Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I've started playing "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed" and I'm loving it so far. It's all about evil, dark side mayhem, hunting down rogue Jedis and making them swallow your lightsaber.

R2D2-like droids will be walking around minding their own business and you pull partitions out of the wall and crush them. They'll run from you but you can track them down and kill them if you want, which I do... The opening level is you as Darth Vader murdering Wookies. You cut them down and hear their garbled, animalistic cries of pain. Beautiful.

It's made me realize that as much as I love the characters of the "Star Wars," I enjoy destroying them even more.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Don Cheadle, heartbreaker

Gamers are pissed that Don Cheadle didn't really play "Shadow of the Colossus" to research the role. Thanks to Kotaku's Brian Ashcraft for the link.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I just now got it

You know that guy Hiro from "Heroes?" Well, the pronunciation of his name is just like "hero!" It's what the scientists call a homonym (they aren't allowed to marry or join the military) and is an example of the sparkling senses of ironical humor with which the Lord has blessed all Hollywood writers.

You guys are good. What will you think of next? Can't wait to see.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bored of the rings

The Olympics, which take for what will seem like four months, broadcast in mostly taped delay format on approximately 35 percent of all cable channels.

The symbol of the games is five interlocked rings, which may as well be zeroes, signifying their worth.

I can guess what you may be thinking. It’s un-American to not watch the Olympics, right? Or maybe I’m not a true sports fan since I don’t watch them, huh? Well, you’re wrong on both counts. For one thing, boycotting the Olympics is an American pastime.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter refused to send our boys and girls over to Moscow to participate in the summer games. Was this because we were protesting a communist invasion of Afghanistan? Hells no. We couldn’t give a damn about Afghanistan.

It was because we had always gone to the Olympics, and we were sick of how dumb and repetitive they were, so we pretended like we had a fever so momma wouldn’t make us go to school, ‘cause we’d rather stay home and play video games. The only reason America participated in the 1984 summer Olympics was because we had to, since they were in L.A. In 1988 we went to the Seoul, South Korea games as a secret ploy to try and undermine the enemy commie regime in North Korea, and we justified going to Barcelona in 1992 in order to have Michael Jordan and the Dream Team beat the hell out of everyone by sixty points a game. Those were the days when America was actually good at basketball, but now we’re surprised that the team is actually winning games again.

Then the world made us have the Olympics again, in Atlanta, in 1996, so the ’84 rule applied once again. No one knows whether or not the Americans went to the 2000 games in Australia or the 2004 Olympics in Athens, because they were all tape-delayed, and most of the events are still unfolding on TV, even as the new games begin.

Real sports fans can’t watch the Olympics, because anyone who truly cares about an athletic event needs to know what happened as soon as it’s done, usually because we have a bet riding on the outcome. Anyone who DVRs sports games and says they’ll watch them later is a loser, lying to cover up his secret fetish for watching the Lifetime channel while having everyone think he really likes sports.

Also, sports fans enjoy watching more than just swimming and track, which make up 95 percent of all competition during the Olympics. The Olympics actually do have cooler sports to watch every now and then, like ping pong and judo, but the TV stations never play those because Americans are even worse at those sports than they are at basketball.

Still, it’s a blessed moment when the networks actually do show us some swimming and track, because actual competition makes up only 5 percent of what they show. The other 95 percent is, of course, weepy, prefabricated feature stories about how every Olympic athlete had to overcome things like having their parents die, having to put up with several fingers being cut off every day by rogue government officials, not being allowed to eat for 12 years, or some other kind of hardship, such as having their step-parents die.

The parents dying stories are there to make people like my mom watch, but what the programmers don’t know is that my mom would rather watch parents die in soap operas that are being pre-empted by the Olympics.

Another reason the Olympics suck is because of the announcers. Normally good announcers turn into flag-waving dingbats when they’re assigned to the Olympics, and none of them ever have anything interesting to say. Here’s an actual transcript of a recent broadcast:

BOB: And heat three of the 5 million kilometer swimming quarterfinals have finally started, Bob. That means we’re only seven hours and 6,321 laps away from seeing who moves onto the semis. Why don’t you explain to the viewers how this works, Bob?

OTHER BOB: Thanks, Bob. Well, they’ll swim, they’ll turn, swim some more, turn again and… uh, let me check the rule book… Oh, there it is! Swim some more.

BOB: And all the while, we’ll pop in with amusing anecdotes fed to us by the TelePromTer!

OTHER BOB: What if we misspeak, Bob?

BOB: Well, Bob, this event actually took place about 20 hours ago, giving our editors time to smooth everything over and insert commercial breaks in order for NBC to feed to the ignorant public during prime time.

