my TV all go to the great beyond since the summer started.  It only makes it worse when the TV is covered by a Fry's warranty, and they are about as quick on the uptake as the Mariners are quick on making logical roster moves. When you add in that this weekend may have been my last time to get even a day off from my day job for the remainder of 2010, I needed this to be MY weekend.

I guess this mindset must have helped to make the world a better and more enjoyable place. The Huskies (UW) didn't play, so I was able to skip any heartache there. Meanwhile, I like Boise State and the Ducks, and both of them won with a nice flourish of domination. It only gets better on Saturday when Nkufo, once again, took charge in the Sounders FC game to deal the one and only goal while Seattle was playing in Chicago.

Best of all, despite being 5.5 point underdogs (at least the last time I checked), the Seahawks didn't look too bad defeating San Diego in Seattle. Ok...that may be a stretch. However, Seattle did look good on the defensive line. The secondary looked sad and I think all the Chargers needed to win would have been pushing for more passes towards Kelly Jennings who cannot cover his man to save his life.

I really wish I could say, beyond the defensive line and the rush defense, that Seattle looks better this year. However, the truth is that there are some obvious holes in Seattle's game. The running game is sad, and I think this comes down to no one blocking for Forsett. When Forsett gets a lane, he looks pretty solid, but the rest of the time he just hits a wall and crumples. As for the passing game...

Last year I knew that Hasselbeck would look good if he had an offensive line that would protect him. This year he has way more protection, and he is just throwing the ball like he'd rather see the pass completed than to see it completed in only a Seahawk's hands. In other words, Hasselbeck is throwing interceptions like the ball is a plague and he will try to share that with the opponents. At least when he can find a good open target, his receivers can make some good looking plays. At least Golden Tate and Mike Williams can. I will not even talk about Branch's fumble out of the back on what should have been a touchdown (hint Branch: Tuck the damn ball) until he lost control around the 0.5 yard line.

I don't know what is going on in Hasselbeck's head, or with his arm, but something is off right now. He throws with either too much power (overshooting easily open receivers) or far too little (giving the ball to the opposing secondary). I don't think this is a talent issue. I think Hasselbeck just needs to get mentally back into the game.

Actually, I may be selling the team short when I say that only the defensive line is good this year. Special teams are looking amazing when Mare hasn't missed a field goal since almost a year ago. Also, Tate on punt returns is amazing since he seems to play by a special set of rules. In Tate's world, you only have to end a play on the second tackle. Golden sheds the first touch on a play like you'd expect from a college star. No one has told him that this is the NFL, and I hope no one does. This level of play, at this level of the game, is a rare thing and it's about time we see a Seahawk doing so.

The true star of the team, however, is Washington. Washington now owns the two largest kickoff returns in Seattle history...all from just one game. He brought one back for 101 yards and another for 99. I think the only player on the field who can make Golden Tate look slow right now would be Leon Washington. Both of them make for what should prove to be the most amazing team of returners in Seattle history. While the Seahawks may no be able to get the offense going at the right speed and timing, at least points can come when a return from Tate or Washington has a great chance of starting the 'Hawks near field goal range. As long as Hasselbeck doesn't throw it away, Mare will at least seal the deal.

Anyway, this is going to be an interesting year for the NFL. One of only four teams that are undefeated would be the Chiefs?! The force that was supposed to be the 49ers is 0-3 while even the Rams have a 1-2 record?! Seattle, with a team that's more new than returning, is tied for 1st in the NFC West with Arizona, who doesn't have a good QB?! Tampa Bay and Atlanta are tied with the Saints for first in the NFC South?! The Bears, under Cutler's QB role, is undefeated after 2 games?! The Steelers put up some damn good points while still waiting for the return of their QB?! Seneca Wallace, once again, had to take starting QB duties and actually didn't look too bad?! This year, after three weeks (not counting Monday Night Football tonight, which will knock the undefeated teams to three left), I think the only obvious thing is that you cannot expect anything.


Malik (9/29/10)

If you want a joke in geek culture, there have been some strong staples. I mean there was Duke Nukem Forever, until it stopped being vaporware and became reality. Then again, there's Starcraft 2, which actually materialized this year as well. Of course, some of the oldies seem to be staying with us, like the idea of Half-Life Episode 3, which seems to be about as likely to see a release in the near future as Duke Nukem Forever was in the last decade.

However, the one joke that will never go away is always doomed to please (with how sad and silly it is) and anger (with how there are fans who just want their childhood to stop being molested). Yes, George Lucas is back with another hair brained idea.

Ok, I get it. 3D is popular, even if I feel like Roger Ebert does, in regards to 3D being a fad that just doesn't offer what it should for an increased price. It makes movies look darker and dingier, it doesn't add to the experience, it cannot cover up a bad movie to make it good, it's usually tacked on after the filming to make something that makes one think of Picasso's paintings versus real life, and it costs more money to pay for a ticket despite the cost not being justified (the projectors for 3D are the same ones used for 2D movies in most theaters, and they have been paid for by now).

