I was first told about Blur before the Beta was released on the Xbox 360, quite a while ago now. It was a beautiful day; the sun was shining, birds were singing. Or something.

Actually, I don’t remember what day it was, but I remember who told me about it. That would be CrYsTaLReDPuNx, better known as “That guy’s black?”

See, Crystal knows of  my love for not only Dr Pepper and the occasional belly rub (don’t ask), but also my love for some Mario Kart: Double Dash. That friggin’ game rocks my face off. If I had to choose any Mario Kart game, I’d choose that one simply for the fact that it allows you to bring out an inner asshole that would make Dennis Leary spit out his cigarette and blush like a little girl. You can make some people so angry if you know how to play that game well, and I learned every single bitch move and place to lay a big banana so I could whoop ass every time I played that game.

It’s not very often that I will gloat on some video game skills. Mostly because I do have a life… somewhat… but mostly because I’m just not that great at video games in general. But for some reason, God blessed me with an ability to harness the power of pure evil in my hands and together with Toad and the red turtle riding the turtle kart, I can rain down a holy mess of shells and tears.

CrYsTaLReDPuNx will destroy your soul. With love.

Throw all that together with the “fat kid” music and I’m one happy Mario Kart-er. That game is just pure win. So when Crystal mentioned the fact that there was a new game coming out called “Blur” that was, as he put it, “Mario Kart in real life,” then you know I had to check it out!

The game released in May, and here it is July and I’m just now reviewing it, but that’s because of gamefly. So suck it. I wager that the game was well worth the wait and everything I thought was great in the beta is even better in the full game. 

The graphics are great, especially considering I haven’t actually played a racing game since the Atari. When you drive in first person I find that it engrosses you more. I found myself leaning over on my couch as I played it, something a game hasn’t done for me in a very long time. The music is also pretty damn good; not over taking the game or anything. I liked the music just fine, and remember thinking that it fit quite well.

  I played mostly the career mode, and I had a lot of fun with that. There were certain things you do to gain more fans that I thought took away from the main action, but overall I was impressed with both single and multiplayer aspects.

Overall I give this real-world Mario Kart counterpart 4 energy drinks out of 5. Even though it is blatantly MK, it makes it alright based on the fact that Nintendo is too lazy to make an HD console and put out HD games. If the game didn’t look so damn good it would have been more of a flop, but everything about that game is pure win. Except win you lose, of course. (See what I did ther?)

Back to Basics

This has been one of the most disappointing weeks of the Texas Rangers’ season, and I gotta say that I’m thrilled that it’s over. Now that we have a few days off, save for the six we’re sending to the All Star Game on Tuesday, perhaps Nolan Ryan  and Ron Washington can beat some sense into the flailing ball club.

We went from a sultry, sexy 11 game winning streak to losing four straight to no less than the complete bottom of the barrel Baltimore Orioles. I’ll give the Orioles this: they played the hell out of the last four games and well done to them for accomplishing what most, myself included, thought would be the complete opposite.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still love and will root for the Rangers, but they have some proving to do. Not just to me and the rest of the fans, but to their own players and staff. You don’t just go from winning to losing like that without a reason, and it’s time now for the Rangers to figure out what that reason is. Does Bengie need to get more practice with our pitching staff? Does he need to let Matt Treanor take over for a week or so? Is there something in the water? Did they all get too excited to go see Eclipse that they were no longer able to play the game of baseball? Each is equally possible, in my humble opinion.

"THe 40 Year Old Virgin 2: Johnny 5 Needs a Hard Reboot

I am reminded of the 80’s film “Short Circuit.” In that film, everyone thinks that the escaped robot is out to kill, kill, kill. But in reality Johnny 5 just wants to be treated like everyone else…


Come to think of it, I don’t know why I thought about that movie. It has shit-all to do with what I’m talking about, but it’s a great movie anyway.

More to the point,  I really am reminded of the The Doors, arguably one of the greatest rock bands to ever take the stage. Their first few albums were fantastical damn near perfect! They had rock music down to a “T,” and then they put out the album “The Soft Parade.” Now, don’t get me wrong, I freakin’ love that album. The titular song is amongst my favorite Doors song out there, but that album was completely different. It had horns and strings instead of rock and poetry. It was lackluster, to say the least. Then they made it up to their fans by putting out their sixth and final album: “L.A. Woman.” Talk about back to basics. Their blues influence returned and they nailed the rock shit out of that album.

