Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fallen Comrades

Today, I received the shocking news that another member of my gaming community has passed away. Anthony Galante, also known as Quicksand on Xbox Live, passed away today. He was only 35. I had the pleasure of meeting Anthony last year when I visited Dave C (Wetwork) and Todd (Union Carbine) for a weekend hang-out that I blogged about. Most of the time I played alongside/against Anthony were in Rainbow Six Vegas matches which always ended up being pretty intense as Anthony was a very skilled player. Just this morning, like all other mornings, I logged onto Facebook and saw a message on the right side of the screen suggesting I send Anthony a message since I hadn't communicated with him over FB in some time. I decided to do just that to tell Anthony about getting together for some Resident Evil 4 co-op play, something he and I had previously discussed doing. I am totally devastated by this shocking news. My heartfelt condolences to the Galante family. My thoughts and prayers are with them.

This comes after forum member James (Covak on Xbox Live) passed away on November 19. He was just 30. While I didn't know James as well as Anthony, we played together on occasion and chatted up all things videogames.

Athough they are avatars on my computer/tv screen and voices in my headset, they are also passionate forum members that share the same interests that I do. And even when I don't have anything to add when I visit the forum, I always take great pleasure in reading what the guys had to say and share. James and Anthony will truly be missed.


RIP James







RIP Anthony













Friday, November 27, 2009

Trying out a new toy

Short 37-second clip of my brother Jorge and I goofing around with my new Kodak Zi8 HD video recorder. I'll try and post a review at some point once I put more time into it. For now, just total idiocy. :)


video

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bioshock 2 Special Edition

As far back as August when I first submitted my pre-order, I've been anticipating my return to Rapture. But this time, it will be as a Big Daddy.

With a street date announcement of February 9, 2K Games' Bioshock 2: Sea Of Dreams will release simultaneously worldwide. I was equally excited and disappointed. Excited because I've been waiting for 2 years for the follow-up to my 2007 Game of the Year selection. I finished Bioshock twice and still own it in hopes of playing it once more before the sequel debuts. But I was disappointed because a special edition hadn't been announced and I was worried one wouldn't or if one did eventually get announced, it wouldn't be as cool as the previous one.

The special edition of the first Bioshock game came with a making-of DVD, and a soundtrack CD (with 3 tracks from the game). But the prized possession in the collector's special edition was a 6 inch, 1.5 pound Big Daddy figurine. Unfortunately, due to the figurine's weight and poor packaging, most Big Daddy's arrived severely damaged. I missed out on the Xbox 360 version of the SE and I wasn't too disappointed by it since they were all just about damaged but when I learned that 2K Games would issue replacements, I feverishly set out to hunt down a copy by any means. I managed to find a Gamestop that had one final copy of the PC version.


Even though the figurine was badly damaged and the game was for a platform I didn't own, I purchased it anyway for the chance to get a replacement figurine. It ended up working out great. I sold the PC game on eBay and was able to get a replacement figurine from 2K Games. Additionally, they sent out a softcover book "Bioshock: Breaking The Mold" filled with artwork from the game for all those that had received a damaged Big Daddy figurine. Pretty cool.



Just last week, Amazon made Bioshock 2: Sea Of Dreams Special Edition available for pre-order. This time around, the special edition will bring the following:
  • Bioshock 2 game
  • Bioshock 2 hardcover art book (164 pages)
  • 3 vintage Rapture advertisement posters (rolled)
  • audio CD with Bioshock 2 orchestral score
  • vinyl 180g LP with Bioshock 1 orchestral score
So, while it packs quite a bit of goodies, it's strangely missing what everyone was hoping for: a figurine of the central character, a Big Sister. I guess the big grab in this special edition is the LP. For those too young to know what an LP is, google it. :)


I can't wait for February to get here as I'm anxiously looking forward to going back to Rapture.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

2009 World Series Champions

Haven't posted anything lately because of trouble I've been having with my blog HTML settings. Nothing I can add to the outcome of the 2009 World Series that hasn't already been covered hundreds of times so I'll just add this cool video I found on YouTube.

Enjoy


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My thoughts on the 2009 Yankees chances vs the Phillies in WS

What is shaping up as the best match-up in recent World Series history, the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies are looking to do something that hasn't been done in 30 years: repeat as World Series champions coming out of the National League. The last NL team to do so was the 1975-76 Cincinnati Reds. Since then, the American League has seen the Toronto Blue Jays (1992-93) and the Yankees (1998, 99, 00) have the privilege to repeat in winning the Fall Classic.

