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Ever Evolving Primate: Travel, photography, food, cooking, and just about anything else.

Ever Evolving Primate: Travel, photography, food, cooking, and just about anything else.: December 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

I just finished Bad Company 2 yesterday and man oh man, what a game! This has to be one of the most enjoyable games I've played in 2010, more enjoyable (less epic) than God of War III or Red Dead Redemption, even Mass Effect 2. The storyline was easy to get into, had me coming back for more just to see what happens, and had really like-able characters that you actually started to care about.  I'd give this game a solid 9.75/10 and I'll definitely be playing it again pretty soon. This trailer basically shows just how great this game was...

I set up my mom's new computer tonight, got rid of some of the pre-installed crap, loaded her up with avast!, office software, etc, and moved her itunes from my old laptop she was using to her new desktop powerhouse.    I also cleaned up my own computer a bit, got the rotating background feature thingie working finally, and I'm about to go through and uninstall a few programs I don't want onboard anymore. Once I get all this done and everything backed up onto my hard drive, my plan is to load everything into the awesome new backpack I got for christmas. I'm pretty stoked that I'll be able to carry my entire media center with me for the most part. Plus cameras and stuff.

Hmm. Man my life is interesting. I made a chicken tagine tonight that turned out pretty well. Yum.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Holiday Post

Ah, the holidays. What a great time of year. We were lucky enough to get some crisp, cold weather and have family nearby. The only problem was that my lady was up with her family (we decided to each see our own families for the holidays because next year it probably won't be feasible.) Not having her around has definitely made the holidays a little bit less awesome, but ceterus parabus, everything else has been great. Since my gal headed up to see her family, I've been left a) carless, and b) with a ton of spare time around the house. In this case a + b = c, and c = time to play some video games.

I finished Battlefield: Bad Company a week ago or so, and for Christmas Santa brought me Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and was nice enough to download the Vietnam expansion pack for me! The single-player campaign of Bad Company 2 is by far the best first person shooter campaign I've played yet, and I really love the way they make fun of the Call of Duty franchise here and there. This game really doesn't take itself too seriously at all, and then when the one guy says that they should just do the mission themselves because "they'll send in special ops douchebags with pussy-ass heart monitors on their guns"  I laughed pretty hard. I've only played the demo section of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, but that section had the heart monitors, and I thought it was kinda weak.

The Vietnam multiplayer pack just came out a week ago or so, and I've got to say I like it just as much as the campaign, which is saying quite a bit because I really like the single player campaign! It took me a few rounds to find a strategy that works, but it seems like what you need to do is what real soldiers (US, NVA, or VC) did in the conflict. Find cover, move slowly so as to not be easily spotted, and pick your shots. I actually had my kill/death ratio over 1.00 for most rounds I've played, and that's just silly because I typically suck at online multiplayer games. I've also found that by aiming slowly and firing in short bursts I can even pull off some great long range stuff with assault rifles. The soundtrack is great for the Vietnam expansion, and the squad-based play format is fun and engaging. I'd say this is by far the best online multiplayer experience I've had yet, and keep in mind that includes Uncharted 2, which has a great multiplayer component.

In unrelated news, I got a flu-shot today and my arm is sore and I'm going to lunch with my dad tomorrow.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Battlefield: Bad Company (Video Game Review)

I like to do a short review of all of the games I play, so today I'm writing about Battlefield: Bad Company. No, not Battlefield: Bad Company 2, but rather the original. This game is really one of my favorite first person shooters, and it's the first one that really grabbed me and sucked me into the single player campaign. It's also the game that piqued my interest in online multiplayer as a feature. You can get it used at gamestop for about $15 or so right now, and I think that the value is definitely there.

I wasn't super into first person shooters because I found them to be somewhat hard to approach. It takes a bit of    getting used-to for me to not be able to see what's on the sides of my character, but Battlefield: Bad Company for some reason made the gameplay experience much more approachable. The story, writing, and voice acting was great. I really enjoyed the hell out of the single player campaign. It had humor, which I've found is often absent from this genre of game. The characters were likeable, and most importantly perhaps, the environment was VERY DESTRUCTIBLE! That's a great thing when your enemy is hiding behind stupid cover that shouldn't be able to stop a bullet.

The Battlefield series is famous for its vehicular combat options as well, and Bad Company doesn't disappoint. Helicopter? No problem. Jeep? No problem. Tank? No problem. It's all there, and it all plays well.

The multiplayer modes are super easy to get into and out of, and it's never difficult to find a game. I hope they keep supporting this title online, because the multiplayer mode is hilariously fun! I don't think people like it when I'm on their team though, because I suck.