And so I think that the Texas Rangers need to do about the same. No more glitzy this or that, just get down to basics like they did in May and June. I hope they are humbled by their win streak, and I hope that they start after the All Star Game like they started May: with a hopeful attitude for a winning season.

I think they can do it. I think that they have what it takes. They have all the puzzle pieces, but it needs to be reassembled. Good on them for a job well done in the first half. Honestly. But let’s kick it up a notch in the second and win not just the American League West, but the American League all together! Hopefully the can realize that inside they are just as able to win as what they are now as opposed to what they were back then, kinda like how Johny 5 learned that he could be a robot and still wanna pork that hot chick he was shacking up with… Alright, I made that last one up…

Aliens Among Us

"Excuse me kid, you're standing on my tractor beam."

Pop culture has led many to believe that there are definitely aliens from other worlds visiting our planet and occasionally taking some unlucky farmer away to perform unspeakable acts. Ever since the “breaking news” of a crashed UFO in Roswell, NM in the 1940’s there has been a craze that spans generations of movie-goers. We’ve seen then in the likes of black and white films, where the UFO’s were literal saucers hanging by a thread; all the way up to big budget Spielberg monstrosities that wreak havoc the world over.

I’ve always been a skeptic when it comes to the subject of if we’re alone in the universe. I think science has a very long way to go before we can answer with any amount of certainty the age-old question. That being said, I was given solid evidence that we are not, in fact, alone. Case in point- Neftali Feliz.

It’s not enough that Neffy walked the bases loaded in the top half of the 9th inning, but then the unspeakable happened: Neftali Feliz gave up a grand slam, tieing the game 6-6 after we had the comfortable lead of 6-2. To add insult to injury, Neffy had even gotten the inning to two outs and even 2 strikes. That pitch was either going to win or lose the game. That one pitch determined the outcome of game two against the now 27-59 Orioles.

It’s kind of sad how an entire game can be summarized by a single throw of the ball; how Vlad’s 3 run homer that gave the soaked crowd something to be thankful they waited around until 9:30 to watch the game sort of becomes a foot-note. Even the surprise appearance of Chris Davis gets overshadowed by the grand slam, and for Baltimore- grand it was.

So the reason I think this all transpired is because the real Neftali Feliz, the one who throws fifteen pitches to end a game, was abducted by aliens and was unable to perform well tonight. I see no other explanation. The saddest part about it is that I love that guy. I think Neffy is a fantastic closer! When they get someone other than him to close out a game I grimace, wishing we had his focus and speed out there to win the Rangers another one.

So I’m sad. We’ve lost two games to Baltimore and we’re heading into the arguably more difficult second half of the season. We need all the wins we can get now before we start playing against the Yankees, Red Sox, and Angels in the next two months. Perhaps those aliens will give ol’ Neffy a break, and when we see him next he’ll rock everyone’s faces off like he usually does.

Spankings and the iPhone 4


So what does the woman to the left kneeling down have in common with the Cleveland Indians? Both had a spanking. That’s what. The Texas Rangers laid down the law, and the law won. By a lot. By eleven to be exact.

OK, so enough with the stupid jokes here, but suffice it to say that the Indians delivered the first punch in yesterday’s game and the Texas Rangers straight up kicked the Indians in the balls, without even a courtesy pat on the back for sportsmanship. Ouch.

Due to unbreakable circumstance I was unable to watch the game tonight, but that being said I think it would have easily brought up my spirits! That’s one of the many reasons I love my iPhone, because I use the MLB app and I can get the low-down on a game and it auto-refreshes ever few seconds. Plus it sends me a message by push notification when a game starts or ends. Tonight it told me I had better watch the highlight reels.

Last night the Indians hit four home runs off us. Tonight we returned the favor. The usual suspects (great movie, by the way) smacked the ball out of the field tonight: Hamilton and Guerrero both had homers, as did Cruz and, in a twist of fate, Murphy was hitting for Hamilton and had his 3rd of the year. Go team, go!

Not yo mamma's cell phone. Unless she has one, of course.

