Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday mini-movies: Exploding pumpkin edition

After countless years of being carved into jack-o-lanterns and baked into delicious pies, pumpkins have finally begun to strike back at mankind. *cue Terminator music*...It has begun.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Turkey Day!

With a crazy work schedule and the holiday coming up later this week, will once again take a Thanksgiving blogcation to enjoy blogturkey, blogfootball and blognapping after eating too much blogturkey and watching too much blogfootball.

See you back here next week!

Friday, November 20, 2009

UFC 106: Ortiz vs. Griffin 2- Echo calls it

Sorry about missing 105. Work has gotten really busy thanks to the upcoming holiday and that's meant three weeks in a row now I won't be able to watch the fights live. *wipe a manly tear*

Anyway, we're back in action now and this week's card is looking pretty stacked. Roll it!

Amir Sadollah vs. Phil Baroni
I'm not a fan of Amir's hair, but Baroni also sounds an awful lot like jabroni, and that can't be good either. Seriously though, we have an untested kid versus a guy who hits just about as much as he misses. That being the case, both guys probably have a lot to prove. Either Baroni will continue his trend of mediocrity or Amir will have a decently experienced stepping stone to introduce himself to the world. Somehow, I see Baroni's experience winning out as Amir falls unconscious to the mat.

Luiz Cane vs. Antonio Nogueira
This fight should be pretty explossive. Both guys like to beat the crap out of their opponent and both are really good at it. Cane's got youth on his side, and he's not exactly new to the game, but Nogueira is a more dangerous animal. I'm leaning towards Nog on this one. Once again, I'm calling it a knockout.

Paulo Thiago vs. Jacob Volkmann
Thiago will submit Volkmann. That's all there is to this one. Coming off his first loss, there's no better medicine than to ruin the perfect record of a competitor and that kind of motivation can put quite a bit of fire in a man's heart.

Josh Koscheck vs. Anthony Johnson
Maybe I'm not giving Johnson enough credit here, but I think Koscheck is too strong and too talented a fighter for him. Kos is likely to find a stray limb and see how far it bends, but I wouldn't be surprised by it going to decision. Either way, Johnson ain't winning.

Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin
Their first fight was an absolute battle, so I'm more than ready for round two between Ortiz and Griffin. Ortiz has been out of the game for a year and a half finally getting his back fixed, so I thought he'd be in over his head on this return fight. What I've seen of his training, though, has me impressed. I'd go so far as to say he looks about as good as he ever has. Griffin, though, has grown a lot since he and Ortiz first met. While Ortiz was off in la-la land, Griffin was fighting some of the best athletes the sport has to offer. He took a couple big losses in that time, but I doubt that's blown any of the wind out of his sails. I'm expecting another slug-fest here, though I don't know if either fighter has enough powder in the keg to knock the other out. I'm expecting another decision and my heart is telling me it's going to Griffin this time.

Review: Weezer- Raditude

I'm a man of two minds when it comes to Weezer's latest release, Raditude. On the one hand, four tracks are pretty dang good. On the other hand, the remaining six are pretty dang terrible.

I've followed Weezer since the beginning but, unlike many fans of the nerdy rockers, I don't let that fact cloud my judgment when taking in their new stuff. I'm a big fan of bands who evolve their sound and boldly break into new territory. Such efforts are risky, as they can cause a band to lose touch with their pre-existing fans, but it shows creative courage when someone is willing to do it.

I think each new album should be judged on its own merit (You won't hear me say "it's no Pinkerton," in this case.), but that doesn't mean I have to turn my brain off and forget about the quality a group is capable of. If something new doesn't work, no biggie. If something new is quite simply a collection of teen-ready, radio friendly, formulaic poop, though, I'll be the first to let you know.

Unfortunately, Raditude falls into that second category. While Cuomo and the boys prove they are still the masters of the hook (most present on this album are the three-headed, multi-pronged bastards you simply can't get away from), a catchy chorus and beat we can sing along to simply can't overshadow an otherwise terrible song.

