Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hit Me

I'm pretty sure that guy in the background just got propositioned by late 80's Tina Turner.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fishing for Quality Dining

                This last weekend, the wife and I were doing a little charity work in Rochester.  Upon completion, we went out to eat, settling on Bonefish Grill in the Eastview Mall.  At the Taste of Syracuse last year we sampled the bang bang shrimp, so this seemed like a good opportunity to see how the rest of the menu stacked up to that delectable experience.

                First of all, as soon as we got there we were greeted by two hostesses, one old and one young.  The young one seemed nice enough, smiling the entire time we were at the door.  The older woman, however, gave us the worst eye-fuck you can imagine.  She looked my wife and I up and down like we were the scum of the earth and how dare we come to her restaurant.  My wife was wearing a long, spaghetti strap dress and I was dressed in a t-shirt and shorts with a baseball cap on (my usual summer attire).  The look on this woman's face from the moment we walked through the door was about as unwelcoming as I have ever seen.  Once we sat down I asked my wife if she saw the look that lady gave me and she brought to my attention that she did it to her as well.  I wanted to ask this old twat what her problem was and why she felt so superior?  She was, after all, a hostess at a restaurant…in a mall, but I kept my mouth shut.  What a great way to start out the experience though.

                We ordered the bang bang shrimp appetizer to start us off.  It was okay.  At Taste of Syracuse it was delicious, covered in that spicy cream sauce that is often imitated but never perfected.  Here, the shrimp were nice and crispy, but the sauce was barely there.  Not only that, but it was heaped high in a small casserole dish (like a large ramekin) that was only half shrimp.  The other half was just lettuce.  I would rather have the shrimp piled on a plate than have it mounded on top of lettuce for no conceivable reason whatsoever.  I am definitely in the camp of “don’t put something on the plate if it does not need to be there.  Unnecessary garnish is wasteful and ridiculous in my opinion.

                For dinner, my wife ordered crab cakes while I had the fish tacos.  The crab cakes were probably 90% meat which is a tasty ratio, except they fell apart into crab pieces as soon as the fork hit them.  They tasted pretty good and the remoulade that came with them was outstanding.  It was a bit overpowering when consumed in conjunction with the crab cake though as the subtleness of the crab was easily masked by the remoulade.  The fish tacos were tasty as well.  The (I’m assuming) tilapia was well masked by the rest of the taco fixin’s.  The mango salsa was the most prevalent flavor on the taco, but the lime crema and cilantro were nice touches as well.  The fish did leave an aftertaste that lingered long after the rest of the ingredients were gone from my palette, but it wasn’t that unpleasant. 


                In all, our waitress was very good, very welcoming, and the food was okay but not great.  I’m not sure if I would eat here again, at least not at this particular location, but it wasn’t terrible by any stretch of the imagination.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sock on the Doorknob

Shrimpy obviously drew the short straw when it came to roommates.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Not So New Comic Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (1991) #42

                Okay, this is officially my favorite cover of the series to date.  It takes all of the things that made issue forty’s cover my favorite and amps it up.  There is more action, more characters, and they are all better drawn than the last “favorite cover”.  This is the kind of cover that would jump off the spinner rack and grab you, prompting you to want to pick up the issue.  Hopefully the interior work holds serve.

                Right away we get our first check mark in the “negative” column as Kevin West has been replaced (temporarily) on pencils by Dale Eaglesham.  This isn’t the end of the world as Eaglesham is a competent illustrator, but it sucks that West can’t capitalize on his best cover to date by featuring equally exciting interiors. 

                Anyway, let’s see how the story holds up.  We start with a quick recap of everything that’s been going on the last issue and a half, including throwing in the fact that Mephisto is pissed off because he can’t find his daughter Malevolence. 

                We pick up the action with the Guardians showing up on the rainbow bridge of Asgard, ready to fight the Inhumans and prevent them from destroying the fabled city of the Norse Gods.  We then focus in on fat Thor, who does absolutely nothing to Loki, to the point where Loki is pissed that Thor has taken the real sense of victory from him.  If you could finally beat regular Thor after so long, how would it feel to beat fat Thor, a shell of his former self?  In the process of getting knocked out (and Loki taking off, a very “I’m taking my ball and going home” kind of move) fat Thor drops his hammer.  This wouldn’t seem like a big deal, but after he drops it, Talon just goes over and nonchalantly picks it up.  If you know anything about Thor, it’s that his hammer can only be picked up by those worthy, and the only one worthy for pretty much ever, has been Thor himself.  Does this mean that Talon is now worthy?  Nope.  It just means that this hammer is a fake, something to stroke Thor’s ego a little.  This is something that Lady Sif, Thor’s wife tells us.  She also regales the tale of how Thor himself became unworthy of wielding the hammer.

                This is a story that revolves around Thor and Sif’s love for one another, which begat a child, Woden.  Thor, being Thor was too busy slaying frost giants and the like to stay home and raise his child, in effect becoming a deadbeat dad.  Odin, Woden’s grandfather called Thor home to look after his son.  Thor was pissed, but really, when Odin tells you to do something, you do it.  So he came home and was actually a pretty good dad to the strapping young lad, teaching him how to be a true Norse God.  The problem was that Thor grew to resent his Mr. Mom role.  Apparently when Thor is full of resentment, Thor also becomes full of beer.  Thor became a drunk, and as if that’s not bad enough, Sif called him out on it and he went to hit her.  At this point he dropped his hammer, never to pick it up again as he was no longer deemed worthy of wielding it. 