OTHER BOB: What a magnificent spectacle! There’s a special story behind the Chilean swimmer in lane two, Bob. His parents died when he was four, then he was adopted, and those parents died as well. Actually, four sets of the swimmer’s parents died, and his countrymen began to believe there was some sort of curse on him. Thus, the poor guy had to spend all his time in a pool, hence is much-practiced aquatic skills.

BOB: Whoah, Bob, the swimmers have turned again!

OTHER BOB: That kind of thing makes my heart skip a beat, Bob!

BOB: No, Bob, it’s actually your clogged arteries that makes your heart skip a beat.

OTHER BOB: Touche, Bob.

In closing, here is a list of things that are better than the Olympics:

-Picking up the phone to be told four relatives have just been maimed in a twister.

-Finding out your girlfriend is married to Carrot Top.

-Watching the DVD of the Rosie O’Donnell Show, the Complete Third Season.

-Getting stung by an Africanized Honey Bee.

So, readers, I implore you to help me out with this Olympic boycott. Jimmy Carter, bless ‘im, would have wanted it this way.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Poor white crayons

They have no purpose, save for use on construction paper. Which no one ever has, other than kindergartens. Construction paper is the affirmative action of the drawing paper world. White crayons just sit there in the box, lonely and unwanted, like the scrawny kid with glasses in gym class dodgeball.

The white crayon gets its comeuppance only late in life, when its brethren have been broken and worn down to stubs. Then it stands proudly in its virgin glory, untested but free of abuse. "You pompous bastards," the white crayon boasts with a booming crayon cackle. "Look at you now. Just look at you."

Monday, August 18, 2008

My new enemy

Checker Auto Parts. I bought a car battery a month ago, and in San Diego it stranded me. had to buy a new one from AAA. I took the "old" battery back to Checker Sunday and they told me to go sodomize myself. They wouldn't warranty it because their test says the battery is good, and wouldn't refund or exchange it even though it says on the receipt that they do refunds and exchanges for 60 days. Geez, try to f*%& with me cuz I'm a teenager with a little bit of gold and a pager. Awaiting a call back from the district manager today...

UPDATE: The district manager told me he'll order the store to refund me. I can't wait to stare down the evil fool who dared stand up to me and boast of my victory. I envision it like a "Highlander" showdown. There can only be one.

I think I may even thank the guy. It was totally worth it for him to act like such a jackass to create the opportunity for me to stomp him today.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Just when I thought I couldn't love "God of War 2" more

There enters a part where you find Icarus, who is old, disheveled and obsessed with flying across a chasm to meet the Fates.

He tells you to turn back, but you step up and tell him not only will you fly over that chasm he's wasted his entire, worthless life hoping to cross, but you'll use his wings to do it. So then you start beating him down, ripping his wings off him as you tumble down a seemingly bottomless pit. I never knew life could hold such pleasures. And when you win it gets even better. Turns out there's a pool of lava at the bottom, waiting to give your opponent a big hug.

Yeah, I know the game came out 2 1/2 years ago, but I'm slow. Let me enjoy the moment for what it is.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Potential newspaper name changes

New York Behind the Times

USA Yesterday

Baltimore Setting Sun

Toronto Fading Star

Washington Ex Post Facto

Arizona Redundant

Note: The Arizona Daily Star doesn't deserve a sarcastic, derisive nickname because it's awesome.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Best movie line ever

"You're going to have a magical life. Because no matter where you go it will always be better than Tucson." (Hamlet 2).

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dirty 30

And so it comes, the day I've dreaded since I was four or five and learned to count past 29. I'm entering my fourth decade. It's not that I'm unhappy to be older. Hell, I'm lucky to have lived this long since some people die when they're just babies, some when they're 10 and Tupacs when they're 25, and with only half the amount of testicles they started with at that.

But my dark little secret is I've always considered everyone age 30 and up to be an out-of-touch, burned-out fossil. To put it bluntly, a loser. My friends and I used to concur that marriage was the equivalent of death, and age 30 would bring death by natural causes. I doubt that perception was exclusive to me and mine, and it gives me no pleasure to be viewed that way by the young whippersnappers born in the 1980s or (gulp!) 90s. I'll hate them for having contempt for me and my age group, but will be forced to concede that they'll have a point. At a certain time - probably in your mid 20s but definitely by age 30 - the human body and mind begin to fade and slow rather than develop and sharpen. You can make up for the decline with experience for a while, but eventually you just lose it and transform into an incontinent shell of your former self.

