Apocalypse Now

Fallout 3 was finally released last Tuesday. While most Fallout fanatics, or gamers who are jumping into the hype bandwagon, where out there trying to irradiate themselves with a copy of the game, I was battling out my impulse -to keep myself from doing the same- until I've raided Bethesda's PC support forum and see if the game has some major issues. For the two days I lurked at the forum, two problems that were constantly asked -and concerned me the most- were: (1) Securom Issues and (2) Random Crashing.

Securom problems, as a PC gamer, is still a big myth to me. Don't ask me why but, luckily, I just haven't had any problems installing or playing my games with Securom protection. I know that games like Spore and Mass Effect have created much chaos because a lot of people can't install or play their games because of Securom. But I didn't. However, that doesn't mean that I won't experience it with Fallout 3. So that raised a bit of concern. Random crashing made me pause as well since its cause are still unknown, and Bethsoft isn't doing anything.

The Capital Wasteland, my kind of wasteland.

Camping in at Bethsoft's forum, and listening to endless rants and prattle, is a very tiring ordeal. So I moved on and started reading substantial amount of Fallout 3 reviews, which are all in a positive note. After that I tried to decide if should buy the game now or wait until Best Buy knocks $10 off the game in the upcoming weeks, by weighing the game's problem and the positive reviews. But, in the end, after nine years of waiting for a sequel, it was my fanboyism that prevailed and prompted me to buy the game.

So, if the game is as good as the reviews says, the posts in this blog will significantly decline. But if the game is as good as its predecessors, then this blog will become as barren as a wasteland. See you next year.

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Apocalypse Tomorrow

Fallout 3 is finally coming out tomorrow, and the anticipation has left my veins all tangled up. As a huge fan of both Fallout 1 & 2, I also can't help but be anxious about Bethesda Software's take on my beloved game series. While I did love The Elder Scrolls series, I just don't think Bethsoft have "IT" to measure up to Black Isle Studios ingenuity when it comes to role-playing games. But I do hope I'm wrong.

A Fallout 101 video, for those who haven't played the game.

Anyways, GameTrailers has put a video entitled The Fallout Retrospective that covers the history of Fallout, starting from Wasteland to Fallout: The Brotherhood of Steel. Watching it was very nostalgic and reminded of my early PC RP'ing days. It also deadened my anxiety and anticipation, if only for a little while. For the newer generation, the Xbox 360 or PS3 generation, who wants to pick up Fallout 3 but has never played or seen the older games, the video also serves as a good and entertaining crash course of everything Fallout.

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Game Review: Mass Effect

Mass Effect
8.8 of 10
Platform: Windows (also available on Xbox 360)
Developer: BioWare


BioWare has been one of my favorite PC game developers since I've played Baldur's Gate during the late 90's. Lately, however, they've turned sour on my tongue as they've continued to tease me with their games. First, they announced Dragon Age but seldomly updated its progress, leaving fans like me in the dark. Then, they announced Jade Empire as an Xbox exclusive game only to be released on the PC almost two years later. Lastly, it was Mass Effect, which, like Jade Empire, was also announced as an Xbox 360 exclusive but saw a PC release earlier this year. Don't get me wrong though. I am grateful that BioWare released this space opera on the PC. But, please, stop with the teasing already.

Unlike so many RPGs, who often start you with a nobody, Mass Effect gives you the chance to play an established hero, Commander Shepherd, from the beginning. A marine that has proven himself/herself on numerous occasions, Shepherd has been offered a candidacy to become a Spectre, elite agents that works under the intergalactic government. His first mission as a candidate is to simply pick up an unearthed beacon, an ancient artifact of an extinct advance civilization, from a human colony. But things got more complicated when the colony was attacked by Saren, a rogue spectre, who is also interested with the beacon.

Saren, the Sith...err, Rogue Spectre.

The moment you start the game, you'll immediately know that Mass Effect offers a sublime story. However, I couldn't help but notice its resemblance to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. There's the Spectre, a figure of galactic authority, which equates to the Jedi. Then there's the Rogue Spectre which also equates to the Sith. Also, let's not forget the "Council", which they never even bothered to change its name. But, nevertheless, other than being a Star Wars copy cat, the story of Mass Effect will astonish gamers with its plot twists and a universe teeming with political and social intrigues that reflects our own reality.

