Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wii or 3?

Oh, the decisions!!

Unless you're living in a geekless environment, you're probably aware - even vaguely - that the Console Wars have started anew. Microsoft fired it's salvo a year ago with the XBox 360, gaining serious market share. Now it's Sony and Nintendo's turn, and in true competitive spirit they're both releasing their new consoles - the Playstation 3, and the Wii - within days of each other.

But which to get?

I'm not an XBox fan, never was. I'm not impressed overmuch with the 360, so I avoided it in favor of waiting on the PS3. Then I heard about Nintendo's console, the formerly named Revolution - now the Wii - and it gave me reason to pause.

The PS3 is a monster in mechanics. First generation Blu Ray disc player, supercomputer-comparable Cell microprocessor, online and wifi's the juggernaught, waiting for its chance to blow out the competition. Despite production problems and a hefty price tag - $600 - it's the giant on the field, looming over the competition and ready to smother the XBox legions at the first opportunity.

Then there's the quiet little Wii, with it's motion-sensing wireless controller and emphasis on functionality and fun, rather than mind-boggling graphics and animation. It comes down to that one word: fun. The Wii It's a crowd pleaser, a party game where a mixed group can get together and have a blast. And I'm intrigued.

Plus it's relatively miniscule price tag of $250 has me stopping to go "hmmm..."

At the Sony Store here in New York, a guy camped out in front of it's doors this past Monday and hasn't left. The PS3 console releases tomorrow, Friday the 17th; he's the first in line, and there are - right now - 350 people behind him. Waiting for tomorrow morning when the Sony doors open, so they can be among the first (and, with the limited production, perhaps only) owners of a PS3 this holiday season.

I'm not planning on joining them.

I haven't looked to see if there's a line at a particular store near my home, but I've looked up their inventory online and I know this store has 120 Nintendo Wii in stock. If I'm going to join the Console Wars, this will likely be my battleground.

Provided I can even get my hands on a weapon, of course.

Wish me luck.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Lost in TiVo Land

I'm sorry, but I just do not get the whole TiVo thing.

Obviously that makes me a dinosaur. Or maybe the little girl from the Emperor's New Clothes, who - no matter now hard she looked - just couldn't see what the big fuss was about.

Seriously, was using a VCR that hard? Did I need a computer to guess what I want to see? Do I really need to record a whole season of American Idol...since logic dictates that if I didn't have time to watch the episodes during the season, I probably still don't have time to watch them now.

Some will argue that the quality over VCRs is significant. Digital, baby, it's a new revolution! It's hard to argue with this. Except...most people don't have HD televisions yet. And frankly, do you really need to watch The Flavor of Love in digital quality picture?

But do you want to know what really gets me about the whole TiVo thing?

You pay for it. Bloody hell, you twits are paying someone so you can record your shows. Are you kidding me?! You pay $12.95 a month so that someone will record all your shows for you, when I paid $3.49 for an 8-hr VHS tape 3 years ago that I'm still recording over.

Oh. And Tivo prices are going up. $19.95 a month, unless you pay for a year or three in advance.

Do you really watch THAT much television, and yet have SO LITTLE time to sit down and watch all of these shows that you claim to be addicted to...that you're willing to pay a monthly fee so that a machine can record it for you?

In this age of recordable, rewritable discs...someone has suckered the world into buying their product that will record things for you. For a fee.

Here's a thought. Maybe...just MAYBE...if all the TiVo tool-heads hadn't bought the product, but instead held out for...oh, I don't know, a RECORDABLE DISC wouldn't be paying these outrageous fees.

Then again, as P.T. Barnum might have said: There's a TiVo customer born every minute.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Elmos Off the Back Of A Truck?

The world has gone to hell. And I'm not certain if I'm referencing the crooks or the retailer who got ripped off.

Apparently a shipment of the latest got-to-have-it toy, Elmo THX (what happened to Elmo Dolby Surround Sound?), has been hijacked. Toynapped. Whatever. It was on it's way to a Wal-Mart in Arksansas on OCTOBER 31st (!) when the shipment of 100 little fuzzy muppets vanished into thin air. Poof. Or giggle-poof.

Now...let's put aside the whole Children of the Corn imagery this invokes, and stick to the story at hand. Because this gets interesting.

Wal-Mart says it will do "anything" to ensure that these Elmos are returned to their shelves in time for the Christmas rush (suddenly I'm picturing Mel Gibson in "Ransom", and have offered a trip to a comedy club in New York as a reward for the shipment's return.

A comedy club. In New York.

These ridiculous Elmo dolls are selling on eBay, right now, for an average of about $100 each. That's a potential return of about $10,000 for the criminals.

Compared to a free entry at a comedy club in New York.

I'm thinking, Wal-Mart doesn't really want them back but has to go through the motions just to make themselves look good. There's some Wal-exec's daughter right now, up to her armpits in red fuzz surround by giggles.


The old grey horse just ain't what she used to be, ain't what she used to be...

I finished off my Hallow's celebration by walking in NYC's Greenwich Village Halloweeen Parade. It's something I haven't done in ages, and looked forward to doing. You feel like you're part of something, like there's this big party happening all around you and instead of standing on the sidelines, watching - you're in it, part of the show, one of the entertainers that others stood packed together like sardines just to catch a glimpse of.

I was...surprised, I guess, to see the number of people walking who either a) didn't bother putting any thought into a costume and threw something together out of their close, or b) didn't bother to wear one at all. It felt more like a mob who wanted the thrill of being in the parade, without actually contributing to it. I hate to say it, but it sort of cheapened the experience for me. Too bad.

Still, it was Halloween and it would have taken a presidential act of war to dampen my spirits completely. I was out with friends and having a good time, and ultimately that's all that mattered. I shared a hug and a laugh with complete strangers on every block; it was that mardi-gras, new years eve feeling where everyone is everyone else's best friend. It was great.

There's a note I wanted to share with you all; an artist who draws an online comic that I'm a big fan of (PvP) by the name of Scott Kurtz wrote a comment about Hallow'een that touches one of the things I feel strongly about the holiday myself. Read, and see if you agree.

If you think about it, Halloween can be a very benficial holiday.

The importance of Halloween is that we spend it facing fears. We take the things that normally make us afraid, and we embrace them. We dress up as them, we purpousely force ourselves into frightening situations. We do this for fun, but more importanly, we do it to take away some of its power.

In this day and age, I think that concept is more important than ever. It seems that lately, everyone is trying to manipulate us with fear tactics and mongering. The government, the media, special intrest groups, religious groups, secular groups. Fear mongering is the new black.

I hope that everyone had a great halloween and that you all take a moment to embrace the spirit (no pun intended) of the holiday. Try to make yourself immune to all this fear mongering and hopefully we can return to a nation of pragmatic thinking sometime soon.

Happy All Hallows, 2006!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Make A Difference Day

Apparently this past Sunday, October 29th was Make a Difference Day, a day for anyone to carry out a volunteer project that helps others. I was completely oblivious to this fact, ironically because I was volunteering in my neighborhood. Now, I don't know if it made a difference - but I had a good time, and hope I helped a bunch of kids enjoy their halloween.

The locals here have an annual hallows celebration in a small park, about a block away from my house. This year they decided to team up with the Parks Department and have a bigger celebration in the bigger park, which is about 3 blocks away. It's right by the Hudson River, there's a nature center, natural woods, get the drift.


The Parks Department decided, last minute on Friday, to pull out. And reject the group's idea of having pony rides, because they didn't want horses in the park. And because of high winds, eliminate the giant slide and the inflatable "bounce house".

So what did that leave? An arts and crafts tent, face painting tables, and a field set aside for children's games.

Guess who was put in charge of overseeing the children's game field? Which now became the main attraction for the event?

Needless to say it was a challenge, trying to find ways to entertain all of these kids of varying ages, to their parents satisfaction. After all, if I'd brought my kids out in this chilly wind, someone had damn well better be trying to entertain them to the best of their ability!

Unfortunately, the game organizer hadn't planned on being the main showcase and didn't exactly have a full plate of games, so yours truly became an impromptu MC and games master for a few hours. I'd like to believe the kids had a lot of fun; I defintely tried my best with what I had, mot of it ad-libbed on the spot.

There was just something incredibly satisfying about entertaining these kids. Seeing them all dressed up in their costumes; the ninja mock-sword fighting with the pirate, the cowboy drawing his pistol against me and my flintlock. I would have liked to see more volunteers dressed up in costume, getting into the spirit; it is Halloween, after all.

But still. It was fun, and the look of happiness on those kids faces was worth the cold and wind.

Happy Halloween to all, and to all a spooky night!

But Will It Sell in Pakistan?

Just in time for that most-evil of holidays, Halloween, comes this little mp3 player from our friends in Russia: the Saint mp3 player.

Perfect for listening to those Catholic podcast sermons on, the Saint is, unfortunately, only a concept player. Still, every would-be Goth on the planet would die (pun intended) to get their hands on this little black-enameled beauty as the ideal wardrobe accessory.

Still, it only has a limited sales ability; once you get past the death-heads, the satantics, and (once the Pearly White model comes out) the're sort of stuck in terms of your market choices. Where do you go from here? Take a cue from McDonalds, who were smart enough to offer local cuisine choices on their international menus. Go global, religiously! The six-pointed Star of David is an ideal choice for that niche Israeli market, and a crescent moon shape will not only get you the Muslims, but you'll win over the wiccan/druid crowd as well!

Of course, the only real problem is that none of these models will ever be able to communicate with each other and share files.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Normal On Halloween? Perish the Thought!

Every so often, I run through Craigslist postings under activities and events, looking for something interesting to do. This time, however, my eye was caught by the following ad:
I’ve always found Halloween to be an overrated event, although I’ve done my share of dressing up and all that silly stuff. So, instead of going with my friends to parties or to the parade, I just want to do something normal, something ordinary, something un-halloween on Halloween night. How about just a nice dinner (sushi is perennial favorite), hanging out at a jazz club afterwards, or just relaxing at a cafĂ© and have a good chat. I wonder if there’s anyone else out there who share my sentiments.

