October 2004


The President Bled On Me

by Matthew Hawkins

So last night I went to a performance by GWAR. Joe, who recently did some artwork for them, treated us all (Jay and June came along, and had never seen them live before, as well as Joe’s longtime, childhood friend Russ who has seen them many times in Philly along with Joe) to both dinner and the show. Now that he’s now buddies with rock stars, he gets to hand out with them, like GWAR. The funniest thing he mentioned when hanging out with them earlier in the afternoon when getting his payola was them mentioning to the venue’s management that the huge disco-ball on the ceiling was going to get blood on it.

It’s really hard to describe the band, let alone one of their shows. If you like crazy costumes, seeing celebrities killed and their intestines eaten on stage, deafening 80′s heavy metal, find abortion and child rape funny, and getting soaked in blood, then GWAR is the band for you.

First off, the crowd was a pretty interesting mix: 50/50 metal heads (your average GWAR audience) and Willamsburg hipsters (who there cuz, you know, GWAR is from the eighties, and is therefore ironic or postmodern or whatever). The instant I saw them, I grew worried. Also, I had heard that the band might be going a more serious route, which would be insane (they were built on baby rape, and goddamn it, they’re nothing without it).

Thankfully there was nothing to fear. Granted, they mostly played songs from the new album and their stage show this time lacked the regular gang of wacky characters, as well as a strong narrative, but they were in classic GWAR form: loud, rude, and wet. I wanted blood, and I fucking got blood. And the crowd was great. I find myself right up front and a bit to the left, and flirting with moshers the whole time, but everyone was cool, and simply there to enjoy the music and not cause shit. Those hipster pussies stayed in the balcony and out of everyone’s way, which was good.

It’s no surprise that the show had a political tinge. Right in the beginning, the band killed Kerry (the minute his head got chopped off, I got a face full of blood), then Schwarzenegger (who’s dialogue was pretty hilarious), Paris Hilton, Michael Jackson (of course…. highlight of that was Oderus snatching away MJ’s baby and holding onto it via it’s penis with his teeth), and the Prez himself, George W (who especially had a ton of guts and entrails for the band to rip out and eat).

Crisis occurred just as Laci Peterson was getting an abortion on stage; I literally got kicked in the back of the head (as some guy was being carried to the front) so my glasses got knocked off and fell to the ground. It’s something I always worry about when going to a rock show (it’s the only reason why I stay out of the pit actually). Amazingly I was able to bend down, feel around for a bit, and found it in just a few seconds. It was a fucking miracle, I swear to God.

The climactic final battle was between GWAR and an awesome tank/robot thing with Ronald Reagan’s head which was sent my the GOP to wipe out the band. It was simply amazing, and I really wish I had a picture of it. I had entertained the notion of borrowing a camera from work, but it was a good thing I didn’t cuz it was would have been totally ruined by all the blood, oil, and seamen that was flowing about. I tried using my camera phone, but it sucks, so none of my pics came out good except one (though that’s debatable). I actually spent a good deal of the show being distracted by one girl who’s camera phone was simply amazing. Even from twenty feet away, I could tell the resolution…

Anyway, GWAR had trouble ripping the arms off, but eventually they got it, and the chest, which had inside a tiny Nancy Reagan (whom I didn’t recognize at first since she had both her beasts) that they tore apart. BTW, the screw ups is always my fave part of the show. Like the last time I caught them, Oderus fucked up a joke and they played crickets chirping. I don’t know why I find that so funny.

In the end, they chopped off the head of another guy and brought out a huge bazooka that was looked like a long, elongated rib cage and everyone got a final facial blast of blood.

After the show Joe, as well as June, was drenched in blood, but I had worse (or is it best?). We all looked like we ate babies or something. It was funny walking home and getting funny looks from yuppies all waiting to get into another foo-foo club around the corner; I rubbed shoulders with some guy and he was positively disgusted. Also our hearing was totally shot. Again, I had it worst since I was right in front of speakers the whole time. Even now I can’t hear shit, and people sound like they’re on helium.