Before you can experience the wonderful universe of the game, like all RPGs, you must create a character first. In Mass Effect's case, BioWare added a little flair to make the character creation as a part of the role-playing by letting you connect to the Alliance Military's database and fill-up a profile. Character creation isn't as complicated as compared to other RPGs. It's very simple, in fact, and all you need to do is type in your first name, select your background and psychological profile (both of which don't give out bonuses but will minimally affect the dialogue in some parts of the game), and your class. Choosing how the way your character will look like, however, might take up some time depending on your vanity. A quick-start character is also available if you're really itching to play the game.

Suck on this, synthetic scum. Suck on this.

After you clear the character creation, you'd get to roam inside the SSV Normandy -a pretty nice looking ship with advance stealth systems- and cavort with your crew. Conversation choices is pretty straightforward in Mass Effect, as it usually gives you only three types of responses that will determine your moral alignment: The good, the neutral and the bad choice. Choosing the good responses will give you Paragon points, and choosing the bad responses will net you some Renegade points. Dialogue options, like most BioWare games, also affects the game. But it is often limited to avoid combat or persuade/intimidate a non-playable character to pay you more. The conversations doesn't carry any long term effects, however, unlike in games such as The Witcher.

If you're done walking and talking to your crew, you and your squad will be dropped off immediately at the combat zone. Combat is probably my favorite part of the game. It's fast paced and exhilirating. Although, I admit, I found it to be confusing at first with all my enemies and my sqaud creating this pandemonium around me. But once I figured out the "how to's", especially commanding my squad, it just blew me away. The utilization of covers, combined with squad control, is something I enjoyed the most. I know it is pretty much common in first-person shooters. But to actually see your character taking cover, all ducked with his/her back to a crate or cliff wall, while poking occasionally to get a shot, is just pretty entertaining to me.

Commander Shepherd, taking cover behind a container.

But with all its niceties, there are some things I didn't like about the gameplay. Mainly, the skills. First of all, there aren't many skills to play with in the game, losing its replay value. In addition, most skills have almost the same effect. Sure, their uses may have been differently explained on paper. But on actual combat they all seem to do same. Sometimes, I wonder if I used Sabotage or Overload on an enemy. The other thing I don't like is the lack of Stealth. This game would've been perfect with a stealth skill. There are plenty of instances in the game, especially in a bunker setting, that I would've loved for my Infiltrator to sneak in a higher spot and just pick out the bad guys.

Graphics and Sound
Unfortunately, there aren't many eye candy in Mass Effect. Most of the designs and the models that were used, I felt, were recycled from Knights of the Old Republic. But Bioware did spice it up, of course, with some film grains and motion blurs (which I have to turn off in order to take nice screenshots) to make it a bit up to date. Nonetheless, some designs were pretty cool. Especially the alien models such as the bellicose Krogan and menacing Turian. I liked the weapons too, and how they are strapped at the back of your armor, even the models were too few.

The Sovereign, Saren's mothership.

The sound, however, is another pleasure in Mass Effect. The weapon effects, especially, is masterfully done. I often times find myself running while shooting at nothing just to hear my pistol sing. The voice acting, too, is sterling. That is because BioWare spared no expense in hiring good actors to portray all the character's voice. Actor Seth Green even played Joker, the uber-passionate pilot of the SSV Normandy. The music, while most of the time buried under the cacophany of gunfire, is also magical and can exponentially enhance the space opera experience.

BioWare is doing well with their intellectual properties, and Mass Effect is no exception. Although its universe and story bears a similarity to the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, I'm still happy of how the story turned out in the end. I also had tons of fun with its adrenaline pumping combat, despite the lack of good set of skills. However, even though Mass Effect is a great game, it doesn't scale up to the older BioWare titles such as Baldur's Gate or Knights of the Old Republic. Nonetheless, I'm grateful that this game was released on the PC. But now that it's out of the way, I hope BioWare will focus all their effort to make Dragon Age: Origins an even better game than this one.

