Category Archives: fun

Fallout New Vegas (2010)

It can be hard to review a game three years after the fact (and my game Q is bearing down on me). Especially since it is part of a franchise that released the Fallout 3 and Skyrim. However, New Vegas is by a different developer (Obsidian) than the aforementioned (Bethesda).

New Vegas is a bit too sparse for my liking, miles of nothing, and interactions that overwhelmingly feel empty. The first town you find yourself, Goodsprings, starts off just right, helping you build a sense of trust and empathy for a people beaten by the politics and atmosphere of gangs and mob rule. Soon after though you find yourself alone wandering the desert justifying your existence. Once things get going, you manage to build up quests, get into the main story, visit Vegas, interact positively and negatively with various settlements, etc.

At any rate, I think I am about 1/3 or half way through and the objectives all feel kind of the same. Maybe I am not giving it a fair shake, exploring enough, or being engaged but I can only invest so many hours before I realize that I’m not getting the same kick out of it as other RPGs (Dead Island for example is half as complex but twice as fun). The battle system is OK but with this type of game it is more about bringing down a meter of HP versus location and timing and with stealth and a sniper rifle: my dudette has been unstoppable.  As new places and things (mutants, ghouls, etc.) become uncovered I stand unimpressed. The main element keeping me going is Rex, a loyal cyber-dog that recently had a brain transplant with the Legion’s fiercest fighting bitch, Lupa. My robotic dog is the best story-line so far. That and putting an end to Benny, leading up to this sweet piece.


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Official “2011, Best Of” Friends of P Edition

Admittedly I wasn’t blisteringly excited to make this year’s list as compared to years past. Despite a surely ridiculous amount of comics, books, movies, video games, etc. devoured, and proving most pleasant to my palate.  Guess I’m past 2011, as 2012 offers The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit, more science, more ideas, more pizza, more Skyrim, Mass Effect 3, etc.

Film: Drive

Film Runner-up: Hubble 3D (technically 2010 but whatever) / Midnight in Paris

Let down film: X-Men First Class

TV Show: Game of Thrones (duh)

Album: Flashlights I’m Not Alone (not a well vetted category)

Book read this year not necessarily published: Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Comic: Daredevil

Restaurant: Proletariat Pizza (same as last year)

Hardware: iPhone 4 and the Xbox 360 (not much change here)

Software: Kindle / Overdrive

Video Game: Mass Effect 2 (out in 2010 didn’t play till 2011)

Coffee: Monorail Espresso, Seattle, WA

Bar: Whistler, Chicago, IL

[2008 and 2009 Best of Lists & 2010 List]

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Note to 2012

I’ve taken my time reading Christopher Hitchens’ Letters to a Young Contrarian. The main reason is to ring in 2012 on a positive note of reason. If one were to draw out a main point/challenge to the reader it would be: to think better (if not differently). This feeds into to a constant assessment of the status quo and to give all things (especially tradition) a fair shake against the better forms of ourselves found in logic and human decency. The empowering sense in tackling ancient regimes and lies with true conviction makes 2012 another year worth ardent living and unflappable courage.

We still inhabit the prehistory of our race, and have not caught up with the immense discoveries about our own nature and the nature of the universe. The unspooling of the skein of the genome has effectively abolished racism and creationism, and the amazing findings of Hubble and Hawking have allowed us to guess at the origins of the cosmos. But how much more addictive is the familiar old garbage about tribe and nation and faith.

-Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian

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Bars and such

Over at there’s a little article detailing a lone bar in Baghdad that was once housed in the green zone. It’s an OK story but this response is aces. And makes all other bar tales pale in comparison:

World’s Most Dangerous Bar  ?—hardly.  Such a bombastic statement can only be made by those who have been there and drunk that. ( Disclaimer: I can only add a couple myself from firsthand experience  )

I have no clue what Spencer Ackerman’s qualifications to write such a tale might be, but perhaps his employers should finance a factfinding tour  and pick up his tabs.  I would suggest starting at some of the tamer pubs in Belfast . Connect the dots to the docks  for the Triple Crown in Talinn , St. Petersburg ( be very wary of anyone who still calls it Leningrad) and Archangel. If the latter if off limits, trundle up to Murmansk. The interior of Russia-Siberia has many bars or gory lore, but proof is somewhat lacking so we depend on the wild tales of the alleged survivors or eyewitnesses. Perhaps the worst saloons on the planet for ” ambiance” would be found in Vladivostok, that sunny souther Old Russian resort and port  where yopu can mix it up with the North Koeans, Shanghaiers, dark Japs and the ever cheery Soviets  for whom the Wall never fell.  It’s only becasue Petropavlovsk up there in Kamchatka is so isolated that Vlad the Imbiber  gets the honors in the Russian Far East dives.

