Waiting Game


“24-Hour Beta Sign-up has officially ended. I’ve pulled the final list, and the first batch of tokens are going to start sending out immediately. We sent out the first 10,000 last night starting at 7pm and we’re beginning the next batch of 20,000 right now. If you go to the forums and post, and you get a COD 4 Beta Green Star under your name, you are in the beta. This should set some of you at ease. If you have the star, you WILL be getting a token. Just give it time”

Now we wait.

UPDATE #1: Got my code, downloaded the beta, gonna give it a long play test this weekend. Huzzah!

Wild Blue Yonder

This Sunday was especially fun for yours truely. It was the first time I’ve ever flown a plane. Yup, me, flying, in the sky. Crazy. My good buddy Matt took me up for a quick hour tour of the coast line and for about 20-25 minutes there he let me take the wheel… or stick… or whatever the hell you call it (yolk?).  I had a blast. It was quite possibly one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. We went up in a Tiger AG-5B, a little 4 seater prop job.

I managed to take a few photos while I was up there and I’ll post them as soon as I can. Even got a video of myself flying.

The weirdest part of the whole thing was realizing how light the aircraft was and how much it was getting pushed around by the wind. It was “sliding” side to side quite a bit more than I expected. I was always having to compensate with the rudder. Keeping it strait and turning wasn’t a problem. I’ll thank my years of video game playing for that. It was amazing to me how many different frequencies and radio towers you have to contact just to fly around. I think it took 4 or 5 different calls just to get up in the air, then various other ones as we went into other airports airspace. I have a new found respect for pilots.

If it wasn’t so damn expensive as a hobby, I’d say this was my first of many trips to come, but alas, unless I win the lotto I’m afraid a pilots license just isn’t in my future. Fun stuff though.

Beer in spades!

Can beer come in spades? Or is it limited to mere “pack” equivalents. Regardless, I had a multitude of brew last night and enjoyed it thoroughly. Yesterday we celebrated both my boss’ birthday and my good friend Dane’s birthday. My boss’ wife and I conspired to sneak a brand new xbox 360 into the office and set it up on the large, wall sized, projection screen. He received Guitar Hero 2 and Rainbow Six: Vegas and fun (and beer) was had by all as we “took the day off” to play some games. Talk about a good day at the office.

Those shenanigans immediately preceded the celebration of Dane’s birthday at a local pub called The Flying Saucer. TFS is known, at least locally, as the place with the highest number of beers available. They have a beer menu. It’s seriously crazy. I think they have 150-200 beers ON TAP with hundreds more in bottles. It was here that I was able to find my Bostonian favorite: Sam Adams Cherry Wheat. I had to order a few. Probably a few too many. I was actually amazed they had that, but apparently they have about half of the Sam Adams “Brewmaster’s Collection” of which the cherry wheat is apart. When I asked about the other varieties they were lacking (Cream Stout and Scotch Ale in particular) I was told that distribution of beers varies from county to county across the US. The distributor here in the Houston area only carries a certain number of kinds. It’s up to the distributor to request different varieties or brands. Dallas may have a completely different beer selection available to it than Houston.

I had to do a little digging, but Cherry Wheat is available at my local Spec’s Warehouse (think Walmart of booze) or, at the very least, they can order it for me. I think I’m going to have to stock up for the long haul.

There are very few beers that I like. I’m usually a vodka (or at least hard liquor) kind of guy. There are a few occasions when I’ll have a brew or two. Beer goes perfectly with pizza, so that’s always a possibility. The occasional cookout or party I’ll have one too, but rarely will I buy myself a six pack. When I do it’s one of a very short list of kinds. Sam Adams tops that list. As a local favorite, I think Sam was the first beer I had growing up, it’s what my Dad always drank. Now that I can appreciate it, I can see why. I’m also partial to the red ales. Killian’s, Red Dog, Red Hook for example, all are fairly tasty. I also like a cream stout or a porter every once in a while, but those are mostly “winter beers” because the ABV is a little higher and they’re more of a meal and designed to keep you warm than anything else.

Regardless, much fun was had last night and most importantly I learned something new. Now I know where to get my Sam Adams fix and Dane and my boss are both a year older. Win win.

You’re not special

I caught sight of something on Digg today that brought me back in time to college and all the bullshit that so called artists come up with. Looking through the stories this morning I happened to see a story on what information is really in a barcode. I’m not all that interested in barcodes, I know the basics of their design, so I skipped over it. That is, until I saw what website it was directing people to. It was barcodeart.com. That site is owned by Scott Blake.

I went to school with Scott. He was in several of my classes. He is a tool.

Technically, there’s nothing “wrong” with Scott. His only problem is that he jumped into the world of conceptual art with both feet and is drowning in his own bullshit. You see, people who can’t make real art (purest would call this retinal art, aka: art you can see – painting, photograph, sculpture, etc) often make up reasons why their conceptual art is actual art AND reasons why you don’t get it. Most of the time these people believe that the “art is the process” by which they created their crap. Marcel Duchamp would be a perfect example of this. For those of you who didn’t take Modern Art History 101, Duchamp is world famous for taking a common urinal, putting it upside down on a pedestal and declaring it art. The idea and the subsequent movement were based apon ideas of absurdity and anti-art. The concept was that something was “art” because the “artist” declared it so and that anything could potentially be art. It was a conceptual evolution of the idea that “beauty (and art) is in the eye of the beholder”.