Honestly, there’s not a whole lot to say about a game that ended with the Rangers winning 12-1, so I’ll leave it at that and thank God that we aren’t losing two in a row to them. That might make me puke in my mouth.

And in other good news today, I got my email notification that my iPhone 4 has been shipped from Apple today! I’m definitely looking forward to that, as I’ve had plenty of time to get used to them and I think I may be in love with them. But only in a healthy, can’t-get-kicked-out-of-the-church kind of way.

For those of you who love your Droids or EVO’s, or whatever, I don’t want to hear about how I’m an Apple-bot or some shit like that. As a matter of fact, I think Apple sucks balls with a lot of things, but the iPhone is near perfection for my needs. So suck it.

smackattack headbutts little children

And one last note for those of you with iPhones or iTouches, you should download at least the free version of Angry Birds. That game is dumb as shit, but it makes the time fly (see what I did there?). It’s also mildly amusing, especially with the volume up. Thanks to smackattack and the lady at the sushi place (long story) for turning me onto Angry Birds. Good times.

 I’ll be going to the Rangers game on Sunday, July 11th, with my girlfriend and two other friends who are being nice enough to treat us to the game. I’ll make sure to post pictures and comments from twitter, and if I’m lucky enough I’ll try to score an autograph or two. Until then, I’ll probably be pretty busy but I’ll be updating with other tidbits of bullshit here and there. So with that, goodnight.

Super Mario Galaxy 2

I grew up with Mario and his gang of strange, sometimes nightmarish bad-trip kind of friends. I mean, I never even bothered to question the likelihood of two Yankee plumbers being pulled into a pipe (large enough to fit both of them) that led them to the Mushroom Kingdom where they needed to save a princess from an overgrown turtle monster that breathes fire. Well, perhaps those Yankees have pipes and turtle monsters like that…

Anyhoo, the only good Mario game to come out in my adult life has been Mario Kart: Double Dash. That game was near perfection. I was a restaurant manager at that time and I would have a few of my employees buy beer and we’d go over to someone’s apartment after work and play the hell out of that game while we got drunk. If I remembered all those nights then I’d probably say “Good times.”

Even the music was better in that game! When you lost the whole Cup race then it would play what we called the “fat kid” music. The “fat kid” music was the song where it whistled the melody and you could easily picture a fat kid walking home, defeated by the urge to eat jelly filled sweets, and that song was playing as he waddled his way back to mommy who would certainly give junior Stay Puft an ice cream to feel better.

Or maybe that was just me.

So I got a copy of Super Mario Galaxy 2 in the mail and was actually excited to play another Mario game. The music in that game is actually orchestrated, a step in the right direction for Nintendo. And by “step in the right direction” I mean the 21st century.

The controls are fairly decent, but I longed to have a second analogue stick to move the camera, a la Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, or Twilight Princess. True, you can move the camera to fixed positions in parts, but overall it was not very intuitive.

I’ll also be the first to admit to hating the little stars that you collect along the way. I suppose it’s cool that you can point at the screen and shoot things with them, but there are so few enemies that a good flick of the controller next to them anyway would do the job and you weren’t out any stars. Then you can give them to Toad. For no reason.

Some of the mechanics were too much for me. For example, I did not care for the flight mechanics when you hold onto that bird or when you hold onto the turtle shell under water to move about. They just seemed out-of-place and I didn’t much care for it.

The story, of course, is not found in the midst of some of Shakespeare’s finest works, or even his crap that he wrote on toilet paper while drunk and taking a shit. That being said, it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that the plot will most likely consist of the princess being kidnapped again. The biggest difference is that Mario gets to save her and have some fat-assed Kirby looking blob to guide him throughout the galaxies.

I think one of my biggest problems playing games today that feature characters that I loved in the 80’s is that I expect them to grow with me. Make the story a little more interesting for me, would ya? I’m not saying that Nintendo needs to hire Tim Burton to make the next Mario game, not by a long shot! I’m just saying that those games are increasingly for people under 10 that it drives me nuts. I just don’t need cute little fluffy bunnies that fire stars out of their assholes in a video game, and Super Mario Galaxy 2 would have been worlds better (see what I did there?) had it not included so many Dora the Explorer type moments. Guess what, Nintendo. I can already count to 10 in at least 3 and a half languages.

OK. Just one.

