06/01/2005

Celebrating The Past

by Matthew Hawkins

I did a little of everything this past Memorial Day weekend: I barbecued a bit. Slept in a bit. Downloaded some music, read some comics. MK & I watched a movie (Shaun of the Dead on DVD), and an episode of Trailer Park Boys. Went to Chinatown since MK needed a replacement cell phone strap, to replace her KISSING TIME one which she got in one of the trinket shops a few months back (MK ended up getting a Tetsujin strap). Also went to Jersey City to have dinner at Jason’s, where him and MK finally got to sit and talk (they met at my birthday party, but with so people and things going on, they didn’t have much time to chat), plus Jason’s wife Christina got to meet MK as well. I also had lunch with MK’s dad and dinner at a diner with Robin.

In fact, I even drew a bit this weekend as well. Sometimes I forget that I have a degree in cartooning, and for years now Dave has been imploring me to do comics. Now it would seem that MK has taken up the case. As I’ve said before, I used be shy about drawing because I was unsure of my skills, and even though that still somewhat exists, now I genuinely don’t have much time for it, though the interest is still certainly there (dating a cartoonist I guess will do that). Even though it is true, that I have a shit load of material, all based on the crazy women I’ve dated, brushes with deaths, and other various stupid situations that I’ve found myself in (or created myself), all perfect fodder for a bio comic, I’m still hesitant. Why? Maybe cuz I think there’s just too many bio comics out there already, most of them rather whiney and emo-ish. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some good books out there, and even the stuff that I don’t like is often drawn very nicely (much better than mine will ever be). But still, I’ve pretty much had my fill of stories of disaffected childhoods and everyday isolation. Yeah, people/girls/guys/being poor/life sucks, no shit sherlock.

Anyway, the reason why I’ve stayed away from doing my own is the fear of contributing to ever-growing mountain of mediocrity. But I have to admit, when I was asked me to draw some of the weirdos I went to high school with, it was hella fun, plus MK & Robin really dug them as well. So I guess I’ll have to venture forth into the land of bio comics afterall. At the very least it won’t be the same mopy, depressing shit that you see everywhere these days; there ain’t gonna be any poignant insight or social commentary from my comics, maybe a few examples on why not to act like a retard. As for my drawings, Robin mentions that MK might scan and post them up, which would be neat.

Also…

- MK & I also did some holiday shopping, mostly at Jim Hanley’s, which had a 30% off sale. We spent $100 collectively at the Jim Hanley’s sale, $50 each, which is lower than I expected (MK could easily blow thrice as much if she could). Got Project Superior, along with the collected Same Differences, which should be a good read since its apparently about a Korean going back to his roots, and I’ve recently been bitten by that bug. Plus I finally got the Dark Knight Returns and Superman: Red Sun, which is about what happened if he crashed landed in Russia instead of the US. I was shocked, and quite pleased, that MK read the whole thing in one night and thoroughly enjoyed it. Meanwhile I read her copy of Hicksville, which was really good.

- Also did some DVD shopping and I’m pissed that I didn’t get some X-Files when I had the chance; each season went on sale for $50 each at Best Buy (down from the normal $100) a few weeks ago, but I didn’t get any since I saw somewhat low on funds and didn’t want to put myself in a tight spot. But I ended up getting paid early and by the time I went to the store, season 2 & 3 (easily the best ones) were all sold out. I’m also pissed at eBay since I have about six or so other DVD sets all in limbo even though they’ve been good and paid for.

God I miss the golden days of eBay, when it used to be regular people selling stuff and positive feedback was evenly distributed. That and how most of the stuff being sold was actually intersting, and often genuinely weird (none of that made up shit, like time machines or grilled cheese sandwitches with dead people on them). And I’m very proud to have been part of it all, having made a small fortune selling Mr T Chia Heads, chocolate frogs, and Pokemon cards from Burger King kids meals (Dave supplied for me the good which he got through Nick Mag, and we split the profits evenly). Plus there’s all the cool stuff I got, like the Celine Dion toilet brush.

Now its all these stupid eBay stores where its impossible to get an answer cuz you don’t know who the hell you’re talking too, plus there’s a million steps involved (well to do anything really, especially selling which is now a total pain in the ass). And these stores, since they’re apparently always busy handling tons of sales, never bother to leave any feedback when you pay on time, yet they’re more than happy to beg for it on their end.

