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Some Troll Police
Oct 14th, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

This is a few years old, but comes from me trying to learn how to make photographs look more comicy.

Concept by Jhoh “Creexul” Cable, words by Mischief Maker, I put the panels together. You can click on it to get the whole thing, uncompressed. 

Coolness vs. Playability: Sword of the Stars First Impression
Oct 8th, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Pinner wrote the article with that very title on Caltrops, which I will link to … here

(OK, the link works now.)

Saints vs. Vikings
Oct 6th, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

I remember reading the Saints’ schedule at the beginning of the year. It’s soft-serve ice cream. This was the weakest schedule I’ve ever seen them with.

I’m not going to blame Ed Hochuli for a miserably-officiated game. The Saints beat themselves. I’m not going to blame all the turnovers or Martin Gramatica. Antoine Winfield was the best player out there tonight, if you subscribe to the theory that the MVP of a game should come from the team that won.

What gets me is just how much of the joy I seem to be missing from sports.

When Reggie Bush took back his first punt, I was screaming at Pinback in Google Chat. He almost broke the next punt, and I flipped my shit when he took the punt after that back for a touchdown. Because, this was going to be a special game for Saints fans. This was going to be the game we describe for years as, “The game where they fumbled four times and were saved by Reggie Bush.”

Of course, it wasn’t that. Bush is an amazing player who doesn’t fit the mold of a normal running back or wide reciever. I guess he’s become my favorite player because, unlike Brees or Deuce, I never had to hear that they were horrible “busts” for years on end, by terrible sportswriters. (An aside – the terrible sportswriter known as Rich Tosches has started having Yahoo delete the mails that Pinback writes that clearly explain how horrible he is. Delete this, Tosches: YOU’RE WORTHLESS.) To me, when you take the fact that the guy is rich, he’s a young kid that had most of the press in this country saying how much he sucked in 2007. That stirs sympathy in me, I suppose.

So when he took the second punt back, to give the Saints the lead, I thought that this was going to be one of those games I’d always remember, fondly. It isn’t, of course. It won’t be. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Saints beat the Vikings. No matter how shitty they are, the Vikes find a way. It’s be admirable if it didn’t make me sick.

A few years ago, the Saints needed one win in their final three games to go to the playoffs. They were playing three of the worst teams in the NFL to finish up – Minnesota, Cincinatti and Carolina. The Vikes were hopeless that season. They scored late and normally, a team would have kicked the extra point to put the game into overtime. Instead, head coach Mike Tice realized he had nothing to lose, so he went for two.

Daunte Culpepper took the snap. He fumbled the ball. He scooped it up. He ran into the end zone. Two points. Game over.

(The Saints would then lose to the Bengals and Panthers, end up 9-7 with a three-game losing streak, and miss the 2002 playoffs.)

That’s the kind of football I’ve tortured myself with.

WHEN DOES IT EVER GET BETTER?

Not tonight, that’s for damn sure. I honestly didn’t feel bad after the Broncos loss. Now I feel like I’ve wasted, what, 16 weeks x 30 years = 480 football weeks, or 9 years? 9 years of my life, worrying about this nonsense?

Okay, maybe it didn’t ruin my life when I was *five*, but still. I need a new hobby. Something.

Diamond Mind 2008: Pitchers
Oct 1st, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

My pitching has been pretty terrible in my first two seasons. I think my team was letting up like five runs a game. Some of this was due to my park (I played in the 2005 version of the Skydome, which was a rocket launching pad) and some of it was because the pitchers I had were just not that good. I was also trying to “develop” a few pitchers for later. By “develop,” I mean:

Let’s say I am about to play the 2006 season. I know that Shaun Marcum had a lousy 2006, but had a promising 2007. In order to ensure that Marcum is on my team for 2007, I need to play him at a 33% clip for the 2006 season. He needs to face 33% of the batters he faced in the real-life 2006 (keeping in mind we only play 82 games).

This results in me throwing out a hilariously bad pitcher for many innings. But the benefit is that I can, thereafter, enjoy his really good seasons. Of course, he just recently had Tommy John surgery in real life, meaning he will be useless to me when we play the 2009 season. So I am having second thoughts about snapping up pitchers in the hopes that they develop.

