Back in Black

Well, duders, it's certainly been awhile since I last posted a blog here. I guess the Whiskeyocalypse got me thinking that I should visit more than just the video content for the site. 


In the long, long months since I've been gone, a ton of stuff has happened. Here's just a taste of what's been going on:

  • I went to college. Specifically, I began my studies in English Literary Studies  (which I later changed to Cinema and Screen Studies and added Creative Writing as a second major) at the State University of New York at Oswego.  
  • I've joined the school newspaper, The Oswegonain,  as a Staff Writer focusing mainly on movie, game, and music reviews, as well as the occasional opinion piece. As of a few days ago, I've even become the new Copy Editor for the paper, which is definitely going to be an exciting opportunity.
  • I've been kicking ass academically, joining the Honors Program and maintaining a healthy 3.33 GPA.
  • My writing has kept on going strong, be it through academic papers, the aforementioned newspaper pieces, or stories and responses for my fiction class.
  • I actually met Fallout 3 designer Jeff Gardiner when he gave a talk at my school for the Creative Writing "Living Writers" Series. He's a pretty cool dude.
  • As usual, I watched a lot of movies, and played a lot of games.

So what's happening now that I'm back? 

  • For starters, I'll be writing more blog posts. Expect some pretty awesome things from me in the next few months.
  • I'm thinking of writing some user reviews for a change, now that I've got some newspaper experience. Reviewing stuff on this site allows me to be a little more in-depth and opinionated than in the newspaper, as I don't have to worry about writing for people who aren't game enthusiasts. 
  • I might actually decide to brave the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is the forums.
  • Some other miscellaneous cool shit might happen. 

Again, I'm back, and I'm ready to chew bubblegum and kick ass like never before! 

SteepInKline OUT!
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Counter Culture Weekly: Otakon Update!

Just thought I'd touch base with everyone regarding the status of the panel. This morning, I received an email from Aaron Clark, Head of Panel Programming (and co-creator of perhaps the best Evangelion fan site on the Internet, EvaGeeks.org) stating that the panel schedule is full, and that any changes would only happen in the event of a cancellation.  
 
What does this mean? Well, it's likely that I won't be able to do the panel after all (which would suck, considering they got my hopes up for absolutely nothing); keep in mind, however, that until the full schedule is released, I won't know for sure.  
 
Obviously, we cannot release a special recording of a panel that will not take place.  
 
However, fear not, listeners! To make up for this, I will be recording a special episode devoted entirely to Otakon in general. Think of it as an audio documentary or something: you'll hear updates different times of the day from Thursday through Sunday (perhaps alongside some end-of-day recaps if appropriate) compiled into one single Counter Culture Weekly special.  
  
And with that, this is Tom "SteepInKline" Kline, signing off!

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Still Alive, Still A Threat

Just thought I'd post a few updates, as it's been quite a while since I last blogged.
 

  • Those of you who haven't been listening to Counter Culture Weekly are missing out. My personal favorite moment on the podcast: recording a Star Trek-esque opening (complete with music).
  • I'm still writing fiction, albeit on an irregular schedule (thanks, AP Euro term paper!). Since I last blogged, I've started two works-in-progress that I hope to turn into novels at some point.
  • I still like anime (and thus, according to Jeff Gerstmann, am still a jerk). I've applied for a panel at Otakon 2010 entitled Anime and the Heroic Journey. Though I won't hold my breath expecting you to come, if you're in Baltimore, MD from July 30th-August 1st, it's probably not the worst thing you could attend, even with all the crazy cosplayers and stupid fanfiction writers.
  • Helicopters are still a threat.
 
Well, having said all of that, I'm SteepInKline, and I'm Oscar Mike.
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One Year of Podcasting

Today marks a very special milestone in my life: it has been one year since I first began my foray into podcasting.
 
Prior to coming to Giant Bomb (or GameSpot for that matter), I would have thought it to be impossible to record a podcast. I had neither the time nor the resources, and even if I did, I had no one who would listen to me. Sure, I had my stint as a frequent caller on Otaku Generation (an anime podcast that still somehow manages to release new episodes, even after 5+ years), where, as the lone 14-year-old listener, I was made the butt of many jokes. However, due to my immaturity, I was unable to realize this until it got out of hand. I decided I would never again embarrass myself the way I had on OG.
 
Fast forward two years to the launch of Giant Bomb. Shortly after the site launched, I stumbled onto the IRC, where I met an interesting character named Paul " Jensonb" Douglas. He seemed like a nice fellow, a lot nicer than I was expecting (this IS the Internet we're talking about), and we became friends rather quickly. 
 
It was shortly after this that he and some of the other IRC users banded together to form a little community podcast known as Bomb Should Have A Face. Finding the concept of a community-run podcast somewhat intriguing, I subscribed somewhere around the third episode, and was hooked. This was a group of people from many different walks of life (and many different parts of the world) that came together with great chemistry. Everything just seemed to click. I eventually found the concept of recording a podcast returning to my mind after two years away from it all. Thus, I decided to ask MattBodega, Jensonb, and the rest of the BSHAF crew for a guest spot, and they happily obliged. After earning the prestigious title of "Friend of the Show," I was asked to return a few more times as the BSHAF's days drew to an end.  
 
Sometime in May or June of 2009, the BSHAF breathed its last. Although there have been numerous attempts to revive the show (the most recent of which involved me as a permanent cast member alongside MattBodega and Jensonb), each has failed for one reason or another. 
 