- But what I’m most pissed off about is BitTorrent. For those who don’t know, it’s the latest thing in downloading illegal stuff. Unlike previous methods where you got something from one central source, BT relies on everyone downloading the same file simultaneously, by grabbing small bits from the source, than sharing them with each other until you get the whole thing. Those who end up with the whole file is supposed to then allow others to continue leeching off them so they can form their own complete copies. It’s sorta like communism in the sense that it’s a great idea which doesn’t fucking work.

I was recently invited to be a part of Oink, a super exclusive music torrent site (torrents are the files that handling all the downloading and the such). I used it off and on for the past week or so getting various albums and the such. And now I’ve been banned. Why? Because my ratio for downloading and uploading was uneven by their standards. There’s a thing… call it a thief’s code I suppose… where one should always keep their torrents “open” for others, for the reasons described earlier, which I did, but it just so happened that no one was leeching off of me. I guess the stuff I downloaded wasn’t of much interest to others, which is really strange considering that I got everything from popular stuff (Weezer, Beck) to less popular stuff (De La Soul).

I suppose I shouldn’t complain since I got stuff for free, but I just find it funny how elitist such communities can be. I mean, you’re basically distributing illigal shit, so how holier than though can you really act? Besides, wasn’t I cool enough to be a member since I was able to get an invite in the first place? Oh well, at least I did get some good stuff. Speaking of…

- Not is the soundtrack to the Life Aquatic one of the best most picture soundtracks I’ve heard ever, and easily some of the finest work from Mark Mothersbaugh, but its the perfect album to listen when weaving in and out of gridlock traffic in the middle of Manhattan.
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- Once again, not much to report video game-wise. Things are so dead that people are still bitching about how boring E3 was. Though there is plenty of fall out to keep track off, such as how folks from Microsoft have had to publicly call bullshit on Bill Gates claim that halo 3 would be ready on the day PS3 launches (hell, even folks from Bungie have been vocally pissed). And now its been 100% confirmed that those PS3 demos everyone saw at E3 were not real, though it hardly comes as shocking.

But the real interesting news is how all those old NES, SNES, and N64 games for the Revolution might be free to download. If this is true, that would be fucking fantastic. But until I hear it officially from Nintendo, I’m not getting my hopes up. And no offense to them, but I have no idea who this Gamesradar folks are, and how reliable their info is.

- And one last bit of GDC backlash: remember all those HD TVs that MS gave away to attendees to help “sell” their vision of the “HD Era”? Well it seems that no one got theirs, leading to many to bitch that it was all some PR stunt.

But then today, Joel showed off his brand new set that just arrived.

- Here’s some more BS about the power of the upcoming consoles as reported by the mainstream press: the Xbox 360 will be powerful that the Chinese will buy them to control their nukes, according to the BBC. So with the PS2 it was Iraq, now with the 360 its China. Nice.

- Sticking to the subject of 360, here’s an interview with Tomonobu Itagaki, head of Team Ninja and creator of the Dead or Alive, which ends on a sorta funny note (him getting pissed off).

- And speaking of Dead or Alive, I’ve been playing DOA3 and Ultimate fairly regularly, and while enjoying it, I’m having a tricky time getting into, all because of the controller. I don’t know why

- But the real big news that everyone’s been talking about today is that porn on the PSP is finally here

- Found this on YayHooray of all places: here’s a tree illustrating the evolution of the video game controller. It’s pretty interesting visual representation of how things have changed and where certain facets have taken their cues from. There’s a few missing here and there (where’s the Japanese Saturn pad?), but otherall its solid.

Oh, and for the record, the Genesis 6 button pad will always be tops for me. Most comfortable controller ever.

Also, check out the author’s own idea of the Revolution pad…

… I found it to be a bit underwhelming at first, but after looking at it carefully, I really like it and wish it was real.

- I hope no one minds me pimping Gamasutra, but here’s a super interesting piece about video game patents from the perspective of lawyers. It’s actually quite scary.

- Finally, time for another YTMND, this one for Super Mario RPG. God I love that tune.
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What’s happening in the rest of the world? Damned if I know. Other than Deep Throat’s secret identity being revealed, I only know about the possible Breakfast Club reunion for the upcoming MTV movie awards. I have to admit, I’m interesting in seeing this.