When I got home I almost didn’t want to wash up and show up to work covered in red, blue, and purple streaks, but I took a nice long shower three in the morning. And in the end, I got to work super late and even right now, my bed hair actually looks pretty damn hot.



Cost Is Everything

by Matthew Hawkins

- Well the big news of the day concerns the PSP. The launch date and price for Japan has just been announced, and it’s going to be 19800 Yen on December 12. That’s about $185, which besides being far lower than anyone expected (I was thinking around $300 at launch), it shows exactly how aggressive Sony intends on being.

It’s going to be a bloodbath between the PSP and the DS, and as much as I love the DS (well it’s hard not to, the touch screen is innovative as hell, and most importantly, I’ve played the DS and not the PSP thus far), it probably wasn’t going to do well considering how “strange” it is. And as annoyed as I am with blind system loyalty (defending a billion dollar company like Sony is asinine on so many levels) I have to admit, that PSP looks pretty damn awesome, and I’m pretty much sold on it already. Then again, I sorta have to get one whether I like it or not.

Let’s just hope it stays a game machine and not, in the blind lust to become the next Walkman, become some half-assed do everything machine. Leave the mp3s to the iPods and watching movies on screens that are actually a suitable size.

- Along with the PSP, launch titles were announced, with the highest profile game being Crisis Core – Final Fantasy VII. I guess all those Sqaure fanboys who’ve been bitching for more Final Fantasy 7 can finally shut up cuz they’re finally getting they want. This is like, what, the fourth spin off? Advent Children, Before Crisis, Dirge of Cerebus, and now this. Is the Mega Man or the Street Fighter crew going to be in this one?

- Some new screens from Killer 7 has recently popped up. I’ve been dying to get my hands on it ever since I saw the weird bad video art from the 80′s-esque (yet extremely beautiful) graphics in motions. It’s been over a year and still no one knows what the hell this game is about, let alone how it plays.

Here’s a screen-cap from a Flash movie from the official site, captured by a member of the GAF. It shows “Kaede Smith” with her “Blood Shower” move. Apparently she slits her writs and used the arterial spray to take down opponents. Neat!

- I forgot to mention this before, but earlier this weekend I was watching television, and a commercial for Shellshock Nam ’67 came on. They said several blurbs taken from reviews, including one from GMR. The thing is, I was the one who reviewed the game for the magazine, and I didn’t have much good to say, though they were still able to spin something positive out of it. I don’t remember, but I guess I did say it was pretty grisly. I also said the game sucked, but they skipped that part.

But yeah… I’ve been misquoted on TV. Awesome!

- Also today, in “the real world”, the New York subway celebrates it’s 100th birthday. And like many things in NYC, the city is taking (actually, more like wasting) time to celebrate something with the same ol’ “it’s what makes this city so great” attitude instead of acknowledging (or doing anything about) the complete state of disarray that the system is in.

I know my bitching about the subways is pretty tiresome at this point, but the bottom line is that the subways are perhaps the single most representative and important aspect of New York City, and for myself, as well as millions other, it’s a vital component of everyday life, so when there’s a problem, it’s pretty hard to ignore. And as anyone can tell you, service has gone completely downhill in the past couple of years, yet the MTA (the body that operates the system) is too lazy to do anything about it.

And besides being lazy, it’s corrupt. Now they’re asking for yet another fare increase (it went up 50 cents last year, the largest increase in its history), and not just one, but two, and all it does is hurt the working class even more. Plus, with the additional fare increase (and early numbers state it will be massive) they’re still going to cut down on service.

I just can’t see how any of this is legal. After the last increase, which they cited as an emergency response to a massive deficit, it was later discovered that there was a massive surplus of funds that was stashed away and which could have been used. What, now it’s gone? Why were those who lied in the first place not being held accountable? Isn’t the same shit going on again? How can the MTA have the city by the balls like this?!

