Monthly Archives: January 2012

Five Thoughts on a Friday – The “Esoteric Endevour” Editon

Howdy folks,

I was planning on attempting to be a bit more out there than usual this week, and then my partner in silliness posted that robot video yesterday. I wondered briefly on how he found that but then I realized. I probably DON’T want to know why he was watching videos like that. Anyhow, let’s see what random ramblings we can come up with today to justify the silly title I used.

  1. I saw this one earlier in the week, and it’s too good to pass up. Especially since I’ve been into a ‘then versus now’ type of mood lately. Not nostalgia per se, just a comparative study. Plus, Heartbreak Ridge was on again last night.
  2. I’m sitting here still in shock that the Tigers signed Prince Fielder. The sports world seems a bit out of whack lately. Heck, even Peyton Manning, who’s always been fairly quiet and reserved and the owner of the Colts are getting a bit snippy in public. Weird.
  3. More weirdness..  How often do you see a headline that talks about an Inmate being Arrested. Think about the grammar of that for a second. An inmate, being arrested. For refusing to leave the lockup! The year is young, and only getting weirder.
  4. I can’t pass this one up. The title alone warrants comment. Potty-room pilfering. Now, the article goes on to talk about how the auto flushers are being stolen, and they mention a handyman who mentioned on a local TV station that they were probably being stolen and sold for scrap due t their components. You know what they don’t talk about in the article though? How it’s happening! I’m pretty sure your customers would notice someone with a toolbox walking in during business hours and taking the flushers. Not to mention all the water the now un-capped pipes would be spewing. (Remember folks – public restroom. Not like there’s a shutoff within reach)
  5. And one last fun one from the week that really makes you wonder…
    Dutch use F-16s to pursue criminal suspect. Yes, a fighter jet. My first thought was, “Damn, that must be one FAST suspect!” Turns out the pilots heard a call to track a fleeing criminal while on a training flight and volunteered to help. I still like my initial thought better. More entertaining, I think.

Okay folks, that’s five all over the map thoughts on a gray, rainy/snowy Friday. I got a request for a song/video to use at the end of this post earlier in the week, and promptly rejected it. Well, not so much rejected the thought of using it, just rejected using it for this post. I had already come up with one to use today. The song that was suggested does have me thinking about a separate post for it though. Before you head out, take a listen to the song in today’s video. Listen to the words. And if you can figure out what the hell they mean, please let us know. Because the first time I heard this song I thought it was a joke of some kind. Ladies and Gentleman… MacArthur Park.

Have a great weekend folks!
-Beer

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Complete useless internet item of this week…

Five Thoughts on a Friday – The “Frozen Nose” Edition

Howdy folks! It’s Friday and that means it’s time for another five thoughts. We’re coming to you live from the Frozen Tundra today. No, not from Lambeau Field in Green Bay. They’re out of the playoffs so I’m taking free reign to use the name a little bit. Except I’m in an office. That isn’t frozen. Or a tundra. Okay, I’m actually more in a frozen city that’s bracing for a potential snowstorm. But that doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? Anyways, let’s see what we come up with today, shall we?

  1. Today’s edition title comes from the true confirmation of the first real “It’s cold!!” day at Beerbarrel home base. It works like this,  upon walking outside, your first breath causes the inside of your nose to freeze up because the air is so cold. Yeah, it’s a lovely sensation. Really.
  2. Speaking of cold, and snow. I have to talk about an item from the news. Now, I can think of several ways (most of them being criminal) that this could have happened. However, the news here spins it as actual physical theft may have been the culprit. Of the city of Warren, Michigan missing 3,647 tons of rock salt. Yes, you read that right Three Thousand, Six Hundred Forty Seven TONS of rock salt. Right, because someone just backed up a few thousand pickup trucks and stole it one night.
  3. There are stories in the news that George Lucas – yes, THE George Lucas is talking retirement. While I know there are people out there who probably wish he’d done that before the whole Star Wars prequel movies, and especially before Indiana Jones 4, I’ll be sorry to see him go. The man is a legend of pop culture to several generations thanks to his movies. And I still want to see Red Tails.  If he is retiring, Harrison Ford should throw him a heck of a retirement party. A starring role in TWO giant blockbuster film franchises? And yes. Han shot first.
  4. Going from retirement, and Red Tails… to cracked wings. Okay, brackets that hold the wings, but close enough. Now, I understand the sentiment, and the reasoning for trying to reassure everyone that everything is safe, it isn’t a big deal and all that. But let’s be honest. There is no good way for Airbus to have to talk about the fact that cracks are being in the wings of their A380 superjumbo jet. Let’s be honest here Airbus and look at it from the point of view of the average person. The statement that “the cracks were found on a number of “non-critical” brackets inside the wings” doesn’t work. Here’s why – The brackets connect to the wings. The wings are critical to staying in the air. Therefore, there are no “non-critical” brackets holding the wings onto the plane.  Not to the average flier. Glad to have cleared that up for you.
  5. I’m not really sure where to go with the last one here today. There have been a few things that make easy targets this week. Paula Deen announcing she has diabetes, after getting an endorsement deal with a drug company. Anthony Bourdain making cracks about it on his Twitter account. A farmer being caught spray painting hawks. And then of course there was the disaster with the Italian Cruise ship and subsequent stories about the ship’s Captain. And there’s a new story today. About him ordering dinner AFTER the crash. At this point, I have to weigh in. Really, after the stories that have come out now I think the court of public opinion is totally ready to hang this guy. I think they need to keep him under house arrest in Italy but change the reasoning at this point. Really, now it’s gonna have to be for his own protection. His actions, well… Red?