                Of course, while this whole story is being told, Charlie and Yellowjacket are getting their asses kicked by the Inhumans, because why would Vance go help when he could instead listen to storytime.  The rest of the Guardians show up in time for us to check in on Mephisto, who is still watching his TV rock in order to see what’s going on around him.  We then check in on Aleta and Heimdall, who were thrown into deep space by Loki, only to land in the clutches of The Remora, some tentacle alien right out of a Japanese porn movie.  Apparently The Remora uses powers in his tentacles to suck out memories and overall good vibes from his victims and shares them with his flock, who are very cult-like in their devotion to him.  They don’t think for themselves, or have their own memories, so they all depend on him for these good thoughts, which makes it incredibly easy to subjugate the masses. 

                Back in Asgard, Loki and the Inhumans are winning, about to deliver the killing blow and planting Loki firmly on the seat of power in Asgard, when who shows up but Woden, son of Thor, wielding his father’s hammer.  Let me say, before we close, that where I really like the character designs for the Inhumans, Woden looks like a reject from the Masters of the Universe toyline.  I’m not super impressed.


Next: Woden strikes, and fat Thor eats a cheeseburger.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Minibar

Because really, what else is there to do in New Jersey but drink and forget that you're in New Jersey.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Late to the Party Video Game Review: Mario Kart 8

                Generally I wait until I have beaten a game to give you the review, which is why you have yet to hear anything about Darksiders 2 and Wonderful 101 (I’m working on them, I promise).  With Mario Kart 8, I feel like I have played enough of it, despite just recently purchasing it, to do the game justice with a review.

                I love Mario Kart, my kids love Mario Kart, and while I wanted this game from the moment it was announced, sixty dollars is a steep price to pay.  Luckily, my brother brought to my attention that if you bought Mario Kart 8 and registered it on Club Nintendo by July 31, you got a free game (a $50 value!).  This was something that I found hard to pass up.  Not to mention the fact that I was able to knock twenty-five dollars off the price by cashing in some of my Gamestop points, and I was sold.  Two WiiU games for thirty-five dollars?  I doubt I’ll ever see Mario Kart for that much, much less two games (I chose Pikmin 3, that’s on the list for review as well).  I jumped at the opportunity.

                I went home and fired up the game and it was like an old friend greeted me.  I had Mario Kart for the Wii, though that was stolen from me along with the system last year, and I have the 3DS version as well (one of Logan’s favorite games).  Hell, I remember when I was younger, Mario Kart on the SNES was the only game my father would play with us, so to say that Mario Kart and I have quite the history would be an understatement.  Nintendo games in general and Mario games specifically are the kinds of games that are perfect for families, perfect games to share with your children, and because of that I would have recommended this game before I even started playing it.

                Now that I have played through a good portion of it (six different “cups” totaling twenty-four races) I can easily state that this is some of the most fun I have had playing the WiiU.  Now, I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t played the WiiU much, and I sure as shit haven’t explored much in the way of its full capabilities yet either, but Mario Kart 8 might just wake me up in that respect.  I have only played New Super Mario Brothers WiiU and Wonderful 101 on the system and while both were nice games, they didn’t really overwhelm me in any way.  Mario Kart 8 did that in spades though.  I was blown away from my very first race in terms of the graphics and the gameplay.  The graphics were beautiful, taking full advantage of the WiiU’s HD graphics to make every bit of the scenery as vibrant and breathtaking as possible.  The controls are easy to use and respond well regardless of whether you are using the traditional joystick method or the motion sensor (both options available on the gamepad). 

                The major difference (selling point?) of Mario Kart 8 is the inclusion of “hover craft” mode.  Unfortunately I didn’t see this utilized to any great degree within the races I participated in.  There are some instances where you can drive along the walls, usually collecting coins or speed bursts along the way, but more often than not, that mechanic is utilized along the general track, and because you are looking at the race from the perspective of being behind the racer, it doesn’t change much.  The initial view of the racetrack is impressive, seeing the track go from horizontal to vertical and back again, but beyond that it doesn’t give you a different feel when you’re actually racing.

                The courses in Mario Kart 8 are interesting and inventive.  They feel similar to other Mario Kart courses but only because of the amount of tracks I have raced on since the inception of the series.  The construction and slight nuances in the new courses are wonderful to behold (I’ve run into more than one wall while marveling at my surroundings).  As in every newer Mario Kart, the tracks are split between brand new tracks and old tracks, reimagined for the new system.  This is one of the first times I have seen those tracks completely reimagined.  Usually it’s just a matter of updating the graphics and making things a bit smoother for the new system.  With this edition of the game it looks like Nintendo upped their game and recreated the standard tracks, using the same premise as the old tracks but completely reinventing them so they feel brand new.

                Mario Kart 8, like all of the Mario Kart games is chock full of replayability.  Beyond just the standard of there being no real end to the game, no end boss or something of that nature, Nintendo gave you goals, things to unlock as you progress within the game.  The inclusion of coins on the track give you ways to unlock parts for your carts (as well as giving you a speed boost on the track itself) making the customization of your ride a constant thing.  In order to see how this customization effects the attributes of your kart, just hit the + button.  The ability to unlock other characters is fun as well.  My wife and I, even if we didn’t want to race the next race, couldn’t wait to see who we unlocked by beating the previous “cup”. 

                I’ll have to admit, the best part of this game was that I was able to bring it home, pop it in the system, give a controller to my wife and five minutes later, after choosing our characters and some cart customization we were literally off to the races.  We played for a good sixty to ninety minutes and had a great time doing it.  She even won a couple races!

                Whether you have kids or not, Mario Kart 8 is a perfect addition to your WiiU collection.  If you don’t have a WiiU yet, this is the game you were waiting for, trust me.