I'd planned on ranting about my usual "Halloween is the Red Headed Stepchild" complaint, but this really got me boiling. Overrated? Why? Because the stick up your ass seems to get in the way of your partying? Silly stuff?

Here's the thing. If you don't like Halloween...fine. Stay home. Go out to eat. Or not. But do me a favor, would you? Shut the hell up, and let the rest of us have our fun. I'm not a Christian, but do you see me complaining about all the religous motifs during the winter Yule holidays? No!

Halloween has always been one of the big holidays for me, for as long as I can remember. As a child growing up, my grandparents would throw a halloween party for all of the grandkids, and then our aunts would take us trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. Growing up in the projects of the south Bronx, you'd think this would be a problem; it wasn't. If people chose not to open their doors and see our made-up happy faces, screw them - we'd keep on knocking until we found someone who did.

As I got older, I evolved from candy-begging treater to chaperone, taking out my younger sisters and cousins on the same routes I'd walked each year, pointing out the dangers and things to avoid, what candies to throw away and which were safe to eat. I'd show them which stores in the neighborhood were the most generous, which gave old candy and which handed out silver coins that jingled in our bags with every bouncing step we took.

Halloween was fun, it was one of three times a year when a kid could be allowed to be as childish as they wanted to be: their birthday, Christmas...and Halloween.

As I got even older, I never lost that feeling of excitement as the holiday approached. It became a time when, as an adult, you could once again experience the innocent glee of being a kid again. You could shrug off the mantle of reponsibility, adulthood, of your job and problems and bills and whatever else hung heavy on your shoulders - and have fun. You could put on a mask and suddenly you were transformed, changed into anything imaginable! You could be the princess, the knight in shining armor, the superhero, the scary monster, the fireman! Your passive, shy personality could be hidden behind a gaudy, sparkle-encrusted mask and for one day - one day in an entire year - you could be the life of the party, the center of attention, the one everyone laughs with and has a good time talking to.

It's Halloween! You can be sexy, nerdy, scary, dashing, kooky, creepy, sultry, childish, adventurous...your only limits are your own imagination. This is a night for masks, but it's also a night to let that inner child out to play. It's a night of transformation, of metamorphasis; it's a chance to be something you've always dreamed of being, but never had the courage. Or the opportunity.

One night a year, and you can be anything you want to be.

Why, pray tell, would I choose to be normal on a night like this?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Madden Curse

I'm not what you call a fan of the urban legend - those stories of potential doom or luck that inevitably find their way into my mailbox, often forwarded by well-intentioned but misguided and gullible friends.

However, every so often something comes along that just makes you sit back and go "hmmm..."

The Madden Curse, for those of you among the uninitiated, is an urban legend based on the popular line of sports video games put out by EA Sports, Madden Football, named after former Oakland Raiders head coach and current TV football analyst John Madden. First produced in 1989 as John Madden Football, the video game has been known as Madden NFL since its developers signed a licensing deal with the NFL in 1993, and new versions are released annually to incorporate new and improved features and rosters based on current NFL players. For the first eleven years the game's packaging featured the smiling visage of John Madden; starting with the 2001 version and continuing for the last seven years, the box front has presented an action graphic of a selected NFL star. Each version of the game is dated according to the year-to-come; Madden NFL 2007, for example, comes out in 2006 for the '06-'07 season.

According to a superstition based upon a pattern occurring over the last several years, whichever player signs a deal to appear on the cover of the next version of Madden NFL will suffer a serious injury (or some other stroke of bad luck), resulting in a disappointing performance during the forthcoming NFL season.

Now, I know you're all ready to call total bullshit on this one; so was I. Then I did some reading, and the facts are spooky:

2000: The 2000 edition of Madden NFL was a gentle easing-in to the curse. This was the last edition of the game to feature a photograph of John Madden on the front of the box (as all previous editions had done), but it also included a background picture of the Detroit Lions' star running back (and future NFL Hall of Famer) Barry Sanders. As events turned out, Sanders didn't play a single down during the 1999-2000 season (or ever again), shocking the Lions by abruptly announcing his retirement and ending his ten-year career just before the start of training camp that summer.

Since Barry Sanders quit well before the start of the 1999 regular season, EA Sports had enough time to substitute a different graphic on the packaging of later shipments of Madden NFL 2000. The newer covers replaced the Madden/Sanders combination with a picture of Green Bay Packers running back Dorsey Levens, who spearheaded a Packers team that had just played in three straight NFC Championship Games and back-to-back Super Bowls. Although Levens performed reasonably well in 1999, he was bothered by a bad knee that he had re-injured the previous year, and Green Bay finished out of the playoff picture with a so-so 8-8 record. Levens was used only in a reserve role after that, and the Packers released him at the end of the 2001 season.

2001: The 2001 cover of Madden NFL featured Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George, who the previous year had led his team to the Super Bowl (where they came up just short against the St. Louis Rams). Although George enjoyed his best season ever (in terms of yards gained rushing and touchdowns scored) in 2000, he bobbled a pass (that was subsequently intercepted and returned for a touchdown) in the Titans' season-ending Divisional Playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens, and the following season, hampered by injuries, he saw his rushing average sink to an all-time low.

2002: The 2002 cover of Madden NFL featured Minnesota Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper, who the previous year had made an impressive NFL debut in taking his team to the NFC Championship Game (which they lost to the New York Giants). In 2001, however, the Vikings struggled to a disappointing 4-7 record before Culpepper suffered a knee injury and missed the last five games of the year (while Minnesota finished the season a dismal 5-11).

2003: The 2003 cover of Madden NFL featured St. Louis Rams running back Marshall Faulk, whose rushing and receiving prowess had led his team to the Super Bowl twice in the previous three years. But Faulk was plagued by an injured ankle during the 2002 season, his yards gained rushing total dropped under the 1,000 mark (after four straight seasons of 1300+ yards), and the Rams missed the playoffs with a disappointing 7-9 record.

2004: The 2004 cover of Madden NFL featured Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, who in 2002 (his first season as a starter) took a team with a dismal 16-32 record over the previous three years and led them to a respectable 9-6-1 finish and a spot in the NFL playoffs as a Wild Card entry. In 2003, though, Vick suffered a fractured right fibula in a pre-season game one day after Madden NFL 2004 hit store shelves; he played in only five games that year as the Falcons sank to a lowly 5-11 record.

2005: The 2005 cover of Madden NFL featured Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who had recorded a career-high six interceptions in 2003 as his team reached the post-season for the third time in four years. But in 2004, Lewis failed (for the only time in his NFL career) to record even a single interception and sat out the final game of the season with an injury as the Ravens just missed qualifying for the playoffs at 9-7, and in 2005 he suffered a torn right hamstring in Baltimore's sixth game and missed the rest of the season as the Ravens dropped to 6-10.

2006: The 2006 cover of Madden NFL featured Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, under whom the Eagles had amassed a superb 59-21 regular season record and made five straight playoff appearances in the previous five years, the last of which culminated in an NFC Championship and a Super Bowl match-up against the New England Patriots (which Philadelphia lost by three points). After he was selected for the 2006 Madden NFL cover, McNabb flouted the curse by saying that the injuries associated with it "might be a trend, but I don't believe in the curse at all." True to form, McNabb suffered a sports hernia in the first game of the 2005 season. He played on for another eight games despite the painful injury, but after being re-injured in a contest against the Dallas Cowboys, he finally opted for surgery and missed the final seven games of the season as the Eagles finished last in the NFC East.

2007: The 2007 cover of Madden NFL featured the Seattle Seahawks' star running back Shaun Alexander, whose 5.1 yards per carry rushing average in 2005 spurred the Seahawks to their best season ever and their first Super Bowl appearance. Three weeks into the 2006 season, Alexander broke his left foot in a game against the New York Giants.

Now, I'm not saying you should believe this stuff...but if I were you, I wouldn't start signing any merchandising contracts with EA Sports any time soon. 'Knamean?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What Would It Cost To Bathe In It?

We GOTS to get our H2O on, baby!

Yes, true believers, seeing is in fact believing. This is good old fashioned Aqua. With bling.

Bling H2O comes in 750ml frosted bottles studded with sparkling Swarovski crystals. The bling water was earlier meant just for Hollywood celebs and hi-fi socialite circle, but now you can gulp it down all for £30. That's $56 dollars US, for us rubes living on The Continent. A friggin' fiddy-dollar bottle of water; and you thought Perrier was expensive, back in the day?

And to those of you who think, "oh, I'd spring the cash just to try it!" - first, hold on while I get the smelly fish I'm going to slap you silly with. Second: you'd still be just a poser, unless you had the ducats like Paris Hilton does. Cuz money to her is so secondary, the beeyotch poured a glass of this stuff in her dog's drinking bowl. Yeah, that's right - her dog.

It's so sad. You're paying for the bottle, not even for the water.

Which means it might pay off working as a busboy at the next celeb-filled gala. Suddenly recycling used bottles becomes a lucrative business.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Is That a Joystick In Your Pants, Or...

Yes, true believers, the ultimate fantasy has come true. Underwear that will let men finally have complete and utter (udder?) control (hah!) over that one portion of the female anatomy that most guys (yours truly excepted, of course) seem to have problems understanding.

Nintendo panties, with a built in controller. Talk about learning to push all the right buttons! I can hear her know. "More to the the RIGHT-RIGHT-LEFT-LEFT-circle-circle-circle!!!"

On the positive side, fellahs, when you need to take a break you can just hit that pause button, go grab yourself something to eat, take a nap, and come back fully refreshed!

Be careful, however, if you're one of those "button mashers" who don't know what they're doing and just keep hitting buttons until something works. They might bruise easily.

Don't forget those nights when she's "got a headache". A quick press of the start button and it's Game On, baby!

Let's just hope the first game you play isn't in the Mushroom Kingdom, kneamean?!