As for the award show itself, I used to love it as a teenager, since it was the perfect mix of two things I loved, movies and MTV, plus there was plenty of SNL stars to be found (back when the show was still consistently good). But gradually became bored and even annoyed with it, like the rest of the network. I often wondered if the show (as well as the rest of the network) got lamer, or I just grew up. Though the more I think about it, the channel really did go through some change back in 96 in which its now just this thing that tries hard to be cool instead of being the center of i, which it was a good solid fifteen years.

Real quick, speaking of lame and movies, here’s a totally awesome Episode 3 review. Ever word is pure, unadulterated fact.

And I recently found yet another reason why I have to go to Japan: the Studio Ghibli Museum. Before I die, I have to see this in person…

EDIT: For some reason, even though I uploaded today’s entry earlier this afternoon, it didn’t show up till a minute ago. Anyway, may as well add one more thing that I forgot from before: this weekend I finally showed MK my infamous Apple Head comic strip from college. And as someone asked before, yes, I do write for a children’s magazine.

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/westacular/ Westacular

    I’ll read the rest of this tomorrow, but the controllers bit caught my attention. That sort of timeline has been sitting in the back of my head for a while — especially the sort of “critical path” of innovations that immediately get copied because they kick so much ass.

    In my mind:

    D-Pad (G&W)
    Auxillary buttons, i.e., start/select (NES)
    Shoulder buttons (SNES)
    The ’4-face’ (SNES)
    Double shoulders (PSX)
    Analog stick (N64)
    On-controller accessory port (N64) — although this has mostly died out.
    Rumble (N64)
    Analog sholder triggers (Saturn)
    Dual analog sticks (PSX)
    Analog-ish buttons (PS2) — although I’m still not sold on them.
    CLEAR primary/secondary button denotation (GC)
    Wireless (GC)
    Headsets (XBox, I think)

    Then there’s the whole “handles” thing, starting from the NES MAX and the training-bras of SNES and Genesis, growing bigger and bigger and now culminating in the PS3 prototype’s full, uhh, boomerang.

  • Job

    ya know…
    the more i thought about it…

    E3 really was kinda boring.

    sure zelda was great…
    and the handful of new stuff (ten or so games… New SMB, Shadow of the Colossus, Gunstar Super Heroes..) were all great to finally play…

    but there were no NEW surprises.
    none playable at least.

    the tennis game i played on the 360 couldnt hold a candle to classic DC Virtua tennis…

    The PS3 footage was a sham…

    i dunno.

    in all.. i went with one guy… Josh who was with me last year… and two E3 virgins.. George and Ian.
    It ended up being like we were the Mom and Dad at an amusement park.
    Sure Josh and I had fun… but 80% of the stuff was there last year…
    …and were just weren’t as enthused as our “two kids” running around like crazy as we took our time on the bench.

    In all.. at least we had Episode III.

    And I forgot to tell you, Matt…
    I pee’d should to shoulder… stream to stream in a trough-like urinal with… the shadebearing ninja rockstar himself…
    Itagaki.

    I didnt realize it was him…
    not until i left the restroom right behind him and saw his 7 foot tall cronies waiting for him…. big hawaiian mafioso types… long braids..
    escorted him back to the tecmo booth.

    George told me he was jealous…

    I told George he was retarded.

    Good times.
    Good games.
    Lame Expo.

  • http://www.fort90.com Matt

    Yeah, I had heard about Itagaki’s bodyguards. I guess they were hard to miss.

    Anyway, you get me a Katamari mousepad or what? :)

  • http://www.gamersquarter.com Shapermc

    That Nausicca robot statue is awesome. I knew about that museum, but only because of word of mouth stuff, that site is awesome. Thanks

  • Job

    Matt…

    When it came down to it…

    I got a hold of one… and only one of the Katamari mousepads…
    I could not in fact keep it for myself… nor for a friend.

    That little item had to go to the Mrs.

    Its the least I could do… considering the 6 foot Prince she handmade for me.

    That and if I didn’t get that to her… I’d be dead.

    I have plenty of Final Fantasy VII Before Crisis Mobile Screen Cleaners….

    I’ll keep your name on one.

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