Before I give my prediction, here's how the Yankees and Phillies matched up the 3 times they met earlier this year:

Game 1: Friday May 22nd - Philadephia visits Yankee Stadium on what some figured could be a preview of the World Series. A.J. Burnett gave up 5 runs in 6 innings. Chien-Ming Wang gave up 3 runs in 3 innings of relief. Phillies' Myers held the Yankees to 3 runs in 8 innings. Notable contributions for Yankees: Jeter, Teixeira, Arod HR off of Myers. Contributions for Phillies: Rollins, Ruiz, Werth HR off of Burnett, Ibanez HR off of Wang. Final: 7-3 Phillies.


Game 2: Saturday May 23rd - Yankees won in walk-off fashion when they entered the 9th inning down 4-2. Damon's walk preceded Arod's game-tying HR. Cano singles, steals second and scores on Melky's hit for the 5-4 come-from-behind win. One of many during the season, especially in the month of May. In this game, Pettitte gave up 4 runs over 6 innings while the Phillies' starter Happ gave up 2 runs over 6 innings. Phils closer Lidge gave up the 3 runs in the Yanks 9th. Notable contributions for Phillies: Ibanez and Mayberry homer of Pettitte. For Yankees: Jeter HR off of Happ, Arod HR off of Lidge. Final: 5-4 Yankees.


Game 3: Sunday May 24th - Phillies' Hamels holds the Yankees to 2 runs over 6 innings while Sabathia yields 3 runs in 8 innings. Lidge blows another save opportunity when he allows Melky to tie the game in the 9th. Phillies score one in the 11th but the Yanks can't stage another comeback. Notable Yankees contributions: Teixeira HR off of Hamels, Jeter and Melky each get 3 hits. Contributions for the Phillies: Victorino and Ruiz each get 3 hits. Final: 4-3 Phillies.


So here's my view. First half of the season, Yankees fall to the Phillies 2 out of 3 games. This is also the same half that sees the Yankees losing the first 8 games to the Red Sox and going 2-4 against the Angels. Somewhere along the way, they managed to lose 2 out of 3 to the lowly Nationals. The way the Yankees were playing, it didn't surprise me. And going into the All-Star break, the Yankees were swept by the Angels in Anaheim ending the first half with a 51-37 record. To say they needed that break is an understatement. When they returned, however, they were a different team.


They won 8 in row and ended up going 52-22 the rest of the way including 9-1 versus Boston and 3-1 versus the Angels. Also impressive is that they went 31-8 at home and 21-14 on the road over that span. Now, I'm not saying that the Phillies aren't good or that they can't hang with the Yankees. Hell, they're in the WS so they're definitely good but they were consistently good all year. My point is that this Yankees team isn't the same that faced the Phillies in May. They're on another level since the All-Star break and have carried it over into the play-offs. The Phillies, outside of Lidge, are the basically just as good as they had been earlier in the season.


In reading and listening to all the media since the Phillies won the Pennant over the Dodgers last week, I've been in agreement with all of the comments regarding how great this WS can be having two powerhouse teams facing each other. One comment, however, has me confused. It's been said that the Yankees will be facing a NL team with an AL line-up particularly in the power department. I'm not disagreeing with this so much as why anyone would think this would be a conundrum for the Yankees. So the Yankees have to face a team with a potent line-up. An AL-type of lineup. Um, ok. Hey people, guess where the Yankees come from.... the American League. The Yankees have been facing AL line-ups all year. Have the Phillies? I think not. Some stats to support this are:

  • Out of the top teams leading the ML in batting average, the Dodgers (#5) were the only NL team in the top 5. The Yankees ranked #2 behind the Angels with a .283 average. The Phillies ranked #23 with a .258 average.

  • Out of the top teams leading the ML in homeruns, the Phillies (#3) were the only NL team in the top 5. They had 224. Yankees ranked #1 with 244.

  • Out of the top teams leading the ML in runs batted in, the Phillies (#4) were the only NL team in the top 5 with 788. Yankees were ranked #1 with 881.

  • Out of the top teams leading the ML in total hits, the Dodgers (#5) were the only NL team in the top 5. Yankees were tied for #1 with the Angels with 1604 hits. The Phillies ranked #15 with 1439 hits.