And no, Virginia, the buttons don't really work. Sheesh.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Like Little Kids The Week Before Xmas

Boy, some of you RL people are way too over anxious hahah! I've gotten a few comments wondering what, exactly, my costume is going to be this year. I don't think it's a big deal, although in years past I have gone over the top. Except last year, I was lazy :)

But, since friends are asking - who am I to dissuade their curiosity. So, in the interest of friendship, here's a clue:

Friday, October 06, 2006

Hallowed Ground

It's that time of the year again. Time to pull out those dusty old rubber bats to hang from the ceiling, the black tapered candles, the coffin for display in the living room.

Of course, for ME it's been that time of year about...4 months ago. You can never start celebrating too early, I say.

Really, my Halloween celebrations come down to three things: (1) the costume, (2) the venue, and (3) who I spend it with.

I love my friends, each and every one, but there's been a long, hard struggle over the years trying to get them to feel the same joy of Samhain that I do. And it's been a somewhat losing battle, with moments of success here and there.

For me, I think it's because I have such great childhood family memories of Halloween. My grandparents would throw a party at their home every year for all the grandkids, and there were a number of us. We'd have all the traditional stuff - bobbing for apples, a costume contest, music. We'd go trick or treating, and in our neighborhood trick or treating required skill and cunning. We lived in an 11-story project building, so of course we'd hit all the apartments. Then you'd go out to the corner bodegas and collect a few coins, some penny candy - whatever they felt like giving out.'d venture out. This is when it got dangerous. We had a shopping area nearby, about...5 blocks away. Third Avenue, in the Bronx, at 149th street. Big shopping strip that stretched from 149th up to 155th. The important part here, you need to understand, is that the stores along this strip would also give out goodies.

The dangerous part? Raiders. I shit you not, there were packs of OLDER kids roaming around who, themselves "too old" to demean themselves by donning a costume and begging for treats, would instead prey on us kidlings and raid our goodie bags. It became a matter of skill to spot these predators and circumnavigate them, yet still make your way to the stores to collect your just rewards.

It was sort of like being Jerry going after the cheese in the fridge, even though Tom was sleeping right outside the door.

Back to the present. I ordered my main costume pieces a few weeks ago - I found a woman who custom made the parts I needed, and I can make the rest myself. So the first part of my Hallowed plans are nearly complete.

Now I just need to find a venue. I'm considering traveling up to Sleepy Hollow, because there is just something awesomely poetic about that, but I also don't intend to be bored of my gourd. It's 3 weeks away, so I've got time.

Once I decide on a venue...well. That would just leave the companions, wouldn't it?

So what're YOU doing for All Hallow's Eve?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Let the Games Begin

What is a game designer?

You ask someone today about it, and they'll invariably lean towards video games. You call yourself a game designer, and people will wonder what console you've designed for.

But ultimately, what is a game designer but someone who, well...designs games? Who outlines the concept, rule book, and game mechanics for a game of any kind?

Board games. Role-playing. Video Games. Live activity games. Card games. Sports games.

Do you think the man who invented baseball would consider himself a game designer? Or the person who invented hopscotch? Marbles?

When I was younger, I'd babysit my sisters and cousins. I'd have to find ways to entertain them, and back then cable wasn't an option. I'd do things like tie bed sheets togther between dressers and bedposts, and make a maze out of it. I'd make scavenger hunts for them, devise traps; I'd invent new things for them to play, together.

When I was older and discovered Dungeons & Dragons (shh!), I couldn't help but wonder to myself: can I make this any better? If I changed these rules, and added does it change the game?

How can I make a game similar, but using an entirely different mechanic?

I've designed video games, on my old Tandy Coco3 (published in Rainbow Magazine!) back in the mid 80s. I've conceptualized role play/dice systems, new video games, online rpgs...

And now here I am, doing it again. I was talking with a friend about my escapades in StreetWars and, of course, found myself thinking:

How can I make this better?

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

I've already written up half of the game rules, and conceptualized the mechanics. And even at this halfway point, I think it's much more involved than the "other guys". It's definitely friendlier. And unquestionably, it'll keep players in the game for most, if not all, the length of the tournament.

I've even written to a particular manufacturer about a tie-in, and I've plans to speak to local businesses about...

Well. Let's not give the farm away, shall we?

The Spy Game. Look for it, in cities near you. If you happen to live near New York City, that is.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

StreetWars: Day Four - Bang I'm Dead!

Yeah, he finally got me.

I gotta tell you, it's been exhausting. I was about ready to give up; this city isn't made for this game, or maybe it's the format - but I woke up at 5am this morning planning to go BACK out, again, to stalk my target. I just couldn't do it. I was too tired from lack of sleep, and all I could think was "it just ain't worth it."

I made a half-hearted attempt to stake out her job after work, but after a half hour I just shrugged and said "screw this, i'm going home."

Straight home, no misdirection. I did cut through the long way inside the building, just in case - and there's a woman sitting in my laundromat, reading a book. Waiting. So I shot her. She didn't even have time to pull out the watergun she'd had her hand on, hidden. We laughed...and I was a little disappointed, to tell you the truth.

Well, no worries - turns out the original stalker still hadn't died, and he was ready this time. I think he threw about six water balloons at me, none of which actually hit me but the water splatter was enough to take me out.


We laughed, shared some stories while I told him how I avoided him all week. Cool guy, and the girl was kinda cute herself. When we broke apart, I said "I'm glad, it means I can finally get some sleep!" He sympathized.

What's funny is that after today he was also considering giving up; it's just taking up too much time, and to honest we've all got jobs.

I like the concept, I do - but the execution is missing something. If I had the capital, I'd do my own version of the game but make it more...involved.

But I admit, I got a thrill out of it. Will I do it again next year?

Probably not.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

StreetWars News Article

For those of you wondering more about the game in general:

Reuters News Article

StreetWars: Day Three - Wasted Morning

I hate this city, sometimes.

6:45am - I've driven to the target's home. My windows are nice and tinted, so I'll look much less obvious standing outside waiting for people leaving the building, squinting in the dawn haze to see if they look vaguely like the primped, posed and cropped photo I've been given of the target's face. Except...there's a problem. The target lives very, very close to a highly protected building in the city, so a) there are cops, EVERYWHERE, and a patrol car seems to be passing by every 60 or so seconds. And b), for a 5-block radius there is a NO STANDING/PARKING zone. From 7am to 7pm. I don't believe this shit.

So, right at 7am on the dot everyone comes out, gets in their cars and drives off. That leaves poor little now-very-conspicuous ME sitting there in my car, thinking that maybe I should move before the cop pulling in behind me decides to give me a ticket.

I'm forced to circle. And circle. This is getting ridiculous, because NOW I look suspicious so I really can't keep doing this. but then:

7:15am - I see someone who COULD be the target. She's really short so that doesn't help, considering all I have is a headshot; they're both blond, but I can't tell how LONG the target's hair is from the photo. The target should be on her way to work, but this woman is dressed like she's going to out with friends on the weekend - camo shorts, hair tied up, running shoes. FUCK!!!

I'm torn whether or not to take the shot, mainly for one reason: I do not want to end up on the 6pm news, "Black Man Shot By Police for Spritzing White Woman". Seriously, I'm paranoid about that shit.

In hindsight, I probably should have taken the shot; I let my own indecision stop me. She was carrying a big giant shoulder bag, large enough to carry work clothes in; I'm sure, now, that it was her. Probably. Staring at her face really would have given the game away, I just wish I'd been given better intel.

But, there is a silver cloud. If in fact that was her, I've got a better image of her now. And I know her schedule. I'm not letting this week go by without taking a shot at her, the other target is going to be too hard to chase down.

I'm expecting my own attacker to lie in wait for me tonight. Too bad he doesn't know I've got plans; I wonder how late he'll stay out there? If I shoot him again, does it count as a kill for me?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

StreetWars: Day Two - The Joy Of The Kill

4:40pm - left work early to go after Jane, I figured I'd get to her building and wait for her outside. My logic? If she was in to work by 8 this morning, she's got to be leaving by 5, right? Wrong. I called her at work aroud 5, to see if she was still there. She was. I decided not to hide that I was after her - I want her walking in fear, she'll be easier to spot since i've only got a blurry head shot of her. I called again at 5:30 - nope, still there. I told her I can't wait to see her downstairs, she laughed. 6:15 - still at work, and now I'm starting to feel like I'm annoying her, so I let her off the hook. Slightly.

6:45pm - I'm outside her office building, and dammit if there aren't two separate entrances! There's no way I can stake this place out; plus, if she takes a car service home, there's nothing I can do because she'd still have one foot on the curb until she closes that cab door. Dammit. I've got to get her at home, or not at all.

7:45 - I took the long route home, just in case there was someone waiting for me at one of my train stations. Rush to the bus stop, wait; rush to the bar, wait; cross the street, see who follows. Double back, come to the building a different route.

7:50 - that spidey sense is tingling. There's a suspicious looking guy hunched over on his cell phone, outside my building entrance. I wait behind a car across the street, and when he turns his head the wrong way I bolt into the building and shut the door shut. I'm still feeling uneasy so I take a different route to my apartment, gun ready at the hip and finger on the trigger. I turn the corner - and surprise, there's a would-be assassin - my morning visitor - hunched over, pretending to write me a note. I grin and hose him down, trying not to laugh as he drops his pen, cell phone - and his gun.

That little maneuver just bought me 24 hours of freedom. "Sorry bud, better luck next time" I tell him, calmly going into my apartment while he storms off in frustration.

Not exactly a kill, but somehow...satisfying nonetheless.

Tomorrow, it's ON!

StreetWars: Day Two - Morning Visitor

6:25am - god help me, I'm awake. What the hell is wrong with me? I wouldn't get up this early for my own funeral. But...I'm up, because I'm determined to make a kill.

