Thursday, February 26, 2009

Top Chef Disappointment

So, last night was the finale of Top Chef, and I was so disappointed. Mr. "my personality is as bland as cauliflower" Hosea won over my Hootie-Hoo, Carla. I was so mad I almost threw something at the TV.

I was angry because for about a month it's been this Who's balls are bigger" contest between Hosea and Stephan, and Carla has just been doing her thing and cooking "with love." It was refreshing to see someone who just wanted to do well, not necessarily beat the other contestants to a pulp.

At first, when I saw that Casey was going to help, I was excited. UNTIL Casey opened her trap and started giving Carla advice about what to cook. Then I wanted to yell at Carla for LISTENING to Casey. *sigh* Disappointing.

I bet that Carla will be very successful though, in her restaurant. She has the personality to draw people in. It still doesn't make me love Hosea any more.

Geek On.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Video Game Overload

Sometimes I feel like my life has been taken over by my xbox 360. I am pretty sure some of my friends would agree. Especially since I don't spend nearly the amount of time online with them then I normally do. I am also sure my mother would agree- since she now has to send a carrier pigeon to get a hold of me. I can't help that I turn my phone on silent when I play- I think it's rude to have a phone go off while playing a co-op game. The only phone I cannot turn off is my work cell, and there is no way in hell that I am going to give EITHER of my parents that number. My father would never stop calling it. It's bad enough he has my office phone number....

Now that I have completely gone off topic, today's post is about video games. I played a few different ones this weekend and decided to share my thoughts on them.

Team Fortress 2 (on The Orange Box):
I managed to hook up with about 11 other people to play the various types of games on TF2. It was a decent game, with cartoonish type graphics that made the game very fun. No one took it real seriously, and although it took some false starts to figure out what the hell was going on, we took it stride. There are some people that I was very good at playing, such as the Engineer (I tend to be very devious when setting up the mini-gun and portals), the Pyro (I don't know what that says about me that I enjoyed setting the other team on fire), and the Soldier (long range missiles worked quite well for me). The people I didn't so great on were the Scout (moved too quickly for me to be any good), the Spy (I may be devious, but not THAT devious) and the Medic (too boring for me to run around healing people.) I also suck at capture the flag, but do pretty well at the well points and other games.

Lego Indiana Jones:
Ok, normally I LOVE the Lego series, but I just could not get into this game. Maybe it's because the only movie I know really well is The Last Crusade. Sometimes the controls drove me nuts, and I am not much of a puzzle person, so trying to figure out what the hell I was supposed to do next sucked. I ended up taking the game back to blockbuster.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2.
The reason I rented this game (as I previously had no interested in ANY of the Tom Clancy games) was because my friend Kendra was trying to find a good co-op game with an actual story that the two of us could play. I discovered that I really enjoyed playing this game- it was fun to play with someone on the same skill level as me, and although we died quite a few times, we managed to get through the game in two days. We plan on playing it again, and we also had fun playing some of the 4 player games with other people. I might actually purchase this game later, if I find the replay value to be there. I also enjoyed that you could be either a male or female operative in this game (although they made her look ridiculous with all the equipment on- holy huge hips batman!

One of the main things I discovered over this weekend is that having a good solid group of friends to game with is crucial. I have tried playing with random people online in the past, and although not all of the experiences have been bad, most of them are not very good. I find that I run into 3 main problems (at least for me).

The first being that most games don't allow you to find people who are the same skill level you are on. So what ends up happening is that you either are way above the people you play with or way below. Either option is not very fun. If you are of the higher skill, you end up dominating the others, and can get bored quickly. If you are way below, then you get frustrated easily and may get harassed by the other players until you quit. What's the fun with that? And how hard could be be to set up those options in games? Even in TF2 when you don't play a "ranked match", you end up playing with people who aren't in it for fun, but just want to dominate people who suck. I really disliked the poor sportsmanship that is displayed. I am very glad that Kendra and I found each other to play with, as we both have the same skill level and temperament for games- and tend to enjoy the same ones.

The second problem is that once they find out you are a girl, it's like the Dumbass Switch is activated in guys heads. All of the sudden they think you can't play, and are totally patronizing. Then, if you happen to be decent, 2 things happen- you either are not a girl and are having your brother play through the hard parts, or something is wrong with their controller, game, it glitches, etc. Very rarely do they actually say anything like "good job" or whatnot.

The third problem is that once they find out you are not only a girl, but a lesbian, the Dumbass Switch is then revved up to the Dumbass Homophobic Switch. So, not only are you a woman (which is bad enough) but apparently you are a man-hating bitch. It's at this point I either quit the game or switch off my mike, because there is only so much "you must be a fat bitch" and "I'll show you a real man" and other derogatory comments.

