Archive for November, 2011

Welcome back mi amigos. It’s been awhile. Hasn’t been a whole wealth of things to happen since last post, but I’ve got some stuff that I can throw down with here. Speaking of throw down, I’ve got another game review for you today. So, let’s load out with Updates and New News.

Modern Warfare 3 launched the other day, and having beat the campaign, I think it’s time for another Game Review. I know I said that Gears of War 3 was next on the chopping block, but I still haven’t gotten around to the multiplayer yet.

Let’s start with the campaign. Essentially, a Russian ultranationalist acts as a grand marionette and pulls the world into World War III. They say that the story picks up wear Modern Warfare 2 left off, but it being a war game, they can pick it up where ever they really want to. However, they bring in the major players from Modern Warfare 2, so it’s certainly the spiritual successor to it. The fight brings you to many locations around the world, New York, Berlin, London, Moscow (I think), and other parts of Russia, the Middle East, and North Africa. I might be missing a few, but you get the gist of it, it’s a global debacle meriting the moniker of WWIII.

Sidebar: What I’ve told so far is implied, if not directly stated in all the promotional material for the game. What is about to follow are details about the story that some might like to learn on their own, so it goes without saying (or maybe it doesn’t), SPOILER ALERT! If you don’t know what to know what happens in the campaign skip down to the second half.

So hear is the campaign in a nutshell. You start off getting introduced to the major players, and a few returning ones. Not long after The President of the Russian…Federation? I dunno, but an attempt is made to kidnap the President of Russia, a successful attempt…I think. Some of the details of the story don’t make sense, so I question my memory at this point. Anyways, not long after, numerous biological gas bombs are unleashed around the world, which while very destructive and hazardous, it proves to be a smokescreen (no pun intended) for the Russian invasion and occupation of Europe. Many battles ensue between the Russian forces and the rest of the world before it is discovered that the strings are being pulled not by the Russian President, but rather this ultranationalist, who just wants to watch the rest of the world burn. The end goal of the ultranationalist is to get the russian president to get up the launch/arming codes for the myriad of nuclear armaments at Russia’s disposal. The President won’t talk, so his daughter is kidnapped. The good guys find and pursue the base of operations, and retrieve the President and his daughter. The ultranationalist escapes, but the final mission has you pursuing in a grandiose way. You are given some big bulky armor, capable of sustaining some powerful abuse, and a BFG. You and one other, equally outfitted come and crash his party in a high-rise restaurant and face a small army worth of body guards. After expending as much munitions as 3 or 4 of the other combined missions, you catch up with the ultranationalist on the roof. You jump on to his helicopter as it takes off, punch the bajesus out of his pilot and co-pilot, and bring his chariot violently back down to the roof. After a struggle on the glass roof, you manage to wrap a rope around his neck and shatter the glass below him. After going down in the hail of shattered glass, you look up to see him dangling with a tightened noose around his neck. It’s all very poetic, in a scorched earth kind of way. With that out of the way, you sit back, light up a smoke, and wait for the credits to take you away.


Beyond the campaign, is the multiplayer and the spec-ops. The multiplayer is exactly what you’d come to expect from a Call of Duty game. You start off with access to a few guns, and as you level up you gain access to more guns, attachments, camouflage colors, perks, killstreaks, and all manor of other goodies. You’re facing off against other players from around the world in various game types, the most popular of which being team deathmatch. It’s all good and grand, but I honestly liked the level up system given to you in Call of Duty: Black Ops better. Instead of acquiring upgrades in a uniform fashion, you are given money to buy the upgrades that you choose. I also feel like they missed the ball in bringing back the Combat Training, which essentially put you in all the various multiplayer game types, but up against bots, where you can control the difficulty of your enemies. That was a feature that I really loved about Black Ops; if I am out of practice I can work my way back up to fighting form and get back out there doing it against actual opponents.

The last element of the game is Spec Ops. If you’ve played Modern Warfare 2, which let’s be honest, not many of us haven’t, the Spec Ops element hasn’t changed much. You’re given mini-missions, and either a certain amount of time or a certain point total needed to finish them. You can play by yourself, you can play with a friend, and now, you can play with a stranger over Xbox Live. You also get unlockables, though I’m not sure how they are applied in Spec Ops. This option is nice for getting in some quick gameplay, and for training your reflexes.