7:00am - I've got the security channel on while I'm ironing, and there's a visitor. Dark hair, blue shirt, slacks, messenger bag slung over his shoulder. A poor little lost soul, with his face pressed against the glass of the inner door. Obviously lost, obviously trying to figure out how to get inside. He starts looking over the intercoms, wondering if he should push a button to get inside. I start to panic, just a little; I'm not ready to leave, and if he gets inside I'll get held up trying to stop him from shooting me. A minute later, he leaves. Lucky for me, two minutes after he leaves, someone else leaves the building. I'm gone ten minutes later.

8:00am - I'm outside Jane Eastside's apartment building. My strategy was to wait her out by standing at the bus stop just up the block from her, where I can watch the building and see if she approaches.

8:15am - The bus comes and goes, so I hit up a pay phone to call her job. A woman answers, but only answers with the company name - not her own. Dammit. I ask for a generic name, she tells me I have the wrong extension, I apologize and we hang up. No harm, no foul. If that was her, she's already at work - which means I'll need to get up a lot earlier. I decide that maybe it'll be better to stake out her job, rather than her house; it'll give me more time to sleep, and it's easier for me to get to the west side than it is the east. I took her bus west, so I can at least time her commute to work.

I'm actually surprised I haven't gotten a phone call from my mystery caller this morning, and it's 9:45am. I'm almost disappointed. If that was, in fact, my stalker then I really don't feel like I've got a lot to worry about this week. No staying power. Why come all the way uptown like that if you're not going to even try to stick around and see if I'm there? I walked to work after my Jane stalking, and didn't fear for a second that I was in any danger. Crying shame.

It does make you wonder, with my own struggles to find my targets; if it's this difficult to track someone in NYC, how much action is going on in this game?

Boy was I wrong. Turns out there are 12 kills on record already. And at least two of them using tactics I'd planned myself. I gotta step up the pace a little, no way am I gonna be left behind.

Monday, September 25, 2006

StreetWars: Day One - Night Run

5:30pm - I got a strange phone call. Well, more like a phone call from a number I didn't recognize (somewhat, more in a minute) where the person hung up on me. I was annoyed with myself because I usually don't answer outside calls with my name, but I was distracted and thought it was a friend's number. Near fatal mistake; now they know I'm still at work.

6:00pm - the phone rings again, again from the strange number. I don't answer it. I'd also gotten a call from this number around lunch time, but didn't answer it. I did call it back, and a woman answered it. She seemed to be the receptionist, and this was a general line; she has no way to know who called.

6:05pm - the phone rings again. Guess who?

6:10pm - phone rings, only it's one of my company's receptionists. I don't pick up and it stops after 2 rings; mistake, or did the outside caller hang up? Hmmm?

6:13pm - phone rings, and guess what - it's a TRANSFER, from an outside line, to mine. Getting kind of obvious there, folks.

6:20pm - I decide it's safe to go downstairs. I stop in the lobby and lean up against one wall, pretending to listen to my telephone messages but really I'm looking at one of the entrances, and scoping out the lobby. There's a couple in the lobby making cell phone calls, but no one else. They look suspicious, and my spidey sense starts tingling even more when they decide - as I'm leaving - that they didn't need to wait for whomever it was they were waiting for, after all.

I won't go into details here, but I've got a whole escape route planned out. The block my company sits on is a safe zone; as long as I don't leave it, they can't shoot me. They also can't shoot me if I'm at a bus stop/on a bus, or in the subway. There are two different subway entrances, for two different trains, connected to my block.

There are also key bus stop locations scattered within a minute, maximum, walk from each other. I felt like a bugs bunny cartoon, darting from bus stop to train station to bus stop, with my watergun in hand.

I also have...secret passages, but I can't divulge that here. Just in the offchance someone may be reading this for info.

6:40pm - After a bus ride of a few minutes, I made it safely to my destination. I'm 90% certain no one followed me. I'm where I am as a favor for a friend, helping her out with...well. Never mind that. But it's to help show some coworkers a trick or two, let's leave it at that.

But as I'm getting there, I start to have some nagging doubts. This game is making me paranoid. I start to wonder: what if? What if SHE'S in the game? I already know one friend is in it, what if she is too? And she, by coincidence, drew me as an early target? What if she has a friend who's in the game, and happened to say "Oh my first target is Eric Trickster", and she said "Oh wow, he's a friend of mine - would you like me to help you kill him?"

I'm freaked as I arrive, my head jerking nervously from side to side. I show up, she's happy to see me - but I hold up my hand for her to keep her distance. "Now...", I ask; "...tell me the this a setup?"

She's confused. "what, like a date?" she asks. "No", I say; "like an assassination." She looks confused, I pull a watergun on her from behind my back. She's amused, but a little freaked. I'm convinced, she's legit, so I explain my own craziness. Sheesh.

8:00pm - I'm done, and as it happens one of my targets lives nearby. John Westside. It's a good opportunity for me to stake out his neighborhood; the area's a lot more confined, and yet there aren't too many opportunities to blend in for me. I'll have to get creative on this one. Good thing, at least, there doesn't appear to be a back door that he has access to. I emphasize "has access to", because the sign clearly states that residents should use the other entrance on blah blah blah. Of course, it says nothing about using the other EXIT, unless there's such a sign on the INSIDE of the door.

10:30pm - I'm done with my other gig, and now it's time to head home. I'm torn as to what train I should take, and what exit I should take when I leave the station. Like I said, I've got a lot of options. But in the end, I decide to take my regular route. With a slight modification, of course - I'm not stupid.

Walking home, I use another couple as a shield of sorts, keeping them at a distance ahead of me to flush out any potential assassins who might be lurking. I get a scare when a slow moving car moves just a liiiiiittttle too close to me, but they're just looking for parking. I had my soaker ready at the hip, just in case.

I cut a wide angle to survey the entire entranceway, making sure it's clear - then sprint to the finish. My plan is to keep the double door shut with one foot, open the inner door and slam it home if anyone tries the bum rush. No one does.

In the lobby I inspect every nook and cranny, spraying corners. I take a back route to my apartment, making sure no one is hiding behind doors on incinerator closets. Hey, I'd do it.

11:30 - home, safe at last. See you in the morning!

StreetWars: Day One - Research

7:15am - okay, so I was supposed to have gotten up an hour earlier and stake out my target at home. It's a Monday, I'm lazy, you get the picture. Zzzzzz.

8:00am - Caught up on sleep, turned on the television and flipped to the building's security camera channel. Yeah, that's right - cameras at strategic locations, right there for my viewing pleasure. I kept it on while I got ready for work, eyeballing anyone around the building with suspicion.

9:05am - ready to go. I'm a little earlier than normal, but I figure unless someone takes off from work they won't be stalking me at home; I'm just too damn far uptown to make it easy. Still, no sense taking chances. I've got two guns in the gym bag, one in the jacket pocket, and one in hand when I leave the apartment. I'm also not taking the "direct route" outside the building, luckily I have more than one option. Plus two different trains I can take, neither in the same direction, and multiple routes and entrances for each. I'm still paranoid as hell as I walk to the station, aiming my pistol around every corner.

9:35am - at my work station, and I have two moments of sudden insight. One: don't leave a watergun in your pocket, it leaks. I don't think people will believe you when you stand up and there's a water stain down your pants. Of course, since it's on the side of my pants I can just shrug, grin and say "yeah, it IS that big!" Two: it is probably a bad, bad idea to pull out a watergun in a place where there are a contingent of cops. I may have to get some yellow electrical tape to wrap my blue and silver watergun with, just in case.

I did a little research, trying to see if I could find out more about my targets. Google is a wonderful, wonderful thing. John Westside is surprisingly available on the web. I've got a nice fat dossier on him so far: description of his building, some of his extracurricular interests; I may even have found a much better photo of him and his girlfriend. All that's told me one thing: he's going to be hard as hell to get. He lives in a luxury condo in a landmark area, which means there's no way I'm getting inside. He's an athlete, but does he exercise outside or use his building's built in gym? He could walk to work, or - does he drive the 12 blocks? There are so many subway options he could take, it staggers the mind. I'm betting on one route in particular, but I'm concerned about staking out his building. I'll need to check out his building in person before I can come up with a solution.

Jane Eastside, by comparison, is a virtual non-entity in the digital world. That's fine, no problem - so I spent my lunch hour checking out her neighborhood. There's a lot of possibilities there; an Associated supermarket around the corner, a Starbucks a block away, a crosstown bus line that takes her directly from home to work, east to west. There's even construction going on across the street from her building, a perfect place for a potential stalker to hide out.

So what's the problem? She lives...well, it's near yet another NY icon. And there are cops, EVERYWHERE. I gotta tell you, a black man stalking an east side building in the dark with a gun-shaped object...not high on my list of "smart things to do". But I'm gonna do it anyway, because I'm retarded that way. If you read about me on the news being shot 20 times by a rookie cop, refer back to this blog.

I don't know as much about Jane, but if I can spot her I can stalk her. John, I feel like I know already - but he's less accessible. I'm thinking, get John at work, get Jane at home.

One of them gets stalked tomorrow morning. Tonight, I've got plans. And I'm avoiding my own stalker :)

BTW: after a sudden insight of my own, I locked down my Myspace profile. Can't have people getting too much information, now can I? :)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Targets: Acquired

It's game time.

Assassination targets were distributed this weekend for StreetWars. I won't say where I was instructed to pick up my assignment, or details about the circumstances; I will tell you I ended up in a dark alley, climbing into the back of a truck, and sealing the deal with a drink of Jack.

My envelope gave me the rules of the game (sorry folks, I can't tell you details), and my assignments. Two of them, to be exact. A photo of each, with both home and work addresses. I don't have their schedules, so some degree of stalking will have to take place. One lives on the west side, the other east; for informational purposes I'll call them John Westside, and Jane Eastside.

John is potentially the most accessible to me; my real problem is his photo. It's fairly dark, and not the best picture. No offense to John, but he's a little generic looking so I'm hoping I'll even be able to distinguish him from others leaving his building or office.

