Sparky's Shorts - Eat 'em!

Readers, let me tell you something slightly personal.  For over two years, I had some of the worst luck a guy can have without losing his immediate family.  I can't go into details here, but this week, I found out the first bit of wonderful news in a long, long time.  I have something to hope for again, something real this time, and it's lifted my spirits like you wouldn't believe.  I've been kept afloat this last couple of years by the awesomeness of my family and friends.  In some ways, Giant Bomb's community has been a part of that, keeping me entertained while I searched for jobs and just being flat-out the best community on the 'net.  I may not know you all by name or in person, but thanks, guys - you are all some of the most kick-ass people out there, and you've helped keep a knockaround guy on his feet. 
 
So let's move on to some briefs and shorts, shall we?  We shall. 

 
-Starting next week, I'll be having my 360 repaired at a friend's Play N Trade.  They do quality work, and since my Xbox is past its warranty, I figure, why not have them do it rather than send it to some nameless bozos?  I've regaled you all with wild (or not so much) tales of my disk drive, which requires me to hammer on it like some wannabe Thor before it'll read disks.  Well, no more.  While there, I'll also be picking up a used PS2, which will be tested in-store right in front of me.  Rock.  Now I can finally get around to Persona 4, the last Wild Arms game, and a few other assorted titles I didn't finish or start. 
 
-Civilization 5 is amazing.  If you haven't seen my hundred updates over the last week or so, it's easily one of the most addictive games I've ever played.  I think it requires some balancing issues, but honestly, I'm not sure if it's my strategy at fault or if it really is the game.  I'm speaking generally in regards to getting a technological victory, which feels like it requires way more turns in the end game than it should, due to some questionable technologies you have to research such as dynamite when you've already researched gunpowder.  Yes, I know the two are day and night apart, but it still feels strange having to research dynamite to unlock so many other technologies.  Again, maybe I'm approaching it wrong, but I'm kinda good at Civ games in general, and this does feel like a slight misstep.  That being said, it's a very minor quirk in an otherwise superb game, and I really am nitpicking at details that are more than likely my own damn fault. 
 
--Been playing a ton of demos lately.  Loved the demos for Bayonetta and Darksiders.  Didn't much care for Vanquish's demo, but that's more or less due to my color blindness and visual limitations.  Shoot-em-ups just aren't in the cards for me anymore, unless it's something like Halo or Resistance, where the enemies are very clearly defined.  I tried Sonic Adventures for about as much time as it took for me to realize it's not a good game at all.  Camera mechanics and iffy controls broke that game for me.  Kind of striking visuals, though, even for a game of its age.  I also played demos for Shank, Risk Factions, and a few other XBLA/PSN games that I intend on picking up when they come on sale. 
 
-Watched and enjoyed the first two seasons of Chuck, though its one-off format for nearly every episode grates on me a little.  Things definitely picked up in the latter half of the second season, and I'm excited to watch the third season soon-ish.  Netflix has been spitting random movies from my list at me here lately, mostly due to the large number of short and long waiting lists on my titles.  Nothing really great to mention, except that I've still got an inexplicable fondness for Rules of Engagement.  Screw you, it's funny and sweet.  That's good enough for me. 
 
-Diana Francis's newest novel is all sorts of great.  It's the latest in her Crosspointe series, which is my favorite of the three very different worlds she's created (Path of... series, Bitter Night, and Crosspointe series).  The plot is the strongest yet, though her main female characters are starting to feel very much alike.  If she can knock a character out of the park with her next novel, she'll have become one of the best modern-day fantasy writers out there. 
 
That's it for now.  I might edit this later with a playlist and some updates from other writers you should be reading here on Giant Bomb, but I'm exhausted and there's a heap of cheeseburger pie calling my name.  Thanks again, folks - you are all true duders!

8 Comments
8 Comments
Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

Readers, let me tell you something slightly personal.  For over two years, I had some of the worst luck a guy can have without losing his immediate family.  I can't go into details here, but this week, I found out the first bit of wonderful news in a long, long time.  I have something to hope for again, something real this time, and it's lifted my spirits like you wouldn't believe.  I've been kept afloat this last couple of years by the awesomeness of my family and friends.  In some ways, Giant Bomb's community has been a part of that, keeping me entertained while I searched for jobs and just being flat-out the best community on the 'net.  I may not know you all by name or in person, but thanks, guys - you are all some of the most kick-ass people out there, and you've helped keep a knockaround guy on his feet. 
 
So let's move on to some briefs and shorts, shall we?  We shall. 

 
-Starting next week, I'll be having my 360 repaired at a friend's Play N Trade.  They do quality work, and since my Xbox is past its warranty, I figure, why not have them do it rather than send it to some nameless bozos?  I've regaled you all with wild (or not so much) tales of my disk drive, which requires me to hammer on it like some wannabe Thor before it'll read disks.  Well, no more.  While there, I'll also be picking up a used PS2, which will be tested in-store right in front of me.  Rock.  Now I can finally get around to Persona 4, the last Wild Arms game, and a few other assorted titles I didn't finish or start. 
 