  • Out of the top teams leading the ML in total bases, the Phillies (#4) were the only NL team in the top 5. They had 2493 total bases. The Yankees ranked #1 with 2703.

  • Out of the top teams leading the ML in on-base percentage, the Dodgers (#4) were the only NL team in the top 5. Phillies ranked #14 with .334 OBP while the Yankees ranked #1 with a .362 OBP.

So all this talk of the Yankees having to deal with an AL-style power-hitting team. They've been doing that all year whenever they faced the likes of the Red Sox, Rangers, Blue Jays, Tigers, White Sox, etc. The Phillies have not had to face many teams of that ilk. And definitely none as potent as the Yankees.

When it comes to everything else, they match up pretty closely:
  • Stolen Bases: Phillies 119, Yankees 111

  • Slugging: Phillies .447, Yankees .478

  • Team ERA: Phillies 4.16, Yankees 4.26

  • Hits Allowed: Phillies 1479, Yankees 1386

  • HR Allowed: Phillies 189, Yankees 181

  • Runs Allowed: Phillies 709, Yankees 753 (the biggest difference of all the non-offensive stats)

  • Strikeouts: Phillies 1153, Yankees 1260

  • Saves: Phillies 44, Yankees 51

  • Fielding PCT: Phillies .987, Yankees .985

The biggest difference in the match-up, and where the Phillies have an advantage, is in the managers. Neither Girardi or any of his coaches are experienced in the post-season. Before this year, of course. :)

Also, I don't want to ignore the importance of Cliff Lee. While Lee has a lifetime record of 4-4 with a 5.02 ERA in 9 career starts versus the Yankees, he is 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA in his last three against them included a 10-2 victory in the opening of the new Yankee Stadium on April 16 this year while still a member of the Cleveland Indians. Sabathia will have to match up with Lee and hope the Yankees can get into Philadelphia's bullpen.

I want to add that the Yankees have added Eric Hinske and Brian Bruney to the roster and have left Cervelli and Guzman off. With no DH in the NL park, adding Hinske will prove invaluable when the Yanks need pinch hitters coming off the bench when the pitchers spot comes up in the lineup.

So, here it is. My prediction. I predicted Yankees in 4 over the Twins. They won in 3. I had the Yankees in 6 over the Angels, so did the Yankees. :)

Yankees in 6.



Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First Day Of School '09

The one day a year all parents stick their heads out of their windows and yell at the top of their lungs "AMEN"!!!  Or, at least, they should.  Before heading out for the first day, Angel and Angelise pose for the camera.


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Fall TV Season '09

Are you like me?  Looking forward to some of your favorite shows returning this fall?  Well, September is here and so are some of our favorite shows.   Here is a list of some of the shows airing soon.  New shows are in bold while the shows with an asterisk (*) are ones I'll definitely be watching.  Some of the new shows I may take a look at (~).