Jane has a clearer photo, but I've only got a head shot - no body shot. There's nothing to give me insight as to her height or size, so again I'll have to make an educated guess and hope for the best.

I think I'll target John first. I'll need to think about this for a bit.

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I'm Black, Of Course I Work Here

Toys R Us, today, roughly 2pm. Times Square "Megastore". I'm buying a gift for Goddaughter #2, whose birthday is this weekend. I'm wearing a black suit, black shoes, wire-framed silver glasses, and a purple shirt with black pinstripes. No tie. Corporate Chic.

She's 1, so I'm in the toddler-preschool section, looking at a Giggling Curious George.

Doofus #1: "Excuse me, where do you keep the..."
Me: "I really have no idea."
Doofus #1: "Oh, you mean you're shopping here like the rest of us?"

I wasn't feeling Georgie, so I moved on to the Disney stuff, different aisle.

Doofus #2: "You look like you work here, where are the..."
Me: "No, I'm sorry, I don't work here."
Doofus #2: "Really? You look like you do."

Say it loud. I'm black and I'm proud.

But sometimes, this shit just pisses me off.

Water Water Everywhere And Not a Drop to Drink

In preparation for the StreetWars game coming up next week, I realized I needed one key component. A watergun.

Odd that I didn't already have one, but hey - I'm 37. Why would I actually keep a watergun at hand? (those who know me - keep quiet!) So, I had to go shopping for one. In September.

Yeah, you parents out there know where I'm going with this. This is post-summer season; there ARE no waterguns out there to be found! Toys R Us, the supposed mecca of all things fun, had barely a corner shelf dedicated to whatever rejected aqueous projectors were left. The Superman shield soaker is a popular one left behind, but what need would I have of a bright red "S" emblazoned squirter that any sensible person would see a mile off?

No, I needed stealth. In a flash of brilliance I stuck with the superhero influence (forgive me, DC!) and Made Mine Marvel - a Spiderman "triple blaster" web shooter. It's essentially a water tube that straps onto your wrist, with a finger trigger hovering over your palm. Press the trigger, and "twipppt!" you're firing a triple stream of webbed water fun!

It was a good idea, in theory - but I gotta tell ya, this thing sucks. An absolute P.O.S., yes indeedy doo! The strap is obviously made for the effeminate male offspring of anorexic/bulimic models (an oxymoron), as it barely fits around my wrist. The water canister is bulky and leaks like a sieve; I'm considering making a rubber O-ring to make a better seal, and coating it with sealant.

Oh, and it shoots for shitte. Three streams the thickness of fly piss shoot out over a 10-foot length. I've spat further.

I also got in my ebay order for a keychain model Super Soaker, a Lilliputian-sized copy of the full sized green and purple classic giant super soaker cannon. Perfect as a "holdout blaster" (props to my Star Wars buddy-fans), right?

I wish. It leaks worse than the CIA, holds about a thimble of water, and still requires that annoying pump action in order to shoot. To it's credit, it will shoot that single stream of water a good 20-25 feet - so it may end up doing its job as a stealth weapon, except I'm only going to get one shot before I'm empty.

But wait, there's more!

Six Flags has a product line of toys out. Yes, as in "Six Flags Great Adventure", the theme park kings of the country. They wowed me with the Six Flags Hydro Blast Morpher. Hydroblast. Morpher. Ooooooooo!

Essentially it's 4 (count 'em, FOUR) guns in one. One large cannon, one medium gun, and two tiny pistols. What's the catch? They MORPH, baby!

Well, not really "morph". They combine ("Red Lion, Go!"). The large cannon has slots that the other three fit into, and firing the large cannon will simultaneously fire the other three - for one Mega Hydro Blasting Morphing Time ("...go go Power Rangers...")

Except. The big cannon sucks. I mean, sucks. Maybe I need to fill it up more and play with it a bit, but I could piss further than this thing shoots. The tiny pistols are handy, because they're bigger than the keychain soaker I have but small enough that they'll fit in a jacket pocket - perfect with this cooler weather we're having. They also shoot decently, maybe about a 15-foot range. And with two of them I can make like Neo, bouncing off walls while firing upside down. The medium cannon might be good for drive-bys, I'll have to play with it a bit more to see.

This weekend, I have to go pick up the rules and my target's dossier. I'll keep you all posted.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

And You Thought You Knew Me

Date of Birth: 4 January 1969
Your date of conception was on or about 13 April 1968 which was a Saturday. [note: how annoyingly random. Not even a holiday weekend.]

You were born on a Saturday
under the astrological sign Capricorn.
Your Life path number is 3.

Life Path Compatibility:
You are most compatible with those with the Life Path numbers 3, 6 & 9.
You should get along well with those with the Life Path numbers 1, 2, 5 & 11.
You are least compatible with those with the Life Path numbers 4, 7, 8 & 22.

The Julian calendar date of your birth is 2440225.5.
The golden number for 1969 is 13.
The epact number for 1969 is 11.
The year 1969 was not a leap year.

Your birthday falls into the Chinese year beginning 1/30/1968 and ending 2/16/1969.
You were born in the Chinese year of the Monkey.

Your Native American Zodiac sign is Goose; your plant is Bramble.

You were born in the Egyptian month of Famenoth, the third month of the season of Poret (Emergence - Fertile soil).

Your date of birth on the Hebrew calendar is 14 Tevet 5729.

The date of Easter on your birth year was Sunday, 6 April 1969.
The date of Orthodox Easter on your birth year was Sunday, 13 April 1969.
The date of Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent) on your birth year was Wednesday 19 February 1969.
The date of Whitsun (Pentecost Sunday) in the year of your birth was Sunday 25 May 1969.
The date of Whisuntide in the year of your birth was Sunday 1 June 1969.
The date of Rosh Hashanah in the year of your birth was Saturday, 13 September 1969.
The date of Passover in the year of your birth was Thursday, 3 April 1969.
The date of Mardi Gras on your birth year was Tuesday 18 February 1969.

As of 9/20/2006 2:26:09 PM EDT
You are 37 years old.
You are 452 months old.
You are 1,968 weeks old.
You are 13,773 days old.
You are 330,566 hours old.
You are 19,833,986 minutes old.
You are 1,190,039,169 seconds old.

Celebrities who share your birthday:
Michael Stipe (1960) Matt Frewer (1958) Dyan Cannon (1937)
Floyd Patterson (1935) Jesse White (1917) Jane Wyman (1914)
Sterling Holloway (1905) Charles 'Tom Thumb' Stratton (1838) Louis Braille (1809)

Top songs of 1969
Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In by Fifth Dimension
In the Year 2525 by Zager & Evans
Get Back by Beatles (with Billy Preston)
Sugar, Sugar by Archies
Honky Tonk Women by Rolling Stones
Everyday People by Sly & the Family Stone
Dizzy by Tommy Roe
Wedding Bell Blues by Fifth Dimension
I Can't Get Next to You by Temptations
Crimson & Clover by Tommy James & the Shondells

Your age is the equivalent of a dog that is 5.39060665362035 years old. (You're still chasing cats!) [note: "cats", or another word used to describe felines? :) ]

There are 106 days till your next birthday
on which your cake will have 38 candles.

Those 38 candles produce 38 BTUs,
or 9,576 calories of heat (that's only 9.5760 food Calories!) .
You can boil 4.34 US ounces of water with that many candles.

In 1969 there were approximately 3.7 million births in the US.
In 1969 the US population was approximately 179,323,175 people, 50.6 persons per square mile.
In 1969 in the US there were approximately 1,800,000 marriages (9.3%) and 479,000 divorces (2.5%)
In 1969 in the US there were approximately 1,712,000 deaths (9.5 per 1000)
In the US a new person is born approximately every 8 seconds.
In the US one person dies approximately every 12 seconds.

In 1969 the population of Australia was approximately 12,407,217.
In 1969 there were approximately 250,175 births in Australia.
In 1969 in Australia there were approximately 112,470 marriages and 10,930 divorces.
In 1969 in Australia there were approximately 106,496 deaths.

Your birthstone is Garnet

The Mystical properties of Garnet
Garnet is used as a power stone

Some lists consider these stones to be your birthstone (birthstone lists come from Jewelers, Tibet, Ayurvedic Indian medicine, and other sources):
Emerald, Rose Quartz

Your birth tree is
Fir Tree, the Mysterious
Extraordinary taste, dignity, cultivated airs, loves anything beautiful, moody, stubborn, tends to egoism but cares for those close to it, rather modest, very ambitious, talented, industrious uncontent lover, many friends, many foes, very reliable.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Yargh, I Say!

Avast, ye land lubbers! This day be one ta remember, as it be Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Yea, 'tis a day which falls on th' 19th o'en each September, a day fer all ye swabs t' talk right 'n proper! Now, I kin see yer askin' yerselves, Why? Why would I be celebratin' this holiday, t'which I never heard o' before today!

Because I said so, yer scurvy knaves! And yer wouldn't be wantin' the dreaded Black Spot, now would ye? So, t'help ye along, here be a fine list o' tings ye might be wantin' to say, as ye land locked bartisches roam about yer work spaces! Arrgh! An' when yer done, go an' grab yerself a right proper pirate name ta storm th' seven seas!
"Thar she blows!" - The pirate equivalent of "Whoop, there it is!". [Arrgh...that be Whaler talk, and no respectable pirate would speak like a blubber lubber!]

"ARRRGHHHH" - this phrase shows general discontent. or it can also mean that someone is about to get wild- a.k.a. a battle cry.

"Ahoy, me hearties!" - Equivalent of "Hello, my friends!"

"Avast ye scum ridden weevil shaggers. Captain Black Beard is gonna keel haul you and grow barnacles on ye starboard knacker". - The Captain isn't happy...

"Dogs ahoy!" - Equivalent of "Things to kill, straight ahead."

"Shiver me timbers!" - Like saying "Oh My!" like my legs are shaking

"Skuttle me Skippers" - Making a mistake and being judged for/by it.