For all the grief I’m giving it, I must actually come out and say that I really enjoy that game. But it’s kind of like being spanked. A few minutes here and there, but after a while you start to question how much more you can take before you start to cry in a corner. Maybe that’s just me, but that game is just too damn sweet to handle for more than a world or two at a time.

Overall I’d give Super Mario galaxy 3 1/2 Energy Drinks out of 5. Great music, fun worlds, but not a lot to explore and too much of the fluff. If they were to make another SMG, I’d definitely play it and I’d probably enjoy it. Just in small doses.

On Our Way to Number One

Through the course of history, one must realize  and understand that God has played a major role in a lot of things. Painters in the Renaissance Era understood that: Michaelangelo certainly understood it as he painted the Sistine Chapel. Our Founding Fathers understood, Abraham Lincoln got it, Winston Churchill knew, hell I bet that Kennedy knew it!

So when I watched as the bottom of the 9th inning came on the TV I knew that there is a God and that he probably has enough power to allow the Texas Rangers to get at least two runs to tie the game against the Chicago White Sox and go into extra innings.

That being said, sometimes you gotta believe that  if God liked our Founding Father enough to start a nation that it goes to reason that He would like that nation’s pasttime. And to further reason He wouldn’t mind if Nelson Cruz, our last batter of the night’s game, gave ol’ glory a home run on America’s birthday.

True, even if Nelson Cruz hit a home run during that at bat the Rangers would have still been down by one run, but the principle would have been there. At least, that’s how I feel about it.

To be fair, I don’t actually think that God has all that much time for baseball, but there is irrefutable evidence that He makes an appearance every once in a while. I would like to think the Big G was with Armando Galarraga on June 2nd, 2010, at least up until Jason Donald came to bat at the end of the game. Perhaps that was Satan, blocking the umpire’s view of the bag and thus causing a perfect game to go bad. But I digress.

Either way, Nelson Cruz stared at the ball as it whizzed by him for a called strike three and the game was lost 3-5. I guess America still wins regardless, but I felt like the whole thing was a setup by Russian spies to have the Texas Rangers still held back from the number one spot in the American League.

Phooey on them.

In all honesty, I think the Rangers played a hell of a series against the White Sox, even if they did lose two of the three games played. Recently the Rangers have been a high scoring team, but that may have just been because we were playing the bottom of the barrel National League teams for the last 4 weeks or so. And out of that, the Astros and Brewers were the only ones who put up much of a fight at all, whereas the Marlins and Pirates looked more like they were playing an exhibition game for young ladie’s softball teams.

And from this series against the White Sox, I must say that I’m a little weary of our trade for Bengie Molina. I’m sure that he’ll be a fine addition to the roster but only time will tell how well he’ll mesh with our pitching staff, which is arguably amongst the best in baseball at the moment. It’ll be sad to see Max Ramirez go to AAA, but perhaps there he can work on getting back to at least par. God love him, but it was always a chore to see him go out into the field rather than Matt Treanor. 

Other than that, there’s still a lot of baseball left in this season. Of course, we’re going to be facing some tough competition in this second half. New York will be coming through and I don’t expect that those games will be a cake walk for the Rangers, even with home field advantage. 

Josh Hamilton and Vlad Guerrero have been in top form during the month of June, and all we can do is hold our breath that they can do it all over again in July and beyond. The rest of the team is doing quite well, the only exception being Justin Smoak at the plate. He’s fantastic on the bag, but the plate is his mortal enemy as of late. I don’t really care if he started off being a patient batter and walking a lot, it seems as though he wants to fit in with the “big boys” and swing like a champ.

I love all those guys, don’t get me wrong. It’s easy from my perspective because my biggest stress is hitting the spell check, not hitting a baseball 400 some-odd feet out of the ballpark. I think the 2010 Texas Rangers are a fantastic ball club, and I’m crossing my fingers for the World Series still.

Hopefully once the All Star break is over we can go back to busting the chops out of the other teams and not worrying about going to Anaheim on July 13th. Until then we’ve got a couple of series that I think will be just the ticket for getting our focus back on track. The Indians and Orioles aren’t exactly the cream of the crop, so I expect that the minced meat series sweeps will continue on for a while.

Meanwhile, back on the farm, that’s all I have for tonight.

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