Okay folks, that’s five thoughts on a very chilly Friday. So in an effort to find something to close out with, I made some calls to recording artists hoping to get a live performance streamed onto the site. None of the calls were returned. So, while we wait for the snow to get here, we’ll just make sure the heat is on.

(I don’t really know any celebrities to call, y’all know that, right?)

Have a great (and warm!) weekend folks!
-Beer

Why I didn’t black the blog out…

This blog is generally a politics free zone, but hear me out on this. I promise it isn’t too bad.

I got an email from WordPress last night, asking for support in protesting SOPA. They provided an option to black out the blog today (January 18th, 2012), in solidarity with a bunch of other sites. Sites you may have heard of, like Wikipedia.

The idea is to have all of these sites “go dark” to show what a chilling effect this act could have on speech on the internet. I’ve seen everyone from web designers to gaming companies come out against it. I happen to agree with them. I think it’s a poorly written, horribly piece of legislation that’s pandering to a special interest group with money. That being said, I chose not to black out the site.

Why? Well, I had a big long paragraph written up that nobody would read so let me just put it this way. You want to make all the backgrounds black as a protest, fine. But these sites, that people use, are restricting their access. All you see is the blackout page. This site might be able to disappear without anyone noticing, but I don’t agree with holding your readers or users hostage in order to try to sway them to your side. So I put up the ribbon, but left the text here. That’s why we didn’t black the site out today.

Have a great day folks!
-Beer

Five Thoughts on a Friday – The “Thirteenth!” Edition

Howdy folks, and welcome to a Friday the 13th edition of Five Thoughts. Yeah, I know. Playing up Friday the 13th is a cheap cop out for a subject for today’s post. Well, yes and no. But, I’ll get into that more in the body of the post. Shall we get started?

  1. Maybe it’s a sign of getting older, but is Friday the 13th even really that big a deal anymore? Seems to me that it used to seem a lot more ominous back when I was younger. It got talked about more. Horror movies would be on TV, that type of thing (As opposed to today, where the television programming basically is a horror). Maybe it’s because they finally stopped with the Friday the 13th movies after, what 127 of them? Just one of those weird things I wonder about from time to time.
  2. I realized last night, that we are quickly heading into one of the sports “Dead Zones” of the year. With the snoozer (unless you’re an Alabama fan, I guess) of the BCS title game college football is over. A few more weeks and the Superbowl will be played and then the NFL will be done for the season. What does all this incessant babbling mean? It means that if you aren’t into hockey and basketball, there isn’t going to be a heck of a lot, sports wise, to keep up with here very soon.
  3. Of course, from all endings, can come a beginning. Just as you realize you’re into a sport’s dead zone – the four magic words that signal the coming of summer are nearly ready to be uttered. We are just over a month out from the dates that “Pitchers and Catchers Report“. That’s right, as I sit here watching it snow we are roughly one month from the start of baseball spring training.
  4. And speaking of snow – here’s a little driving tip for the folks that were having such a hard time of it this morning. It really wasn’t that bad folks, and you’d have known that, and had a much easier drive in, if you had cleared the snow and ice off of your windshield before leaving! Being able to see where you’re going really does make a big difference in your driving experience. Trust me on that one. I’m right.
  5. Wow, talk about getting sidetracked. I stopped after thought number 4, and suddenly it’s almost lunchtime. Ah well. Crap happens. Don’t believe me? Ask the guys from Lincoln. Who had their shiny new MKZ concept start smoking at the Detroit Auto Show. Right when there was a guy from the newspaper there to catch a video of it. Oops.

Okay folks, that’s slightly tardy on a not very spooky Friday the 13th. I’m off to go do… other stuff. So, off we go with a little music to jam by.

Have a great weekend folks!
-Beer

Thoughts on Star Wars: The Old Republic

I’ve been a big fan of Star Wars since the original movie came out back when I was young. If I recall correctly my first Star Wars video game was even the Empire Strikes Back game for the Atari 2600. A few years back I bought a video game called Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. I had a blast playing it. So much so that I hunted down a copy of its predecessor, Knights of the Old Republic and played through that. Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed it. When word came out that there was going to be a new Star Wars MMO however, I was… unsure. Then it came out that Bioware, the company responsible for the original KOTOR game was going to be making it. Then came word that it was going to be “set” slightly after the KOTOR games, effectively making it an online, multiplayer KOTOR 3 of sorts. I began to develop some interest. I signed up for the beta. I got into some of the testing weekends. I bought Star Wars: The Old Republic.