"Avast ye varmint" - Stop right there young man because you're in big trouble.

"Weigh anchor!" - Let's go!

"Yarr." - I agree.

"Yarr!" - I see your point, and agree wholeheartedly.

"Yarr-ha-harr!" - You're right!

"Yarr?" - Excuse me, what did you say?

"Yarrgh" - I respectfully acknowledge that you are right and I am wrong

"Blow me down!" - You don't say? How surprising.

"Ye Scalawag!" - You dirty dog!

"Savvy?" - Is that okay with you? Do you understand?

"Ahoy" - Call to attract attention, something akin to 'Hello, there!'

"Jack" - A flag or a sailor; showing how sailors would refer to their ship's colors as one of the crew. Hence Jack Tar for sailor and the Union Jack flag.

"Messdeck lawyer" - A know-it-all

"Salmagundi" - A dish of chopped meat, eggs, anchovies, onions and anything else the cook can throw in; A piratical delicacy

"Son of a Biscuit Eater" - Not so much a sailor term, but a derrogatory term indicating someone you don't like

"Landlubber" - A "Non-pirate" or a curse for someone who is a coward

"Weigh anchor! Hoist the mizzen!!!" - Basically adds on to Let's go!

"davey jones' locker" - death after walking the plank. your coffin in the sea.

"A merry yarn" - A good story

Movie Review: The Protector

When "Ong Bak" came out a year or so ago, my commentary then was that Tony Jaa has the makings of a martial arts star if he could only get into a movie with a script, a budget, and a director.

It still hasn't happened.

The story around the Protector is simple: Jaa plays the son of an elephant breeder who's prize bull elephant (and calf) are kidnapped and taken to Australia. Jaa takes his job very seriously, apparently, and follows them - despite not speaking a lick of English - where he finds himself embroiled in the seedy criminal underground of the Thai community down under.

Jaa is an explosive fighter, all flying knees and elbows in a style that makes Steven Segal look like he's standing still. Oh wait, he does stand still - but you get my point. You will believe a man can fly, if only for short distances. He climbs walls faster than Jackie Chan, and fires off punches and kicks to rival Jet Li.

So why does his movies seem to suck so badly?

Jaa, unfortunately, has no screen presence; he's angry, always, even when the hot girlfriend of the criminal underboss brings him to her apartment he somehow can't manage to get rid of his perpetual scowl. He hates the world, it seems, and can't understand anyone or anything - so rather than try to think his way through something he's a bull in a china shop, knocking aside anything in his way.

The criminals never seem to run out of lackeys to throw at him; I think the only other movie where I've seen so many bodies flying to the ground was Kill Bill. This would be fun to watch if those baddies could actually fight; instead they're fodder for the slaughter, living punching bags with no other purpose than to slightly slow his advance and give him an excuse to bounce off walls.

The movies plays like a video game as Jaa advances up the ranks, fighting tougher and tougher opponents. There's a scene in a burning buddhist temple (incidently, I blinked and suddenly this scene appeared from absolutely nowhere) where he fights several different martial artists of differing styles, and it's fun to watch.

Here's the problem: when the bad guy looks more interesting to watch than the hero, it's time to reconsider things. The brazilian capoeria fighter came across like a much better fighter than Jaa, and will probably make a name for himself eventually; the ends of Jaa's fights are contrived, and almost illogical.

I also have to wonder: are there really so many Thai news announcers in Australia?

Jaa has potential, I do believe that. Eventually he'll make his way into a Hollywood big budget flick, learn how to smile occasionally, and maybe even let the bad guys get in a punch or two.

The Trickster gives The Protector a measly 2 bananas out of 5.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Kelly Jr.

It's funny, the memories that stick with you and suddenly appear out of nowhere.

I'd recently bought myself a car. Truck. I'm old school, to me it's a truck - not an SUV, and definitely not a car. But whatever, it's a Chevy Blazer, 2001, 4door. Big ol' V6, which in this age where you need a credit check to buy gas may seem weird, but I need something with the horses to climb those mountain passes I always find myself on.

So I was driving my mom and baby sister upstate for a family funeral, and I have this little skeleton - about 2-3 inches long - hanging on my dashboard. I found it at this street fair I'd stumbled across in the east village a few weeks ago, at this stand selling Mexican trinkets. It's a metal skeleton, with a rainbow feathery thing on top of his head, with spring/coil legs and arms. All pasty white, with black trim. I thought it would go great on my dash, and there it hangs.

My sister saw it, and decided to poke at it and make fun of it. Now, I hadn't named the skelly yet but right then I answered, "Hey - leave Kelly Jr. alone!"

It was odd, because I hadn't thought about Kelly (Sr.) for years. Decades. See, back when I was a kid, my grandfather had this old station wagon. A couple of them, really, it was the only car he'd drive; this was in the pre-mini van days. Anyway, he worked in this toy distribution warehouse - cheap stuff, really, the kind you find at Rite Aid, Duane Reade, and discount stores. They also sold these rubber skeletons.

They were like, 10-12 inches long, oddly colored, and made of rubber. He had one that was a neon green, and it glowed in the dark at night. He hung this from his rear view mirror, dangling there for all of us kids to laugh and play with.

Incidently, this is probably why I'm as twisted as I am. But I digress.

Anyway, this skeleton - often replaced, because it was a hard life for a rubber skeleton in a family as large as our extended one - was named Kelly. Kelly, the real Kelly, was a friend of my grandfather's who was Randy Johnson-esque in stature - tall as a redwood and thin as a sapling. We'd joked, once, that the skeleton looked like Kelly - and the name stuck. I couldn't imagine riding in that station wagon without Kelly dangling from the mirror.

Now that was some 25 years ago, easily. My grandfather hasn't driven since I was in my early 20s, and he hasn't had a new Kelly since my mid teens.

So it surprised me, pleasantly, to suddenly think of it now.

Anyway. Kelly's made of good strong die-cast metal, so hopefully I won't have to worry about replacing him for years to come. Seeing him there is like looking at a child of a friend who's long left this world, and being reminded of an earlier place and time when that friend was right there beside you, laughing and joking.

It's a nice memory, isn't it?

Wii Sony?

Why does Sony insist on constantly shooting itself in the foot, over and over again?

The Playstation was the greatest game machine ever. Eh-vah. Then they came out with the PS2, and actually outdid themselves. Plus it was backwards compatible, an unheard of concept. Bravo!

Now comes the PS3, and it's a $650 beast. A beast, I tell you. And for what? Because it has some stupid proprietary blu-ray format for it's dvd drive? Come on, Sony!! Why didn't you learn your lesson when you lost the Betamax/VHS wars? Did you really think the MiniDisc was going to be a hit? Why would you believe ATRAC music formats would outshine the others? Do you really believe us to be so stupid as to pay MORE for a UMD movie disk than a regular DVD, when we can only play it on the Playtstion Portable's 3" screen? Hell Sony, you even lost the fight over what to call the IEEE1394 computer port - you named it "iLink", Apple said screw you and callied it Firewire.

Guess what we all call it now?

So instead of working together with Toshiba on HD-DVD (which uses existing technology, and is cheaper) you decided to strike out on your own. Again. If you're ever at a poker table, Sony, let me know because I know you're always going to go "all in" with that shitty pair of deuces you keep coming up with.

And for this, I'm being asked to mortgage the farm to buy a Playstation 3.

The funny thing is...after laughing at Nintendo (formerly known as Nintendon't) for years as they floundered with the Game I'm thinking of buying a Wii.

Why a Wii?

Not just because it's cheap; $250 IS a big selling point.

No, I'm considering it because it looks FUN. Remember fun? The Wii might just turn out to be the big party console of the decade, in the way that DDR wowed the masses and became a household standard. It brings interactivity to a whole new level. And I'm intrigued by it.

I love you, Sony, I do. But you're just too high maintenance.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Carpe Diem

I wasn't sure how I was going to honor yesterday. There had been a drive to make September 11th a sort of Kindness Day, a day where you strive to do something nice for your fellow man or woman. And I agree with that idea, and wondered how I was going to honor it.

Then yesterday came. And my 37 yr old cousin died. She's 2 months older than I am, and would have been 38 this coming November. She's been battling cancer for years now, but we'd thought she'd beaten it and would finally get to start living her life.

We were wrong. She suffered massive kidney and liver failure just before the weekend, and the doctors finally decided they couldn't do anything for her.

She died yesterday.

It made me think: why do people put things off? Why do people fight living life, while they can? If I found out, tomorrow, that I had cancer...what would I do?

I don't know. I really don't. But I do know one thing for certain: that while I lived, I'd find a way to make each breath, each moment count. I don't know if my cousin managed that, and a part of me will aways wonder if she lived enough, in the time she had left.

So. Rather than harp on the things in life we may miss out on while we're waiting for tomorrow to come, I'm just going to sign off with a few quotes from others, who may be better able to express how I feel. I hope you get something out of at least one of them.
One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon - instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today." Dale Carnegie

"Live as if your were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." Gandhi

"I used to spend at least 8 hours every weekend making sure things were just perfect -"in case someone came over". Then I realized one day that no one came over; they were all out living life and having fun!" Author Unknown from Dust If You Must

"The trick is not how much pain you feel--but how much joy you feel. Any idiot can feel pain. Life is full of excuses to feel pain, excuses not to live, excuses, excuses, excuses." Erica Jong

I'm going to miss you, Vicky.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Movie Review: Covenant

I had such high hopes for this movie.

Actually, that's not completely true. I fully expected a movie with WB-pretty boys and a 2nd-rate television level script, which is what I got.

What I expected, however, was probably a bit more than I should have hoped for. I expected a cult classic, something to bring back a little of the old black magic to the movies - which has been sorely lacking lately. I'm talking about those movies from back in the day, where the witches wielded powers and made you sit up and beg for more, however cheesy the movie might actually have been. Remember Robin Tunney in "the Craft"? Julian Sands in "Warlock"? Hell, man, how about Michelle Pfieffer, Cher, Susan Sarandon and Jack Nicholson in "The Witches of Eastwick"?