-Civilization 5 is amazing.  If you haven't seen my hundred updates over the last week or so, it's easily one of the most addictive games I've ever played.  I think it requires some balancing issues, but honestly, I'm not sure if it's my strategy at fault or if it really is the game.  I'm speaking generally in regards to getting a technological victory, which feels like it requires way more turns in the end game than it should, due to some questionable technologies you have to research such as dynamite when you've already researched gunpowder.  Yes, I know the two are day and night apart, but it still feels strange having to research dynamite to unlock so many other technologies.  Again, maybe I'm approaching it wrong, but I'm kinda good at Civ games in general, and this does feel like a slight misstep.  That being said, it's a very minor quirk in an otherwise superb game, and I really am nitpicking at details that are more than likely my own damn fault. 
 
--Been playing a ton of demos lately.  Loved the demos for Bayonetta and Darksiders.  Didn't much care for Vanquish's demo, but that's more or less due to my color blindness and visual limitations.  Shoot-em-ups just aren't in the cards for me anymore, unless it's something like Halo or Resistance, where the enemies are very clearly defined.  I tried Sonic Adventures for about as much time as it took for me to realize it's not a good game at all.  Camera mechanics and iffy controls broke that game for me.  Kind of striking visuals, though, even for a game of its age.  I also played demos for Shank, Risk Factions, and a few other XBLA/PSN games that I intend on picking up when they come on sale. 
 
-Watched and enjoyed the first two seasons of Chuck, though its one-off format for nearly every episode grates on me a little.  Things definitely picked up in the latter half of the second season, and I'm excited to watch the third season soon-ish.  Netflix has been spitting random movies from my list at me here lately, mostly due to the large number of short and long waiting lists on my titles.  Nothing really great to mention, except that I've still got an inexplicable fondness for Rules of Engagement.  Screw you, it's funny and sweet.  That's good enough for me. 
 
-Diana Francis's newest novel is all sorts of great.  It's the latest in her Crosspointe series, which is my favorite of the three very different worlds she's created (Path of... series, Bitter Night, and Crosspointe series).  The plot is the strongest yet, though her main female characters are starting to feel very much alike.  If she can knock a character out of the park with her next novel, she'll have become one of the best modern-day fantasy writers out there. 
 
That's it for now.  I might edit this later with a playlist and some updates from other writers you should be reading here on Giant Bomb, but I'm exhausted and there's a heap of cheeseburger pie calling my name.  Thanks again, folks - you are all true duders!

Moderator
Posted by ArbitraryWater

Yep. Sonic Adventure: Still not as good as you remembered it. Unfortunately, I don't have a computer capable of running Civ V, as it can barely run Civ IV. So instead, I have been going (as is my fashion) old school with my 4X action recently through Master of Orion II, which is perhaps one of the most bitchinest Civ style games I have ever played, albeit in space. However, while I can certainly attest to having sessions that go past when I would normally go to bed, I wouldn't say I'm addicted to it, or really any game of its genre. But I guess that's just me and the way I play games. 
 
In any case, it's nice to hear that your personal problems, whatever they may be, are finally coming around.

Posted by Bigandtasty

But playing wannabe Thor is awesome! 
 
Darksiders is pretty cool; I recommend it especially now that it can be below $30 in many cases.
 
Even though I take a relatively hands-off approach to dudes (and the occasional dudette) on the internet, you seem like a pretty good dude and it's pleasant news to know that you have some wonderful... er, news.

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw
@Bigandtasty:
Hah, thanks.  You seem like a pretty gnarly dude yourself.  Yeppers, I said gnarly.  What, would you prefer tubular?  Bodacious?   OK, I've really gotta quit watching Bill and Ted before I hit the sack.
Moderator
Posted by dankempster

Glad to hear things are looking up for you, my friend. If any faceless Internet profile deserves it, it's you, buddy. 
 
I'd love to check out Civ 5, but with this terrible laptop, it's just not a possibility. I have Civ 3 Complete on Steam, but it seems so daunting and inaccessible. Maybe one day I'll sit down with it and try to dissect it into a playable experience. 
 
With that said, I think it's time to address the most pressing issue of this blog - what in the name of Perry Como is cheeseburger pie?

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw
@dankempster:
Ohhhh, man.  It's an amazing little easy dish.  Basically, you brown some hamburger and onions, then toss 'em into a pie pan and cover with cheese and mixed Bisquick.  After that, you bake it for, mmmm, forty minutes or so?  Now that's the simplest way of making it, and it tastes pretty good like that.  When I make it, though, I usually add some lightly cooked vegetables, like green beans and corn, and when it's done, top it with a fruit salsa.  Or regular salsa, if you prefer, but I look for just about any excuse to put a pineapple salsa on anything.  Hah! 
 
I very much prefer a shepherd's pie, but honestly, I've never been able to get my shepherd's pie to turn out nearly so well.  I never get the potatoes to come out right, and my meat, vegetable, and gravy mix always turns out too soupy.  There's also a very awesome redneck dish I love called tater tot casserole, which is essentially the same as a shepherd's pie but with (duh) tater tots and cheese.  Ohhhhh man... now I'm hungry. 
 
And thanks, Dan!  I appreciate the comments.
Moderator
Posted by RenegadeSaint

Civ 5 looks amazing.  I'm planning on building a new computer in the coming months and that game is on my list of must-plays.

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw
@RenegadeSaint:
Be warned - it will eat many, many hours of your life away.  I'm loving it.
Moderator