Review: NHL 2004

(By Guest Author Corey Fria)
If anybody has played the ea sports NHL series for awhile, you’d notice the the rapaid improvement over the last couple of years. But this year NHL 2004 goes above and beyond the call of duty, brining you the most realistic game ever created. Whether its the fast pace game filled with hard hitting hip checks or even the fact you have contract your players in dynasty mode, the game is simply amazing.

First a major improvement is instead of a more arcade atmoposhere, You actually have the feel you’re playing hockey. You’re players are sadly no longer super human and can be knocked off the puck! 😮 You can ever tie opposing players up along the boards and muck for the puck! Passes aren’t allways extremely accurate which may be a problem to the average gamer, but to anybody who actually follows and/or plays, it just adds a more realistic feel. Gone are the days of a 12 to 3 blowout, that is unless you’re opponent is just plain retarded.

Second major improvement is the brand spanking new fighting system. No longer will you have to participate in a half assed bout, instead you’re supplied with what can only be decribed as pure beauty. Honestly to fully understand its dominance over the past years, you have to have played the EA NHL series for awhile now. But even if you’ve only played NHL 2003, you can notice the massive difference. All i have to say are two words…goalie fights!

And who could forget the lack of updates on the roster over the past few EA NHL games? Well now you can, these rosters are so updated it would make both Qusai and Quda roll over in there graves. Just a few minor things here and there and boom you’re ready to go.

Now if you’re an extreme hockey fan like myself, you have knowledge or have at least heard mention of the european elite leagues. Well know you get to experience european hockey action at its best. NHL 2004 comes complete with 3 European Elite Leagues, Germany, Sweeden and of course Finland. Incase you’re tired of old NHL action, switch on over to the Euro leagues and go at it!

Now I’ve sat here and basked in the glory of this heaven sent game, but I must admit there are a few downfalls. One being the directional pad is no longer used for controlling you’re player. Instead you’re forced to use the use the left joy stick, which is tough to get used to at first, but eventually you’ll get the feel. The only problem with the joystick is that limits the mobility of you’re player, but in the end, prevents any thumn injuries during those long play off series with you’re friends.

The only other problem, which truly isn’t even a problem, but can be frusturating, would be the competiviness of the other team. Making a switch frmo NHL 2003 to NHL 2004 is quite a jump. NO longer can you just hop right in a dominate the other team, its gonna take some time to create good scoring oppurtunities and fighting for the puck if you really wanna take home that win.

Like I stated earlier, making a change from NHL 2003 to NHL 2004 is quite a jump, but its definatly a jump worth taking. NHL 2004 is truly the greatest Hockey if not sports game ever made.

Where's the welcome choir?!

I repeat… where’s the welcome choir?! I’m sure many of you remember me. If you don’t, you don’t matter.

What’s this column you ask? This, my friends, is the beam of light in this horrid place. When I come to BP.com, all I see is music, music, music and some more music. It says “a new take on entertainment” right under the name, for christ’s sake! Not “a new take on music”! And thus, the raven up there have come down to save the day! Here, I deliver to you comments, reviews and plain all-out nuttiness on everything that’s NOT music. And before I start my first commentary, I’d like to clarify one thing:

I hate music.

You read that right. If you hate music haters, you would be doing yourself a favor by navigating your muse over to the forums right now.

Still here? Great. For my first column, I’d like to discuss a obscure movie that was made back in 2002 and released in theaters between December 2002 and January 2003. The release, unfortunately, was small, so I missed it. But when it came out on DVD, I was first in line in my local Best Buy. This movie, my friends, is “Equilibrium”. Never heard of it? I don’t blame you. But after reading this column, if you reject to watch it, I WILL blame you. Very much.

The setting: a future utopia where drugs are distributed to it’s citizens to suppress their emotions. The movie occurs after World War III, where the costs are huge. The government decided that to prevent future wars, the people must be emotionally suppressed. This logic follows the fact that wars are fueled by emotion; hate, fear, love and jealousy. The movie focuses on a character, Preston, who is one of the Clerics, a elite group of agents that hunt down and capture people who refuse to take the emotion-suppressing drug. The punishment is death.

I will reveal no more of the story. I want you to go and see the movie. Or else.

Now for my opinion… I think it’s obvious that I love this work of art. The film brings a innovative martial arts system called Gun Fu. It’s fighting with guns. It’s diffcult to describe, and you won’t truly understand until you see it. But let me tell you, this Preston fellow, he is the ultimate badass. The Matrix? Bah! Keanu Reeves is a pansy nancyboy compared to the Cleric. And something you’ll notice in the movie is that Preston remains a badass… right to the end. Ever been annoyed by movies where the character is portrayed as a bad ass, but close to the end, the film “reveals” his weakness, and have the villain beat him up a bit, THEN he turns all bad and blows the villain away? Not in Equilibrium. The Cleric literally came in, saw the villain and killed him. In-out. The ending is a bit anticlimatic, but fits the character very well. The directing and action in the film is amazing, considering it’s low budget. Yep, this is a low-budget film that beats the pants off the Matrix. The camera angles and settings drips style. The actors, while mostly no-name actors, did great. Christian Bale, who played Preston, was awesome. The acting also drips style. This film is all about style. There are some plot holes throughout the film, and as much as it hurts me, I will have to admit that a few of them are glaring. But the holes aside, the story is very interesting and enjoyable. There are many deep issues brought up, and you will have something to think about after the rolling credits hit.