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This day, Saturday, left me cold...or WITH a cold and fever to be specific. I woke up shivering under my blanket this morning, feeling all stuffed and heavy. The world outside my window didn't help me a bit as well because it was so grey and chilly. So I had no choice but to stay in bad and cancel my plan of going to the first ever Windy City Comicon. I really wanted to go. So much, and so badly, that I bought a non-refundable ticket in advance. It's a good thing it was only $5 (unlike Wizard World which charges for $25). But, still, everytime I think about the bargains and the tons of back issues I could've gotten, or the nice and crazy comics afficionado I could've met, make me feel so dejected. Bah, there's always a next year...or so I'll keep telling myself tonight until I fall asleep.

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I Want an Archos 5

I'm a big fan of Archos portable media players ever since I found out about them. Unlike other portable media devices (iPod, Zen and Zune) their specs are much better. Bigger and better screens, huge storage capacity, and can play almost any media format. Unfortunately, they were just too thick back then. But when I saw the guided tour of their latest model, the Archos 5, I was sold right away.

The guided tour of Archos 5

Archos 5, unlike its predecessor, is a sleek looking device. It may not be as sleek or sexy as the iPhone or iPod touch. But for a device that can get you the internet, has a huge vibrant touch screen, and a 250 GB hard drive (wow, I really want this), I think it's sleek enough. It's still pricey though (almost $500). So I'll probably just wait for its price to drop down. Besides, my Creative ZEN still works wonderfully. Even though it can't fit all my media.

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First Impressions: Spore

Howard, The Mosquito Duck

I finished playing Mass Effect and now I'm playing Spore. This game has been under development for a long time. I remember I was still in school when people started talking about its complex and revolutionary gameplay. So when I played the game last night I thought I'd have my nose buried in the game's manual. But it's actually not that complex since the game is very playable. Even casual gamers will probably enjoy this game. I don't find it to be that revolutionary either. True, there's some innovation in the game but I don't think you'd see a bunch of Spore clones in the near future. Personally, however, I'm having a blast playing the game. I'm addicted to it too.

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Comics Bundle 10/08 - 10/15: Splorching Skrulls

This week's bundle of comics was an expensive bundle. That's because there are lots of good Marvel Limited Series with a nice thin card cover. Maybe it's time for me to trim down my pull sheet.

Deadpool #3
8.5 of 10
Writer: Daniel Way
Artist: Paco Medina

Nothing's really new here, as my boy Deadpool consistently harassed the Skrulls with his insanity until they go SPLORCH! Although, there's a tad of seriousness in this issue when Deadpool explained how his healing factor works to the resident Skrull egghead. There's even a hint of sadness in his voice. Maybe because he remembers his life before his cancer and Weapon X? Anyways, like all other Deadpool issue, this too is tons of fun.

Ender's Game: Battle School #1
7.6 of 10
Writer: Christopher Yost
Artists: Pasqual Ferry, Frank D'Armata

Marvel has adapted some popular books into comics as of late, and they're pretty successful. So when they announced that they'll also adapt Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game, I was ecstatic. I haven't read the book but, for the longest time now, I really wanted to. That's why I included the comics adapatation on my pull sheet. However, it seems to me that the writer assumed that readers of this issue is familiar with the source material. The background setting, for example, is vague. I didn't know if they were on Earth or another planet. Terms such as "Formics" were also used but didn't had any in-depth explanation. On the other hand, characterization here is great. Ender, especially, is not the kind of kid that I expected. In the end, however, I'm not so sure if I want to continue following the comics or the book.

Mighty Avengers #19
1.0 not 10
Writer: Who Cares?
Artists: Who Cares?

The reason why I follow Mighty Avengers is because Ares cracks me up and I find Carol Danvers sexy (Jessica Drew too). But Mighty Avengers #19, a Secret Invasion tie-in, featured Captain Marvel and none of the Mighty Avengers. Not one. Plus, the story was really horrendous. I haven't got many comics but this is probably the worst issue I have right now. Because I'm not sure what it was about. I think it was about a confused Captain Marvel trying to figure out if he was a Kree or Skrull. If you haven't bought this issue yet, skip it.