Here’s what my rotation and bullpen look like for 2008:

 Scott Kazmir, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays. 12-8, 152 IP, 3.49 ERA, 125 ERA+, 1.267 WHIP

Absolutely dominated left-handed bats. Actually, in terms of just batting average, he was great – righties hit .227 off him, and lefties hit .198. He let up more home runs in 2008 than he did the year before, and that’s with pitching 44 less innings. He missed a bunch of time at the beginning of the year, but with how my rotation went, I am just glad he’s not having a combo Tommy John surgery / torn labrum stay in Alabama. Kazmir was inexplicably terrible for me when we played the 2006 Diamond Mind baseball season, and I never really figured out why. I was skipping his starts at one point. Infuriating.
 

Shaun Marcum, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays, 9-7, 151 IP, 3.39 ERA, 127 ERA+, 1.163 WHIP

I don’t have a lot of insightful things to say – he looked dominating for most of the year. He was sent down to Syracuse when he started getting rocked, and the story has it that the Chiefs pitching coach figured out a problem with his mechanics in a single pitch. He came back up, was dominant again… and then had to shut it down for TJ surgery. He’ll miss the entire 2009 season. I get the trifecta here: he’s gonna be gone from my favorite real-life team (Toronto), he was going to be a keeper on my fantasy baseball team, and he was supposed to anchor my rotation for my DMB team. Also, he was going to help me move a few arcade cabinets downstairs next month, and I guess that’s cancelled, too. (/shakes fist)

 

Felix Hernandez, RHP, Seattle Mariners, 9-11, 200 IP, 3.45 ERA, 121 ERA+, 1.385 WHIP

He walked more batters per inning in 2008, and he also drilled 8 guys, which will be fun to see during the season. “Fun,” as in, at least he can’t hit my own batters.  Left-handed batters hit .275 off him, which won’t be fun, so I should probably make some kind of effort at picking up some in DMB, instead of having them dispersed through the other 7 teams. I have to assume he’ll stick with the Mariners as they rebuild, but he does seem to be the kind of guy whose concentration and ability to not balloon up you worry about. He’s kind of chubby, in that pick, isn’t he?

 

Gil Meche, RHP, Kansas City Royals, 14-11, 210 IP, 3.98 ERA, 114 ERA+, 1.317 WHIP

I have received an EARFUL all season long about Mr. Meche, since I subscribe to Rany Jazayerli’s blog about the Royals. I don’t even like the Royals, but I read that blog because the writing is very insightful. I’ll happily throw Gil out there every five days because it takes a special brand of person to sign a $55 million contract, understand the world is giving you shit about it, take 55 as your uniform number, and then go out and earn the money.

 

Josh Beckett, RHP, Boston Red Sox, 12-10, 174 IP, 4.03, 114 ERA+, 1.187 WHIP

I was just going off ERA here, really, in terms of the makeup of my lineup, but Beckett had a better season than Meche, I believe. He’s also my hammer when I play the 2007 season in a bit. I know that Beckett had some trouble with his oblique muscle(s) this year, and it is amazing to me how hitters will jump on a guy with the slightest amount of weakness. When Roy Halladay had his appendix removed, we could tell there was something wrong as fans – we were RELIEVED that it was just that. Beckett is the sort of guy that’s safe to draft in our AL-only league: he’s not leaving Boston unless he sucks, and if he sucks maybe I didn’t want to play him anyway.

 

Justin Speier, RHP, Anaheim Angels,  2-10, 68 IP, 5.03, 87 ERA+, 1.412

I’ll kill myself before keeping Speier on my 2008 team. He’d need to put up Cliff Lee num… no, fuck that, he’d need to put up Sandy Koufax numbers in 2009 for me to play him at a 33% clip for 2008. He’s gonna be a solid, solid player in 2007, though – what happened to this guy? Did he just get old?

 

Dustin McGowan, Toronto Blue Jays, 6-7, 111 IP, 4.37 ERA, 99 ERA+, 1.374

Well, after my horrendous trade (may I mention that I am never trading away draft picks again?) I absolutely have to keep him and hope that he makes a full recovery in 2009. What he did to right-handed pitchers in 2007 showed a complete lack of respect for hitters, and frankly, I’d say that the MLBPA should have gotten involved and asked him to take it easy, but fuck me, he’s like the 80th injured Blue Jays pitcher that I have.

