I'm currently listening to this band, Battles. At first, I couldn't get into it. But after two listens to the album, "Mirrored", my opinion changed. The music is genius and joyful. It's like the Oompa-Loompas playing music, and every note is like a "Golden Ticket".


His Dark Materials

I like steampunk, it's a fascinating setting. It's the science fiction of history. Plenty of stories have been written in this setting, from novels to games. Sadly, there's not much film under this genre. But a steampunk "book-to-film", entitled His Dark Materials, is finally coming out. A forum friend told me to read this but I didn't. So now, I got the book and, hopefully, I'll finish it soon enough.


Dark Knight Returns, Joker Begins

Yeah, The Dark Knight, that's the title of Batman Begins' sequel. Of course, it's been given, at the end of Batman Begins, that the next villain will be Joker. As to who will play the deranged clown, well it will be Heath Ledger, and he have a big role in his hands.

Ledger's Joker, not clowning around at all.

Now, if you want more updates -or teasers- about The Dark Knight, head on to ibelieveinharveydenttoo. It's the movie's official site and they have a lot of nice gimmicks. Currently, if you go to the site right now, you'll see a "page not found". But try to highlight the whole page, then you'll see Joker's message.


Your unit has arrived!

Step down Supreme Commander, move along Company of Heroes, because after 9 long years Starcraft 2 is finally here. Yeah, you heard me right, Blizzard announced their next game, last May 19, at the Blizzard's Worldwide Invitational. So it's official, not just a rumor, and I've been following all the details (PC.IGN has put together a nice list) about it.

I've been watching videos -cinematic trailers and game demo- of Starcraft 2 on IGN and YouTube, and it made me really excited about the new units and abilities. So far, most new units that have been unveiled are from the Protoss. The old units are still here too, albeit they pack a few new punches. Here are a some snippets that I liked:

"Zerglings: Yes, we know, the Zerglings aren't new, but they do get a new ability in StarCraft 2. Each one of these little monsters can be ordered to enter a brief transition state, mutating into suicidal bombs. In the bomb state, Zerglings roll across the landscape and take on a greenish hue, and prove particularly deadly."
I'm the Zerg guy, and I love my Zerglings. But I have to admit they become useless fodders at the end of the game. So mutating them into green rolling bombs is indeed a nice ability.
"Zealot: Right, Zealots aren't new, but their charge ability is. Blizzard wanted to make the psi-blade wielders more effective at chasing down fleeing foes, or quickly closing in on ranged attackers. The charge allows them to rapidly advance a short distance, and works as a passive ability."

Zealot Artwork

The fanatic psi-blade wielders are already tough as they come out from the box. But with this added charge -and passive, I might add- ability will make them even more difficult to deal with.
"Mothership: Only one of these can be present on the battlefield at a time. They have three powerful abilities, the first of which is called Time Bomb. Unleashing this attack surrounds the ship in a translucent spherical field capable of stopping incoming missiles. When the field times out, the missiles drop to the ground like harmless Tic-Tacs. The second ability, called Planet Cracker, fires a battery of laser beams (the Protoss like lasers, apparently) at the ground, quickly wiping out whatever's lurking underneath the ship. This ability is particularly useful because the mothership can be ordered around while the Cracker fires, acting like a tornado through a trailer park. The final ability is Black Hole, which, as you might expect, tears a hole in the fabric of "insert nerdy science-fiction term" and actually sucks in whatever units surround it. In the demonstration we saw Blizzard trigger a black hole around about four Terran Battle Cruisers, wiping them out within a few seconds."
I saw how this baby work in the video, it made me really excited. Especially the use of Planet Cracker ability, which reminds me of the movie independence day. Yeah, this unit is one bad UFO.

Well that's about it, for now at least. The game will be released on October 2007. So I need to start saving right now because, I know, October-December are full of excellent game releases.


The Sea and Cake

I don't pay attention to the Chicago music scene. That must've been the reason why I missed The Sea and Cake. They're a post-rock, jazz-influenced band that formed during the 90s, and their current album "Everybody" is, by far, one of the coolest music I've heard this year.


Philips SHE-9500

My budget for this month has pulled a big stop sign already. So, to my dismay, I won't be able to treat my ears with aural candies until next month -or two months from now. However, in my impoverished state, practical sense kicked in and I found cheap earphones ($30) that delivers sterling sonic, the Philips SHE-9500.

The SHE-9500 is an In-Ear (IE) sound isolating earphones. From what I heard, IE headphones are quite uncomfortable. I, however, took in to these things immediately (I used both medium and small rubber tips), without any awkwardness. That's kind of weird because I find regular ear-buds to be very uncomfortable. The sound isolation of the headphones block sounds in lower decibels, such as small talking crowds or footsteps, but its effectiveness diminishes against a car engine.

I'm also satisfied with its sound. Using my ZEN Vision:M mp3 player, different audio/video files, and headphones, I tried to compare the sound of SHE-9500.