George Lucas seems to forget that the Star Wars movies were not filmed in 3D. No matter what you do to the films now, they cannot be re-filmed in 3D, so any changes will not feel natural in any way and will just look as out of place as 3D did on Clash of the Titans, Last Airbender, or any other movies filmed in 2D and converted to 3D in post-production.

The one thing I can say that is good about Lucas never giving up on milking his cash cow is that it's opened my eyes with each new forced milking. I, as a child, worshiped Star Wars. These were three movies that demanded my love, be it from toys, films, or video games. If it was Star Wars, it would find a place in my heart no matter how cheesy or poorly conceived it was. However, with Lucas trying to use the force (or is that "trying to force upon the world"?) to keep Star Wars in the lime light, I'm seeing how much I've stopped caring. I really don't care about Star Wars, as it stands, anymore. I do love parodies, like the Family Guy and Robot Chicken Star Wars spoofs, but I've lost my love for Lucas' Star Wars.

The only part of George Lucas and his attempts to keep his name alive without actually contributing to the world of film anymore that is worthy of my attention at all is that people still flock to his name and his franchise. I would love nothing more than for people to just get fed up and say "enough is enough" with this fiasco. We've all seen Star Wars. We've all seen the re-released Star Wars. We've all seen the digitally remastered Star Wars. We've all seen the added Star Wars material, like The Clone Wars, that fills in the gaps. We've all seen the games, like Force Unleashed, that further fill in the gaps. We've all seen it all already. The only way to end this is to just stop giving our money to someone who doesn't seem to care about remaining original or innovative. All Lucas seems to want is more money, and the movie going audience seems more than happy to give away this precious commodity just to see the same crap for the hundredth time.

Lucas was once a master of his craft. He gave us Star Wars. He gave us amazing sounds with THX. He gave us a reason to think of sci-fi as something that could reach the world at large and not just small geek crowds. He made the "reliving the past" movie fun with American Graffiti. He gave us realistic blending of models into movies. He gave us, along with Spielberg, the reinvention of the old style serial adventure with Indiana Jones. He gave us a lot, and then just quit trying, or started to try too damned hard with too little talent to make it work. I feel, at least for myself, it's time that I stop trying to give him a chance or even room for an explanation.

On a final note that's also funny in all the wrong ways, and covers the idea of 3D over-proliferation...Nintendo has released, in a sense, some minor details about the 3DS. Of note, the system will be coming out sometime around February 2011 in Japan and the following month in America and Europe. Also, while no price is stated for anywhere outside Japan, it is insane to my sensibilities.

If the cost is anywhere near the Japanese price when the 3DS comes to the US, I know I will happily walk away. When the PS3, also known as the most expensive console out there right now (at least in mass marketed situations), can be obtained for $300, then a DS based system sure as hell better not come in at $300. When you also consider that the economy will not be a better place in March of 2011, this price is beyond reasonable explanation. Really, Nintendo? $300 for a portable in this economy? $300 for a console that cannot even be marketed fully since 3D cannot be replicated on TV or print ads? $300 for an updated DS? $300 when the original cost around $150-$200?

I know Nintendo always tries to sell consoles for a profit when they are released, but this is not going to be the best of ideas. At this time and with this technology, $300 just sounds too unrealistic for the average consumer to swallow.


Malik (9/30/10)

I wasn't going to post anything today.  I just have nothing to say...or so I thought.

All I can say is that Nintendo should know when to not open their mouths.  I'm talking about Satoru Iwata explaining that the price of the 3DS is not being motivated like the usual Nintendo price explanation ("to make a profit"), but because people want the 3DS so much that they will pay the highest major portable console price yet (not counting less mainstream portables like Turbo To Go, and no...the iPhone is not a game console...freakin' Apple fanboys...).  This logic astounds me. 

No, it just enrages me.

Actually, I am flat out pissed off.  Am I a cash machine that Iwata thinks he can control simply by pulling his little puppet strings?

I was on the fence about a $200 3DS.  It's pricey in this economy, but it's a reasonable price considering what is new (versus old from the DS family) and that it's going to have some games which are not compatible on previous DS systems.  However, to hear that my interest, along with all other intrigued individuals brought about what looks like an extra $100 (or 50%) just turns me off.  Maybe it's just me not liking to be thought of as an ATM by Iwata, but I'm not even sure if I'd be willing to pay $200 now...even assuming the bad economy allows this much from my starving and depressed wallet.  Hell, I even need a new DS right now (two with bad touch screens are fighting my desire to play Professor Layton 3)...but I'm really not feeling Nintendo right now.

Also, for the pseudo-economists who know far less than they pretend to know; I know supply and demand.  However, there's also a matter of insulting your target audience (don't explain the price like Iwata did) and trying to charge beyond reasonable value for a novelty item during a global economic nightmare.  Most of all, you also don't charge beyond reason while insulting your target demographic for an item that cannot be advertised in normal channels and requires a hands-on demo or some strong word of mouth.


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