The shift doesn't happen at 30, but with that age comes the waning of perceived potential. No matter how big a loser you are in your 20s, you can still write off your lack of success to youth. You're still brimming with possibilities, even if you just sit on your ass all day. For instance, a guy who spends all day playing "World of Warcraft" may be just gaining experience for his career as a video game developer. A guy who looks at porn all day could be preparing for a career in film. A meth addict could just be enduring hard times on his path to one day evolving into a self-help guru. A girl who spends all her student loan money on shoes could be planning on going to law school and making more than enough to pay it all back. And she still gets to keep the shoes!

Once you're in your 30s you can still make it, but realistically your chances of attaining the most garish of your dreams start to drop precipitously. A guy in his 20s with a hard drive full of unpublished books is indomitable and ambitious. But a man in his 30s? More of a pathetic failure. A Kurt Warner steaming on the sidelines, hoping the 25-year-old starting ahead of him breaks his collar bone so he can get another fleeting shot at recapturing his former magic, even though everyone in the crowd knows he'll fumble in the end zone in overtime.

To tell you the truth it isn't only my 30th birthday I've dreaded. Since 18 I've never been happy with sliding another bead on my age abacus. When I turned 20 I regretted no longer being a teenager, and at 25 I missed my early 20s. Twenty-six made me older than Sugar Ray said he was when he came out with "Fly" (even though the lying jackass was 29), and 27 and 28 and 29 were the three strikes I watched whiz by me as Father Time retired the side of my salad days all-star lineup.

Of course, now I see how silly it was to whine about turning 19 or 26 because I'm aware of just how young people of those ages are. I imagine that 10 years from now I'll be writing about how ignorant I was about fearing age 30. Age will surely bring wisdom and perspective along with its increased risk of prostate cancer.

What's weird to me is that now that most of my friends are also 30, they treat it as if it's no big deal. They have the same upbeat attitude of that dope who made the country song "My Next 30 Years." I refuse to be happy with it, even if it turns me into an angry old man. To be pleased that a significant chunk of your life is gone is to disrespect the gift of existence. I'm determined to realize how quickly the sand is draining from the hourglass and act accordingly.

What I need to come to grips with is that each day that passes is a step closer toward the grave, and should increase my sense of urgency in realizing just how short and precious life is. Sure, turning 30 is nasty and depressing in a way, but it's not as bad as 40, 50 or 130 for that matter. I must guard my immaturity with extreme prejudice and work harder at everything I do to make up for the gradual loss of my faculties. If there's truth to the maxim that you shouldn't trust anyone over 30, it's because once people reach a certain age they're done messing around.

Now I have to go. Time to begin life anew and start seizing opportunities. Or play "God of War 2." Whatever's easier.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

My worst investments

-Comic books - Oh, wow, thought 14-year-old Phil. They're actually killing Superman! I'd better buy all the books in the series leading up to and following this cataclysmic event, for they will surely make me a millionaire by age 30! If by "being a millionaire," 14-year-old Phil thought "wallowing in tens of thousands of debt as the comic books sat in a goldfish aquarium box," well then, he was Nostradamus.

-Baseball cards - They were going to pay for my first car. Then when they decreased in value they were going to be heirlooms I'd pass down to generations to come. Now they sit at a bottom of a landfill, refusing to biodegrade. Thanks to their laminated sheen, the cards will still be there when WALL-E roams the planet with his brand of overrated silent comedy.

-Newspaper company stock - I actually broke even on this, so it wasn't a debacle. But had I stayed in for a few more months it sure would have been. I may have well have bought HD DVD player stock.

-A 2000 Chevy Cavalier - My first big purchase. After a 16-hour day of searching for the perfect car, I resorted to the demeanor of a drunken sorority girl at closing and determined to go home with the next thing that looked my way. I paid $16,000 in a deal brokered by a woman my age who was no longer working there the week after.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Olympic skills you can use in Tucson

Who says athletes are the only ones who need to be athletic? There are plenty of
Olympic skills Tucsonans can apply to everyday life. A sampling:

Wrestling — You’ll need to know plenty of reversals and grapples in order to get the bartender’s attention for drinks at popular bars, especially on Fourth Ave. after Arizona Wildcats football games.

Swimming — So what if it’s Monsoon season? You’ve got your favorite shortcut home from work and there’s no reason to let a flooded wash alter your path. Strap on a Speedo suit and practice your butterfly.

Table Tennis — You won’t need a paddle to take on Tucson’s speed dating scene (although some people are into that sort of thing), but the back-forth-back-forth agility of a Forrest Gumpian athlete is needed to survive the quick give-and-takes that can lead to rejections or a romantic relationship that can last as long as a month.

Baseball — Next year the Tucson Sidewinders will be the Reno... Somethings. Spring Training may be hot on its heels on the way out, and that leaves us with a wide open Tucson Electric Park and nothing going on inside. So why not round up your 17 closest buddies, hop the gates and play two?

