Gamer’s Hangover News Report 12.08.03

Quasi-random thoughts:

This week’s hangover is more of a REAL hangover than a gamer’s hangover, if you feel me.

Valley Center Chess Club update: Tournament at Jardine Middle School on Saturday. I like the Jardine folks, for the most part. They may be a little unruly, but they obviously have respect for their coach (who looks kind of like Glen Danzig) and they all have their playing chops. They’re there because they love chess. We really kind of sucked this time “¦ we only had two high school players there, but our three junior high players made up for it. They didn’t win anything, but they’ve got LOTS of upside. I have seen the future of the V.C.H.S. chess club, and the future is bright.

My son’s new thing is dancing. He does a little 1-year old Durst-ish bob to any music he hears; his grandmother’s singing, jingles on the TV, he’ll even “dance” to the sound of the sewing machine. “Someday he’ll be into Ministry,” was my comment Friday night when he did just that.

Boy-related quote of the week: From the nurse at the pediatricians’ office, “I don’t know what you’re gonna be, but they’re gonna want ya.” Also heard during same visit, “Did I miss a birthday and you’re 2 already?” If anybody from a Division 1-A basketball program would like to contact him, his address is .”¦

Speaking of, Wichita State took care of business on the road, beating NCAA tournament participant Manhattan 74-57 at their place. The Shox are getting a reputation for being a gritty defensive team. It’s a reputation I like.

I stay up all night; I play video games. My wife stays up all night; she rearranges the furniture. I ask you: Who spends their time more productively?

Wednesday: Done with the report and the presentation. Need to make copies and overheads before Friday afternoon, and that’s it. I’m 48 hours away from having to present and I already have the worst stomach I’ve had in some time. I’m nervous because my project wasn’t the most academic of undertakings. I picked something I wanted to try and I did it, and damn the rest of the world. I did a lot of work, and I got some useful information and a lot of experience out of doing it, but it’s not as “¦ tidy as I wished it would be. Mind you, this isn’t a thesis; it’s a three credit hour project. I’m not publishing my results. I doubt I’ll show them to anyone else ever again after it’s over with, but it shows that I did the work and I have some idea of what I was supposed to have learned over the last 30-odd credit hours. I feel like, if I pass, my Masters degree will be a sham, which is bullshit because that thinking throws out 33 credit hours of studying, tests, lectures, finals, and whatnot in addition to the two semesters I spent working on this project. No, this is really a gimme; a three hour pass-fail course designed to demonstrate that I know my ass from a hole in the ground. I shouldn’t worry”¦.but I will. I will up until the moment my defense adjourns on Friday, and I’ve already told Roni that I fully expect to head straight from the University to a bar, either to celebrate my Masters degree, or to drown my sorrows.

This week’s album: Brontosaurus by Da Vinci’s Notebook. I’ve been alternating between “The Gates,” and “Another Irish Drinking Song.” Funny stuff. They also did “The Ballad of the Sneak” for, which proves that they’re cool.

Thursday Morning: My advisor has told me that refreshments won’t be necessary since it’s an afternoon presentation, although I think I’m going to hedge and pick up some baklava from Bagatelle. He also said he’d look over the report, which comforts me somewhat. If he comes back with anything other than “Dear God do NOT present this,” I’ll know the fix is in. I can defend what I wrote, I’m just not sure what I wrote is enough.

Thursday Afternoon: Reserved the room. Still nothing from Dr. Sawan, which is probably good. No news is good news. He’s not going to let me get skewered “¦ I think. I have chess practice tonight, so that’ll keep my mind off of things. Head to Kinko’s after that to print out the report copies and the overheads, and then sit back and wait for the rectal exam. Hopefully, they’ll stick a diploma in there when they’re done.

Friday Morning: Here’s the conversation I had with Valley Center High math teacher/chess club sponsor/former Aerospace Engineer Bonnie Johnson last night:
Me: “I’m not sure what I wrote is good enough.”
Bonnie: “How many pages is it?”
Me: “With figures?”
Bonnie: “Yeah.”
Me: “About 250.”
Bonnie: “And without?”
Me: “About 30.”
Bonnie: “And this is a mini-project? That’s a THESIS. My entire thesis was 53 pages long.”

So chalk that up as a vote of confidence. No word back from my advisor yet, so I’m still following the no news is good news philosophy.

Friday Night: Expletives Deleted and Repeated.

Monday morning: Tempered by the K-State win, I can now tell you that my presentation sucked about as bad as it possibly could. Despite that, they liked my work. The big problem was that I have to actually take another hour next semester because I was a moron and didn’t fill out my degree card this semester. My advisor is going to get the credits already taken switched from incomplete to complete, though, which will make the reimbursement guys at Cessna happy. So I passed “¦ but I still have to take another hour. Whatever.

So, life isn’t all that bad. The reason this is late is because I spent 12 hours tiling my bathroom yesterday. This turned out to be a good thing, since I was spared from watching the Kansas City non-game yesterday. It may be cliché, but I hope that game gets them to pull their heads our of their asses.

I’ll have more gushing about K-State next week, after I’ve done some historical research. There is much more to celebrate other than the fact that Oklahoma is evil and got its just butt-pounding on Saturday. (Jason White, the Heisman committee just called. They said don’t worry about showing up on Saturday.)