X-Men: Magneto Testament #2
10 of 10
Writer: Grek Pak
Artists: Carmine Giandomenico, Matt Hollingsworth

The first issue of X-Men: Magneto Testament made an impression on me. But, as with first issues, I wasn't so sure if the series is going to be really good or just a fluke. That's why I didn't include it when I updated my pull list. A huge mistake on my part, that was. I have to visit three comic book store to get a copy because this issue were flying off the shelves. With good reason too. Since, in this book, we see how a young Magneto suffered and persevered in the face of Jewish persecution, the root of his hatred for humanity and mutant extremism, during the reign of the Third Reich.

The Walking Dead #53
8.8 of 10
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artists: Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn

Two things I like about The Walking Dead: (1) The story of human perseverance and (2) Hacking zombies into pieces. The series has a balanced mixture of both drama and action. Those are the reasons why I think it's successful. Lately, however, there's more drama than action. We know that too much of something is bad, and the drama has made the progress of the series slower than a "walking dead". But, in this issue, people showed up at Hershel's Farm, an army man (who looks like Dum Dum Dugan) and a scientist, who seems to know what's going on and are headed to Washington to sort things out. If the series is indeed going to Washington, then the series going to pick up some serious winds on its sail and head towards a bloody story arc.

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Absolutely Absolute!

Last month, I donated three small boxes of trade paperback comics and mass market edition of books to a child mentoring program. I gave them away not because I didn't like them but because I was planning to build a library of hardcovers only. Included in that box were six softcover volumes of The Sandman graphic novels, by Neil Gaiman, which is one of my favorite comic book series. So, of course, it's natural that getting The Sandman hardcovers is a priority on my list.

Absolute Edition side by side with a regular collected hardcover (left) and its slipcase (right).

The collected trades for The Sandman was initially released between the late 80's and the mid 90's. So, at first, I was afraid that it'd be impossible, or too expensive, for me to acquire a hardcover version. But, fortunately, Vertigo and DC Comics started the Absolute Edition, which is a higher quality of hardcovers. It's larger than a standard collected hardcover, bound with a thick leather cover and encased in a slipcase. It's also been recolored and collects 20 issues instead of 8. Bottom line, it's a really beautiful book that'll last and look good on any library.

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Street Sweetie

I often go on a lunch break at around 1 PM. That way I could hog the TV in the break room all to myself and watch the news. Lately, however, all I've been watching is Street Signs, a business news program on CNBC. One of my co-workers noticed it and told me that I was so concerned about the economic crisis we're now facing. She's dead wrong. Honestly, as of now, I'm not that worried about the recession. I'm not interested with the business world either, or understand financial jargon to be watching the show. But I fancy beautiful women, and the host of show, Erin Burnett, is quite a stunner.

Erin Burnett, calling President Bush a monkey.

I was just flipping through channels when I saw her, and I just had to stop. I was instantaneously captivated by her beauty and intelligence. She's smart and the way she talks will make you worship her. Also, and most importantly, she's a bright-eyed brunette (there's my keyword). Too bad, she likes expensive gifts like: "Family is important to me, so round-trip business-class tickets to Australia and New Zealand for my parents would earn you big points in my book." I don't know why I'm infatuated with smart, successful, dark-haired and bright-eyed women, who are way out of my league. I need to lower my standards.

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StarCrap II x 3 = None

My first PC games were real-time strategy (RTS). Although, in truth, I'm not a big fan of the genre. I just didn't have any choice back then because most of the games that are sold and played in my area were RTS. But I did fall in love with some games such Dawn of War, Company of Heroes, World in Conflict and, of course, StarCraft.

StarCraft was a revolutionary RTS back then. The game has three factions instead of two, and each factions have its own unique units and strategies. I didn't play the game on Battle.net or PvP on internet cafes with my friends though. As always, I was more interested finishing the campaign and following each faction's storyline. That's why when Blizzard announced its sequel last year, I was so ecstatic. The game immediately made its way into my "Most Anticipated Games" list. But I'm not excited, or interested, with the new units or the new graphics. I just want to know what happens next in the story.

Surrender your cash!