Raditude is a sugar overdose through the majority of the album with several tunes (In the Mall? Really?) ready to be plugged into a Disney Channel commercial.

The theme of the album, too, is a problem for me. Cuomo is a grown-ass man dealing with grown-ass problems, yet the subject matter here shoots backwards in time to an era pre-dating even the Blue Album. It's as if he sat down and decided to tell the tale of several high school kids and their childish relationship struggles, partying hard and chilling with their bros. Along with this collection of pre-pubescent shenanigans we have the abysmal "Love is the Answer," quite possibly the worst song the band has ever put to tape.

Still, there are a couple shining moments thrown in to break up the mess and confuse the ever-loving hell out of you as to how Weezer could get it so right on a few ditties and so very wrong on the rest.

The first single, "If you're wondering if I want you to," is a pretty good number and the closing "I don't want to let you go," is one of the few genuine songs on offer here. "Can't stop partying" is actually a rather fantastic club tune where Cuomo finally realizes his dream of becoming a rapper and "Put me back together" would feel right at home on any of the band's earlier albums wherein Cuomo unflinchingly bares his soul to the world.

If you have iTunes, grab those tracks. Otherwise, Raditude is a pretty sound failure.

Monday, November 16, 2009 turns two!

Wow. Has it been two years already?

It's hard to believe. One the one hand, it feels like just yesterday I was firing this thing up with no real idea of where it was going. On the other hand, going back over all those posts, there sure have been a lot of good times en route to this, the two year anniversary of staticEchoes where I still have no idea where the damn thing is going.

But hey, I've stuck with it. And so have you, my beautiful and intelligent readers. We are nothing if not aimlessly somewhat dedicated.

In short, thanks a heap for making a part of your internet perusals. It's a big world of information out there and, though not a lot of what you'll find here can be filed as legitimate "information," I'm honored you clicked over to check the blog out. To first time visitors I say "Welcome. What took you so long? We've been quite busy." To those who have been along for the ride since day one, you are why I do this.

Here's to another year of not-all-that-regular posts, Monday mini-movies, rejected t-shirt ideas, comics, movies to miss, games to get, rants, raves and more!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Read it: Kill Audio

From the mind of Claudio Sanchez (Coheed and Cambria, The Amory Wars) and co-written by himself and Chondra Echert, Kill Audio takes readers on a tour of the World of Sight and Sound where the abstract is given form and one small, indestructible man must take up his role as the savior of all.

Where did he come from? What is his true destiny? Why can’t he die? We don’t know that yet.

What we do know is that issue one features loads of promise for a series that could become the next sleeper hit.

Kill Audio (the name of our regenerating hero) is on a quest to find the all-knowing Clockwork and discover his purpose in life. Self-admittedly borrowing from The Wizard of Oz, Audio befriends three bizarre misfits along the way including a coke-head rooster, an alcoholic skeleton in a beaver suit and a pillow. Yes, a pillow.

While issue one does a fine job of setting up this surreal world, the reader pretty quickly realizes an attitude of “just go with it” will serve best when traveling a land where an army of knives carrying knives hunts our hero, cement shoes can appear out of nowhere and musical references pop up on just about every page.

The characters are unique and fun and the world is wild and well realized.
The writing, too, is pretty dang good. Humorous, dark and edgy, Sanchez and Echert make a great team.

The art, though, is what really jumped out at me. Newcomer Sheldon Vella is quickly establishing himself as a creative force to be reckoned with. The back matter for issue one features a note from Sanches wherein he claims Vella is able to effortlessly pull ideas from his head and put them onto the page. The detail is deep, the style is refreshing and the use of red as the only color other than black and white creates a striking combination.

Put together, we have ourselves a rather fantastic start to a series sure to turn heads in the months to come.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday mini-movies: Chaos edition

This week's Monday mini-movie is brought to you by a Brazilian butterfly. A careless, cold, thoughtless, inconsiderate Brazilian butterfly.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Strikeforce- Fedor vs. Rogers: Echo calls it

The time has finally come, folks. Strikeforce and M-1 global will be airing their latest event on CBS this Saturday night, Nov. 7, and, if they keep putting cards together like this one, the Ultimate Fighting Championship might have some actual competition on its hands. Shy of UCF 100, this is probably the most exciting MMA card from any promotion this year.

