Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Bike + Test Trip

Cycling is one of the few sports I participate in, so its fitting that I add it on this blog about my interests. Well the bike I bought recently is not new, I bought it used, and had to fix some things like get a new seat and brake pads, but its a fairly good bike, even if its not the latest model that costs like $2000, I'm satisfied with what I got for about $200 with the new parts. I'm not a bike specialist so I can't give you a good idea about performance, but what I can say is that whereas my last bike (which was a hybrid) tired me out quickly and I was always being passed by the other bikers, with this one I can reach a much higher speed with less effort, and although I know this one was made specifically for the road, I still feel the quality of the bike is much better than my previous one.

As for the test trip, I went along the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, which, if you know your Virginia cities, it stretches from Purcellville to Alexandria, which makes it about 45 miles in length. I only went about 15 miles on it, but it was a comfortable ride and I didn't feel particularly strained by it. Even so, I was getting tired and there were some renovations being done so I turned back.

I'd like to add that when I was buying something from Kmart, I noticed a sign that said its National Bike Month, which I doubt anybody keeps in mind. May has probably been labeled as such because, as has apparently happened to me, it might be the month most people buy or fix their bikes in anticipation for summer. I'm planing on still using my other bike too though, since there's this non-asphalt trail that I want to check out and maybe post pictures of if there's anything interesting about it, it apparently leads to Great Falls Park and might be fun to check it out. The W&OD is on the right and the entrance to a connection of the Cross County Trail is on the left.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Just Beat Dead Space 2 on Zealot Mode Today

I've gotta say, it was a hell of a ride. Zealot is the second most difficult mode, followed by hardcore, but judging from what I've read about Hardcore, I think the only things that change are that the enemies might be smarter and the loot is less abundant. If that is so, I believe I can probably beat Hardcore since I had some extra loot left when I beat it, but I'll wait until the next in the series to find out f I'm good enough.

If you don't know what its about, (not everyone is big on survival horror games) it follows the story of Isaac Clarke, an engineer who has been involved with the interaction of a  supposedly alien artifact named the Marker found by a space mining vessel by the name of USG Ishimura. The effects it has on humans is first mind control, and then it turns them into atrocious and violent creatures known as necromorphs (get it, they 'morph' after they die). This game in particular is 3 years after the first one when he destroyed the Marker aboard the Ishimura and then escaped, this time to again face the same nightmare in a space station after finding out that the artifact had been rebuilt, and apparently he was manipulated to help them rebuild it without remembering anything. Probably one of the best things about the way the story is developed is that Isaac is human and therefore vulnerable to fear and psychological scars. Throughout the game, you see the developing grief stages after he had to deal with the death of his wife on the first game, filled with psychotic episodes of watching his dead wife talking to him and saying that she died because of him. The characters are well-developed, the puzzles are complex and have to do with the skills Isaac has as an engineer, and the game mechanics are an improvement from the first one, particularly with parts in Zero-G and the addition of weapons that are better for planning and strategy.

If you're interested, give it a try, you won't regret it, and for pointers, probably the best thing to learn is to conserve ammo by using seemingly-useless objects found in the ground like brooms for impaling, as well as using the enemies' weapons against them, particularly taking their limbs off and throwing them back at them or catching their acid projectiles mid-air and using them. It takes practice, especially with later quick ones, but if you get good at it, you'll see yourself conserving more and more valuable ammo and materials.

 That's it for this post, the next console game I'll play is probably L.A. Noire by Rockstar Games that comes out tomorrow. Rockstar has been doing great lately, maybe I'll post a review of Red Dead Redemption which was a success last year, I can't wait to see what they have in store this time around.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Unusual Chess Set

Since blogger went down, I had to redo some things I had written and done to my blog, so I didn't get much time to prepare for something too interesting.
Anyways, I'm gonna talk today about a chess set I recently bought from Amazon. I'm not really promoting it, although I have to admit it was pretty inexpensive and the pieces were big and relatively well-made compared to previous chess sets I've owned. What is particularly unique about this one though is one of its labels.
For some reason I've yet to fully comprehend, the makers of the box design included a diagonal sticker that says "Made without child labor", as if its a feature that is special enough to be announced in the front of the box. Seriously, anyone who buys anything nowadays (particularly from well-known places like Amazon) expects the product to NOT be made with child labor. This makes me wonder what happened that made the makers actually have to state that in the box. I don't know if the country it comes from is particularly recognized for child exploitation, or if the company was sued or reprimanded for participating in something like that, but the fact remains that for whatever reason, they did write that. I don't remember the exact country it came from, but I believe it was somewhere in Eastern Europe.
This was not something  hilarious or particularly interesting, so I promise next time I'll try to write about something better.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Eden Eternal (MMO Game)

Its a new free-to-play MMORPG from Aeria Games that I think I'll be participating in the beta of this spring. I personally like games with anime-inspired graphics, and it also looks promising as far as features go, with player towns, class changes, a dye system, etc. that actually makes me want to go back to playing MMOs after having stopped from doing so for a very long time. If I find that it is in fact worth my time, I'll post my experiences with it here as well. Also, once I begin playing, if anyone wants to play it, I'll post my character name and stuff as well.

If you want to know more about it, you can visit the website at Aeria Games:

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Fredrik (band)

I thought I might start this blog by mentioning the thing I end with every night nowadays. Fredrik is the name of a Swedish bad I've had the pleasure of recently stumbling upon. I have listened to two of their albums, Na Na Ni (2008) and Trilogi (2010), and they have apparently released an EP called Origami (2010) and a third album last month called Flora (2011) both of which I haven't been able to get my hands on yet. The genres that probably categorize them are folk/experimental/electronica, and the feel I get from them is a soothing sound that is neither too calm that is boring, nor too chaotic that is bothersome.

The reason why I end my nights with them is that I've had trouble falling asleep recently, and their music seems to be perfect for that situation. This is not the only band that I listen to while trying to sleep, but the reason why I chose it is mostly because there is such variation in the sounds that they use in their songs (particularly the various musical instruments, but I can hear sometimes that they use other effects as well) that simply make me feel as if I'm slowly drifting into their songs the more I listen to them, and when I concentrate my mind in listening to the various sounds, it somehow makes me distract myself from other thoughts and eventually I unconsciously fall asleep with not much effort involved. I'm not saying this might work for everyone, but its something I do that helps with this problem. Anyways, it is not only music to fall asleep to as if it was boring, there is also a very original and artistic nature to their songs, and I've included a youtube video of a song called "Vinterbarn" from their second album Trilogi (2010), if anyone is interested in checking them out.