Last week, however, at BlizzCon 2008, Blizzard announced that StarCraft II will be shipped into three different games, one game for each faction campaign. Well...that sucks. So if I want to know the story of all three factions, I must buy StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (Terran), StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (Zerg) and StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void (Protoss). Blizzard said:
"...players will access more story content, more characters, and more customization. Rob Pardo, executive vice president of game design, said that each game would be approximate in size to the original StarCraft. Each game will be a stand-alone installment – not an expansion."
Pure BS. They just want more money. If people buys all three of the games that's $150 right there. That's just too much for me. So I'll just pass and pretend that this game was never released. Although, I know, a lot of people will still buy it. Because Blizzard has such a huge loyal fanbase.

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The Aftermath of Lies

Two things that gave me pause after watching Body of Lies yesterday.

  • After I saw how the CIA operates in the movie, of doing everything that is necessary to protect the US, despite the loss of innocent lives or even undermining the authority of their allies. All of a sudden, Sen. Nene Pimentel's speech back in 2000, that the CIA is responsible for the birth of Abu Sayyaf, doesn't seem to be too far-fetched anymore.
Axl Rose, he can still rock.
  • When I heard the song at the ending credits, I needed to stop and listen to it because it was so damn cool. It has this cool funk, jazz and soul vibe to it, and with a little mid-eastern flair. The voice was definitely Axl Rose's. But I never heard him sing that way so I doubted myself. When I got home, I learned that the song, entitled "If The World", was indeed from Gun N' Roses. Though the song is a departure from the old GNR that we used to know, it just proves that Axl can still rock.
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Film Review: Body of Lies

Body of Lies
8.2 of 10
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe

I haven't been to the theaters since The Dark Knight. That's almost three months of no new movies for me. So I went out today to watch Body of Lies. The movie was okay, I enjoyed it. But it was a step down from DiCaprio's last movies (The Departed and Blood Diamond). He did act well though, and so did the rest of the cast.

What I like about the film is the realism. This is no James Bond type of spy movie, ladies and gents, because it showcases that spycraft is a grim and an unethical business, where people are using people like dispensable tools. A good example of this is when they [DiCaprio and Crowe] made a fake terrorist group, involving a poor innocent soul in the process, just to lure out Al Salim, a leader of a jihadist group.

The movie is also non-West-centric. Unlike other spy movies, A CIA agent isn't the be all, know all, charismatic persona in this film. Although most of them are arrogant enough to think that they are. Especially Russell Crowe's character. While DiCaprio's character is an intelligent and skilled agent, he's also not the hot shit in here as he had failed numerous times. His paramour is also a local clinic nurse, covered from head to toe with a medical apron, instead of some hot blond girl in a stupendous evening gown or sweat drenched tank top (to my dismay).

All in all, the film is worth watching. It's not that great but it's enjoyable and will kick some serious sense into some viewers. Especially to those who don't know about middle-east politics, or the nature of spycraft beyond Bond films. Though I wouldn't recommend the film if you're Euro-centric cause you'd probably hate it.

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Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

Marvel Animation has announced another series, Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, on their growing line up of comics-to-animation. The series will debut in 2011 as a part of their "Road to the Avengers" strategy that will fuel the hype of the Avengers movie, which is also scheduled to be released in 2011. Here's a snippet of info about the series:
"The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" is an all-new property featuring some of Marvel's all-time favorite characters including Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Giant Man and Wasp. When the planet is threatened by super villains, time traveling conquerors, alien invaders, mythical monsters and mad robots bent on the total destruction of humanity, when forces of evil are so overwhelming that no single hero has the power to save the world, when there is no hope left…the Avengers assemble!"
I'm already excited. Although I wish they didn't use the old school team because I really want to see Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch. Well, there's always room for an expansion. That is, if the series is successful. To read the announcement of the series, head here.

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A Geek in Crisis: Surviving the Economic Slump

I never thought I'd post something about money in this blog. But with the recession going on, it's a hard time for geeks like me who have many hobbies but only earns a paltry sum of cash each month. So while I was doing my budget plan for the month of October, I thought I'd share the things I do in order to survive and enjoy my meager monthly salary.

