Archive for December, 2007

It’s Orange, it’s Boxy.

I now am in possession of The Orange Box. For those not inclined towards videogaming, The Orange Box is a compilation of 5 games: Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode 1, Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Team Fortress 2, and Portal. And all five of them are absolutely spectacular works.

Half-Life 2 is what it says, the second chapter in the Half-Life story. It also uses a revolutionary graphics and in-game physics engine that has set the standard for every First-person shooter to follow it. All of these games use that engine to some extent.

Half-Life 2: Episodes 1 and 2 should really be numbered as Half-Life 3. They’re direct sequels that continue Half-Life 2’s story. Valve releases them in short episodes to shorten development time (of which they are notorious for having extremely long of).

Team Fortress 2 is a class-based multiplayer FPS. By “class-based” I mean that when you jump into a game, you pick from one of 9 classes, such as Soldier, Scout, Spy, Medic, etc, and you have different weapons and abilities based on that choice. And you can change whenever you feel like. It’s basically a big chaotic game with everyone trying to survive and accomplish the mission (which usually involves capturing control points) but it’s still a lot of fun. So far, my class of choice seems to be the engineer. I love building sentry guns.

Portal…Portal is very very different. It’s not even really a shooter. It’s a first person puzzle game. Your only weapon is a gun that, when you fire it, places a blue portal opening on a flat surface. Use the alt fire, and it places a yellow one. Now by walking through either of these portals, you instantly come out the other end. Same goes for any objects. Sounds easy right? Well, now try to imagine what happens if you put one portal on the floor and the other on the wall, and fall through it. You’ll come out of the wall with the same momentum you got from falling through the first portal. Basically the game consists of you using this gun to get around obstacles, move items where they need to go, avoid hazards, and the like. But there’s a very very startling and compelling storyline around it all that can leave you uneasy and on your toes. It’s a great great game, albeit a little short. There’s plenty of timed challenges outside of the main story for you to play with after, though.

So basically, you get all 5 of those games for dirt cheap, like a total of $50. That’s an insanely good deal.

I also got a new long sleeve shirt and a sample set of colognes.

Well, as you can probably guess, with Call of Duty 4, The Orange Box, and my warlock in World of Warcraft going so well, I’ve been gaming a lot this holiday. And I haven’t been disappointed by one of them! This is going to make it hard to finish BioShock before the end of next month though, but I’ve just got to knuckle down and do it!

But not this weekend. In a few short hours I’ll be heading down to Waco to celebrate the new year with Chris and Kelley plus whoever else is down there (and who that might be, I don’t know!)

See ya’ll in 2008!

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Best Internet running gag ever.

You know, I may vote for Huckabee just for doing this. This is absolutely hilarious.

Froliche Weinachten!

That means Merry Christmas in German, in case you were wondering.

Hey all, I know it’s been a whiles, but I’ve been on Christmas holiday since last Thursday, enjoying time off, doing last minute Christmas shopping, and catching up on my movies and reading and gaming.

Tonight we went to one of my cousin’s house for the big family get together. It’s always fun to see everyone again, even if it is only a month later. Thanksgiving is always a big all day affair thing with us, mostly due to the Cowboys game. Christmas Eve is generally more subdued, but we did play a Christmas-themed Bingo game, with the winners picking from a variety of presents on a “prize table”. I was quite happy, I ended up with something I almost always get in my stocking, one of those Lifesavers “Sweet Storybooks” that has a bunch of different rolls in them. Mom couldn’t find one this year, but luckily someone else did, and I got it!

Speaking of Mom, she got me two Star Wars books (“Death Star” and “Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force”), Call of Duty 4: Limited Collector’s Edition(Sweet awesome game!) and two pairs of Jeans (which I needed!). I got her some new curtains for the living room and the new Nicholas Sparks book, the name of which is escaping me at the moment.

Tomorrow is just the immediately family down at Nan’s house. No idea what we’re gonna do, other that have Christmas lunch! Guess we’ll find out tomorrow.

I’m usually not one for New Year’s resolutions, especially the typical ones like “Stop smoking” or “lose weight”, but I do have some personal goals that I’d like to have done this year:

1. Be better about updating this thing, especially with reviews about games I’m playing or cool stuff I found.
2. Purchase a domain name for this blog. I’m thinking either http://www.conflagration.com or maybe http://www.thebmatt.com.
3. Finish Bioshock before February 1st.
4. Hang out with my friends more often.
5. Actually go swimming at some point this summer. Believe it or not, not one time did I swim at all in 2007’s summer. I kid you not.

So yeah, small stuff really, but it’s what I’d like to do.

Anyway, hope ya’ll are having a Merry Christmas and will have a great New Year. I have no idea what I’m doing for that one either! Love ya’ll

Schrodinger’s Brandon may or may not be in the box

You know, I read a lot of webcomics. I like them better than print comics. They often have better art, better storylines, or say what you’re always wanting to say but can’t because of editorial censorship. Yeah that’s right, Mr. Erstman, I’m talking to you.

But I think I hit an important milestone today.

xkcd is the first webcomic with more than one comic that I’ve wanted to print out and place on my cubicle wall at work. Actually, I think I could say that about the majority of them.

Geeky humor + romance = win.

In other news, my Christmas shopping is almost done. I only have one more person to buy for, and one more gift to get for my Mom. I like that feeling.

I shall be taking Thursday and Friday of this week off. I really should take more, because that’s one more day where I won’t feel totally useless because nearly everyone else is already off. But alas, two days shall work. Then I have the whole next week off. Yay!