So why all this babbling? Well, I figured I’d try my hand at a very non-traditional review and post some observations now that I’m far enough in to have unlocked a good chunk of the game. So, here we go.

First thought? Let’s get the 800 pound gorilla out of the room…This game is NOT World of Warcraft. I don’t mean that as either an inherently good or bad statement. I like World of Warcraft. Star Wars: The Old Republic is its own game. Each game has its good and not so good points. There are similarities, sure but the games definitely “feel” different to me.

Much like the earlier Knights of the Old Republic games, the progressions in SWTOR isn’t completely linear. By that, I mean there are huge story choices, which can impact how certain other characters in the game interact with you. So you could basically play the same class twice, make different choices, and get two somewhat different stories. (Not completely different mind you, you do still stick to the same basic script).

In the spirit of “buddy” movies throughout the ages, you’ll spend most of the game traveling with a companion. And for the record, the Smuggler class flies a freighter and has a Wookie available as a companion, so I think Han Solo would approve. I also really like that as get more companions, you can send the ones that aren’t with you off to gather materials or make things for you. They aren’t just back at the ship playing cards or hanging out at the local cantina.

Playing the game, I’m finding it very immersive. The story writing is very enjoyable, if maybe a tad predictable. But hey, it’s a game based on a movie world. Good guys have to fight bad guys, or it would make for a very boring game. It is STAR WARS, Not STAR PEACE after all. And speaking of the stars, I’m a big fan of the space battles. It’s not that they’re horribly difficult once you get the hang of the controls and the objective of the different battles. It’s the little things. The sounds, straight out of the movies. The visuals, the scale it imparts. And the little comments from your crew members that make it so entertaining. During one space battle one of my companions suggested we’d be better off if I let the droid fly the ship. Ouch.

But that’s the fun of it though. The voice acting is very well done. There are cutscenes galore that really help it feel like you’re playing though a movie. The comments from and occasional conversations with your companions really sell the story.

Yes, there are some of the traditional MMO drawbacks in the game, but such is life. There are just certain things you have to have, no matter what the game is.

Overall, I like it. And in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about? Isn’t that why even as we “grow up”, we still play video games? Because we like it? That’s enough for me. I’ll probably post more about it when I think of stuff, but there you go. A Beerbarrel review of Star Wars: The Old Republic. I guess, to borrow from Siskel and Ebert, I’d give it two beers up.

Have fun out there folks!
-Beer

Five Thoughts on a Friday – The “No Resolutions Here” Edition

Happy New Year Everyone!

Yes, I know that’s several days late. But hey, it’s still my first post of 2012. As you can see from the title, we’re looking to stay away from resolutions here. Now, I do understand them for the most part. The start of a new year seems like a good time to turn over a new leaf, so to speak. Eat better, exercise more, etc., etc..  (And honestly – After the food rampage that runs from Thanksgiving through New Years Day in the states, who couldn’t do with a bit of diet watching and more exercise?). Still, we prefer to be off in our own little corner of the world doing our own thing, and with that said – let’s get started!

  1. I’ve touched on this before, but I will never, EVER understand people who thing using their brake pedal in their vehicle is the best way to merge onto the expressway. You’re trying to merge in with vehicles traveling far faster than you are by… slowing down. Yeah, makes perfect sense. To them, I guess.
  2. The NFL playoffs are starting this weekend. And for the first time since the 1990’s, the Detroit Lions are in the playoffs. You know, maybe the Mayans were onto something with this end of the world stuff….
  3. Talk about a “disturbance in the force”. I’m guessing that’s what you’ll feel if you try the new Darth Vader themed burger mentioned in this article. Well, you’ll probably feel a disturbance, I’ll leave it at that. Also, since this is centered around “The Phantom Menace“, shouldn’t it be named the “We should have just left the whiny little brat in the desert and avoided this whole mess” burger? Okay, yeah. Maybe a shorter name is needed.
  4. One of the great memes around is that a lot of the videos you see on the internet probably were directly proceeded by something along the lines of “Here, hold my beer”. Why do I mention this? Because a man in Florida (Isn’t it all to often from Florida?) ordered a beer, disappeared for about 30 minute, then came back. After robbing a bank. Which makes me wonder, what the heck kind of beer did he order that he needed to rob a bank to pay for it?
  5. Lastly, we’re kicking around an idea that could almost be called an anti-resolution. Or at least a campaign. At a time of year when every one else is trying to eat right, lose weight, and get healthy…  We’re going to try to.. “Save the coneys!” Stay tuned for details, and more posts.

Okay folks, that’s (a bit tardy) five, and I’m ready to wrap up this first week of the year and shuffle into the weekend. So, once again folks, happy 2012 and we’ll see you soon!

Have a great weekend folks!
-Beer