Week of Sept 6
  • 90210 (CW) Sept 8 Tuesday 8pm
  • So You Think You Can Dance (FOX) Sept 9 Tuesday 8pm
  • Glee (FOX) Sept 9 Wednesday 9pm
  • Melrose Place (CW) Sept 8 Tuesday 9pm
  • *Sons Of Anarchy (FX) Sept 8 Tuesday 10pm
  • America's Next Top Model (CW) Sept 9 Wednesday 8pm
  • ~The Vampire Diaries (CW) Sept 10 Thursday 8pm
  • Supernatural (CW) Sept 10 Thursday 9pm
   Week of Sept 13 
  • One Tree Hill (CW) Sept 14 Monday 8pm
  • Gossip Girl (CW) Sept 14 Monday 9pm
  • The Jay Leno Show (NBC) 10pm - starts Sept 14 every weeknight
  • The Biggest Loser (NBC) Sept 15 Tuesday 8pm
  • The Beautiful Life (CW) Sept 16 Wednesday 9pm
  • *The Ultimate Fighter (SPIKE) Sept 16 Wednesday 10pm
  • *Bones (FOX) Sept 17 Thursday 8pm
  • *Fringe (FOX) Sept 17 Thursday 9pm
  • Survivor (CBS) Sept 17 Thursday 8pm
  • Saturday Night Live Weekend Update (NBC) Sept 17 Thursday 8pm
  • Parks and Recreation (NBC) Sept 17 Thursday 830pm
  • *The Office (NBC) Sept 17 Thursday 9pm
  • Community (NBC) Sept 17 Thursday 930pm
  • It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (FX) Sept 17 Thursday 10pm
  • Brothers (FOX) Sept 18 Friday 8pm
  • Til Death (FOX) Sept 18 Friday 830pm
Week of Sept 20
  • *Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO) Sept 20 Sunday 9pm
  • ~Bored To Death (HBO) Sept 20 Sunday 930pm
  • Heroes (NBC) Sept 21 Monday 8pm
  •  *House (FOX) Sept 21 Monday 8pm
  • Dancing With The Stars (ABC) Sept 21 Monday 8pm
  • How I Met Your Mother (CBS) Sept 21 Monday 8pm
  • Accidentally On Purpose (CBS) Sept 21 Monday 830pm
  • Two and a Half Men (CBS) Sept 21 Monday 9pm
  • Big Bang Theory (CBS) Sept 21 Monday 930pm
  • Castle (ABC) Sept 21 Monday 10pm
  • CSI Miami (CBS) Sept 21 Monday 10pm
  • NCIS (CBS) Sept 22 Tuesday 8pm
  • NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS) Sept 22 Tuesday 9pm
  • ~The Forgotten (ABC) Sept 22 Tuesday 10pm
  • ~The Good Wife (CBS) Sept 22 Tuesday 10pm
  • The New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS) Sept 23 Wednesday 8pm
  • Mercy (NBC) Sept 23 Wednesday 8pm
  • Gary Unmarried (CBS) Sept 23 Wednesday 830pm
  • ~Modern Family (ABC) Sept 23 Wednesday 9pm
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC) Sept 23 Wednesday 9pm
  • Criminal Minds (CBS) Sept 23 Wednesday 9pm
  • Cougartown (ABC) Sept 23 Wednesday 930pm
  • CSI NY (CBS) Sept 23 Wednesday 10pm
  • Eastwood (ABC) Sept 23 Wednesday 10pm
  • *Flash Forward (ABC) Sept 24 Thursday 8pm
  • CSI (CBS) Sept 24 Thurdsday 9pm
  • Grey's Anatomy (ABC) Sept 24 Thursday 9pm
  • *The Mentalist (CBS) Sept 24 Thursday 10pm
  • *Smallville (CW) Sept 25 Friday 8pm
  • Ghost Whisperer (CBS) Sept 25 Friday 8pm
  • Law & Order (NBC) Sept 25 Friday 8pm
  • *Dollhouse (FOX) Sept 25 Friday 9pm
  • Medium (CBS) Sept 25 Friday 9pm
  • Numb3rs (CBS) Sept 25 Friday 10pm
  • Dateline Saturday (NBC) Sept 26 Saturday 8pm
  • 48 Hour Mystery (CBS) Sept 26 Saturday 10pm 
 Week of Sept 27
  • 60 Minutes (CBS) Sept 27 Sunday 7pm
  • Amazing Race (CBS) Sept 27 Sunday 8pm
  • The Simpsons (FOX) Sept 27 Sunday 8pm
  • Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC) Sept 27 Sunday 8pm
  • The Cleveland Show (FOX) Sept 27 Sunday 830pm
  • Family Guy (FOX) Sept 27 Sunday 9pm
  • Desperate Housewives (ABC) Sept 27 Sunday 9pm
  • *Dexter (SHO) Sept 27 Sunday9pm
  • American Dad (FOX) Sept 27 Sunday 930pm
  • Cold Case (CBS) Sept 27 Sunday10pm
  • Brothers & Sisters (ABC) Sept 27 Sunday 10pm
  • *Californication (SHO) Sept 27 Sunday 10pm
  • *Lie To Me (FOX) Sept 28 Monday 9pm
  • ~Trauma (NBC) Sept 28 Monday 9pm
  • Hank (ABC) Sept 30 Wednesday 8pm
  • The Middle (ABC) Sept 30 Wednesday 830pm
  • Private Practice (ABC) Oct 1 Thursday 10pm
  • Stargate Universe (SYFY) Oct 2 Friday 9pm
Week of Oct 4
  • America's Funniest Home Videos (ABC) Oct 4 Sunday 7pm
  • Scare Tactics (SYFY) Oct 6 Tuesday 9pm
  • Mythbusters (DISC) Oct 7 Wednesday 9pm
  • South Park (COM) Oct 7 Wednesday 10pm
  • Ugly Betty (ABC) Oct 9 Friday 9pm
  • Three Rivers (CBS) Oct 4 Sunday 9pm
  • Community (NBC) Oct 8 Thursday 8pm (change)
  • Sanctuary (SYFY) Oct 9 Friday 10pm
Week of Oct 11
  • *Nip/Tuck (FX) Oct 14 Wednesday 10pm
  • *30 Rock (NBC) Oct 15 Thursday 930pm
  • Supernanny (ABC) Oct 16 Friday 8pm
Week of Oct 18
  • Living With Ed (PG) Oct 21 Wednesday 9pm
  • Southland (NBC) Oct 23 Friday 9pm
Week of Oct 25