But a little caveat before I start. Like I said, I'm just a guy who have tons of hobbies but has a very shallow pocket. So I'm not a financial expert, and this is not a post -like most blogs- of how to earn a quick buck. I'm only a frugal person who knows how to spend his money wisely on the things he needs and the things he really wants.

So without further delay, here are my advice for surviving the economic slump.

  • Budgeting and Limiting
Budgeting is the most simplest and easiest way to save money. But I'm surprised a lot of people don't do it. I often hear them say "I'm short -X amount of money- this month". That's because they don't plan and limit themselves on what they spend, or they just don't keep track of their money.

What I usually do, to control and limit myself from buying useless things, is make a budget plan every month. Every first week of the month, I try to list down all the commodities that I need, such as gas and groceries, and all the bills that I need to pay. Then I'd calculate, overestimate and set aside some money for those things. 50% of what's left of my salary will then go to my savings, and the other 50% will be my spending budget for things like comics, books and games.
  • Planning and Listing
Plan ahead and list the things you need before you head out. Try going to a grocery store without a list and I'm certain you'd end up buying things that you don't need. Try going out to a store to buy a gadget you don't know much about and you'd end up buying useless accessories because the sales rep told you so. So make a list of the things you want or research a product before you purchase. Not only it'll help you save money but it'll also save you time.

As an impulsive buyer, it's always easy for me to go over my budget limit when it comes to comics, music and games. So, in order to prevent that, I always look for a list of release dates so I can check out previews and make a list of the things that are worth getting. If I'm not too sure about something, I'd check out the reviews first before buying.
  • Used and Sale
I know a lot of people like their things new. But there are some stuff that you can just buy as used. My CDs, which I painstakingly got all back when I left my old ones during migration, are mostly used. Some of my books, which I got from Amazon and other websites, are used as well.

If you won't buy it used, then at least buy it on sale. As for me, I don't like buying used PC games or softwares. But Best Buy always offers a price off on most of their CDs and games on the week of release. The same goes with other electronic stores. That's why it's wise to check out weekly ads online and on free newspapers. If they don't go on sale, then I usually wait for the price to drop.
  • Learn and Live
We're living in the information age and there's a lot of DIY guides floating around the net. So instead of hiring an expensive professional service man to fix a minor clog problem in your sink or to plant a tree in your garden, why don't you utilize some of the guides on the net and do it yourself. If you're not comfortable of doing it yourself, at least try and learn these things so you won't get ripped off.

As for me, I tried to learn how to cook. My cooking might not be the best, but at least I have something edible to bring to work. Not only this has save me money from buying out in our hospital cafeteria, whose food is as equally as bad as mine, I also started eating healthy.
  • Cutting and Trimming
Lose what you don't need such as home phone and gym memberships. Home phone seems unpractical now, especially since you can get cheap cellphones with cheap pre-paid plans. Besides, cellphones, unlike home phones, are also much cooler since you can almost go everywhere with them. Gym memberships? Ever heard of push-ups or running in that beautiful park?

As for me, I also cancelled my cable TV. I don't watch it that much. I'm not into sports and I'm not into soap operas. Instead, I just rent out movies or TV series and watch it on my dvd player (which died a couple months ago). Internet, since I don't download big files or play online games, I just got the cheapest DSL plan from AT&T. Also, from time to time, I trim out my comics pull list and adjust it to my budget plans.

So these are the things I do in order to survive everyday life -with my almost decent salary- but still enjoy the fruits of my hardwork. Hopefully, It'll help you out.

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Drink N' Drive

Work felt like work today because everybody was breathing down on somebody else's neck. If that happens again, I just wish I have this...

A USB(eer) Drive.

Not only it stores important files, but also contains a sip of restorative potion. I wish it was a bit stronger though. Like a Jack or Johnny maybe.

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1st Box Milestone

A short box full of comics.

Six months ago, I got back into collecting comics. Now, I have 1 short box full of comics (a total of 125 issues). It's amazing how fast I got into it. At first, knowing that its an expensive hobby if it got out of control, I decided that I'll just collect the X-titles (Uncanny and Astonishing X-Men) and Marvel's main events, and then get the trade paperbacks for all the other series that I like. But one thing lead to another and now, before I knew it, I'm reading more than 20 titles. But it's still under my control -as long as I keep my budget tight- and I'm having a lot of fun.