There’s a couple of you folks in Waco that I DO have presents for. You know who you are. If not, here’s a hint. If I’ve been in your wedding recently (def: the past semester), I have something for you. Please call me and let me know if I can visit you at any point in the above mentioned vacation time to give you said presents or if I should wait til after you all come back. Also, I love you guys. Merry Christmas either way.

Attention: Tony Romo. I know this is coming from a fairly fickle football follower (holy CRAP alliteration!!), but seriously man, what the crap happened? Also, I still don’t get what you see in her, and I really hope to God you’re looking beyond the surface.

Mom should be home with our dinner now, so I should depart. That chicken ain’t gonna eat itself.
Or will it?

I shall never know. Hunger, once again, has overriden curiousity.

Night ya’ll!

Edit: Discovered this after I posted the entry, too cute not to show

funny pictures

Golden Compass apparently lost it’s way

You know, even with all the controversy surrounding the author and his anti-Catholic/religious/what-have-you beliefs, I still on some level thought I might see the Golden Compass. Just to see if it really WAS as negative about Christianity as everyone seems to think. (Not about to get the book though, too many other things I’d rather read that I haven’t yet.)

However, I don’t think I’ll be doing that either. Since it apparently is terrible

Just wondering what you guys thought of the film, or the book if you’ve read it. Comment away!

The Stones…or perhaps Stoneage….Stone Age?

Christopher and Kelley Stone.

Awwwwwww.

So we got the guy all good and married. It was a fun weekend.

I show up on Friday night, we’re all gonna go out and have some wings, then go do something else fun. Well, we end up deciding we’ll go do Capture the Flag on campus, but we don’t have enough people to make it good, so we decide to play Sardines in Draper instead.

As most of you have probably heard by now, that didn’t exactly end well for us. Somebody, and I suspect it was the cleaning crew, called DPS on us.

Let me backtrack. I found Chris (our initial hider) before the last few people did, and somebody decided they didn’t all want to hide, we should all move around as a group. Which, I should point out, is against the rules of Sardines, last I checked. But, everyone ran off, and Josh and I got seperated from the group because we ran into the guys who hadn’t found Chris yet. So we walk around with them for a while, both Josh and I are mad because neither of us like this idea, and at some point I slipped away, and ran off to look for the group. All of the sudden a DPS officer comes around the corner and orders me to sit down. Tony’s there, he’s already been caught. She starts questioning us about what we’re doing there, and all this mess. Some more DPS officers come out of the elevator, apparently they haven’t found them either. Finally, she asks me to call the others on my phone and get em over here, which I did, though I honestly should have told them to just leave.

Basically they run our names and all to make sure none of us are wanted or anything, then they proceed to tell us that we could be charged with criminal trespassing for being inside a building that is supposed to be closed. But they’re not, they’re just going to let us go. So all’s well, right?

Uh, no. Not at all. For one thing, the doors were not locked. You can’t charge us for trespassing on a college campus when the doors aren’t locked. Secondly, there are no posted hours anywhere on that building, last I checked. I’ve been in that building late on a Friday night before, and no one had a problem with it then. Thirdly, there were OTHER STUDENTS in that building and none of them were asked to leave.

So basically, they blew a lot of smoke at us, but no fire. We didn’t break in, we didn’t damage anything in the building, and you got nothing. Quit wasting your time and go actually catch some bike thieves for once.

Anyway, now that I have that rant out of my system…the wedding was beautiful. Earle-Harrison House in Waco is truely a lovely spot. The gazebo where they had the ceremony was swarming with ladybugs, hilariously enough. They were crawling all over the groomsmen and bridesmaids, but it still went great. And Kelley, I take back every bad thing I said about those brown tuxes. Those were pretty pimp, I gotta admit.

Wishing them both the best, as always.

I would like to say thanks to Rudyard’s parents who hosted a bonfire/cookout for us on Saturday night. Had an absolute ball hanging out there with everyone, ridin’ through a dark field in Rudyard’s truck, sittin around a giant fire, watching a magnesium battery burn in said fire, and eatin’ chicken. What else could ya need?

In more nerdy news, it seems Justin is wanting to organize a D&D game that meets something like once a month, and we’ve gotten several people interested in playing, among them Lee, Josh, and Jule Bradford. Plus me, of course. This is looking like a fun opportunity to get back in to the game. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be the one doing the DM-ing. I’m excited about that, I’ve never done it regularly before, and I think it’ll be fun putting together little mini-adventures for everyone to go on. I’ve even got some ideas brewin’ in the ol’ noggin.

I did not realize this, but Josh has an incredible collection of classic point-and-click adventure games from Sierra and Lucasarts. I found this out for the first time this weekend. He even gave me all the files I’d need to run some of them, including Maniac Mansion and Sam and Max Hit The Road. I have an old CD-ROM copy of Sam and Max, but I could never get it to run on XP. That is, until I discovered a nifty app called ScummVM. SCUMM is the old utility that Lucasarts made Maniac Mansion with (it actually stands for Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) and further versions of it were used to make sucessive point and click games, like Monkey Island, Loom, or the aformentioned Sam and Max. ScummVM basically creates an environment within XP in which these games can be run perfectly (VM = Virtual Machine). I played through Sam and Max again for the past couple of days, and man it’s so much fun, and still hilarious. If you have any of these old games, or were a fan and might like to play them again, go download ScummVM and see what it’s compatible with. You can probably find a lot of the old games online as freeware, or talk to Josh about getting some of them.

Well I think that’s it for me. Talk to ya’ll later, and Merry Christmas!

funny pictures