Better Late
Home Video Essentials, a product of Rentrak Corporation, has released a list of the top renting videogames for the week ending November 23, 2003. Note: These results were issued last Thursday, 11/27.
Here were the top 10:
1. Medal of Honor: Rising Sun—PS2
— Huh.
2. True Crime: Streets of L.A.—PS2 — Okay, that’s more like it.
3. Need for Speed: Underground—PS2 — Dammit, I already rented Midnight Club II.
4. Tony Hawk’s Underground—PS2 — Whatever. (STILL love that song.)
5. Medal of Honor: Rising Sun—Xbox — Huh. (Said more like a statement than a question.)
6. SOCOM II: U.S. Navy Seals—PS2 — I just like the shot in the commercial where Joker’s jumping up and down and shooting.
7. WWE: Smackdown! Here Comes the Pain—PS2 — Anyone catch the Lesnar/Benoit match?
8. Madden NFL 2004—PS2 — %$&@ !#$&@!@ Broncos #$@!# sheep $%#$@#$.
9. Grand Theft Auto III/ Vice City—Xbox — Get the PC versions. It’s easier to cheat.
10. Lord of the Rings: return of the King—Xbox — Not to give it away, but the good guys win.

MUCH Cooler than N-Gage
Anyone out there old enough to remember Boulder Dash? Wasn’t it one of the coolest games ever? Well, now Verizon Wireless is offering a version to select users of its Get It Now service. Based on the “best Commodore 64 game ever,” (which is funny because I actually played it on an Atari 800 computer.) this version has 26 caves and will allow users to rotate the screen 90 degrees while playing. I suppose they could do that anyway but I think they mean that the display itself rotates 90 degrees to facilitate easier player. Just a guess. The game is available to Verizon customers who own the Samsung SCH-A530, LG VX6000, and Audiovox CDM8600 phones. There’s a $2.99 monthly charge, or a $5.99 unlimited use fee. Take the unlimited use fee. Trust me.

Just Like Shooting Fish In A Bucket
For those of you wanting to throw down in SOCOM just like the commercials, here’s your chance. A new USO program is using Xboxes with Xbox Live to let soldiers deployed overseas connect with loved ones stateside. The program is called Operation: Live Connections, and was “inspired” by a similar program recently started by the USAF in Europe. Starting this month, USO centers in the U.S. and around the world will be equipped with Xboxes, Xbox Live accounts, and games like NFL Fever, Project Gotham Racing 2, and Crimson Skies Ned Powell, president and CEO of the USO: “Operation: Live Connections will enable the USO to continue its commitment to supporting and entertaining military families in the United States and abroad through engaging, interactive online gaming via Xbox Live.” So the USO actually has a CEO?

The Giant Online Sucking Sound
IGN and GameSpy are merging. Starting laughing “¦. NOW.

“Combining IGN and GameSpy will create value for both our audience and our clients,” was the b.s. line trotted out by Mark Surfas, founder and chairman of GameSpy, and presumably somebody who sill continue to get paid after the merger takes place.

Mark “don’t call me Carl” Jung, IGN’s CEO, wins and will be CEO of the merged company, while Herr Surfas will be the company’s “strategy officer” and become a member of the board of directors, obviously raising the number of people in that organization to two.

The merger is scheduled to be finished in the first half of 2004. They’re making noises about “distinct audiences” and “strong loyalties”, but expect the crap to be homogenized pretty well by next June, whether you read IGN or GameSpy.

According to somebody’s wet dream, the combination of the two sites would result in statistics of 673 million page views and 22 million uniques visitors per month. Uh huh.

Not So Late
Home Video Essentials, a product of Rentrak Corporation, has released a list of the top renting videogames for the week ending November 30, 2003.
Here are the top 10:
1. Tony Hawk’s Underground—PS2
— This game is approaching Halo levels of unavailableness.
2. True Crime: Streets of L.A.—PS2 — “But Dear, you play the GOOD guys “¦. please?”
3. Madden NFL 2004—PS2 — %#$!@!@ Miscreants %$#*& Sharpe %$#^ feedbag @#$@# sugarcube”¦.
4. Medal of Honor: Rising Sun—PS2 — I’m guessing nuclear weapons aren’t an option in this game.
5. Enter the Matrix—PS2 — Trying to forget how bad movies 2 and 3 sucked.
6. Need for Speed: Underground—PS2 — Needing speed underground? Are we in Tremors or something?
7. WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain—PS2 — I, for one, would love to see a Jericho face turn, and I don’t care who knows it.
8. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King—PS2 — The casting of Sam in that movie was perfect. How do you NOT root for Rudy?
9. SOCOM II: U.S. Navy Seals—PS2 — I have no joke here.
10. Final Fantasy X-2—PS2 — I think Barnum said it best “¦.


Okay, I promise that this is the last short news report. The bathroom will be finished early on in the week, and with the Masters muck out of the way, I’m hoping to actually have a review or two out this week as well. I want to thank everybody who still reads this, even though it’s been abbreviated as of late.

Pimp Coat: Goes to everybody on the staff this week for putting up with me while I finished up the Masters degree.

(Notice: Alphabetical order)

Next week, the return of the full-on Hangover, featuring an ESPN Gamer piece I’ve been sitting on for a while, plus some other goodies.

Until next week, get some sleep.