Anyways, here are the titles that are on my pull list and collection.
  • Avengers: The Initiative
  • Big Hero Six
  • Captain Britain and the MI: 13
  • Deadpool
  • Ender's Game
  • Kick-Ass
  • Mighty Avengers
  • New Avengers
  • Runaways
  • Samurai: Legend
  • Secret Invasion
  • Secret Invasion: Thor
  • Secret Invasion: X-Men
  • The Stand
  • Thor
  • Thunderbolts
  • Uncanny X-Men
  • Astonishing X-Men
  • X-Men: Magneto Testament
  • Wolverine
    • The Walking Dead
    • Four Eyes
    • Batman
    • Birds of Prey
    • Final Crisis
    • Final Crisis: Revealations
    • Justice League of America
    • DMZ
    • Fables
    • Scalped
    Avatar Press
    • Black Summer
    • No Hero
    • Grimm Fairy Tales
    • Grimm Fairy Tales: Return to Wonderland
    Hopefully, I won't add any more to my list. But I doubt it. When Secret Invasion and Final Crisis ends, they're going to splinter into new stories and titles. So I'll probably keep on adding to it.

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    Comics Bundle 9/24 - 10/1: Reneratin' Degenerate Skrulls

    I've been lazy writing any kind of reviews as of late. It's most likely because of the new rig and the holiday games rush. Aside from the new games, I also have the old games that I wanted to re-play and experience with eye-blistering graphics. Hence, I don't have time to write reviews anymore. I didn't write any music or game review last month, and I also skipped a week practicing my comic reviewing skill. But I have to...I just need to make time to write, or even shorten and dumb down (even more) my reviews.

    So, here, my hastily and horrendously written reviews of excellent, and not so excellent, comic books.

    Deadpool #2
    8.5 of 10
    Writer: Daniel Way
    Artist: Paco Medina

    In the last issue, The Skrulls almost had Deadpool. So our crimson-costumed anti-hero had no choice but to join them. The Skrulls considered for a while. But, in the end, they spliced him, copied his advanced healing factor, and made a new batch of Super-Skrulls with it. The result: a bunch of Deadpool-cloned Super Skrulls, who are as much as a lunatic as him, running around the Skrull Spaceship making "Knock Knock" jokes and killing everybody. This issue is just a bag of crazy fun.

    Four Eyes #1
    8.8 of 10
    Writer: Joe Kelly
    Artist: Max Fiumara

    I didn't know anything about Four Eyes. The comic book store owner only insisted that I should get it. I hestitated, at first, because I thought he's trying to sell me something. But he's right, as always. This book is amazing. While the basic concept of the book may be too "Eragon", whereas a young boy find and forms a bond with a dragon whelp. Its setting, however, which is in New York City during the Great Depression, sets it apart from your standard fantasy books. I just can't wait for this book to go off.

    New Avengers #45
    5.0 of 10
    Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
    Artists: Jim Cheung, John Dell, Justin Ponsor

    When I saw a preview page of New Avengers #45, last month, where Veranke (The Skrull Queen), in the guise of Jessica Drew, was suffering and felt a little lost during the House of M event, I was left intrigued. But that was it, just one page. I just feel that the rest of the issue was recycled from the House of M, and was spiced up with some captions pertaining to Secret Invasion.

    No Hero #1
    8.5 of 10
    Writer: Warren Ellis
    Artist: Juan Jose Ryp

    No Hero is another collaboration between Avatar Press, Warren Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp, the guys who brought us Black Summer. This is an excellent comic book but I felt strange while reading the first issue. It just feels a lot like Black Summer -which is a good thing- with its vigilante themes and Ryp's wonderfully violent artwork. So I had to constantly remind myself that I wasn't reading Black Summer, but a different book.