Be sure to check your local listings for start times or drop by It’s free, for crying out loud, and it features some top-tier fighters. What more can you ask for?

Fabriciao “Vai Cavalo” Werdum vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva:
Antonio “No visible needle holes” Silva has a lot to prove following his alleged steroids use last year. The dude needs to reignite his impressive career, but I don’t think Werdum is going to let that happen too easily. When you have two guys rolling around on the mat, as these two are very likely to do, there’s no telling what can happen. If I were pressed for a guess, though, I’d put Fabricio pulling off the submission.

Gegard “The Dreamcatcher” Mousasi vs. Rameau Sokoudjou:
I really like Sokoudjou. It’s a shame that, going 1-2 with UFC, this potentially dynamic up-and-coming fighter didn’t get a little more time to find his rhythm in the octagon. Mousasi is dangerous on the ground while Sokoudjou is more comfortable on his feet. Sokoudjou has a questionable submission defense and, unfortunately, I think that will make the difference. This one is a toss-up, really. My head says Mousasi will bring it to the ground and finish it while my heart says Sokoudjou is ready to start shining.

Jason “Mayhem” Miller vs. Jake “Too good for a nickname” Shields:
Miller is one of the best personalities in the sport, but you need more than a winning charm to take out someone like Shields. Both of these guys have had long careers full of impressive showings. You couldn’t really hope for a more equally matched competition. I’d like to see Mayhem knock Shields’ block off, but I have a feeling this one’s going to decision with Mayhem proving the victor.

Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko vs. Brett “The Grimm” Rogers:
Holy hot hell this is going to be an explosive fight. You have two (arguably) undefeated powerhouses, both huge guys, and both like to punch people in the face. It’s going to be like two trains colliding and I can’t wait to see it happen. While Rogers is younger and, clearly, hungry to prove Fedor can be beaten, I don’t think he’s going to be the man to do it. I like to envision a slug-fest reminiscent of Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva back in December of 2007, but I think this one’s going to be more akin to the recent Fedor/Arlovski pairing (wipe a tear). Someone with a lot of fight in him is going to be put down hard, and that someone is not going to be Fedor.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Movies to miss in November

I would give November a break for having so few terrible movies slated for release, but the two it does have are pretty big hitters in the “lame” department and more than worthy of my premature harsh judgment.

2012- If they would actually market this film as “the biggest disaster the world would ever know,” I might let is slide. I’d laugh heartily, then let it slide. As is, the 2012 team is taking its disaster-porn offering way too seriously. I don’t doubt this will be some pretty cool eye candy. For viewers with half a brain, though, I’m willing to bet all the shiny images will pale in comparison to just how far your suspension of disbelief is expected to stretch.

New Moon- Please, Twilight, just die already. Take your screaming, ridiculous 13-30 ladies and just go. I wish I had a database of all the folks going crazy over this film. That way, the next time I hear something like, “You’re such a nerd! You went to a midnight release for one of those videogames” or “I can’t believe you’re going to the theater three hours early for that geeky sci-fi movie,” I can click a few keys and respond with “Says the person who bought their New Moon tickets for opening day a month in advance, re-read all the horribly-written novels to ‘get fired up for it’ and then showed up to the theater a day early with sparkle makeup all over their damn body.”

Games to get in November

The number of big titles being pushed into early 2010 hasn’t really changed the landscape of holiday 2009 all that much. After an impressive showing in both September and October, November is looking just as ridiculous as developers make that last minute grab for parents’ Christmas dollars.