Modern Warfare 3 has a strong campaign, with a good and enjoyable storyline. The multiplayer is solid, and there is guaranteed to always be a good selection of competitors. There’s not much lacking from this game, and that which is can be easily overlooked.
I give it a 5 out of 5.

Am I done yet? Oh heck no. I’ve got one more thing that happened back on Tuesday that I need to talk about. So I’ve met this awesome chick in my Spanish class who goes by several names, and I choose to call her Miko. She’s also in the RTF program, so there’s naturally already a lot that we have in common. I could dive into a lot of her great qualities, but this post is already fairly lengthy, so I’ll jump to the point. She told me that one of her favorite artists was going to be performing in Dallas at Trees this past Tuesday, a Japanese artist named Miyavi. I don’t get out much, and I love going to concerts when I get the opportunity, so when she said that I was welcome to tag along, I went and got myself a ticket. (Actually, I drove, so wouldn’t it be her tagging along?) Miko told me that the last performance of his that she went to was sub-standard, so I set my expectations low, and would be content with just getting out of the house for the night. This show…it was straight up awesome! I didn’t expect to go to this concert and get blown away by an artist that I was unfamiliar with, but by God I was. Miyavi is a 2 man operation; the front man, Miyavi himself as the singer and guitarist, and his drummer, Bobo.

Have you ever seen the movie, August Rush? You had that musical prodigy kid that play the guitar, but slap guitar. Miyavi plays slap guitar. I have never actually seen this before in my life, and I was fascinated. My mind was boggled by how quick he could pop those strings.
You might think, how much can a 2-man-band do. Well Miyavi uses a lot of looping, so he can lay down one track and keep building on it. He also likes to screw with his loops; cutting the duration in half, quarter, or just play micro second durations, making it sound like he’s a DJ scratching a disk. He also plays with the pitch and the speed, so it sounds very electronic and dubstepy in places. It’s amazing the things you can do with simple effects processors and a talented technician.

I was impressed, and have been made a fan. Another cool think about Miyavi is that he liked to have fun with the crowd, and talked to us quite a bit. There was also a portion of the concert were pulled out an acoustic, played a few songs and then started taking requests from the crowd. He’s real appreciative of his fans, and he’s a Mac guy.

Here are a couple of vids shot by another concert goer of Miyavi, just so you can get a taste of the experience.

I should also mention that the band that opened up for Miyavi, The Commotion, was pretty good too. If you haven’t seen or heard of either of these bands, and you feel that your musical tastes are akin to mind, you might want to check them out.

Well, that’s all I have for today. Thanksgiving is coming up pretty soon, and with that mi cumpleaños (my birthday). So there should be a couple posts coming up about anticipating the break and the activities over the break.

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– The Outlaw


Oh. My. Goodness. Friends and Followers, what a week we’ve had here. I need to give you a quick preview before we go fully in depth…there’s dancing, inebriation, costumes, police, flashing lights, firearms, and crazy people. Interests peeked? Good, I’d normally jump in with Updates and New News, but I wish to tell you a tale. So pull up a chair and strap in. If you wanna grab a drink, or maybe a snack, I’ll wait. We’re cool like that.

This afternoon was rather entertaining. I was on my way back from my morning class when I saw a police truck driving around with one of those mobile command stations that they usually set up in mall parking lots and raise up to 40 feet.

I thought, “Hmm, that’s fairly odd to be seeing around here.” As I’m halfway back from the bus stop, I see it pull into my neighborhood. Huh, that can’t be good. I get back to my house and see that the cops are setting it up across the street. Oh dang, someone must have ratted us out! Someone must have narc’d us out from our party the other night.
Oh that glorious glorious party. Let us go back a few days…it was a Friday.