 

Casey Janssen, Toronto Blue Jays, Did Not Play in 2008

Janssen had surgery to repair a torn labrum in 2008. He was nails in 2007 – I’ll be carrying him over in the hopes that he becomes a “free,” quality starting pitcher in 2009.

 

So, yeah, I think it’s safe to say that when it comes to the bullpen in 2008… I could use some help.

 

 

Today’s update is Mr. Do!
Sep 10th, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Just an update to the Mr. Do! page on the left that I turned into a bloggy format.

Intervention
Sep 5th, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

My favorite quote in the election, so far, is from a McCain staffer. “John McCain is aware of the Internet.” In much the same way, I am aware of the show Intervention. If I had any idea what time it was on, what channel, and what constitutes a “season” of show for basic cable, I’d … well, if I had the ability to DVR something, I’d do that to it. I am aware of DVRing.

Here’s a video made by Fussbett Sanitario that has to do with that amazing TV show.

 

 

Ssshould I purrrrrchase Tigerrrr Woodssss Aught-Nine
Aug 29th, 2008 by Thysss Thyrrthynn

It iss difficult to know wherrre to beginn. Tigerrr hath sssssuch mixed reviews lassssst yearrr. And yet, the finalized product wassss clearly unplayable. Sssss. I would enjoy, hurm, a golfing experrrrience that did not fracturrrr time so readily, and was not otherrrrrwise crippled and unfun.

Clearly, there isss room in the marrrketplace for another golf game, one that is more competently produuuced. And yet, with Tigerrrr ssssuch a draw (and an exclussssive one at thhhh-at!) the competition would ssssurely be trounced, like so much foooolish Elowann space craft. Fortunately, I had my own minions, lassst year, purrrrchase the warre and play it before I wasssted my own valuable time and ccccccycles upon that…. annoyance. It wasss clearly a cruel and horrrrible gesssture laid upon those of usssss that enjoy… the gentleman’s game of golf.

In fact, one of the thingssss I enjoyed most were the Arrrrrthian announcersss. Both gone! Thhth! Although, perhaps the new onessss won’t react as if I had picked up the ball and thhhhhrrown it into a neighboring highway if I misssss a putt by just inches. That would be greatly… appreciated.

But I feel I am within the cold, desperate grip of the game reviewers now. Now, with thissss EA product, ssspecccifically. Many of my other, ah, “correspondents” here on thissss group blog have experienced it before: the hockey series routinely got worse in the Aughts, and ditto for Arrrrrthian football. And now, my golf. Why do you annoy usssssss?

It beggarrrrs thy imagination.

Everrry… near every review begins the same way!! ‘Electronic Arts has really attacked the issues that so plagued last year’s version. This year promises to be the best version yet!’ SssSSSssSSssth! But yet, they DID NOT mention these issues last year! Corrrrporate whorrresssssSSSssSs! All of them! Thhhhhhth!

(head bobs violently)

And yet, I grrrrieve.

Forrrr my only otherrr optionsss are a bar that doesss not allow my fellow Thrynn. For at thissss bar is one ‘Golden Tee.’ ‘Golden.’ ‘Tee.’

(head bobs even more violently)

Pssssath! I loathe myself for this decision. Thissss is my world now. Bring me thisssss Tigerrrrr Woods, 09.

Where I Stopped Playing The Game
Aug 26th, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

ZORK: GRAND INQUISITOR: When Michael McKean said that the upcoming puzzle will test my “ability to click.”

ULTIMA 9: ASCENTION: When I left the original area and traveled down the street and saw how laggy and unplayable the game was.

KNIGHT ORC: Right before the encounter with the troll. I am “saving” this one.

X-COM II: TERROR FROM THE DEEP: After the second mission I went on. Seriously, fuck that.

TRIPLE PLAY ’97: After 14 games. I realized there were no triples or doubles.

HALF-LIFE II: When I had to move around a big train compartment with an electromagnet, yet I couldn’t.

PREY: When the aliens or whatnot attacked and put everyone in chains. I know that makes it like the 2nd level. Still kind of hurting from that one.

