Archive for March, 2009


What We’re Playing!

March 30, 2009

This week we’ve got some repeats and some new things happening over at NSRE:

Amanda/Seamus: I’ve been playing mostly Final Fantasy VI Advance (GBA).  I’ve never played this game before and I have to say that I have fallen in love!  It’s so awesome now that I’m getting the hang of blitzes, I find the random battles actually fun, I enjoy all the side characters and Kefka is a bit of a bastard.  It basically has everything I love about Final Fantasy games in it… except Triple Triad, but that’s ok.  Locke’s beating up people for clothes and infiltrating places mission was AWESOME and I’m loving Sabin, Cyan and all the rest of the crew.  I’m currently on the Phantom Train.  Oh YEAH!  I also started playing through Oblivion again (XBOX 360).

Conor: seems to be mostly playing RE5 again, he played through it on normal and is now playing through on Easy and then Hard in order to unlock Sheva’s tribal costume as well as to get all the guns with infinite ammo and other fun unlockable things.  Also, he and Chelsea were playing Left 4 Dead again recently, trying to conquer Expert mode at last… our newest theory is using two real people and two computer players is best because the computer players see the special infected first and there is less friendly fire.

Jes: Doesn’t really play video games but did an excellent job with that one fight in Kingdom Hearts 2 4 years ago 🙂  We’re very proud of her.

Expect real updates soon, I’m just trying to do real people things and apply for jobs so that’s been cutting down on my video game intake of late.



The Rack Jack #5

March 28, 2009

Marvel and DC, as every fan knows, are going through a number of transitional phases.  Marvel has Dark Reign and all that is involved in outright saying that “yes, our universe is now run by the bad guys.”  And DC has all the fallout from Infinite Crisis, and the apparent build up to yet another series of big events.  However, faith can be restored when both titles take one of their main characters and start putting out good, interesting, well written stories that make us forget all the insanity on a universal scale and focus on the people and characters we enjoy.

Week of 3/25/09

  • Daredevil #117 (Ed Brubaker). Return of the King, Part II. Wilson Fisk is back, and that means one thing, the criminal element has a kingpin again…y’know, besides Norman Osborn. Not just A Kingpin, but THE Kingpin. After hearing about his adventures away from Hell’s Kitchen, I never felt that he was written off just for the sake of plot, it felt natural, as did his return to NYC. But in a world filled with evil, where does Fisk fit in? Why, it’s going to be just like to good old days, right? I honestly don’t know. With promises to return the underworld to glory, he also approaches DD with an interesting proposition; to take on The Hand, who have been encroaching, and Fisk “doesn’t intend on surviving.” Perhaps the Kingpin can help Matt forget about Milla, the legal battles, the federal government, his affair, and get him back to some good old fashioned daredeviling!
  • Battle for the Cowl: Commissioner Gordon (One Shot). Batman is dead. Batman. Is. Dead. What? You don’t believe it? Ask his oldest friend, Commissioner James Gordon, who learns this the hard way. This story takes you on a narrative journey inside Gordon’s head as he has to deal with Gotham now that the Dark Knight is gone. Yet, if you read carefully, I could swear some of these thoughts belonged to Batman himself, it looks like working with the Caped Crusader for so many years rubbed off on the Commish. A poignant and touching story about what happens in a world gone mad, showing what Batman comics have always tried to teach us; you don’t need powers to be a hero, you just need to have a sense of justice, and the commitment to do what is right.

I have a good feeling that both universes are getting the footing again, stabilizing and dealing with the promises they made so long ago for new, COOL stories that will blow our minds in a good way.  Until then, we can enjoy the snippets of little stories and small pleasures.  Thankfully, I have yet to be disappointed by any of the Battle for the Cowl titles, so I highly recommend them.

‘Til Next Wednesday.



What We’re Playing

March 23, 2009


So I’m in a play that goes up tomorrow so I haven’t had much time to write things but after tomorrow, life will have slowed down some.  Anywhere, here’s

Conor is currently playing Apollo Justice, RE5, Fallout 3

I’m playing Final Fantasy 6 for the first time, Fallout 3, Fable 2 (kind of…), Fire Emblem, and Trauma Center: Under the Knife ( which is ABSURD).

Also, Chelsea and Joe are playing RE5 and there is a lesson learned:

All black people apparently sound the same, at least as far as RE5 is concerned.  They are all Jamaican.

Anyway, hope alls well, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled program soon, the play I’m in opens/closes tomorrow.  If you’re bored, you should listen to this radio show, it’s done by some friends of ours from 8-10 on Mondays: “Another Castle” on ETIN.





Andrew Bird is “Not a Robot, But a Ghost”

March 18, 2009

Andrew Bird continues to record music that I greatly enjoy.  His albums traverse great distances stylistically and have range that I cannot attribute to many artists that are recording today.  His work is DENSE and full of life, working well as background music for other activities while at the same time holding up to deep concentrated listening.  It soars and meanders with both electric and analog influences as well as his iconic whistling.

Noble Beast and Useless Creatures are heart-warming.  He has returned to some of his strongest pop-based work a la Armchair Apocrypha.   Andrew Bird has grown.  There are more fuzzy guitar sounds layered over then violin with his voice emerging from within it, with all the elements flowing together like a perfectly stirred glass of chocolate milk.  “Natural Disaster” is a beautiful guitar song/anthem with finger picking that almost feels like Nick Drake by way of Crosby Stills and Nash (just via guitar playing, not the oodles of harmonies).  It’s a lovely dreamy little song.

You could read Pitchfork and hate this album because Andrew Bird usually explores a new genre each album and instead with this album he has decided to tighten up his sound and pull all those influences he’s been exploring into something really great.  But why would you?