Woosh woosh woosh (and other flashback noises)

Friday night started off like any other night. I was working on some homework and planning on watching a DVD or two and just have a quiet night, in anticipation of the impending activities the next night. My roommates had other plans. They, plus the next doors neighbors and other guests, decided to decided to come over to our place and pre-game for another party being held two houses down. Being the social creature that I am, I crawled out of my hole and joined the gang for pre-gaming activities. After a while, I decided that I was going to join them for the party, so as they went next door to do more pre-gaming and more preparation, I superman’d myself into a throwback costume from a couple years ago.

Sidebar- This picture is from 2008, so no, I didn’t magically grow my hair down to my shoulders in a week or so. I popped over next door and pre-gaming turned into full on partying and home-wreckery. (Rest assured, I was in no way responsible for any damaged goods.) We decided about then, maybe we should head to the real party. So we did, and we did. Within no time the party opened up to a full swing, and people started arriving in groves. A lot of people.

I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t stick around very long. The room got packed, wall to wall. And there were a lot of disagreements going on. We sensed drama in the air, so some of us left before that D-bomb hit. The party spilled back over into our house so we could all stay chilled. There were a few efforts from members of the other party to get us to help them calm their party down, but we were sufficiently content in our laziness, and by in large let the other party self-destruct. I was tired though, and alas, things kept up at my house until about 4 in the morning.

The party wrapped, I slept, and tadaa! It’s Saturday. I won’t bore you with the menial details that brought us from Saturday morning to Saturday night, but in no time, it was party time. My friends were the first to arrive, and we were able to get in a few round of Fear Pong to start the night off right and put some wins in my corner. Unfortunately, my friends are adults, and had things they had to do in the morning, so they were also the first to leave. Thanks for coming though, had a blast.

The night continued, and the fun continued to increase and increase. I feel like their were 2 big things that were the catalyst for the party going as smoothly and serenely as it did: The house drink, and the house beats. I made this drink, a drink that I brought back from a grand and mysterious land. Some call it heaven, I like to call it Iowa. I may not have invented Apple Pie, but I did bring it to Denton Texas, and create a following for it. We tried to get everyone in attendance to take at least one shot, and everyone that did agreed; it was fantastic. We went through all of it, not a drop left. Definitely making good on one of my rules.
Rule #2: Don’t waste a good thing. (Pretty much also Gibbs’ Rule #5)
My roommates also had a slammin’ sound system set up with a playlist planned out for the entire night. The beats only got better as the night went on, and for the last 3 hours or so of the party, it was a big pants on dance off. (I can’t lie, pants stayed on tonight.) The party went on until the wee hours of the morning, until it was 4 AM again, and we had time to reflect on the amazing time that was just had.

Tales have been told about the epic nature of the party that was thrown here Saturday night. We have been commissioned to throw more, and more we shall. It looked though that someone might have blown the whistle when I got back from class today and saw the police setting up shop outside of our house. Thank goodness though that our fans are loyal, and that wasn’t the reason the cops were here. No, that was something different altogether.

Over our backyard fence is the Hampton Inn. At the Hampton Inn today was una loca mujer. A real crazy lady, that decided…what the hell, I wanna be crazy with a gun. So yea, we had a situation just beyond our backyard involving a crazy woman with a gun. And the police decided to set up there mobile command center in our front yard…landing us in between the police and crazy woman. Well, this is awesome. A cop at one point came up to the door and laid out the situation about as well as I just laid it out to you, and to say that we should stay on the bottom floor, stay inside, and crawl around if necessary. After we were told this, we did a lot of window watching. Outside my front window, we could see a lot of people carrying on about their usual business, and genuinely not giving a second thought to the whole situation. I don’t blame them either. There is a street in between our place and the hotel, and at one point we saw someone walking down the street, oblivious to the situation taking place. The police obviously didn’t expend a lot of effort clearing the area of civilians, so it couldn’t have been that bad of a situation.

It’s been crazy. It’s been intense. And yet, I’m still alive and kicking. Things are better than ever, and continue to find myself looking forward with a positive outlook.

‘I will be me, and you will be you. At the end of the day, that’s sometimes all we can do.’

I’ll leave you this time with a family pic of all the roommates. Hasta pronto, mi amigos.

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– The Outlaw