The end.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Deadliest Warrior

So I couldn't find a video game to play on my PC that would hold my attention during family living room time tonight, so I consulted my "Ultimate Mental List of things I said I would do one day when I had time." So I logged onto and started watching the episodes of Deadliest Warrior that I didn't catch during the season because of karate, second job, etc.

The first one I watched was Nazi SS versus Viet Cong. I think they screwed the pooch on this one. Their computer algorithm seems to have no way of figuring in the way an asymmetrical war is fought. The Germans faced symmetrical fighting from inferior armies. The Viet Cong fought off the French and US armies. Umm, didn't the U.S. Army defeat the Germans?

The next one is Musketeers in their foo-foo velvet costumes versus Ming warriors. I gotta go with the Ming on this, but the episode isn't over yet. They just discounted two misfires on the musketeer's sidearm and let the musketeer shoot his musket with a monopod. I call that lame. The Ming Dao sword is pretty sweet. I like asian swords though so I might be biased. Yeah. They screwed the pooch on this one too. No way on earth a musket or a misfiring sidearm would keep the ming army at bay to keep the musketeers from getting chopped up by the ming. Weak sauce. On to Sun Tzu vs. Vlad the Impaler...

Sun Tzu was a freaking genius. So I'm going with him on this one. They impaled a ballistic gel body on a pike. Eek. There seems to be a bit of a misunderstanding about striking power versus technique on this show. They just showed two swords, the Kilij, used by Vlad, and the Scholar's Sword, used by Sun Tzu. The Kilij cut straight through a pig. The Scholar's Sword cut through most of a pig. Both deadly. I'd image the more agile and less weighty sword would be better in combat. I've grappled with stronger guys and submitted them by technique alone. I've sparred full contact and won rounds using technique against faster, stronger guys. I could have hurt them if we weren't just sparring. It's really all about technique. One of the dudes on Team Vlad is kinda creepy and wears black nail polish. I have a feeling they're not going to mention Sun Tzu's amazing tactics which are still in use today in this show. They just demonstrated how Sun Tzu's army could turn a field into a 900 degree Fahrenheit furnace and downplayed it. Ugh. The Chinese repeating crossbow was pretty badass. What I'm learning watching this is that dudes that take the time to learn medieval european weapons kinda give me the heebie jeebies. Hmm. Wouldn't Sun Tzu also have an army to work with? Vlad wins according to the show. I'm not so sure though.

Next up: Celt vs. Persian Immortal. I'm betting that the Persians win, because they have chariots. Oh. The Celts have chariots too. I might go with the Celts on this one because it's just hard to root for Persia no matter what. Plus, the Celts wear plaid! The interstitial clips seem to show the Persians with wicker shields. I hate wicker, therefore I hope the Celts win extra. This is easily one of the better episodes of the second season, classic Deadliest Warrior in presentation and stupidity. Sigh. I love this show. Let's see who wins. Oh, before the final "fight" I have to mention that the chariot scythes are stupid. Heh. I'm 0 for 3 tonight on predicting the winner. Lame.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Multiplayer Madness

Last night I discovered something that could be potentially dangerous for my romantic multiplayer gaming. No, not massive multiplayer online rpgs, just regular online multiplayer. My old internet connection was such crap that I could never make it through a game without lagging out. Now I can run around and shoot dudes in the face!

This all started because I was playing Battlefield: Bad Company and thought I'd like to see how I held up in online play. I tried online play once playing Battlefield 1943 and the other dudes playing C I L Led me too fast for it to be any fun, and the same goes for the Uncharted 2 multiplayer demo. Things started out a little bit similar and then I got my first kill. HA! One on the board for me! After that I kept playing and playing until I racked up a few more kills, then went to sleep.

Tonight for whatever reason I remembered that Uncharted 2 had a multiplayer mode and logged in. Next thing I knew I was leading my team in kills for a few minutes at a time. I often catch dudes from the back and pump them full of bullets before they even know I'm there. I love it. It's like Uncharted 2 is a brand new game, which is awesome because I'm going to need something to hold me over until Uncharted 3 comes out on 11-1-11. I'm a happy camper.

In unrelated news, today I did something I've always wanted to do. The Girl and I made truffles. We started out making a ganache which was then chilled to harden, dipped in dark chocolate, and rolled in a variety of things (cocoa powder, confectioner's sugar, nuts, etc.) It was really cool to do this. Eat your heart out, Godiva. We also made candied orange peels which seem to have turned out pretty great too. All in all a nice productive day of cooking, gaming, and we even went on a walk.