I am very lucky that thanks to AfterEllen and the Gay Girls Who Game Vlog that I met some other people (not all are lesbians or even women) that are decent to play with. What makes me sad, though, are the lesbians/bi women who perhaps are foraying into the world of xbox live, and may end up quitting because they can't find people to play with or are getting harassed too much. Even the women-only group on xbox live, GamerChix, is not always an opening and welcoming place. I have observed that the lesbian posts get deleted or are monitored quite closely- and if anything somewhat inappropriate is written, the post is gone. I find there is a double standard, as I have seen posts by straight women who are much more graphic that nothing is ever said too. My hope is that we will find those lesbian/bi women who want to play, and be open and welcoming to them in whatever games they like to play. Here's to hoping.

Geek On.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Vacation, Part 2

So it looks like Brenda and I are pretty even. She won at buying pizza for dinner on Saturday, then on Monday we split the bill at San Chez, the nice tapas restaurant we went to.

It was a good vacation. We managed to watch three seasons of Bad Girls in about 5 days. I am pretty impressed with myself. My staff also came over for dinner and to play Rock Band 2. I have some pretty hilarious video of it, including backup dancers, if anyone wants to see it.

I was asked what I think about Dollhouse, and now that I have a week to process, I think I can write about it. Here are some thoughts about it.

1. First off, I enjoyed it. It was a good first episode, and it it set up both the plot and some mysteries for episodes to come.
2. I liked that Eliza Dushku's character Echo wasn't a kick ass- beat-em-up chick right away. Instead, she played someone with genuine emotion and foibles.
3. I miss the characteristic Joss Whedon humor, but I don't know if this show is appropriate for it.
4. What's up with the scars on Amy Acker's character's face? I'm intrigued!
5. The ending was also fabulous and makes me watch this weeks- that's how I know it's a good show.

Geek On.

Friday, February 13, 2009

This Post is Brought to You by Dany and Brenda

So, Brenda, aka my twin, has been here for about 2 days. Here is the score of "Who will pay."

Wednesday: At Ihop, we played "Ask the waitress to pick a number." I picked 5, Brenda picked 4, and the waitress's number was 7. Winner: Dany.

Thursday: None- we ate on campus so my dining dollars paid for everything. Winner: TIED.

Today: At The Grand Coney, we played "Rock Paper Scissors," best 2 out of 3. First round: Brenda- Paper, Dany- Scissors. Second Round: Brenda- Scissors, Dany- Paper. Third round: Brenda- Scissors, Dany- Rock. Winner: Dany

Grocery Store: We split the cost of the groceries. Winner: Tied

So far, Wisconsin hospitality has won one. Stay tuned for updates.

Geek On.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Uno, anyone?

So, I am excitedly preparing for my twin to come and visit for the week, starting Wednesday. We have all sorts of fun things planned, including Rock Band 2, Bad Girls, Dollhouse, and cooking dinner for my staff. We are even going to one of the nicer restaurants in Grand Rapids, called San Chez. Everything was going well.....

UNTIL Brenda decided to tell me she would be paying for things while she was here. Clearly, Ms. Brenda doesn't know the hospitality of those who hail from Wisconsin. We don't allow our guests to buy things for us. So this has made us argue back and forth, until we came to an agreement. A compromise, you can say.

Anytime we are at the checkout line or the waitress is there, we will play a game to see who shall pay. These games include, but are not limited to:

1. UNO
2. Rock, Paper, Scissors
3. Guess the number (We would ask the waitress to think of the number)
4. Thumb War.
5. Pictionary
6. Gestures (or Charades)
7. A staring contest
8. Pirates vs. Ninjas (I am not sure how this would work, but it would be fun to play)
9. Yahtzee
10. Pin the Tail on the Donkey

What other games could we play while at the store or restaurant?

Geek On.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Mid Year Shows and X-Box Live

Today is a two-for-one post. The first part is about TV, and second part is about video games.

TV Show Portion:

Usually September is when all the good shows start on TV. Not true anymore. Besides the wonderful new summer offerings that have become the norm- now winter is starting to get into the groove.

Case in point- new shows that started last week, this week, and next week. Let’s have a fanaticalgeek rundown, shall we?

1. Lie to Me- I have only seen one episode, but it’s pretty good. It’s about interrogation and being able to tell if someone is lying. Hopefully it will keep doing well.

2. Medium- I LOVE this show. I just wonder why it’s only starting in January, because I know it gets good ratings and whatnot. Patricia Arquette is awesome, and for an older woman she is a hottie.

3. Dollhouse- I have talked about this before. I bow down before the greatness that is Joss Whedon, so I already love it.

Video Game Portion:

Now, I might be admittedly new to Xbox live, but I am pretty sure human decency shouldn’t have gone out window when you put on that headset. Here are the two examples I have had in the past 2 weeks:

A. While playing “Uno” I was both sexually harassed and harassed for being gay. Yes, I do mean the card game of numbers and colors. First I was harassed for being a girl- and asked if I was “hot” and would “do” guys I talked with on live. Then they found out I was gay (you think my gamertag ButchDany would be a clue) then they started saying things that, even with freedom of speech, I choose not to put on my blog. Needless to say, it was graphic and disturbing.

B. While playing “Left 4 Dead” with random dudes I was also sexually harassed.

Check out Lesbian Gamers for an article I wrote that got published:

My Article


Geek On.