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Malik (12/8/08)

The Seahawks game yesterday was awesome...assuming you didn't watch after there were only three to four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Now if you did watch the whole game, then you saw the usual crap that keeps happening.

The Seahawks started strongly by scoring on a TD drive to start the game. After that, the Pats were held to a mere field goal as Seattle soon followed with another TD drive. In fact, Seattle managed to score a touch down in each of the first three quarters. Now that is the type of offense that Seattle should be pulling out.

Sadly, the fourth quarter, as usual for the 'Hawks, was where it all fell apart. Until the fourth quarter, the Pats never led in the game. It was a nice combination of potent offense and decent defense that kept the score leaning towards the blue and green.

In the end, some things happened exactly as expected. I don't mean just how the Seahawks lost at the end. I mean how the offensive line still couldn't handle protecting the pass. However, with Seneca Wallace in as the starting QB and with Wallace healthy, he was able to run the ball beautifully when the offensive line fell apart. Wallace managed to average around 12 yards per run on his first two QB scrambles. He was a man who lived up to what was expected from him in speed (mental and physical) until he dropped the ball on a sack to end the final Seattle drive.

When he is healthy, you have to give it to Wallace for being entertaining. He has the speed to turn any blitz into a potential first down situation. However, without an offensive line, this is a man who will become worn down before the game clock expires.

At least, with the Seahawks being eliminated from any post-season play, it's now easier to just accept a loss and to see the game for more than the outcome. There's entertainment to be found when you no longer are obsessed with seeing your team win. Normally, at this time of year, I feel the same way due to the Seahawks having locked down a post-season berth...but it's still good to look on the bright side of the entertainment value even when they are down on their luck.

Lastly for today, I picked up the new re-release of Chrono Trigger for the DS on Friday. It's nothing new (it's almost the same as the PSX version...but without the load time issues), but it's a game worth picking up for anyone who missed it any of the previous times it came along. It's even more worth it if you're like me...obsessed with the awesome RPGs of the past.

On a final note for today, I realize I have not bitched about Comcast for too long. Well, I complain quietly nearly every day...but it's been a week or so since I complained on this site, so I guess I should have seen it coming; Comcast makes another dick move.

Do you remember those ads from Comcast about the digital switch? You probably do. They are the ads with some wholesome person (like an elderly gentleman or a naive looking housewife) talking about how confusing the digital switch can be. Luckily for them, they have Comcast...or so the ads go. With Comcast they will not need any different equipment or changes in service. Comcast has them covered. Too bad they live in a time warp.

Over the weekend, I notice the line changed on Comcast ads. They stopped saying that all TVs hooked up to Comcast would work just fine. Instead, it changed to all TVs hooked up to a cable box would be alright. The difference? Well, I have about a half dozen TVs in my house (I like to have TV in my bedroom for late night news when I go to bed, one in my living room for main usage and big screen goodness, one near my kitchen to watch Food Network as I cook, one in my guitar room so I can rock out with some entertainment if I'm switching strings or repairing my vintage axe, one by the hot tub on my back patio for true relaxation, one in...well, there's a good reason for many others in my home...I have diverse interests and a house that is big enough to grant separate rooms for each), but I hate to pay for Comcast boxes when only a few need true digital service. I don't need digital for Food Network, watching cartoons on Comedy Central or TBS, or for watching History Channel. So, if I don't need a box, I don't feel the need to pay.

Ironically, my complaint last month about being screwed over by fraudulent advertising from Comcast came down to them not honoring their offer of two free boxes. Now, I learn that my notice of their ad line changing (TVs hooked up to a box will be alright) is coming for a real reason. Just exactly what they denied would ever happen in their original digital switch commercials; you need a new box for any channel beyond 30...of the soon to be departed, I currently get about 35 channels that include all the good favorites (Food Network, Cartoon Network, History, TBS, Comedy Central, SciFi, USA, and so on).

If you're in the same boat as me (having Comcast and not having all TVs boxed in), you may be in for a hell of a bitchy change. Worst of all, even if you have a TV hooked up to a direct feed via a D-TV tuner, it will not do you much good. Once again, with Comcast, the details are all in what's not being said. They love to make promises. "You don't need any new equipment!" "You will get some free cable boxes!" You will love our high speed unrestricted internet!"

However, what you get are all a bunch of bullshit hidden in their false claims. "You only need a (possibly new) box on every TV in your house for our service!" "Your free boxes were actually never real and we hoped to see you on a higher tier package with bait-and-switch deceptive advertising (but we do just enough when the government gets involved to give you nothing but avoid any fees)!" "Your internet is awesome as long as we don't decide to f$#@ your torrents by giving false packets from your IP!"

Actually, I said the worst part is that even a D-TV tuner will not get you out of this one completely. That's wrong. A Comcast line fed into a D-TV tuner is currently not even that good. You get a few basic cable channels (like those below channel 30), but only if you can find them. D-TV already means nothing to Comcast beyond a way to force more products, for a minimal fee, down our collective throats.

