Monday, April 10, 2006

Long Update

And We Are Live On Fire!

And just this afternoon, a big fire broke out just across a street and a couple of houses away from our office. After the initial shock, what really imprinted in my mind was the fact that people are running TOWARDS the fire, not away from it. And they live well far away from the incident. It just screams "Hey, there's a fire! C'mon, get the kids and let's watch the fun! Don't forget to bring fishballs and some corn!"

Whatever happened to public safety? I swear, I couldn't even count the number of times I saw a kid almost get splattered in the road by a firetruck careening to get to the disaster. They were just roaming around, like leaves in a typhoon, generally making nuisance, "making magulo" in lack of a better term.

And the people! You'd think they'd let the fireman through! You could see in their faces somewhat akin to the face you get when someone cuts in the line to a fastfood joint. "Putang ina, kami nauna dito, hanap kayo saril nyong lugar!"

But what really gets my thungas is the "friendly helpers". You know, the type that lurks in the fire and says "Need help with that TV? How about that radio? Sure, I'll bring it outside, no worries". When the fire is gone, he's also gone. Apparently, his definition of "outside" must be pretty big. Like the next town or island. Goodbye TV and radio.

Painting it Black and Taking On Shin Megumi Tensei

For these past weeks I've developed insomnia again ( or partial insomnia ... I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night for no reason at all ) and thus made to do with it by catching up some games I bought some time ago but didn't get to play ( read: work work work ).

I just finished Black, the best PS2 shooter to date. Plot's crappy and sequences long and play's hard but it doesn't really count when you play a shooter game with the best "realistic effects". The weapons were thoroughly researched and incorporated with the game ( you almost feel the strength of the shotgun ). But even more cool is the effect the weapons have on the enviroment and the enemies. Blast a shot gun at treetrunk and a big chunk blows off. Take a M16 grenade launcher and blow up a room ( sometimes including the walls ). Take a RPG and blast a building and see the pillars tumble. Wow.

Even the enemie's effects were very nicely done. Shoot at his legs and the guy will buckle. Shoot at his arm and you'll see him do a whiplash. Take out the guy on a walkway and see him tumble over the side, arms flailing. If you didn't get him but see him tumble, he'll grab the railings and pull himself after a while. Very nice. But the icing on the cake is the enemy reactions. Throw a grenade at them and they'll shout "Limonka!" which means lemon in English and also means grenade, codeword used by Eastern Bloc armies. Sheer genius.

Now, I'm playing Shin Megumi Tensei, or Digital Devil Saga ( Part One ). It's been in my collection since ages and there's part two out right now so it seems a shame I'll leave it gathering dust. I've been hearing rave reviews about this one and then second, so I checked it out myself. The story is mysterious, the characters a little weird but the gameplay is more than excellent. Kind of like a butchered Final Fantasy, but in a nicely done way. Its about a Clan or group of mercs finding a girl and getting powers in turn. Problem is, every one in the planet has one too. Thin is though, you have to eat other monsters to survive i.e. fellow people. During battle scenes, you have the option of turning into a monster and deal massive amounts of damage or remain human and snipe at the enemies. And you can have combos between human and monsters, so it's a game of discovery and tactics. Nice. I'll let you know when I finish this one.

On the side, I've been playing Duel Masters ( crappy everything, but played it for the cards were intriguing ), Fight Night Three ( Hey Manny, dodge this! ) and Shadow of Colossus ( very deep game...depressing too...been playing on and off on this one ).

Bringing Down the House::Masters of Doom::The Killing Spirit::

I've been reading some good stuff too, mostly during breaktimes and long trips to the toilet. Bringing Down the House is a honest look at card counting and its history and impact on gambling. What drew me to this book is the fact that six M.I.T. genuises outwitted the system and made lots of cash, using only mathematics and a lot of chutzpah. It takes the reader to the card counting system, why it is so effective and why the casinoes hired a lot of security these days. A gripping read.

Masters of Doom is the story of two of the most influential characters in gaming history, John Carmack and John Romero. This is their story, from gamer addicts at 10, to master programmers at 18 to game designers and multimillionaires at 30. If you ever played Doom, Quake and Castle Wolfenstein, this is a must read. It takes you to the extreme personalities of the two Johns, one who played in life and another who live through play. The one who designed the levels and gameplay while the other tinkers the engine. The Whiz Kid and The Ace Progammer. How their legend grew and what made their downfall. Couldn't stop reading this one ( Hence the memo of only taking a 15 minute bathroom break...just joking, hehe ).

The Killing Spirit is different tale, fiction this time. We've all seen the elves and dwarves interact and get on with their lives in Lord of the Rings...but what about the orcs? And the goblins for that matter? This book answers those questions, complete with graphic and bloodthirsty details. It's about the orcs, being wiped out by the humans and dwarves and elves, but with a more gruesome, savage and EVIL point of view. Remember that goblin who almost killed Pippen ( or was it Merry? I keep forgetting ) when they were captured? Ever wonder what he did before hand before being slashed by a Rohirrim saber? This book tells us that story. And its believable. 'Nuff said.

Backbone Done, Work in Progress

I've finished my outline, and will do my stories this Holy Week. With a window of 20 days, I hope I can finished this one with relative ease, unlike Neil Gaiman's wherein everything was rushed. So far so good though. Will let you know when things are finished.

And speaking of Gaiman's contest, the judging will be finished on July, not this April. So I guess that leaves me more time to nibble my fingers and cross my toes.

Maybe I'll post the story here once the judging has been done.

Vacation Needed, Respite Wanted

I need a vacation. My brother got one for himself, spending two weeks in Singapore and Thailand, the latter him meeting up with his girl. Curiously, I kinda miss the guy, even if he does gets on my nerves sometimes. But then again, that's what brothers are for, eh?

Weirdly, I can't think of any place I want to go. There's been offers of course, like Davao, Bohol and, of course Boracay. Perhaps its the dread that when I come back I'll find my work overflowing. Perhaps...*gasp*...I'm getting a little mature and prioritizing work first?!

Arrrrgh ... where are books and toys?!

Seriously though, work has become my life. It's just a question of accepting it peacefully or go down fighting with dignity. In the end though, its still my life. Hay...

Speaking of which...

Reigniting the Gaming Spirit

Hi, my name is Arsenio Rafael and I've been sober of gaming for almost a year now. And that hurts. A lot. I need a gaming fix. Where's my gaming fix?! GAME! GAME! GAME!


Living in the province has seriously dampened my chances of ever playing again. Any game. If you live in Iloilo or Bacolod and feel the need for Role Playing Games, Tabletop Gaming ... hell, anything to do with minitures, message me. Now. Don't wait. It might get brownout. Pucha.

State of Mind: Stumbling Blindly Forward
Song of the Day: Nobela by Join the Club
Now Reading: Trollslayer by William King
Looking for: Reflection Period


Blogger sky said...

hi mooshi.. thanks for the link!! cool site... nice to be updated with you life.. update me more. esp with iloilo.. miss you all guys!

10:15 PM, April 11, 2006  

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