Witches rocked in those flicks; they got respect. Then along came the WB, and "Charmed", and suddenly witches were like the X-men. Only all female, and with big boobs, and PMS'ing every week.

In other words, they sucked.

Then I saw the preview for "The Covenant", and I had hope - because it reminded me of yet another cult classic, one that to this day still defines the 80s generation. "The Lost Boys".

Suddenly vampires weren't guys in dust-covered velvet and silk, pretending that the Victorian age hasn't passed them by several centuries. Vampires were rockers, they were young, they were cool. You didn't have to be British to be a vampire, these vamps...hell. They were AMERICAN.

I saw a little of that, with the previews for the Covenant. Unfortunately, that's the only place you see it.

The storyline is embarassingly predictable; there are no surprises here. None. Once upon a time, the small colonial town of Ipswich was founded by five wealthy families. Then along came the Salem witch hunts, and the last remaining member of one of those families was accused of witchcraft. Several dozen logs of timber and a matchstick later, the Fab Five is down to the Fantastic Four - so they make a Covenant not to display their witchy powers for the world to see. Plus, using the mojo sucks up all your life energy, so it's all for the best.

Fast forward to the present, and the four families are still large and in charge. In Ipswich, which hasn't changed much to my reckoning, but hey - big fish, small pond. One of the Sons of Ipswich (I didn't make this up) is about to turn 18 and gain his full witchy powers...but along comes a spider, who sat down beside get the picture.

The 5 male leads are all typical WB-style clones, which almost makes them generic; at various points it was hard to tell who was who. And I swear, I think the barn the final battle is fought in is Clark's barn from Smallville.

So that leaves the witchy powers, and the special effects crew. Who didn't disappoint. At least...not for the first half of the movie. I couldn't help but wonder if the writer quit, so the director just said "hey, let's keep doing more of the same and hope no one noticed we stopped having original ideas!"

The climatic battle between the main two figures is...anticlimatic. You know exactly how it'll turn out, before it actually starts. I wanted Merlin vs. Nimue, Gandalf vs. Sauramon. I wanted to see an epic battle between two witches changing reality back and forth, conjuring things, calling up the fires of hell and lightning from the heavens.

Instead we got a fight between two telekinetics. Hence the X-men reference. I mean, the magic ball looked good...a few times. Once you realize it's all they're going to do, it becomes a poorly done Shaolin Soccer match. On a positive side, if they ever make a live action Dragonball Z in Hollywood they can use this as a template.

This movie had potential, it really did. It started out so well, I would really like to know if something changed mid-way through making it. In the end, we got stuck with a drawn-out WB movie that might actually work okay as a television series.

The Trickster gives this one a reluctant 3 out of 5 bananas, if only because I did at least feel entertained.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Mafia Bible? Gives "Holy" New Meaning

This was semi-interesting:

BBC News, Thursday, 7 September 2006, 17:51 GMT 18:51 UK
FBI probes 'Mafia Bible' for code

Italian officials have handed to the FBI a Bible that belonged to suspected Mafia kingpin Bernardo Provenzano to see whether it contains a secret code.
Provenzano, 73, was captured in Sicily in April after 43 years on the run.

The Bible found in his isolated hut contained dots, arrows and notations and investigators want to know if it is a code that will unlock other messages.

Provenzano, who allegedly took over the Sicilian Mafia in 1993, is held in a top security prison in central Italy.

I say semi, because when I read this I had this immediate thought:

When they figure it out, will they call it "Da Vinny Code"? :)

Tag, You're It

I'm going to assassinate someone later this month.

No, I haven't joined the CIA. Instead I've signed up for an annual city-wide interactive game called "StreetWars", where I get to be hunted - and hunt others.

It's a 3-week long, 24/7 watergun assassination tournament that has already taken place here in New York City for the past few years, as well as in other cities worldwide: San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Vienna, and Vancouver. At the start of the game you receive a photo of your intended target and their contact information. Your goal: wet them, by any means necessary. Water gun, water balloon, super soaker. You can stalk them, pose as a delivery person, ambush them any way you see fit.

A wet target is a dead target, and they're forced to hand over their intended target over to you. Which, of course, becomes your new target.

I'm probably going to get my butt handed to me on a wet platter, but I'm in it for the fun of the hunt. All I want to do is survive long enough to get a few kills under my belt, just so I can say I didn't get wiped out (pun intended) on the first day. For three weeks I'll be living in a paranoid world, where everyone I see on the street is a potential assassin out to get me.

Sounds like fun, don't it? Now...I just need to go out and get me a watergun...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

It's Been Foretold

Prophecies are hard.

Not deciphering them, although I'm sure that isn't a simple thing. I mean making them up. It's a pain, really. I'm making one up for a storyline i'm working on, and I gotta tell you it's frustrating because even though you're making something up, you want it to be believable. You want it to make sense, and not have people question it but accept that it could be true.

I was watching the movie "End of Days" tonight, the flick where Robin Tunney is the chick the devil wants to bear his kid. Ah-nold is the hero who saves her from being raped by lucifer and giving birth to the antichrist.

The plot point here is that the devil needs to impregnate the girl between 11pm and 12am, New Year's Eve, or the whole plan goes to shit. All the Guvinator has to do is keep the girl away from his unholy scepter until the hour passes, and the world is saved for another hundred years.'s a Schwartzennegar movie. Which means I shouldn't be thinking too hard, right? So why did I?

It's because of that damn prophecy. Let me ask you this: why, specifically, between 11pm and 12am? Why an hour? Why not 3, which is a more magic number? Or 7 hours? How about 7 minutes? Or maybe, 6 minutes past the 6th hour of the 6th day? Or some crap like that?

And when they say between 11pm and that EST, since the story takes place in New York? Why not Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which would mean the hour is already 5 hours gone?

Why New Year's Eve? In fact, why the Western version of it? Why not the Jewish New Year, which Christ (and, presumably, Satan and God) would have followed - which would make the prophecied New Year out to be Rosh Hashanna?

When was the prophecy made? Was it based on our current Gregorian calendar, or was it based on the Roman calendar, which was used up to 45 BC? Or was it on the Julian calendar, which was in effect throughout Europe until 1753?

See? Not so easy, is it?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

What the hell is with these reality shows? "Breaking up with Shannon Dougherty"?!

Okay, so I was bored and left the tv on while I did some stuff around the house. Plus I was curious. Please, America, tell me - why is this show on? What the hell is wrong with people!?

Here's the premise, in case you don't know. Shannon "Jobless" Dougherty is the "hostess" of a show where she'll break up with someone for you. It could be your bf/gf, it could be a friend you don't want to be around anymore. The point is, she'll gladly do your dirty work for you.

How spineless do you have to be to get on this show? If you're willing to go through the effort of contacting the show, setting up the "sting", and going on national television...just break up with him/her, and get it over with!!

Seriously folks, I'm calling bullshit on this one. This one girl, she decided she'd had enough of her slacker no-goal boyfriend. She's on the up and up, ready to take on the world, and she's tired of his Shaggy-imitatin', scooby-snak eating worthless ass. Okay I'm with that, no problem.

So why drag him on television to humiliate him in public? Lemme ask you this, chicky - if you looooooooove him so much, if he's otherwise a good person who you want to keep as a friend...then why the fuck would you set him up on a tv show so all his friends can see what a drop-kicked loser he is? How cruel do you have to be, to do that to someone you claim to care about but just don't want to be together with anymore?

Holy shit. Not to say some of these people don't deserve it, like the "playah" whose girlfriend lived in a different city and he was stepping out on her with another girl, who incidently he was living with. The guy blew off being dumped, pretty much admitting it's all a game to him, even hitting on Shannon AFTER his gf left crying. Total jackass, right?

But let's go back to the beginning of the show, when the girl was asked why she's doing this on television instead of doing it herself. Her answer?

"It'll be fun!"


Sorry babe, but somehow I'm just not feeling sorry for you.

Someone cancel this show. Please.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Stephon Marbury, pseudo point guard for the New York Knicks, has created his own line of shoes that caters to the underprivaledged youth of America's slums. His line of Starbury One shoes are available exclusively at "Steve & Barry's" (never heard of them) nationwide. They're going to cost - get this - $14.98 a pair. It doesn't get any cheaper than that, folks, and he swears the quality is so good he plans on wearing them on the court himself. theory...this is a great sentiment. It's a goddamn shame that athletes (*coughJordancough*) force kids to somehow fork over $150 for a pair of shoes that they damn well know will fade out of style the next summer, especially since it's that same athlete who's coming out with a new model for them to buy. Fuckers.

But this is Starbury, the man himself. So I'm a little jaded.

I can't help but wonder - could it be that he's wearing his own brand of shoes because no other shoe manufacturer wants to be associated with him anymore?

And are they priced under $15 because all the stores still have overstock on his $89 shoes from last year?

Nothing personal, Stephon. But I ain't buying it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ocean Living

So I'm thinking of buying a boat.

No, not a raft or a dinghy. A boat. It's been hovering in the back of my mind for a while now, but lately it's been coming more and more to the forefront. See, I'm not just thinking of buying some recreational craft.

I'm thinking of buying a houseboat. Specifically a 50' Catamaran Cruiser, a powered catamaran with full living facilities. There's something incredibly appealing about moving off land, onto the water. Never mind that I'll still be near land, since I'll be berthed at a marina.

It's...hmm. I'm not one to buy a house, dig in those roots, plant myself. I hate feeling land-locked, stuck in one place. Even if I have a family, I'd still want the feeling that I could pack up and move tomorrow if I wanted to, no matter how impractical. Buying a home seems to imply, "this is where I want to die". That's how I feel, I'm not saying others do.

A houseboat is my escape from that. It combines the freedom of being able to move where I want to (even if it takes me forever to get there, with the limited 150hp yamaha outboard engine) with owning your own home, that sense of accomplishment.

