Monday, July 21, 2014

Days Hotel Oakland Airport -- Oakland, CA

Note to self: This is a reasonable cheap-o Airport motel by the Oakland airport.  Book it.  Get a room that's not on the first floor.  They have laundry.

Don't let the broken ice machines, flaking metal doors, or bullet-resistant glass put you off.  It's a cheap room; you can wander a half block to the AM-PM for ice and cold beer; and the "wine country" around here has some really great flavored muscato wines.  But honestly, it's a fine place to stay.

Is it wrong that I have "favorite" cheap-o hotels?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Westfields Marriot Washington Dulles -- Chantilly, VA

Note to self:  Never stay here again.  It's a nice enough middle-tier hotel, but the hotel bar is one festive parade of douchebags.  Maybe if they had floats and confetti it would be okay.  Here's a sampler from just Wednesday night.

Guy pays for a twenty-nine fourteen tab with two twenties.  He pockets the five and five ones, and leaves the eighty four cents.  His watch says he earns more than most of us.

Guy is drunk and stumbling around striking up conversations with strangers.  He sits down at a table with a couple who are having dinner together and starts talking.  He hits on the bartender.  When he goes to leave, he slurs "can you get me off, now," instead of asking for the check like a civilized person.  I'm told he is a regular, and this represented relatively good behavior.

Eleven thirty or so, a thirty-something guy struts into the hotel with a woman who looks like she's around sixteen.  His smooth dark tan says he hasn't worked a day in his life.  He has a wireless bluetooth speaker in his pocket and begins to play music on it.  Asked to cool it (it's louder than the TV) he says "there's a party in my pants."  Then announces to the bar that he'd like to "buy a drink for everyone here except this guy."

There's a nice wooded running trail near the hotel, but on balance it's not worth the blood pressure increase.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Beyond Good and Evil for PS3

This is one of the prettier games I've seen in a while.  The artwork is smooth and considered.  Enjoy the look, as you wander around solving puzzles, doing quests, and occasionally getting into brawls with bad guys.  You get paid for taking photos to catalog the world's wildlife.  It encourages you to take a closer look, as you run around the world.  The game is ten bucks for about twelve hours of gameplay, and I think it's worth it.  Treat it like a nature hike .. on another planet.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Killzone 3 for PS3

In a year full of pale sequels, I'm pleased to say this one's very good.  I played through the single-player story on wimpy mode.  The dialog is predictably "gritty," and it includes the usual storyline of the maverick soldier who refuses to leave his men behind .. but once you relax into the cheesemo, predictable "war hero"  stuff, it's kinda boy-game fun.

The multiplayer is where this one really shines.  Natch, you get the usual deathmatch mode, and the capture-the-flag style modes.  The "operations" mode is really fun tho; it's basically a mini-story where your team completes (or defends against) a progressive set of missions.  e.g. blow up the doors, take a strategic position, then destroy the mainframe.  (Should they update that to "destroy the 'cloud?'")

The other interesting thing about the multiplayer mode is that the choice of "careers" for your character doesn't seem to actually include a "heavy grunt" sort of character.  Everyone is specialized for something: heals, turrets, sniping, stealth &c.  The talent trees for each are quite short and narrow, and different maps are better for different careers.  It makes you try more than one career, and switch them up to match the map and your teammates' styles.  Well done!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Osmos for iPhone & iPad

Osmos is simple.  You're a floaty-glowy bubble, squirting around in space.  You can absorb smaller bubbles, adding their mass to yours in the process, while bigger bubbles can absorb you to death.  In a representative round, the goal is to "become the biggest."  Off you go, absorbing bubbles to get bigger, which allows you to absorb larger bubbles, and so on ... and then you look up and an hour has passed.

The physics are great, and the gameplay is super smooth.  But the other winner is the soundtrack -- fricken excellent on headphones -- transporting you into a world of groovy bubbling grooviness.  The replay value is excellent .. so if you don't have a chance to listen to a level's music the first time through, you'll have plenty of other chances when you come back for more.