He wrote the album that he wrote, and you can listen to it and enjoy it, driving around somewhere late at night with no particular destination, perhaps sitting in the car with someone that you like, stealing looks at each other and having haltingly awkward conversation

(This video belongs to Andrew Bird, no copyright infringement is intended)


The Pokemon Entree

March 14, 2009

We all know that we “gotta catch them all”, but when we take a break from the capturing and forcing those adorable creatures to fight each other (which for whatever reason seems to be the basis of the social economy of this world) we have to stop and think of something. In this land of hundreds of different Pokemon, which are the unlucky few that are used for food?

Now before anyone goes “that’s sick!” or “you’re thinking way too much about this.!” Come on now anyone who has played/watched Pokemon has thought about it. You do not see “normal” animals in any areas and  in a place where even some of the plants are sentient, figuring out what to eat I would imagine is a tough decision.  Clearly some are more “suited” for consumption over others.  You definitely  would pick the Tauros over the Geodude to eat, but there is still a line of what do you think is meant for  food?

They do acknowledge that Pokemon are used for food, If you read the pokedex entrees about Lapris and Tauros it mentions how they are endangered because they have been hunted. I also have a video clip from the cartoon that touches on the eating of Pokemon.

Clearly Prof. Oak has no qualms with eating the Pokemon despite the fact that it’s a living creature and also, what exactly is Brock’s Bacon Double Cheeseburger going to be made out of?!

Lastly I have a list I compiled of what Pokemon I think they use for food.

Pidgey (Pigeon?)
Oddish (Vegetable or meat?)
Machop (Rock or Meat?)
BellSprout (Vegitarian or Murder?)
Tentacool (Sushi?)
Farfetch’d (Premerie Food)
Lapras (hunted to near extinction)
Togepi (veal omlette)
So I ask what you guys think? How do you think they deal with the Pokemon food situation? What pokemon do you think they eat the most?

Do vegetarians have a huge moral problem with eating Bellsprouts and Oddishs?

Gotta Eat Them All!



Resident Evil 5: Initial Thoughts

March 14, 2009

Conor and I are playing RE5 right now and I figured since we’re upgrading weapons, we’d give you our thoughts on the game thus far.We’re at Chapter 3 now and Conor’s playing so this may be a bit sporadic.

First of all, I’d like to say I find Lara Croft more of racist imperialist than anything Chris Redfield could do, including stomping on a zombie’s chest…after all, as Conor says, that’s just the ROIDS talking, not Chris.

A note about treasure:  In RE4, the Spaniards had excess wealth, but when you take a ceremonial mask from a village that is now wiped out because they all got the virus (which is a crazier strain of Los Plagos because when things are in Africa they become crazy like Killer BEES!), you’re stealing their culture, and that’s wrong, and Sheva being present for it doesn’t make it okay.

About level design:

Conor: “They all have gondolas and elevators.  That’s the end of every chapter.”  It doesn’t matter if you’re in a village or an oil field or whatever, there are ALWAYS some sort of vehichle transportation.

From first impressions, we are extremely impressed with Sheva as an AI character…


The reason, my friends is that Capcom decided it would be brilliant to make the two viewing screens for the players staggered DIAGONALLY AND TINY!   IF YOU TRY TO PLAY THAT WAY YOU DIE A LOT!  Therefore, we’ve decided there will be a lot less tears if we just switch off the controller, and I don’t mind this being a spectator game because honestly, it’s funny to watch Conor freak out over “zombie” crocodiles.

Why do the Los Plagos zombies always have some sort of religious rituals?

The main thing with Sheva being a good co-op AI character seems to be a failure on the part of those gamers in providing Sheva with ammo and weapons.  She’s protected and revived Conor on many occasions and I find it both silly and unconscionable that people would not utilize her abilities.

Level designs are standard in RE4, Conor feels it’s like RE4 again as well… and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

“Speaking as one who has played RE since the beginning, I really like the way it has evolved.  I really enjoy it… FUCKING CROCODILES! Coming out of nowhere and ruining your day!”

As you can see we’re having a good time, crocodiles aside.

“Stay out of the long grass!  There’ll be raptors!”

PS: the first thing that comes up when you google notsorandomencounters is “Transsexual Ferox”… I don’t know what that is, but awesome.

Amanda and Conor


The Rack Jack #4

March 14, 2009

Okay, DC Comics, I’ll bite.  You put us through so much with your infinite identity crises, and your inability to understand who should and shouldn’t die, but it looks like you’ve finally gotten back on your game.  Sketch pages of a new Batman title with art clearly recognizable as Frank Quitely (We3, All Star Superman, New X-Men) on your DC Nation page?  I guess maybe you do have some kind of plan.  Watch out, Marvel, if DC gets their act together, they might just find Tony Stark, and give him a job where he can use his skills instead of being hunted by…the Green Goblin?  I am a loyal fan, but stop and say your plots out loud, guys, maybe that will help.

As you can probably guess, DC has taken the lead this week (apologies for missing an update, my schedule got insane).

Week of 3/11/09

  • Battle for the Cowl#1- Okay, this is cool. New writer, but he is doing a good job. It really keeps you guessing and gives you a good glimpse into just what kind of world Gotham is, and how important Batman is. A World Without Batman? There are definitely promising avenues to explore here.
  • Top 10#4- Okay, Top 10. Originally written by Alan Moore and Gene Ha, is now just done by Ha, but it is still very interesting. How do you police a world where everybody has a power? The stories are always interesting, and have just enough of a combination of humor and insight that they keep me coming back. Especially if one of the changes they made to the cast remains permanent. I’m not one for getting rid of characters, but sometimes they just have to go (and I mean, they were really annoying).

That’s all for me, but with all that’s stirring on the horizon, I’m sure I will have more and more to say each week.

‘Til next Wednesday.