NOTHING

Week of Nov 1
  • *V (ABC) Nov 3 Tuesday 8pm
  • Legend of the Seeker (SYND) Nov 7 Saturday 12am
  • The Wanda Sykes Show (FOX) Nov
Some shows not returning until 2010 are:
  • *24
  • American Idol
  • The Apprentice
  • *Better Off Ted
  • *Big Love
  • *Breaking Bad
  • Burn Notice
  • Chuck
  • *Damages
  • Deadliest Catch
  • *Eastbound and Down
  • Flashpoint
  • Futurama
  • Hawthorne
  • I Get That Alot
  • In Plain Sight
  • Kitchen Nightmares
  • *Lost
  • *Nurse Jackie
  • Paranormal State
  • Rescue Me
  • Royal Pains
  • Saving Grace
  • Scrubs
  • Tudors
  • The United States Of Tara
  • *Weeds
  • Wife Swap
[List thanks to newsposter from tivocommunity.com]

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Hey everyone, it's been awhile. I've been meaning to get back into blogging (damn you Twitter and Facebook) but was waiting for the perfect event to bring me back and I think I've found it. With the return of autumn once again upon us, we look forward to a few annual constants: cool fall weather, kids going back to school (Amen!) and the return of our favorite tv shows. But today I want to talk about what I hope will be another annual constant.

Last year, my good friend Jeanette participated in the 2008 Cure To Walk Diabetes. While Jeanette received support from family and friends, she also received support from some of my friends and followers of this blog and in doing so, she was able to meet her goal she set for herself and the charity.

This year, Jeanette will be taking part in the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event being held on October 18 in the Bronx. I know there is only a little over a month to go and with economic times being what they are, I'm hoping I can turn to my friends for this worthy cause. Any amount will go along way in helping to fight breast cancer.

If you would like to make a donation, please visit Jeanette's American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer fundraising page.

Thank you.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sing-Along Sunday

Last night was a night filled with musical numbers and brow-raising singing. No, I'm not talking about the Oscars but another Rock Band session with friends. Eusebio (Jr), a childhood friend, and his family came over for dinner and some humbling shenanigans. While Jr and I were part of a group of friends that hung out alot in the mid to late 80s, we sorta went our separate ways (which happens too often unfortunately). Thankfully, after almost 2 decades, we recently hooked up for a boys night and had a great time reminiscing over old tales over dinner and, a few months later, over billiards.

Finally, I was able to have him and his lovely family over for dinner. Of course, filling their bellies was all part of my master plan to shove a mic in front of their faces. :)

Jr, Deborah, Amanda and Matthew, casual gamers at best, were great sports and had a fun time rocking out on Rock Band 2 then singing on Lips. Deborah really got into singing, which she did quite well and even got into a singing duel with Amanda. We capped the night off with some trivia fun on Buzz!

Next time, I'll break out the DDR pad since Amanda said she loves playing that. Looking forward to having them over again.


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Comic-Con 2009

Well, here I am almost 2 months since my last post with something to blog about.  Heck, I wish I could blog more often but what do you call it when a non-writer gets writers block?  Anyway, went to the Jacob Javitz Center where the New York Comic-Con was making it's annual appearance.  I had purchased a ticket for Angel and myself for Sunday back in December and had been highly anticipating it as I've never been to one.  I would've liked to have purchased a whole weekend pass but I couldn't take off 2 days since I had already done so the previous week for my trip to Pennsylvania.  (more on that later)

From 10am to 5pm, Angel and I walked the floor taking pictures, trying demos to upcoming games and checking out all the great outfits many showed up in.  I even got a chance to meet up with Dave and his daughter Nicole.  It was a great time and am looking forward to attending again next year.  Who knows, maybe I'll make the trip to Chicago (never been) and check them out over there.  Enjoy the pictures but you've been warned: there are 102 of them.  :)



Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.