The mayor deserves some blame in all of this mess. When faced with a possible subway strike, Bloomberg acted all tough and said that the city could survive. Then he asked everyone to find alternate means for transportation, like getting bikes (bikes cost money, you fucking retard), and later said the city would sue the MTA a million dollars a day if a strike actually happened. Then when they do, what happens? Bloomberg automatically caved in.

Anyone who knows me is aware for my love for hate, but nothing gets my blood boiling hotter than the typical subway worker. Almost everyone of them is rude, uniformed, and lazy. Some say it’s not easy working underground. Whatever. Like they didn’t know that they’d be working underground when they signed on. I’m not saying it’s an easy job, but with the amount of money, benefits, and job security they get, there is no excuse for the constant piss poor attitude they display for their job and the general public.

It’s appaling how dilapidated… aw, fuck it. I’m tired about bitching about the subway. At this point, all I care about is tonight, cuz I’ll be seeing GWAR!!!!!!


- On Thursday I checked out Ultimate Online Baseball at a modest sized press event. Long story short, the game looks kinda neat and is certainly an idea that’s rather long overdue. Actually, the producer guy pointed out that the reason the big guys have yet to attempt anything similar was due to latency issues, which these guys seem to have figured out, and naturally, their solution is a big secret.

There were other writers and editors on-hand, but I really felt like the odd-man out since everyone were clearly baseball/sports fans, and I am not. Hell, the main reason I went was the promise of free baseball-eque cuisine: hot dogs and hamburgers (and they were pretty damn good…. I would have helped myself to some Cracker Jack but I didn’t want to seem like I was there just for the food).

The highlight was the former baseball pro whose part of the dev team as an advisor. He was this big dude that was clearly a “man’s man” (everyone keeps asking who it was, and I swear, I really can’t remember). Before leaving, I left some kind words for the product, and even claimed that I would give the game a spin if I could (though that will only happen if a OS X version arrives) and he was all “Can’t wait to see your name on the boards and know that you’re kicking some ass!!!”

- Later that day, I still had a craving for hot dogs (well, when don’t I crave hot dogs?) so I went to the corner Papaya stand near SVA for diner. The highlight of that was some crack-head grabbing some woman’s ass and her freaking out. I didn’t see it happen, but I did watch him run off (more like merrily hop) into traffic. He also had drinking straws sticking out of each ear.

- Also found that this (past) weekend marks the 30th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons. I don’t play it myself (I’m not that big of a nerd… just kidding, just kidding) though I did try once, though I found it less than thrilling. I would role the dice, get a number, then the “dungeon master” would ramble on for fifteen minutes, and I would ask “Dude, how the hell did you get that from just the number eight?”

Maybe if I had the chance to play with girls like these I might feel differently.

- On Friday, Joe, June, Bryan, and myself all celebrated our friend Jay’s birthday. We all had pizza and cake, watched a really shitty movie, and got drunk. The movie was Dollman vs. the Demonic Toys, a crossover film featuring two Full Moon Productions (actually three). It’s all about Dollman, a tiny cop from another planet, along with some girl that was shrunk by aliens in another Full Moon flick, versus some lousy toys that have none of the charm as the puppets in Puppet Master, yet another Full Moon movie. The best part I guess was the doll trying to rape the tiny girl.

We all had whisky mixers, and as is often the case, everyone else’s was weak and mine super-strong, but I didn’t know this, so I assumed it was simply my weak tolerance that was making me much drunker (and much faster) than everyone else. When June took a sip of my drink, she made a face akin to someone who just gulped gasoline.