Of course, it's still out of range for me currently. I just can't afford the $25k I'd need to put down on it. Yet.

But it's a goal. And it's nice to have something to reach for, isn't it?

Friday, August 11, 2006

And China Makes Three

I've posted before about the android race taking place between Japan (Actroid) and Korea (Ever-1) ("I-Robot"). Well, put another shrimp on the barbie, because China refuses to be left eating their silicon-chip dust.

Meet China's "Rong Cheng", their newly created robot as she sits on display at the Institute of Automation of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. Rong Cheng, dubbed as the first Chinese "beauty" robot, is able to respond to some 1,000 Chinese words. She can dance, bow and greet people in the Sichuan dialect as she is destined for the Sichuan Science Museum to serve as a receptionist. The robot costs about 300,000 yuan (US$37,500) to make, according to Xinhua News.

Now...I thought the Korean robot was the definition of fugly, but holy egg foo yung batman, this 'bot is one scary creature! Seriously, is this some chinese engineer's definition of beauty? Kid, get outside more. The women in Beijing must be crying foul play right about now, if this is what's supposed to represent Chinese beauty in the scientific world. I keep expecting her to pop out from behind a door with a knife in her hand, like a Chinese Michael Myers. How do you whisper "kill kill kill kill" in Mandarin?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

It's Been A Long Time

Wow, it's been - what - almost two months since my last confess...I mean, since my last post! Things have just been a little chaotic, and somehow I managed not to find the time to come here and post my usual mental meanderings.

Blogging is, for me I think, therapeutic. It's just a way to help empty some of the random clutter that I often find filling my headspace, often to the point of overflowing. That's why, many times, this blog seems to have no specific theme. It does; it's a repository for my mental farts. And you, true believers, are the beneficiaries of those exhalations.

So what brought me back today, besides a desperate need for an excuse to post? Reminiscing. I was thinking back on a game that, unfortunately, never quite got off the launching pad. It was called Ilusia: Quest for the Eternals, and it still manages to hold a near and dear place in my heart.

The game was typical for it's time, back in the early-mid 90s when it began. This was an age when the text-based MUDs (multi-user dungeons), the precursor to today's MMO's, where all the rage. Illusia was going to spearhead a new frontier - the Graphical MUD. The concept was one of a divided realm - human-aligned races against vampire-aligned races. Dark vs. Light, Order vs. Chaos. And I was one of the early player-testers, once the game entered pre-Beta, back in...1994. "Kowh", the Minotaur, started out as a joke character; instead he became my mainstay, a standard. A Minotaur Knight, a member of the order House of Three Moons, eventually the torchbearer, and defacto leader of that group when the founding members left Illusia. Mhauz the Felzur followed, and he was my comic foil to Kowh's stoic resolve.

I believed in the game enough that I became a Charter Member, someone who aided in the development of the game by donating $150 of their cash in exchange for elevated testing status, and a "charter" package when the game finally went gold.

Well, it never did. The developers were scattered across the country, communicating by chat programs and email; all of them were doing this on a volunteer basis, while the head admin and owner of the site - "Randor" - bled money out of his pockets to support it. I eventually joined the ranks of the admin staff as Inktomi the Storyteller, trying to help pull the world's story together and give a solid basis for the "builders" to base their work off...but it was a hopeless task. Illusia's time had come and gone; Ultima Online and, eventually, Everquest, broke the mold on the concept of the graphical MUD and took it into completely new waters. The MUD was dead, the MMO was born.

Illusia finally died a quiet death sometime in the last few months. None of the links to the game sites work anymore, and the forums no longer seem to exist. It's a shame because it had developed, at it's peak around 2000-2001, a strong and loyal fan base who shared in the dream. I would have liked to see it go out with more fanfare...or maybe it did happen, and I just missed it.

Still. I'm thinking of resurrecting it from the ashes, perhaps in another form. The tools are there, and I know the stories behind the world as if I created them myself (well...for a large part...I did!) Do I have the time, the drive, the energy?

We'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Damn Hippies and Their Ideas

It's fascinating when you look at this photograph, and you realize that these people are the ones who would go on to create a multinational corporation worth over 270 billion dollars. Who'da thunkit?

Abyssal Espistles

There's a fellow blogger I read occasionally who does a weekly horoscope, filled with sarcasm and sniping of the various zodiacs. It's the writing of one Baron von Coppockalypse, PhD, and - with some considerable scissor work - I think I'll start sharing his horoscopes with you, the huddled masses. So without further ado - the Baron speaks!

Horoscopes 19th-25th : Chariots of the Gods
The Baron knows how you like to roll during the summer months: slow, with the top down and the stereo up loud. It is no coincidence, as the Sign that begins Summer, Cancer, is represented in the Tarot with the only vehicle in the whole deck- VII The Chariot. This week, in recognition of the Sun moving into Cancer, Baron grants everyone their summer-time dream vehicle.

Aries: Its a FUCKING TANK!
Aries, your vehicle of choice is a FUCKING TANK. Though completely illegal and hardly road worthy, its a FUCKING TANK, so who cares? Not armed only with the standard cannon and machine-gun, Aries, your summer tank comes complete with crowd-control flame-thrower. And air conditioning.

Taurus: Slow Ride
Taurus, your vehicle combines your love of nature with your sedentary nature. Thats right, its the 4x4 off road couch! A plush leather couch with monster truck wheels, the off-road couch is a marvel of design. Huge wheels and extravagant suspension guarantee that nothing gets in the way of your lazy day. The Off-Road Couch casually drives over speed bumps, other cars, and crowds without so much as a single jolt. Now thats convenience.

Gemini: Noise Complaint
You get the classic motor-cycle with side-car for your evil twin. Not only does your sweet ride feature seating for two, it also has a loudspeaker system capable of breaking windows 3 blocks away. You and your evil/good twin will have an intercom system built into your helmets which links back to the speaker system, spreading your brilliant back and forth far and wide. Yes, the rest of the Zodiac will be grateful indeed.

Cancer: Bullet Proof Safety
Cancer, your Chariot of choice is the latest in the Hummer series. Surpassing both the classic Hummer and the even the stretch limo hummer, the Hummer Mini-Van is truly a miracle of converted military engineering. There has never been a civilian vehicle so safe in the history of humankind. If you need to take the kids to soccer practice in the middle of Baghdad, consider it a problem solved. The Hummer mini-van is also ideal for driving the band between gigs, and general armor plated adventuring. Youve never been so safe!

Leo: Solar Whip
Hail, mighty Leo. This summer your sick whip will be sure to outshine everyone elses, because your ride will be the Chariot of the Sun-God himself. Flaming horses will tow you down the street at a slow enough pace for people to soak in your full solar glory. They will, of course, burst into flame, but thats their problem. Comes complete with flattering Sun-God/dess Toga.

Virgo: Tow-Truck
Virgo, yours is the sign of service, and its more important that your vehicle be helpful than look cool. In honor of your humility, the Baron has granted you an old, beat-up tow-truck. Cool! You can use the tow-truck to help other people with their much nicer cars troubles. Awesome! Not only can you help other people with their problems, on the way youll get plenty of practice refining your automotive expertise by having to repair your own rundown wreck of a car. Youll save the both the world and yourself. Youre so helpful.

Libra: Classic
Libra, this summer youll be taken from engagement to classy engagement in a lovely Victorian carriage. Trailing cans on strings, its always a good time to be Just Married in your classic enclosed carriage. Sit back, relax, and sip your drink while your costumed driver whips your steeds into a brisk trot.

Scorpio: The Bat-Mobile
Yes Scorpio, this summer youll be sneaking through the streets with the Batmobile. Youll pierce the night like black sunshine whenever your symbols stains the sky. But during the daytime, youll stick out like a sore thumb. Theres nothing stealthy about driving a jet black bat-car with a jet engine down Main Street. Also, nothing screams insecurity like driving around a big black cock.

Sagittarius: If This Trailers A Rockin
Sagittarius, being half-horse, you are your own vehicle. A shiny new set of horse-shoes is all you need to be street-worthy. But youre getting so much more. This summer, the Barons giving you a trailer to tow behind you. Your customized U-Haul Trailer will have room for all of your possessions, in case you decide to leave town unexpectedly, and a dirty mattress covered with Spider-man sheets for on the go amore. Yes, Sagittarius, with your shiny new trailer, youre a mobile party-on-the-go.

Capricorn: Siege Tower
Thats right Capricorn, crank up the volume, because this summer youre getting your very own Siege Tower! At 10 stories, the Siege Towerumtowers over the competition. The Siege Tower is also fuel efficient, running on slave labor rather than the those eco-unfriendly gasoline engines. Not only that, but it also comes with its own catapult and ballista with trained crews. No castle or stop light can stand in your way when youre rolling in the Siege Tower.

Aquarius: Amazing Made-Up Technology
It doesnt matter what model you want, Aquarius, the Baron is determined to pimp your ride Back To The Future style. Using amazing made-up technology, your car will gain the ability to travel through the space-time continuum, depositing you in situations that will validate your feelings of being an outsider. Impress primitives from the stone age, mess up time lines, and become your own grandpa. Its the kind of vehicle that takes you to the places you want to go, and its all yours, Aquarius.

Pisces: Pope-Mobile
Pisces, its your divine right. Its the reward for all of your seemingly meaningless suffering. Its the Pope-Mobile. Bullet-proof, holy, and ready to roll, your very own Pope-Mobile puts you at the very top of the religious hierarchy. What better way to let the faithful adore their savior than to showcase your piety on the bullet-proof stage of the Pope-mobile?

Disclaimer: If you do not take every word of these horoscopes into you with the utmost faith, you will die. Statistics bear this out. Simply scan the newspapers. You will find that an overwhelming majority of the people that die each week DID NOT read the Baron's horoscopes.

If your newspaper or your mom's website are interested in publishing the Baron's weekly prophetics, shoot this old guy an email at The Baron is also available for birthdays, weddings, funerals and orgies.