Also, my nice suit from a few years back fits again, and my skinny jeans fit too. Woot.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Spike's Video Game Awards

I'm sitting down to watch the replay of Spike's Video Game Awards because I missed the live broadcast due to a family. Neil Patrick Harris just came out to host the show and gunned down a bunch of chorus line members. Cute I'm going to blog through the show to share my thoughts. Right now I'm most looking forward to the trailer for Uncharted 3. I'm so excited about that game I could almost pee myself. Good thing I'm at home.

So far, Neil Patrick Harris sucks. He's not super funny, but he thinks he is...oh well, bring on the awards and the trailers.

First Nominee for Game of the Year: Call of Duty, Black Ops: Probablynot going to win Game of the Year, but it's the first Call of Duty game I've ever really wanted to play. I hope people start selling that back to gamestop soon.

Studio of the Year: This one has to go to Bioware for Mass Effect 2...or Rockstar San Diego for Red Dead Redemption. Bioware won. I agree 100%. Mass Effect 2 was amazing in every sense. I love the way these video game people keep their acceptance speeches super short too. Hee. Now, more trailers and stuffs please...

Character of the Year Nominee:  Ezio Auditore. How can he be character of the year in 2010 if he came out in a game in 2009 first? Who cares. Ezio is badass.

New Game Trailer: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Well it's a bethesda RPG...but, umm. Probably not for me.

Announcement: Mortal Kombat: Only on PS3? Another reason I need to take my PS3 with me to Korea and not the XBox. OMG KRATOS IN THE NEW MORTAL KOMBAT GAME? KRATOS? Okay, I'm sold.

Character of the Year Nominee: Kratos. Really? Another one that isn't really new this year. He did star in one of the most epic games of the year. I guess I can agree with Ezio's nomination now too.

New Game Trailer: Thor: God of Thunder. Why not base a game on Norse Myths? Graphics look pretty cool. It looks somewhat God of War/Dante's Inferno ish. I'll definitely be getting that one.'s apparently a movie tie-in. Maybe not.

Action Adventure Game of the Year: Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, God of War III, Red Dead Redemption, Super Mario Galaxy 2...hmmm...Assassin's Creed wins. I haven't played that one yet, but I bet this is a consolation prize because God of War III and Red Dead were amazing...and Super Mario Galaxy 2 is pretty damn good too. Definitely need to play this one soon. Games featuring main characters voiced by Nolan North usually rock.

Commercial: Homefront. This game looks pretty badass. It's about a North Korean occupation of the US, from the writer of Red Dawn. I might not be able to handle this one before moving to Korea. Maybe after moving back. I dunno. The concept is cool, but it does look a bit like a replay of Red Dawn.

Game of the Year Nominee: Mass Effect 2. My game of the year. For sure. I want this one to win, but I'm afraid that Red Dead Redemption probably has it beat. This game was incredible in every way possible. I need to replay this one at some point. The last battle of this game literally took my breath away in a big way.

Premier Trailere: Mass Effect 3: OMGZ!!!!! I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS GAME. It apparently begins  with some sort of attack directly on Earth. OMG. The plotline in the Mass Effect stories could NOT get any thicker, could it??!?!?!?!?!?! AAAAAACK!

Best First Person Shooter: Battlefield: Bad Company 2, BioShock 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and Halo Reach. I bet Halo wins. Or Battlefield. But Call of Duty did. Hmm. I really do want to play that game. Sigh. One day it will be cheap.

Trailer Premiere: Resistance 3. Looks cool enough. I just dunno if it's so far up my alley that I'll have to do it.

Character of the Year Nominee: John Marston. Quite possibly the guy that wins. Marston really made Red Dead Redemption one of the best games I've ever played. Digged the hell out of it.

Game of the Year Nominee: God of War III. Awesome game, but not going to make the grade for game of the year.

Character of the Year Nominee: Sgt Woods, COD Black Ops....I wanna play this game.

Best Performance by a Human Male: Interesting. Neil Patrick Harris won. Holy cow. I didn't realize there were this many damned real actors working in games.

Trailer Premiere: Prototype 2. Really? I lost interest in the first one. Maybe I should finish playing it.

Trailer Premiere: Guillermo Del Toro just introduced this one. Insane. Looks like some sort of Survival/Horror Game...not my thing.

Best Indie Game: Joe Danger, Limbo, Super Meat Boy, and The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom. Limbo won, I didn't play it. I don't download a lot.

Oooh. They just said there's going to be new warriors in Deadliest Warrior the Game. Woot. Shaolin Monk!

Most Anticipated Game of the Year: Who cares...they're confirming a 3rd season of deadliest warrior woot! And Portal 2 wins the award. That's fair.

A bunch of awards: All I caught was Best RPG: Mass Effect 2. Straight up, son.