I won’t waste any more of your time ranting about the movie today. My last message regarding this is

Equilibrium. Go see it. Now.

That’s it for today, check back next week for non-music rants.

Raven out.

Tales from the Bishop #3…

Hello.

So yeah, car radios are essentially useless nowadays. Not the CD-player part, but the irritatting dial thing with the signals and the scratchin’ and the static and whatnot. Why? Because every channel is the same. But we’re no here to listen to me complain about the radio. We’re here for something… deeper.

Yes, deeper.

Selecting a deep topic.

When you’re not sure how deep your topic should be, the best bet is to think of things that interest everybody in the world, like professional tennis or the comedy of Wanda Sykes. That failing, you can just do what you started doing at the first part of your column.
Complaining.

Things I’m tired of.

I’m tired of having to watch MTV and listen to Fred Durst lie about having sex with celebrities who don’t really know who he is. For example, Durst (who will be known as ‘bitch’ in the duration of this column) proceeded, in fifteen minutes, to talk about how much he loved Britney and how happy they were together… even showing a little note as an example. However, there was no actual footage of Ms. Spears. They followed this up with an interview where Spears said, ‘Gee, I don’t know bitch that well.’ No, she isn’t saying this because she’s lying. She’s saying this because bitch is a creepy, nerdy, untalented hack. He then said he kissed Angelina Jolie. The girl with elephantitis lips said she’d never met him. You know why? Because bitch is a creepy, nerdy, untalented hack, and I’m amazed I’ve let him get away with this for as long as I have.

I’m also tired of Will and Grace. I’m not homophobic, the shows just not funny. My friend and me are watching TV and a commercial comes on… “Grace is having trouble! Some guy has her mail!” Friend turns to me and says, “I bet that’s a good episode!” God, if there’s one thing that comedy can’t do without, it’s MAIL MISPLACEMENT.

Unfortunately, we decided to go do our taxes instead. Did Grace get her mail? Can anybody tell me?

Anybody else tired of Fifty Cent yet? Like how the backbeats are the only thing that you can enjoy hearing, and when he starts rapping, it sounds like a guy with a cold and an overbite reading the dictionary?

Oh, and I’m sick of Ben and J-Lo. I’m intrested in a much older couple… Ben and Jerry! I bet there’s ice cream at the reception! Fuckin’ A!

Yes, the column continues.

Let’s talk about the Recording Industry. When I think of the Recording Industry, I think of bottled water. You could just pour yourself a glass, put ice cubes in it, have just the amount you want… or buy some overpriced thing wrapped in plastic that is essentially useless after a while. If bottled water retail cost was relative to it’s production cost, then the stupidity of drinking it would be lessened. However, since water is FREE and bottled water is EXPENSIVE and both are WATER, then I’ll just use my SINK and pay my WATER BILL. Since songs online are FREE and CD’s are EXPENSIVE and both are SONGS, I’ll just use my COMPUTER and pay my ELECTRIC BILL. Really, until the price of CD’s shrinks drastically, so that it is closer in relation to production costs, there is no sense whatsoever in buying one. Just sing the song yourself. That’s what we did before record players, and I’d like to see these nutless wankers sue a twelve year old for THAT.

These are not the times that try men’s souls. These are the times that try men’s patience. God, when you get back from vacation, please sort this out. I don’t have enough ammunition.

Thank you, and goodnight.

Soundtrack to Life – Good Luck and Best Wishes, Aki-Bee

‘eeeeeyyyyy! Welcome to the first installment of Soundtrack to Life on the brand new BP site. Most of you are familiar with the run down, but I see a few new faces in the crowd, so allow me to explain. We all have songs that remind us of important times in our lives, whether the song was playing at the time or the lyrics hold a specific meaning. What would our lives be without a soundtrack? I encourage the readers to send in their stories about a song and what it reminds them of. By the time this is posted, John should have put up the entire archive of my work, so you can take a look at what I’m looking for. You get full credit for the story, unless you wish to remain anonymous. Anyways, let’s kick things off with a story about one of our own.

——————————————————–

Good Luck and Best Wishes, Aki-Bee
“The Brightest Bulb Has Burned Out”/”Screws Fall Out” by Less Than Jake

Along the course of our lives, we meet a plethora of different people. Most, we never get the chance to know. Others we know will become tight allies. Still others, bitter enemies. This story is about one of those people who you never thought would make a huge difference in your life, but they did.

Starting early on in life, you tend to look for those on the playground who have similar interests and allign yourself with them. For me, it was videogames. Though this deemed me a nerd, I found my allies in the 2nd grade. Scott, Nick and Jason were the primary three. We all did the same things; videogames, Hot Wheels, and Cub Scouts. At seperate times, I was in the same den as each of them. We’d invite eachother over on weekend nights, do all those fun things we did when we were kids and sleep over on the occassion. In 3rd grade, Nick left, went south to Kentucky. Over the years, I’ve lost touch with him, but from the sounds of it we’ve both walked very different paths.