- On Saturday I went out to Jersey to catch up with Jason. Right next to his apartment, a new game store is opening up. It’s apparently been there for a while, though it hasn’t been open at all, which is no surprise since the spot has been occupied by tons of sandwich or cell phone shops that are never open for business and simply fades away. So I went to investigate and noticed people inside, but the door was closed. Two adults and one kid who were all black (this is important later on) were inside, and the kid gave me a “we’re no open” signal. But I guess I have a pretty trusting face, which has led to much good (complete strangers often come up to me to seek help and assistance), and some not so good (often these people are total crack-heads), so the guy behind the counter looked at me and gave the kid the okay to let me in.

It’s a small store, the people behind it seem super friendly, and the selection is modest, but priced extremely well. Perhaps too well. Actually, it’s a total front for selling illegal wares: all the boxes for games had color copied labels (okay, by itself, that’s not such a big thing) and some were compilations of Nintendo and Sega games for the PS2 and Xbox. They had a PS2 running with GTA: San Andreas, which some might know was also leaked to the public recently, right after Halo 2. I asked if they had Halo 2, and I got a nervous chuckle and a “yes”. They also do system mods, which is awesome news; finally a possible alternative to Chinatown.

Here’s the “interesting” part of the story. As I exited, I gave a friendly goodbye, and got in return, which was ended with “Later N-word.” Everyone knows what the N-word is, so no need to actually spell it out. Plus, I don’t want this site showing up in some racist’s Google search. I know it’s not that uncommon for a black guy to call a white guy the N-word, but it was clear he really didn’t mean to call me that, since it sounded like he caught it and tried stopping himself. So instead of ending it with “… ga” as it’s popular to do, he awkwardly turned it into the traditional (and somewhat more racist) “… ger” variant. I didn’t say anything, but quickly asked him a question about the hours, which he answered, and again, almost not being able to help himself, called me a N-word ending with “… ger.”

- While hanging out with Jason, we did a bit of brainstorming, and the end result is a possible return to the world of talk radio. I used to do a show at SVA for WSVA, which I really loved, to the point that I seriously considered pursuing it as a career. That was until ever person I encountered from radio turned out to be the most miserable, obnoxious people on the planet. But with the advent of the internet, the landscape is changing. There’s plenty of niche oriented programming out there, but not so much about gaming. More as it develops…

- Later that night was dinner with MK along with my friend Mike who just got a new (and souped up) G5 with the gorgeous 30 inch Apple Cinema Display, so I had fun checking that out. Unfortunately, the system has serious major issues which will require Apple Care, and any savy Mac user knows how shitty that can be. Mike told me some of the stuff that one phone support person told him, and surprise, surprise, not only did it not work, but it made things worse. As I told Mike, and every other friend who has a Mac, if there’s a problem please let me know. Am I saying I’m smarter than the average Apple support person? Yes. And you included people who work at the Apple genius bar and Techserve as well.

- During desert, we all spoke about the new upcoming Transformers film and I was shocked to hear Mike agree with the filmmaker’s assertion that it would be “dumb” for someone like Soundwave or Megatron to shrink when transforming. But even he was able to admit that Orson Welles’s performance as Unicron was amazing. Plus, when I mentioned how pissed I was to find out my 20th anniversary Optimus Prime had shorted exhaust pipes due to the fear of some dumb kid poking his eye out with it, and said dumb kid’s parents’ lawsuit, Mike did point out that it was on par with the frustration that came with red Bumblebees and yellow Cliffjumpers, which made me feel a bit better. Also, Mike pointed out that I had some really dumb He-Man action figures back in the day (like Buzz-Off and Faker or Roboto and Mekanek.

- Later that evening was SNL, which MK and I caught a bit of before turning the channel due to boredom (which I’ve been doing a lot for a while now), so we missed Ashlee Simpson getting caught as a lip-syncher when the wrong song was played, and her doing some bizarre jig in response. All I can say is that it’s a pretty sad thing when watching some dumb teenage pop-star’s career crash and burn on live television was the best thing on SNL in years.

