Saturday, November 14, 2009

Team Fortress 2, yes or no?

If you are an online gamer you have undoubtedly heard of TF2, for a couple of reasons. You see, there was the original game, called Team Fortress, and at some point awhile after it was released Valve (the game developer) announced intentions to make TF2. Years passed without the release of TF2. In software/gaming circles, if something never materializes it becomes known as vaporware, a clever and humorous descriptive of something that just isn't going to come to be (or has an extremely poor chance of happening). So TF2 initially became famous for being something long promised, yet to appear, and which seemed to have whispered away into the ethos.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Restaurant drive-through greetings, yes or no?

Apparently the fast food industry has been taken over by flacks who think that having the drive-through employee issue a greeting to customers before their order is a good thing. I've experienced this at Wendy's, Taco Bell and Burger King. This is how it works: you pull up to the speaker and a voice greets you with, "Welcome to (name of place), how are you today?"

I hate this. Let's be honest, the person who is wearing the headset and asking me that question doesn't even know me and does not care how I'm doing. I know someone who works in this industry and the goal of every fast food drive-through is to take the order and have it in the hands of the customer in a prescribed amount of time or less. That's the bottom line for them and I can live with that. I do not feel any more appreciated as a customer because someone asked me how I was doing. And, this part is important, it slows down the entire process.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

GLBC's "Christmas Ale", yes or no? (live taste test)

GLBC is short for Great Lakes Brewing Company. It is located in Cleveland, Ohio and is one of the few things about which that city can be proud. You see, GLBC makes awesome beers. I have sampled numerous offerings of their and enjoyed every one. This particular beer, the Christmas Ale, was recommeneed by my brother-in-law, who really knows his beer and whose taste I have yet to find fault with.

I've just poured it from the bottle into the glass and immediately noticed the lovely copper color of the brew and a firm head. And the head on this is the color it should be. The heads on mega brewery beers are white. Pure white. The head on this beer is an almond color and that's they way it should be. Beers made the right way do not have perfectly white heads (wheat beers excluded).

The aroma is richly malty and inviting. If this were a food I would say it "smells delicious". The flavor is malty too. The beer is made with cinnamon, honey and ginger. I don't have a truly refined palate and am having trouble detecting the cinnamon in aroma or flavor, but I can note the honey sweetness and uniqueness that ginger imparts, especially when left on the tongue for a few seconds.

I'm not a huge fan of spiced/flavored beers. It's not that I don't like them, I just don't like a steady diet of them. That is true of this beer also, but I have to say that as a once-in-awhile seasonal beer it is very, very good. So to answer the question, two thumbs up and a "Yes!"

"The Great Gatsby", yes or no?

This novel is considered to be a classic of American literature and is Fitzgerald's magnum opus. Before I answer the question, let me speak briefly about another literary work.

"An Occurrence at Owl Creek" is a short story by Ambrose Bierce. I was first exposed to it in High School English class, where we watched a short movie made of the story. I loved it. I have read the story since and continue to love it. The protagonist is a Confederate soldier during the Civil War. The story begins with him about to be hanged by Union troops. Greater minds may offer detailed insight about the story (that perhaps it is anti-war, etc.) but I love it simply because it is wonderfully crafted. This was one of those stories that grips you to the extent that you will not walk away from it until it is finished. Once Bierce humanizes the protagonist you find yourself hoping against hope that he will be spared his fate, and once it appears that will happen your heart rises into your throat as you cheer him on. The ending is surprising and something of a kick to the gut (I won't reveal it specifically...go read it for yourself). Frankly, most any other ending would have veered off course from the realism of the story.

I mention the above as a contrast to "The Great Gatsby". You see, "The Great Gatsby" sucks on ice. I realize it is filled with a steady supply of plot undertones and that there is a deeper plot than what is seen on the surface. What I cannot get past are the two glaring faults with the basic plot, which must be sound before any undertones can work. My gripes are these:

1. There is only one likable character in the entire novel and he gets run down and killed by a car (driven by another character). The characters are not unlikable because of a reader's personal preferences either. They are unlikable because they are duplicitous, self-centered jerks.

2. The premise of the story is that a man is so smitten with a woman from his past that he becomes rich so he can buy a mansion near hers (where she resides with her husband) and throw lavish parties in the hopes that she will one day attend one of his lavish parties and they will be reunited.

So, after much use of words, the answer to the question is "No!"

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The BCS, yes or no?

The BCS is the Bowl Championship Series, college football's answer to a question no one asked. It works like this:
1. At the end of the regular season the #1 and #2 ranked teams play for the national championship in a bowl game that rotates from location to location.
2. The team rankings are determined by a poll of college football coaches (who notoriously don't vote themselves and have a toady do it for them) and a computer. Or series of computers. I'm not sure which. Regardless of whether it's one computer or several they appear to all be using Windows ME and an AMD K6 processor because they are stuck in the past.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wet dogs, yes or no?

This one is posted per request. You've probably heard the saying, "There is nothing friendlier than a wet dog." Firstly, this may not be entirely true. I've met some people with body odor (due to poor hygiene, too much nasty perfume, etc.) who are remarkably friendly. They want to give you a long hug and then sit next to you. Ugh.

But I digress. I'm going to answer "yes" to this. Dogs are great. I love dogs. And while it's true that a wet dog smells bad and will get you wet too, how can I find such fault with an otherwise lovable animal simply because he/she got wet? Maybe we smell badly to dogs when were wet. If so they still maintain their friendly, loyal demeanor with us, and it would be unfair of me to not behave in like manner.

Friday, October 30, 2009

This Led Zeppelin video, yes or no?

The song is "Gallows Pole" by Led Zeppelin. Or should I say "Led Zeppelin", since neither John Bonham or John Paul Jones are present. Regardless of that, this bunch is tight and they sound amazing. The inclusion of a hurdy gurdy is genius and really tops off the sound.

So to answer the question, a resounding, resplendent, resonant YES!!!!

Oh yeah, here is the video