One place I can attest to for world class bar gore is Bangkok ( several , actually ) and some real sh_it always going down in AIDs-infested blackmarketeering  He-She Chiang Mai. There are jungle pits  in the oil city of Cebu in the southern Phillpines and  the pirate haven of Ambon in the Moluccas , if you dare. Perhaps the ugliest bar scene on Earth , currently , could be found in the capital of the civil-war torn Solomon Islands, the lovely portside cesspool of Honiara  where the battle of Guadalcanal is the nightly floor show. My uncle hated it there when he was there…in 1943…and it’s no better today, I hear.

But for real olympic indulgence of carnage nothing beats east Africa and south Africa if your are Anglo . No particular place or joint…a just a swath of them. Interior Africa ?—well, that’s the Heart of Darkness. I would imagine it’s no fun going out for a night on the town in Lagos , Kuanda, and Accra , either.

That leaves Latin America. The night my bus from Mexico City broke down in Mezcala , Guerrero on the road to bipolar Acapulco  was blood curdling. No amount of the native blood thinning mezcal could help. But there are many bellicose bars in Latin America , narcos or not. Many.  Throw some darts at a map.

But Baghdad ?  the green zone ?? … well, the bar described herein is after all a country club . Especially when  compared to the real dangerous dive zones of the world.  For honest straight up reporting on this topic, forget the hype and faux journalists. Ask a merchant marine  whose got 20,000  leagues in his wake.

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PDF editor

Had to make sure this PDF editor works with Windows 7, so far so good.

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A Complaint on Complaining

My routine, often avoided when I’m not at work, of pouring over social media that is quick to deliver updates/thoughts from friends, acquaintances, and people I don’t even know displays an apparent and common thread: complaints are often brief and without rhyme or reason. To be fair I don’t expect a soliloquy in iambic pentameter rhapsodizing the flaws in the character of a beer, comic-book, or movie or on the choices/lifestyles of other humans. However we should demand evidence that isn’t based on piss-poor anecdotes or obvious subjectivity. It needs to register on a common and empathic level. Perhaps people complain for the sake of complaining. It makes them feel good to bitch and moan, catharsis at the expense of others. I challenge that being informed and then complaining is more fulfilling. It enhances the argument and improves one’s critical thinking. It’s really simple to do a quick study/research on the thing that is to be complained. My goal isn’t just to complain about something (for example Madmen) but rather to understand the nature of “it” and then rationalize the critique. Sure I can be off, sure I might get stuck on something, but it remains thought-out and always open to be engaged.

We can disagree. It’s a beautiful thing to come to an argument with different opinions and ideas, of which are rooted in a firm base of reality and with a broad world-view.  So who gets it right? In my opinion, Guttersniper employs his knowledge of comicdom and graphic design to effectively tackle subjects at hand. Perpetual memory loss takes history and facts to create informed opinions. Weak complaints are filled with obvious bias, sentimentality, and plain ignorance.

Then again, maybe it is the nature of being behind a screen and computer and across miles of digital information and lines. We can shoot off a two sentence complaint and move-on to the next thing. Content in being self-possessed, our attention need not dwell, free to wander, and free to enjoy superficial evaluations.

You will see me any morning in the park
Reading the comics and the sporting page.
Particularly I remark
An English countess goes upon the stage.
A Greek was murdered at a Polish dance,         75
Another bank defaulter has confessed.
I keep my countenance,
I remain self-possessed
Except when a street piano, mechanical and tired
Reiterates some worn-out common song         80
With the smell of hyacinths across the garden
Recalling things that other people have desired.
Are these ideas right or wrong?

-Portrait of a Lady, T.S. Eliot


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SF Beer Week 2011

The number of wildly impressive brews was shocking. It was perhaps the strongest showing of beers, compared to years past. The highlights outside of beer go to the Cartoon Museum, Golden Boy pizza, and hanging with friends.


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