After the most recent attempt failed, I thought my short time in the podcasting spotlight had come to an end. 
 
Until that one fateful day (September 10th, 2009, to be exact) when I received a PM from Jensonb asking me if I wanted to record a new podcast with him, one that centered around all facets of pop culture and media. Needless to say, I accepted, and Counter Culture Weekly was born.
 
We just released our most recent episode today, which features our first guest, MetalGearSunny. As I've teased on Twitter, we've got even bigger plans for the future. I honestly plan on doing this podcasting gig well into college, and possibly beyond. 
 
So, here's to one year of audio insanity, and may there be many more to come.
 
-Tom "SteepInKline" Kline

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XBLA is awesome.

From Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix to Shadow COmplex, Xbox Live Arcade is one of the best places to find quality downloadable games. Sure, they may be a little pricey from time to time, but many of the games are worth it.

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Otakon 2009: I will be there!

The title says it all, folks. If you want to meet one of the featured guests of Bomb Should Have A Face, you can look for me at Otakon 2009 from July 17-19 in sunny Baltimore, MA. Just PM me if you want to meet up! And for those of you who aren't able to come, I'll try and see if I can post some tweets and/or blogs from the show.

It's going to be amazing, so stay tuned for more details!

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Remember 4/3/09

Yesterday, April 3rd, 2009, was a sad day for my hometown of Binghamton, NY. For those of you who haven't heard, a man stormed into the American Civic Association building at around 11:15 AM and brutally gunned down 13 people before turning the gun on himself.  The people he killed were in the middle of a citizenship test; in other words, they were just one step away from being fully recognized as American citizens. But because of the selfish actions of one messed up jerkoff, their journeys were cut tragically short.

I'll write a blog about how things went down on my end either today or tomorrow. Until then, keep those who died in your prayers.

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Lessons Learned at Junior Prom

Last night was my Junior Prom, and I learned a thing or two during the course of it. What more can I say?

1. The 1980s, Michael Jackson, and Beat It are still a threat.
2. Class is one of the most important things a person can show when under pressure.
3. A tuxedo does not have the pocket space necessary for all your gadgets. Get an iPhone, you idiot.
4. Cheap sunglasses fly off rather easily when you're being awesome. True story.
5. Sometimes you just have to embrace the fact that some of the things you do are absolutely hilarious from an outsider's perspective.
6. I can thrill the class of 2010 more than any ghost would ever dare try.
7. Bringing an iPod to a dance is NOT dumb. Honestly, have you heard some of the music that's typically played at dances? Yuck.
8. As long as one follows Lesson #2, even the worst calamity cannot ruin them. In that same vein....
9. .......high school is 10% realism and 90% dramatic bullshit. That doesn't mean that you can't enjoy that fake-ass 90% a little.
10. If you try to upstage me in the middle of a Michael Jackson song, you're going to lose. 'Nuff said.
11. Even in the 200Crime, Beat It kicks ass.
12. Even in the 200Crime, things can change in the space of one evening.
13. As long as you show them how funky and strong is your fight, it doesn't matter who's wrong or right.
14. If you break Lesson 10, they'll kick you, they'll beat you, and they'll tell you it's fair, so beat it. No, seriously, leave.
15. Going stag to a dance is OK. While not the best option, it is better than staying at home WISHING you were at the dance.
16a. You either can dance, or you can't.
16b. If you can't dance, don't bother trying. You'll make yourself look like a moron, particularly if you break Lesson 10, because then you'll be punished as dictated in Lesson 14.
17. Bad people always get what's coming to them, even if they don't realize it.
18. "Crank Dat" may be a terrible song, but watching a mob of people perform its equally terrible dance can be quite amusing.
19. "Thriller" and "Beat It" are amazing songs, and watching someone perform their equally awesome dance routines is a treat, and should be treated as such.
20. "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" by Eiffel 65 sucks. Seriously.
21. Getting your picture taken next to a cardboard cutout of Humphrey Bogart is just one of those small pleasures in life.
22. High school doesn't last forever. That being said.....
23. .......enjoy it while it lasts.

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I just made one of the biggest mistakes of my life......

I just bought Twilight. No, not the awesome song "Twilight" by the Electric Light Orchestra; the damn novel.

I'm afraid I might have just lost all of my credibility by saying that, but you can all rest easy knowing that it wasn't by choice.

You see, my mentor, Mr. Kevin Lucia (who is a fantastic author, you should check out his blog here ) has had nothing but good things to say about it. It is important to note that Mr. Lucia gets away with reading Twilight because he's a) an English teacher and b) a book reviewer/writer. I, however, fit into neither of those categories (MAYBE reviewer/writer, on a good day), and from the way Alex Navarro described it on the 11/25/2008 edition of the Bombcast, I was pretty sure I wasn't gonna like it all that much.

But Mr. Lucia pulled the "you're-not-a-truly-good-writer-if-you-don't-expand-your-horizons" card, and told me that I couldn't say anything about the book without witnessing it firsthand. It was hearsay, and being a member of the Mock Trial team at my school, I know how bad hearsay can be. He told me to buy the book and THEN give my opinion on it.

I'm maybe four pages in, and at this point I can say the following: it's not garbage yet (but I'm sure that's to come shortly), but it most certainly isn't great, either.

Updates to come.

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