I'm finding the inter-award acts to be somewhat tiresome, and the commercial-to-awards-show ratio is abysmal. Sigh. I'm having to entertain myself by reading on the internet in between updates to this super interesting blog because this show is produced really awesomely well.

Game of the Year Nominee: Red Dead Redemption. Probably going to win the big one. Jose Gonzales is playing "Far Away" from the soundtrack, which in the game plays in a super cool spot. You know, this game may not have been the most cinematic or spectacular special effects show of the year, but it sure pulled the biggest gut response from me when I finished it. The ending was perfect, beautiful, epic, and tragic. What an awesome game this was. I'm glad I preordered it and got it the day it came out. What a massive piece of craftsmanship from Rock Star. I think it explored just about every possible angle of right and wrong and really illustrated the fact that there's a lot of grey area when it comes to morality. The song is pretty good too.

Trailer Premiere: Forza Motorsport IV: They still make racing games?

Game of the Year Nominee: Halo: Reach. I'd like to play this one. I had no idea the dude from Castle voiced for it. I should probably play that one for sure.

Trailer Premiere: SSX: Deadly Descents...uh...really?

Character of the Year: Sergeant Woods. Heh. At least it was a new one.

Trailer Premiere: Uncharted 3!!!! THE WHOLE REASON I WATCHED THIS CRAP! I will play this game the day it comes out (in Korea...heh.) CANNOT WAIT.

Game of the Year:  Red Dead Redemption. Duh. I liked Mass Effect 2 better, but Red Dead was the biggest game of the year by a long shot. Yay Rockstar.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Shopping and the Last Airbender

I am so in the freakin holiday spirit. We went out today and got gifts for my nephew (star wars action figures), mom (sweater), dad (XBOX game), niece's birthday gift (DS game), sisters, in-laws, etc.We even got a small christmas ornament kit to make Owl ornaments. We modified them so that the owls are a couple and holding Wii remotes :). Wii are too cute. Heh.

Gamestop had Buy 2 get 1 free on used games...and both of the games I got as gifts were pre owned. SCORE. I'm gonna go try Battlefield: Bad Company right now. Babehoney is knitting, we just watched a movie, and it's been a great evening. I'm going to go blow some schtuff up on my PS3 now.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Beautiful Bureaucracy!

So today we went down to get our last document Apostilled. An apostille is an authentication, similar to a notary public stamp, that is used for documents internationally to ensure that said documents are actually valid. Typically you have to go to your state's capital city to pay a few bucks and have the notary's seal on your document apostilled. This means that today, we got up, drove up to Austin, paid a few bucks for notary stamps and parking, and walked a few blocks over to the Secretary of State's office. They rejected our request for Apostille because the document was issued by the federal government. It seems kind of crazy to expect someone to send an original document by mail to the federal government for a stamp, I mean...should you reasonably expect the postal service to not lose something that took you 8-12 weeks to get from a federal agency?

The solution is simple, but pretty expensive. We're going to hire someone to do it for us. But damn, it seems like the Apostille process is completely inconsistent. Other people get their background checks certified with no trouble, and no one seems to know what the magic words to try on the affidavit of authenticity are. Oh well, we can get it done in one day by hiring someone, so that's the way we're going to have to do it.

Heh, I said "do it."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Welcome to the Ever Evolving Primate

Ahhh, evolution. Whether you think the theory is sound or not (by the way, I think it's totally sound) it's a great word. Don't we all evolve over the course of our lives? I'd say I do, and the one thing that I'm sure of is that my pattern of change is only going to continue. Recently I've learned that I never know just what is around the corner. A few months ago I was trying to find a job teaching middle school in Florida (yeah, right), and now I'm looking at the distinct possibility of moving to Korea to teach English to students of any grade level. In fact, the possibility is so great that I'm headed up to the department of state to get some documents apostilled in the morning for the visa paperwork. Somewhere along the way I wound up teaching Art History at a small university in Miami until I lost my full time job at a dive shop and had to move in with family while the Korean option firmed up. I'm pretty certain that things keep changing. Here's another example, I'm not single anymore.

I thought I was quite the bachelor for the first 27 years of my life. Then I met this girl who rocked my world. She made it spin a little faster, and time started flying by. Two years later, we live together and love each other and we're planning to go on this crazy adventure overseas together. I think that's pretty cool, and it was a complete paradigm shift.

The evidence of evolution within my life is there, and I'm pretty sure I'm a primate. Since I don't seem to see anything that even suggests that I will quit evolving, I've decided I'll be the ever evolving primate, and write about the interesting little places my life goes here on this very blog. I'll also write about working out, video games, current events, fun little adventures, and maybe even post a photo or two.