3rd- Dragon Age: Origins (360, PS3)
3rd-Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 (PS3, 360)
3rd- Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier (PSP)
10th- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PS3, 360)
10th- Phantasy Star 0 (DS)
17th- God of War Collection (PS3)
17th- Lego Indiana Jones 2 (All)
17th- Left 4 Dead 2 (360)
17th- Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles (Wii)
17th- LittleBigPlanet (PSP)
26th- Tekken 6 (PSP)

Some may notice I have left Assassin’s Creed 2 off the list. The reason for this is simple- I have never felt more lied to by the gaming critic community as a whole than with the first Assassin’s Creed. I know it’s just one blogger’s opinion, but that game was pretty damn bad. Gorgeous graphics aside and intriguing story aside, the combat was dull and wonky and 90 percent of the game was built around time-fill search gimmicks and needlessly repetitive gameplay. But that rant, I suppose, is for a different post.

We’re here to celebrate the wealth of titles November has to offer and, if you liked AC1, you can just pretend it’s included on the list.

Despite the number and variety of titles, his month basically boils down to one game- Modern Warfare 2. It’s already broken pre-order records and will undoubtedly be the best-selling game of all time.

The next heaviest hitters come in the buddy-friendly frag-fest known as Left 4 Dead 2 and the epic RGP Dragon Age: Origins. Get those three games and you should be set for a full damn year.

The PSP continues its push for quality titles with a new Jak and Daxter and the release of the much anticipated LittleBigPlanet.

Those wanting to relive Kratos’ old adventures and gather a slew of trophies in the process can dig into the God of War Collection and brick breaking fanatics everywhere can rejoice with the new Lego Indiana Jones title.

Hope your Christmas list writing pen is full of ink, cause you’re definitely going to need it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Review: MotorStorm- Arctic Edge

With MotorStorm- Arctic Edge, PSP gamers are getting exactly what the title promises; a Motorstorm game.

Featuring three versions of eight vehicle types, the drivable roster is nice for a portable title. Thrown into the usual mix of motorcycles and buggies are the exclusive snow plows and snowmobiles. They control different enough from the rest of the vehicles to warrant inclusion (aside from the whole “arctic” angle) and are a lot of fun to drive.

Vehicles are quite customizable now, so you can sink a nice chunk of time into making every ride in your garage look exactly how you want it to. Your rider, too, is slightly customizable.

But enough about that. Racing fans just wants to know how well the gameplay works and the answer to that is “surprisingly well.”

Except for the motorcycles and a few smaller cars, which can feel a little too slippery in the control department, Arctic Edge handles well. Each vehicle offers a slightly different feel, so finding the right ride for you is part of the fun. Each course, too, is made up of multiple routes best suited to the various vehicle types, so even the act of getting around the track offers lots of options.

And what about those tracks? They’re great. Crammed with 12 unique courses (24 if you count reversed), Arctic Edge is full of high jumps, tight corners, narrow valleys and edge-of-the-cliff straightaways.

Graphically, everything looks great on the small screen. The tracks move higher and higher up the mountain, so the atmosphere varies between rocky landscapes to muddy hillsides and on up to seemingly gigantic snow-covered chunks of ice.

A couple extra added features, like slippery ice, a boost cooling effect when driving through deep snow and the ability to cause an avalanche in certain areas, keeps the series decently fresh.

While the main campaign hosts a ton of regular races and special events, riders can also free-race and take the game online via ad-hoc and infrastructure modes. There aren’t a lot of people online, sadly, but when you can get a game going, everything runs smooth.

There’s also a ton of badges to collect for achieving various conditions, a screen capture mode and the ability to add any song on your memory stick to the already impressive soundtrack.

Despite all of this, I do feel the game lacks a little something. It’s hard to put into words, but the word “soul” comes to mind. This is, in my mind, the best arcade racing you can find on a portable, but I never really felt like I was taking part in some huge, insane racing event so much as tackling one track after the other with little pomp and circumstance.

Apart from that, there’s plenty here to keep racing fans excited. Lots of modes, lots of courses with lots of alternate routes, loads of vehicles and a ton of fun.

If you own a PSP and like to race, you won’t be disappointed. Big Big Studios have managed to almost perfectly recreate an experience for the portable market you could only have on consoles before now.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday mini-movies: British animals edition

Man, animals are a lot funnier in the UK. Don't believe me? Well obviously you're not British, then. For those who doubt, see above.