RESIDENT EVIL 4: When my brother decided to practically complete the game in front of me before he left Colorado. I have to wait until I forget what he did so it’s all fresh to me.

DEATHROW: It’s going to be after one game unless there is a way to bump up the cursing. I thought this was supposed to be the most foul and filthy game of all time? There was more curses per hour in Transformers: the Movie!

BLOODMASTERS: I have never, ever seen someone on-line playing this on-line only game. What’s going on here? Is this some kind of sick prank? I’m not saying that the game looks like it’s … whatever you all consider to be a great game, Super Huey II according to this thread, but as far as top-down (free) shooters go it looks like a lot of fun. The only thing I can think of is that the developers are all from the United Kingdom and everyone goes to sleep right as I decide I want to Bloodmaster it.

JINXTER: Originally quit it because I couldn’t understand a single word. 20 years later the whole SUPABOOZA LEN GOES LIKE A DRAIN bit in the fake newspaper is positively pant-crapping.

CIVILIZATION IV: When my computer reacted like it had been on a fourteen hour bender and was coming to grips with the fact that the sun was up and they had to be at work in 45 minutes every goddamn time I played it. Possibly there is now a patch for this game that fixes the rampant memory leaks.

Michael Phelps 8 gold medals YAWN
Aug 20th, 2008 by Knuckles the Clown

The Summer Olympics, where we drag out sports nobody gives a fuck about every 4 years.

The last time I watched a swim meet was Back to School with Rodney Dangerfield, and that was actually diving and pretty goddman entertaining since the villian from Karate Kid played the villian here as well.

So Michael Phelps, I want to see what the buzz is. You got mastercard doing one of there wretched ads suggesting this Phelps character has groupies. ESPN is documenting his quest for 8 medals like its a Red Sox-Yankees world series.

So basically the guy is the fastest swimmer. Great. He is the fastest backwards, forwards and when the have him do the other goofy swim strokes well. And then they throw in relays. Essentially he is doing the same fucking thing over and over, so 8 medals is unreal right? Not exactly.

If someone is essentially doing the same event over and over again and getting a medal everytime that would tell me there are too many redundant medal events. Take basketball, you play 7-8 games, win one medal. They dont then have a left handed only basketball medal round or backwards running basketball round.

If Phelps swam up and down the pool, won one medal and then jumped into a fencing outfit or climbed in the boxing ring and won a medal, I say Athlete, great Athlete and his medal count is given credability. Since he is just swimming and they hand out way more medals for it, YAWN, he swims fast, great.

I dont really have a point other than his 8 medals is vastly overated. He is the best at what he does and you can keep coming up with slight variations of it and he will win. What does that prove that winning one race doesnt?

Warlords for the 360 Live Arcade
Aug 18th, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

I have an article I have been meaning to write for months now, about the game Castle Crisis. It is an arcade-perfect translation of Warlords for the Atari 800. If you had a 2600 (and any taste!) you probably played Warlords for the 2600, as it was quite common. The paddle controllers are in perfect form for the game, and it remains an excellent party game.

I picked up Warlords for the 360 (install size: ~35MB, cost: 400 points or $5) and after a long ummmmmmm I come right back to the problem I have trying to do spinner games without a spinner: you need a spinner!

So I don’t know. Is it even worth debating this one? hygraed, in the BBS, told me that there IS a spinner controller for the Xbox, and if I am going to keep doing this thing (get games that require a spinner – next up, Discs of Tron) then maybe it would be a good second controller for my system.

Let’s debate it anyway. Warlords for the 360 comes in two styles: classic and evolved. Amazingly, like real-life evolution, the latter is worse for all the human tinkering. Graphically — and please keep in mind I am on a 19″ screen until I finish my next text game — it’s a cramped mess, with some kind of weird mechanized robotroid post-modern thing going on. (Put it this way: the presentation sort of reminds me of what Sentinel Returns did on the PC years ago.) Because we’re all used to the crisp and clear graphics of regular Warlords, anything else that gums up the works is not necessary. In the (physical) arcade version of Warlords, it pretty much takes one hit to destroy one block. Not so with the evolved 360 version! No idea why!

So, Warlords is an amazing game that suffers from control issues on the 360 with the standard controller. My opinion of this game is INCOMPLETE until such time as I find a spinner, or some humans to play against on-line.

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