    Samurai: Legend #1
    7.0 of 10
    Writer: Jean-Francois Di Giorgio
    Artists: Frederic Genet

    I like Samurai stories. Unfortunately, not a lot of comics features the Samurai, and reading manga leaves me crossed-eyed. So I was very happy when I learned about Samurai: Legend #1. The story is pretty decent, its your standard samurai story with a dash of Japanese folklore. The artwork is pretty solid too. Especially the fights, they just kept it simple and clear. What I don't like about this book is the $6 price tag.

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    Punk is Dead?

    Punks, especially The Sex Pistol fans, are probably going crazy right now. Why? Well, because Johnny Rotten (aka John Lydon), front man of the pioneer punk band, just up, went and sold himself out to make a TV ad for Country Life butter. That's just odd enough for a man who always spew anti-establishment rhetoric. Anyways, here's the video.

    If you ask me, I rather find the irony on video to be quite funny.

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    Featured Band: Tera Melos

    I haven't heard any new Math Rock bands as of late, and I was starving to hear more of the genre's oddly pleasing sounds. So I immediately set myself to work and scoured the net of everything Math Rock. A couple searches later, I found an article at Sputnikmusic entitled Genre Report: Norcal Math Rock. The article featured the Math Rock bands in Norther California, their history and the history of the scene. It was a great read and all the featured bands were really good. Although one band did stood out for me: Tera Melos.

    Tera Melos.

    Tera Melos is a two-man band (though they were four piece before) but is currently looking for a drummer. I really like their music because, amidst the odd time signatures and stop-start dynamics, they're still melodic since they use a lot of contemporary jazz elements. They also have a vocalist. But as with Math Rock, which is mainly regarded for its use of instruments, the vocals here are unintelligible. If you like to hear more of their music, you can visit their MySpace page. They have six songs that can be fully previewed. I highly recommend listening to them all.

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    Loathe and Love: My New PC

    I had my new PC for a couple days now, and having it is a double-edge sword since it can be both awesome and irksome. Here are the reasons why I loathe and love my new PC.


    • Software Deletion
    The thing I detest about buying a branded computer are the bloatware, useless and crappy software that you don't need but are already installed in the PC. These software chokes up your hard drive, and some of them are even resource hogs. So I usually spend an eternity removing them from my hard drive and cleaning their traces in the registry files in order for my PC to run smoothly.
    Some of the many software and games I installed today.
    • Software Installation
    Since all the cool and important software are usually not included on a new PC, you'll have to manually install them yourself, one by one. That's what I did the whole day today. I've installed three games (Spore, The Witcher and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.) and a lot of various software such as Ad-Aware and Firefox 3. In addition, I also defraged my computer after each installation to avoid fragmentation of files and reduce the loading time of applications, especially the games.
    • Software and Driver Update
    Another important, but irksome, part of having a new PC. After you install all your favorite software, you also need to update them to fix all the bugs they have. Updating the drivers of all your hardware will also fix some technical problems and improve the performance of your computer. I had to download a plethora of patches and drivers, since my softwares are newly installed and my drivers are outdated, and install them all. What a pain.
    • Better Performance and Storage
    What I like about my new PC is that, beside its updated hardware, there's still not much "dirt" to drag it down. I've been running a lot of things, simultaneously (scanning with an anti-spyware, anti-virus and trojan scanner while defragmenting), in this computer and its memory can still stand it. Plus, with my bigger hard drive space, I can also install a lot of my games.

    The dilapidated atmosphere of S.T.A.L.K.E.R., in hi-res and max settings.
    • Playing Games in Hi-Res and Max Graphics
    Perhaps my favorite part, and the reasong why I got a new PC, is to be able to enjoy my games with great graphics. I'm not a graphic whore, mind you, I just like to run my games without hassle. But since I already got the goods, why not use it. That's why I re-installed S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and The Witcher (I'll also install BioShock tomorrow). I've played these games last year but I had to set their graphics to the lowest possible setting. So, now, with my new PC, I'll be able to play and enjoy these games with an invigorated visual experience.
    Well, those are my reasons why I loathe and love getting a new PC. A lot of people will probably think me a dork for going through this arduous steps of setting up my computer when I could just plug it n' play it. But ever since I've read the articles at Tweak Guides, doing these procedures just became a habit. Happily enough, I also never had any major crash since I did so.

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