  • Creative ZEN Vision:M Earphones
  • Sony MDR g52
  • Tool - "Schism" (320 Bit Rate)
  • Mastodon - "Blood Mountain" (320 Bit Rate)
  • Thursday - "Understanding in a Car Crash" (320 Bit Rate)
  • Team Sleep - "Ever" (256 Bit Rate)
  • The Mars Volta - "Drunkship of Lanterns" (320 Bit Rate)
  • Appleseed (742 Bit Rate)
  • Batman Begins (DVD)
The notable difference between the SHE-9500 and my other headphones is the clean, clear, crisp sounds. Since it isolate sound, you can listen to music without pumping the volume and distorting it. The bass is not that strong, however, especially in "Drunkship of Lanterns" and the action sequences in my Videos. Don't get me wrong though, the bass is there, and I find it suitable, but it might turn-off bass lovers.

Well there it is. I won't say that the SHE-9500 is the best low-priced earphones, however, due to lack of better comparison. But, overall, I'm very satisfied with it. I mean, its cheap, it works, and it sticks to my ear comfortably. I just wish it's tangle free.


A week in Middle-Earth

It's been more than a week since I've played the retail version of The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadow of Angmar, and the grind is starting to bore me already. But the fault lies with me because I treat the game as a single-player hack n' slash. I mean, it's a multiplayer RPG but I still quest alone, fight alone and even decline invitations to fellowships (or an adventuring party). I guess I've been stuck playing single-player RPGs for too long, or maybe I'm just too much of a loner. Still quiting the game right now would be a waste of money. I guess I'll just have to constantly remind myself that I'm playing a multiplayer game.


Aural Candy

Now that I have my ZEN, I think it's time to furnish it with accessories. The first thing I need to do is replace the ear-buds that came with the player. Seriously, the white ear-bud is like a beacon to muggers that screams: "I have an mp3 player". I don't want that kind of attention while riding the train, especially if I'm going to the south-side of the city. Plus, I find ear-buds very uncomfortable. So I've been browsing around for some headphones, with prices no more than $100. But currently, I'm torn between the Shure E2c and the Sennheiser HD-280.

Shure E2c
I've read the reviews of this product and most were positive. I'm sure these babies will deliver sterling sounds. They're also small. So there's a lesser chance of me getting mugged. However, these are canalphones. I haven't tried it but a lot of people find them uncomfortable.

Sennheiser HD-280

I had a demo of this product some years ago, and it did blow my mind away. The headphones also costs almost $400 back then. Now, I can get it for $100 at Dell. Since it's an on-ear headphone, I'd be more comfortable with it. The only problem is: it's big and flashy.

So there, I haven't decided which headphone to purchase. Should I go with the stealthier and much more uncomfortable Shure E2c? Or should I choose the comfort of the Sennheiser HD-280 but risk myself of being mugged?


Symbiote, Venom, and Gwen Stacy

I caught spidey today, and it's great. The movie wasn't just about hero vs. villains, it was more like hero vs. issues. Venom, The Sandman, and The Hobgoblin were just there to complicate things -and amuse the bloodthirsty crowd. The ending was good too since there's a closure (unlike X-Men: The Last Stand). Plus, they've finally decided to include Gwen Stacy (Spider-Man's first love in the comics).



After 3 weeks of being #1 in the box office, I decided to go and see Disturbia. The movie is tagged as a thriller but it never felt like one since the mood of the film jumps from scene to scene. There's drama, romance, and comedy. I don't think much of the movie but it's fun and easy to watch. Plus, the main character's room and his gadgets were pretty awesome.


Everything ZEN

In my previous post, I mentioned that I got an mp3 player (Creative ZEN Vision:M) with a broken battery, and that I have to wait for Best Buy to have the item in stock so I could replace it. Well, after two agonizing weeks, I finally got my item swapped with a working one. I must say that it is one fine mp3 player.

Enlightenment through ZEN.

As to why I chose the ZEN is simple: the file support and the features. As a Windows user, I was really looking for a video/mp3 player with WMV and DivX support, and only the ZEN has that capability. In addition, it also supports audio file like WMA and WAV, and photo files like JPEG and BMP. The features aren't bad either. The screen is amazing, my photos and videos never looked so vibrant. It's easy to use with all the buttons that functions similarly to a mouse. It also has some nice features like voice recording (this will be handy when I go back to school), FM tuner, and organizer.

On the downside, however, the design is really grotesque. It's thick, probably the thickest hard drive mp3 player in the market right now. It also scratches easily, and it's even more visible on the black player. Plus, the black player also looks ridiculous with its white back. The vertical touch pad is also quite sensitive, which can be somewhat annoying at times. There's a way to adjust its sensitivity but there's only three options (high, medium, low) which don't do much at all.

ZEN in a box and Dlo leather case.

But all in all, with its design flaws, I still love my player because it delivers and has exceeded my expectations. Now, all I have to do is fill it up with music and anime fansubs. I already started ripping my albums, so I only have a couple of stuff in it (Tool, Faith No More, Fugazi, The Mars Volta and some Samurai Champloo episodes to be specific).