Archive for December, 2008

Nose compadre

I’ve had a cold for a couple of days now (which I suspect comes from my girlfriend…) and I’ve come to understand the wonder that is the Nosebuddy. Yes, Nosebuddy – such an awful name for such a wonderful (and phallic!) thing. It’s one of those “new agey yoga thingies”, but despite the fact that our Nosebuddy has some kind of silly lotus flower on it (which should increase the energy flow through the bullshit chakra), it’s really all about running salt water through your nose. Yes, that’s it! Salt water! It’s amazing how some people have managed to make money on what is basically just a specialized utility for running water through the nose. Next step would naturally be to get a patent on some specific mixture of salt and water… perhaps even add another worthless mineral just to make it super exclusive!

Anyhow, starting these sicky, sucky days with running salt water through the system has been simply wonderful. Apparently it’s completely normal to do this up to three times a day, which seems a bit like overkill, but I can definitely see the attraction. In fact, I think I will up my own number tomorrow, even.

Finished the single-player campaign of Gears of War 2 this weekend (on Normal). It was decent, not much more, and the finale was somewhat disappointing to say the least. But having beaten the game, I decided to take a little trip into Gears of War 2’s multiplayer. I played a fair bit of the first game’s multiplayer, and having read about the new game modes I was a bit curious to see how well it actually worked.

A couple of hours later, I turned off the console with mixed feelings. I first tried the Horde mode, which was a bit confusing at first, but still pretty straightforward: survive 50 rounds of increasingly difficult mobs of monsters. Fair enough. What it resulted in, however, was a trash-talk fest with a bunch of 14 year olds using their headsets rather vigorously and a game mode that felt more like a time sink than an engaging challenge. Still, it’s fun to shoot at stuff, to some degree.

I then attempted to try the more deathmatch-oriented multiplayer modes but I was unfortunately stuck in the matchmaking lobby for 10 minutes without the hope of ever finding suitable matches. This leads me to think of two possible reasons: either there’s very little people playing Gears of War 2 online (on a Saturday night even!) or the matchmaking system is completely messed up! Either way it was a disappointment, and I ended up playing a round of Uno instead. That’s right, Epic. Uno.

It took me about 10 seconds to find a four player game and they all hung around for the whole game, never even using their headsets. Something tells me that there aren’t a lot of 14 year old kids playing Uno, which I think can only be considered a good thing. So, Uno – Gears of War 2: 1 – 0.

Nobel peace prize

Just watched the Nobel Peace Prize concert on TV, hosted by Sir (important!) Michael Caine and Scarlett Johansson. All in all a decent event, with Martti Ahtisaari looking like an old teddy bear and Diana Ross looking like an old… Michael Jackson. It may seem kinda funny that the Peace Prize event is held in Oslo when the rest of the Nobel festivities are held in Stockholm, but that’s what Alfred explicitly requested in his will. The more you know!

Left 4 Dead

Run! Free popcorn!

I’ve been spending a fair amount of time lately playing Left 4 Dead on PC. I knew from the beginning that it’d be at least an interesting game, but ever since I tried out the demo I’ve been completely hooked. Smart move, Valve, you just knew that all you needed to do was release a two-map demo and you’d reel everyone in, didn’t you?

Anyhow, I’ve finished all four campaigns several times and I’ve also given the Versus mode some time as well. I wasn’t all too interested in playing Versus as infected to begin with – it just seemed tacked-on, somehow. But playing a couple of rounds of Versus as a Boomer or a Hunter was more than enough to make me almost favor that mode. There’s just something incredibly satisfying about creeping up on another human player and messing with him just when he’s the most vulnerable.

For a game that contains so little content, Left 4 Dead sure makes good use of what it has. I’m very curious to see where Valve goes from here, what added content they’ll provide. While the most obvious features might be new maps, I’d like them to flesh things out on other levels – some new weapons, perhaps some new survivor types (a four-player SWAT squad perhaps) and some new special zombies? Hell, that’d make those four campaigns worth grinding through at least fifty times more! Yup, I’m into it that much!

Also, it’s nice with a coop game that takes its coop so seriously. There are plenty of incentives for teamwork, and the biggest one would be the mere fact that keeping your buddies alive will ensure your own survival as well. Yeah, it’s very difficult to survive without a friend nearby – all it takes is one special zombie (a Hunter or a Smoker) and you could be downed and killed. I don’t think any zombie game has ever conveyed this aspect better, not even Resident Evil or Dead Rising. This is probably the first real zombie game that manages to maintain the mood and the panic of the ideal zombie apocalypse scenario. Great, great stuff!

Proper work

Spent the evening fixing some stuff at home, using screw drivers and drillers – you know, proper tools for proper work. It’s easy to get satisfied by the measliest little job if it requires at least some strength. I guess that’s the future of urban vacations – sending city kids to the countryside to have them chop wood or paint houses. They’d have a blast!

I’ve had a number of blogs through the years and none of them have lived for longer than, say, a couple of months. It’s difficult to find the focus and motivation to post, what language to write in and what you want to reveal and what you want to keep to yourself. All of these things are matters that one must consider when writing online, because you never know who might find your writings and what they might make of it. For instance, I remember when I applied for my current job – it just so happened that a number of people at the company had taken their time to look me up on the Internet. Sure, my CV included a link to some of my work online, but it did take just a pinch of extra effort to look up my blog. But so they did, and there was the naked truth just under the noses. Luckily, the blog didn’t contain anything overly embarassing, but you never know – when you least expect it, your future boss might see your photos of your piss drunk mug on Facebook!