I’ve been a diehard fan of SNL for the past 20 years (I started watching in the first grade), and in that time I’ve seen the show at it’s highest points, and it’s lowest, but I’ve always made an effort to never miss an episode, repeat or not (hell, I even watched the entire run of the absolutely wretched 80-81 season when that’s all that was on during HA!’s debut, over and over again). But the past few years have been really bad, to the point that I just don’t care about it. I’ve been trying to figure this out, and there are numerous reasons.

First off, the writing on the show sucks. I love Tina Fey and all (she’s entertaining and an ?ber hottie) but the bottom line is that she’s the head writer, and a certain degree of the blame has to fall on her lap. Secondly, the performers are not all that hot. Problem is, the show does have some strong talent. I won’t bitch about the lack of Rob Riggle on the show, at least not just yet, since he just started. But even at this early point, I’m still afraid he’s going to be completely un-utilized like Amy Poehler has been. Granted, this year she has more exposure as a part of Weekend Update, but her rambling off really lame jokes is more of a career killer than enhancer IMHO. And Horatio Sanz, whom I used to like, needs to go. Like his now departed buddy Jimmy Fallon (who I’m ever so glad is gone), the guy can’t go through a single sketch without cracking up, and I hardly find performers who can’t stay on script, but not add anything by doing so, to be entertaining. More like unprofessional. Sorry, but I guess years of seeing actually gifted improv performers at the UCB has spoiled me.

But I guess the real reason the show is so lame is that it’s totally lost it’s edge or relevance. It really doesn’t help that since it’s officially become an “institution” for NBC, the show has no fear of being cancelled, hence the complacent tone of show, which might also have a hand in them going no where near the envelope.

- As for Sunday, it was the start of a massive buy two games get one for free sale at Toys R Us. I actually went to the Time Square store earlier this week to figure out what to get (hey you gotta have a plan, even when it comes to buying games). There were no good Xbox games to be found, and just one or two GameCube titles, so I guess it’s nothing but PS2 (no big surprise really). I guess this Christmas season I’ll be buying games from last season (just like last year).

But considering my rather precarious financial at the moment (I’m still recovering from SPX earlier this month), I decided to hold off. I don’t want to feel like a retard for spending money on games when it could be used for something important, like food, and especially when said games are ones I technically already bought years ago (like the Street Fighter and Mega Man collections).

Though when I was scoping out titles, I did managed to grab Dead or Alive 3 for $5 (yeah, yeah… I know I don’t have an Xbox, but for a price like that, I couldn’t pass, but plus I am getting one eventually) and Perfect Dark (another titles I’ve been debating on getting for years) at the same price.

And real quickly…

- One game which I’ve had my eye on for a short while now has been Sega Superstars, the new Sega EyeToy title, and Kikizo just posted a ton of direct feed vids. You know, many people give the EyeToy grief since you “look stupid” while playing with it, but I have to admit, after watching the NiGHTS mini-game, that guy playing does look like a total good. But it still, it’s fucking NiGHTS (the Saturn titles is still one of my fave games of all time), plus it actually looks fun, and even a bit challenging, in addition to not looking like every other EyeToy game out there, which has been the big problem with the thing for me. Too bad the same can’t be said for the rest of the bunch. The Virtua Fighter easily looks the worst.

- Also, I came across this: a 9/11 game. I’ll let the pics do all the talking for this one…

- I logged into Friendster for the first time in a while. I don’t think I missed much. I’m also part of MySpace, and I have even less interest in that as well. Though I have to admit, HySpace does seem cool.

- After looking and asking for years now, I finally found what it: Super Mario on Ice. It’s one of those things you tell people that you remember from childhood but no one believes it because it all sounds so insane. I don’t know what my favorite part is…. hearing Jason Bateman explain the “story” in Super Mario Bros to Alyssa Milano, or Mr Belvediere as Bowser.

- And lastly, here is proof that my dreams of a blissful, robotic future might actually come true. Though first, I think we’ll need to rid the gene pool of idiots like these first.