It’s also complete BS. Alas, my opinion on the matter is not the prevailing one of academia. Art professors creamed their pants over things like this and continue to do so to this day. I like to call this shit out when I see it.

Scott fits perfectly into this category. His “art” takes a basic element and a basic concept of how to execute that element and stops there. The “meaning” behind pieces of art like this are justified only by the artist themselves. “I have created this, and thus it must be art”. Scott takes it one step further, removing the process almost entirely, except for some cheap inkjet prints. You can see this in action if you watch one of the interviews he’s done, as posted on his own website (press – tv and radio – tech tv interview). In it, there are quite a few statements that will let you into the mind of someone who simply doesn’t get art.

“Elvis, I feel like I know him, I read about him in the papers. But what do I really know of him? I know his music. And what is his music? His music is just a bunch of binary data encoded onto a CD.”

That’s right Scott, that’s what Elvis was thinking when he recorded music. That one day his art would be nothing to you but binary data. I’m sure he wasn’t concerned about making anything SOUND GOOD! If that’s what you think about “musical art”, I’ve got a nice CD full of very artistic white noise for you to buy.

“I like all my portraits to be standardized, so that they all look the same.”

Announcer – “It took Blake 6 months to automate Photoshop down to one button. A portrait that once took him four days, now takes him just four minutes.”

I’ll repeat that for those of you who didn’t catch it. He created a Photoshop action… wait for it… to do his art for him. That’s right, his painstakingly created art involves running a script and hitting print. Way to go Scott. You’ve rocked the art world.

Actually, I shouldn’t be so hard on Scott, I’m actually very jealous of his amazing skills. I wanted to be just like him so badly that I went online and found “Easy Mosaic Maker” for $19.99. Now I can be awesome, just like him. But shhhhh, don’t tell anyone, I think I’m actually better than him. My “art” program can do things in color, and he just does things in black and white. I rule!

Seriously though, my main problem with this tool box was always his attitude. In every class I had with him he’d either complete an assignment late, not at all, or completely incorrectly and then use his “artistic license” to explain it away. He was at SCAD on a portfolio scholarship and apparently that meant his shit didn’t stink. As a final project in Modern Art and the Web, he created a cardboard box with a TV in it. On the TV was a video loop of the person in the box. You hit a button and the screen went blank. That was it. According to Scott you were “killing your own self image” in some sort of act of bohemian suicide. I called it TURNING OFF THE FUCKING TV.

I called him out on it several times but unfortunately for every great conceptual artist, there are at least a dozen people trying to suck their wang to appear hip and artsy. Retarded art lesbians who moisten their loins over anything anti-establishment or purple headed multipierced hippies who think anyone who disagrees with them is either stupid or “the man”.

The end result is that people like Scott do these singular art project and then fade into obscurity as the fade dies out. Then, 20 years from now, when they’ve worked their way to “Head Barista” at the local coffee hole, we get to hear all about how no one “gets” their art any more and it’s the world that’s changed and that no one appreciates good art anymore. It’s not that we don’t appreciate good art Scott, it’s that you never made any. Now hurry the fuck up with my double Macchiato.

Exclusivity is bad for everyone

Word just dropped YESTERDAY about a multiplayer beta for Call of Duty 4 on the 360. Of course, reading the news today, I headed over to their website to sign up. That was of course, before the 10 layers of bullshit I had to sit through. First off, going to the homepage gives you nothing but a link to more information (unless you enjoy special sneak previews of the packaging materials). It’s bigger than shit. A big giant button that says “click me for more information”. That link is of course “for members only”. Clicking on “register” gives you the normal “join our forums” bullcrap with required fields for everything including your hometown. Really? For a beta? After you type all your hopefully fake information in and click ok, you’re greeted with a wonderful message: Sorry, but you’re not eligible to join at this time. WTF? You just announced the beta? The site then provides you with a link to Activision’s corporate site, which is absolutely no help whatsoever. Reading online, there seems to be a good amount of confusion. Details provided by Activision say that anyone that can answer three trivia questions can get a beta key, for as long as they have them, first come first serve. What the hell do I have to register at some bullcrap marketing site for?

Let me get this strait, you want me to give you all of my personal information, for a website that’s already down, so that I can get a beta key for a game that comes out in October. This is August right? Should multiplayer testing be…ummm… done! Being exclusive douchbags about a beta hurts everyone. I was personally pissed when I got rejected to play the Halo 3 beta. They had so few tickets that they basically went to people from the press and hard core fan boys who do nothing else but jerk off to pictures of the Master Chief. I’m sorry, I read about it a day late, I was busy living my freaking life. If you’re not on these sites, hitting refresh over and over when this site happens, you simply don’t get in. You know what Activision, I was excited about CoD4, I thought it was going to be cool, but now I’m going to buy something else in October and wait till your shitty ass game is in the “greatest hits” section for $20. Jog on!