No, the true worst part of this is that there's nothing that is ever done from both businesses and the government to stop this monopoly situation that exists in the cable world. Comcast can do this and those with Comcast can only do one of three options. You can cancel all TV subscriptions (and hope that free online TV stuff can cover what you'll lose), switch to a two year commitment with a mini-satellite based service (that may force you into the same price but no way to cancel during a financial breakdown that could necessitate a cancelation without a massive penalty fee), or you can do what I sadly have to do...keep taking it from Comcast. With no competition, too much uncertainty to face a two year contract, and with not enough PCs in my house to show online broadcasts to my TVs, I have to accept the one legal monopoly into my home...and keep paying higher prices each year as my service remains the same.

I would probably shit a brick out of sure joy if Verizon would get their FIOS service to my neighborhood already.

So, to say, once again, what I keep saying; f#@$ you Comcast and your lying ways.

...and I'm not even the one who keeps bringing them back to being the subject of my wrath. If they would stop being such conniving deceivers, I would happily leave them behind and out of these posts.

Malik ____________________

Malik (12/10/08)

I downloaded the entire pseudo-album from No Doubt for Rock Band. I also played through each song on expert guitar. Saying that, I must admit that I was a bit surprised. I always took No Doubt to be pretty simple on guitar, but some of the charts stopped that line of thinking.

While some charts are basic chord fests (Spiderwebs, Don't Speak), there are some surprise challenges. Just a Girl, and Hella Good both are easy to get through but hard to maintain a perfect combo on a sight-read. Then there's Excuse Me Mr. that came out of no where.

Excuse Me Mr. goes a lot like the sax solo on Rio (Duran Duran), but for the entire song. It's fast strumming, primarily of the green button, but with additions of other buttons to form chords. Then the whole thing shifts to red. It just keeps coming with only a couple of small breaks to find star power and to recover your meter. If you had any trouble with Rio, then this song will kick your ass. It's not like I ended up failing, but I did see a lot of red...and I don't mean the button/note. Although, there is a lot of that button.

Overall, if you lived through the 90's and had a lot of time spent on alternative radio stations, then you know most of these songs. This, for me, was a pure blast of nostalgia of my days in high school and college. In other words, I loved this pack. It's what I've wanted more of from RB; songs I know and love. However, if your just playing for metal or the hardest guitar parts possible, you may want to skip this week and call it a wash...with the possible exception of Excuse Me Mr. as a warm up song for Thrasher and all the other metal you drool over.

Of course, there's a good chance most people will call next week a wash as well with the country pack coming. Since the announcement is early and no other songs were included, it's quite possible that nothing else is coming with this pack next week. Of course, that would mess up the two remaining albums (Nothing's Shocking and Texas Flood) for this month (since the last Tuesday of the week for 360 owners is matched to a Thursday in January for PS3 owners) unless they came out on the same day. So, I wouldn't be surprised to see another announcement still come along on Friday for the rest of next week.


Malik (12/12/08)

I have spent the last few days just focusing on playing Chrono Trigger DS. Overall, it's the same old game that I grew up loving. Same graphics (which look sweet after all these years), plot, quests, and all of that. The only real difference is the addition of a few new items and two new dungeons (which count as five dungeons due to time travel and all of that).

The first one of the new dungeons you experience is the Lost Sanctum. It's a two era dungeon that is open in prehistory and 600 AD. Sadly, I've spent too much time on this new two part dungeon. The reason I say "sadly" is because it is a giant fetch quest. You start off in a new village that requires you to kill some monsters. Then you're back to town to take a new quest. Before long, you keep repeating the same damned screens over and over again. You have five main areas of dungeon (woods, a swamp/no longer a swamp, a mountain which keeps being repeated, a castle, and a tower). They make up only about a dozen screens, but you keep seeing them.

The worst part of these fetch quests will soon become the mountain. The mountain is three to four screens, like the Mountain of Woe (from the main plot of the game). The difference is that the enemies are typically easier to avoid...but the few that you cannot escape will be faced countless times as you keep running back up and down the mountain as the villagers all seem to become obsessed with the simple idea that you should become intimately familiar with this place.

The side quest has you run up the mountain to get a stone (three main screens up and those same three back down). Later you must return a stone to the mountain (three up and three down). Then you must go back in another era (three up and three down...repeating the first screen twice more in the process). Then you need to go to the top again to see what happened at the summit (three up and three down). Then you return with an item (three up and three down). Then you must return with another item (three up and three eventually down). In other words, you will play through the mountain until you hate the fact that it was ever created. Each screen has several fights, of which one cannot be avoided. This means at least six battles each time you go up and down that damned mountain. It also means you must fight at least one set battle on your way from the village to the mountain (in the swamp/not a swamp...time travel).

The new items are cool and seem well worth it...the first time. Since no new plot is revealed, I can promise you that this will not be a place I revisit on any New Game+ scenarios. At least in future runs, I'd still have all of my levels and equipment, to make this a bit quicker. Still, it feels like what it is...the most dreaded of game ideas...a giant fetch quest. Ok, it's the second worst game idea. It's not as bad as an action game based escort mission. Still, it ranks up there with all of the other gaming ideas that count as nothing more than lazy programming.

At least I'll be done with only another run up and down that damned mountain. Then I can get back to the fun side quests found near the end of Chrono Trigger. Then, after beating the game, the final three part extra dungeon is revealed. Then I can get on to the classic idea of finding all of the remaining thirteen game endings that Chrono Trigger was so well known for implementing.


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