Badminton — It’s not uncommon to find avian roadkill along our city’s streets, so do your civic duty and help out fellow drivers a favor by knocking those birdies off to the side.

Hurdles — Our city’s parks tend to be laden with trash and muddy potholes. Sprint through the grass and hop over the obstacles lest you lose precious seconds and fall out of medal contention.

Triathlon — Tucson is known as a haven for bike riders, so take a leisurely stroll down one of our many scenic boulevards. The problem is the weather is so hot you’ll surely need to go for a brisk swim afterward to cool down. Because of the city’s high bike theft (particularly in the University area), your vehicle may have been stolen during your swim, so hightail it and catch that thief!

Fencing — Secure a seat on that cantankerous, bickering City Council of ours.

Real-life swordplay is frowned upon in favor of the verbal variety. Bonus points if you dare to take on the city manager.

Weightlifting — Hoist the downed palo verde tree (felled by a violent dust storm) that’s blocking your front door. Don’t forget the hand wraps

Field hockey — Because we have no iced-over ponds here, yet sporting goods stores still sell hockey sticks. So we can do the next best thing.

Handball — With our slumping economy and growing unemployment rate, being able to afford a racquetball racquet may be out of the question. So use a ball-hitting device the IRS can’t take away.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Fast food contests you may not have heard of


Tables in the dining room would spontaneously turn into Twister Boards every hour, on the hour, spurred by an announcement on the counter microphone. Customers and employees alike would jump up on the nearest tables, leaving their food as substitutes for colored dots, and the voice would then shout out a string of rapidfire instructions: “Right hand burrito supreme!” “Left foot meximelt!” “Right butt cheek soda!” The only “prize” offered was the odd stroke of luck that left your body contorted in a pseudosexual position atop an attractive female. More often than not, though, you ended up with your face stuck in the smelly crotch of the fat man behind the counter. Taco Bell stopped the game because Mr. T said he pitied the fools who played it, and back then everyone always did what Mr. T wanted.


Building off the popularity of the film, “The Exorcist,” Long John Silver’s replaced their food trays with Ouija Boards for a brief period, encouraging customers to seek guidance from the spirit world by placing their fingers on a corroded fried hushpuppy and allowing its grease to slip it this way and that. First prize was haunting and possession by spirits of the dark who traversed through the fast-food portal opened up by foolish mortals. First prize, incidentally, was better than second prize, which you’d get if you actually ate the hush puppies: diarreah. The Catholic League spoke out against the game, writing “The power of Christ compels you not to play with your food.”


It works like this: If you go to Burger King, order a combo and ask for a game of “Chutes and Ladders,” they’ll give it to you. This little-known “contest,” if it can be called that, is indicative of how Burger King doesn’t really understand marketing concepts so well.

SUBWAY YAHTZEE (1999-2003)

One in 4,000 12-inch BMT sandwiches included little tokens that allowed you to punch Subway mascot Jared in the face while screaming “Yahtzee!” The game didn’t have much to do with Yahtzee, but no one cared because all Americans crave the opportunity to punch Jared in the face, and greedily swarm after any chance to legally do so. Jared, bitchboy that he is, was a good sport about this game for two years, but got all uppity and tried to back out of the promotion in 2001. Regardless, he still had to take regular “Yahtzee!” punches in the face from winning customers several times a month until the Supreme Court ruled in his favor in a landmark 2003 decision.


This contest was distinctive because it was only open to homeless people. After the day’s shift, employees would toss stale food into a dumpster behind the restaurant, where four hungry drifters would await, their hands tied behind their back, so as to leave them with only their chomping mouths to devour the food in a comical display of Milton Bradley-inspired high jinx for everyone in the alley to enjoy. The game was disbanded when homeless people decided they’d rather die of hunger than eat Del Taco.

Monday, August 04, 2008

I am generous

I got a Canadian quarter as change and didn't know what to do with it. So I donated it to the Ronald McDonald house in one of those plastic charity solicitors at the counter.
That quarter was worth five American dollars.

Master splinter

I got as splinter yesterday on the finger I use to type 97 percent of my letters. Took it out. Or so I thought. But it's still in there. I dug and dug, with tweezers and nail clippers alike, creating an open-pit mine with my medieval surgery.

But I sense it's still in there somewhere, concealed yet throbbing, like Edgar Allen Poe's telltale heart, only in splinter form. At least the pain makes it feel as though it is. It's either the splinter that or the gaping, likely infected wound causing the hurt.

My LinkedIn haiku

Linkedin, Linkedin, ugh
So, so many friend requests
I approve them all*

*Except Hitler