Our favorite past time, amidst our entire circle of friends was night games, particularly capture the flag. This was always played at either Scott or Jason’s house. Scott’s yard was rather uneven, the backyard was a high hill which sloped all the way to the ditch at the end of the front yard. So more often than not, we played at Jason’s. Scott had an older sister that stayed out of our business. Jason, however, had a little sister, who was always interested in whatever it was we were doing. This was Aki (I’d say her real name, but I think she’d stab me for that). She quickly became the tag-along annoying kid sister I’d never met.

Normally, I had no problem when she got involved, as I am an agreeable guy and just like to avoid arguments (you know, the typical “You can’t come with.”/”Why not?” argument oft held between siblings). Occasionally, the games would get a little rough and she’d have to run inside, but we’d include her anyways, even if it was against her mother’s wishes, on a school night. Usually in these games, she’d team up with Scott. Scott was the athlete and looker of our group, so it’s no surprise she stuck to him at all times. And they’re favorite target: Me. I was probably the most out of shape guy there, aside from when we brought Musse in. So, Scott would sho me up and mock me, and Aki would do the same. That kinda thing get’s on a fella’s nerves. But what did I care? She was a kid, she didn’t know any better.

Then, I believe it was the summer of ’98. Our first game of the year and there she was again. Let the taunting commence. But it didn’t. She didn’t take a shot at me the whole night, despite being on different teams. She and I actually talked peaceably when we did talk. It was as if she’d become a completely different person over the span of a few months. Our group didn’t treat her as a burden anymore, but rather invited her out on a few ventures. Whatever it happened to be, whether it was capture the flag or another board game night, she was usually with us. I’d never seen her as a potential friend, expecting her to go live her own life, but all that was changing.

After Scott’s accident in the early days of ’99, our group became much more tightly knit, doing all that we could together. Jason and his family had moved to a new place, not too far from Regner park. And so lays the scene for one of the most memorable nights in my life. July 4th, 1999. I was bored, had nothing better to do, so I decided to see what was happening locally. I knew the fireworks were gonna be held at Regner that night, and I figured I might find a few people I knew there. Sure enough, there was Jason and Aki with their family and Adam’s family, all there on the shore. So, I sat with them for the show. From where we sat, the fireworks couldn’t have been launched 50 yards away. It was a nice pleasant show. And then, one shell exploded too close to the ground.
“That’s not supposed to happen.” I thought.
The sparks from the blast ignited many of the remaining shells, and everyone could only watch in horror as the finale blew up on the ground. As this happened, we pulled back to the water, about as far as we could go. It was just unreal. Then we heard Aki, crying and screaming. Apparently, one of the cinders hit her in the back. We aren’t sure to this day if it actually happened, she isn’t even sure. There was no burn mark and no sign of an ember. As her mom calmed her down, we collected our group and walked to Jason’s. When I got there, I was glad to see she’d calmed down. She joined us in a game of Risk that night, it came down to me and her, and not to boast, but I won. Throughout the game, somehow it became a joke about stabbing me. Aki runs upstairs and comes back down with her hands behind her back.
“What do you have?”
“Noooothing.”
“What are you hiding?”
“Nooooothing.”
She then chased me around the basement with several butcher’s knives. I had to disarm her several times that night. It’s been a running gag (no pun intended) ever since. Things changed between us from here on out.

2000 was the big year for our clique. We graduated highschool, Jason had introduced me to the punk lifestyle, and we had a big roadtrip planned for the summer. More and more, Aki had become a part of the clique. As we looked at it, we noticed something about the family history. Jason’s older sister, Bean, was held under strict rules, she wound up rebelling and leaving. Jason was also held under these rules, he was already rebelling and about to leave. With Aki, it was just a matter of time. So, we decided to liberate her. Occasionally we’d talk her mom into letting her come with us, and other times, we’d sneak her out. It was convenient, because even with a full car, we could find somewhere to fit her. She is small after all. Often times, we’d fit her in the leg space for the passenger side seat. We’d take her to Webb’s, out on grocery runs, and just any other place that we’d frequent. She was very thankful to be getting out of the house for once.

One February night, in 2001, I got a call.
“Joe?”
“Yeah?”
“This is Sam.”
“Oh hey, what’s going on?”
“Look um, I know you’re a responsible guy, and well…. Something happened to Aki while under my care.”
“What happened?”
“I…. I don’t know. I think there’s something wrong with her head.”
“Did she hit her head or something?”
“I dunno. Could you take a look at it please?”
“Well, I’m not exactly a doctor and I dunno if you should really be drawing attention to this place, but I’ll see what I can do.”
“Okay, thanks. We’ll be right over.”
So, I got my boots on and went outside. I paced at the top of the driveway, worrying, wondering what could have possibly happened. I was expecting Sammy to be carrying Aki out of the car, helping her to stand. Sam pulls up and I meet them half-way down the driveway. Aki is walking fine, she has a hoodie on with the hood up.
“Alright, what happened?” At this point I was worried, not that I wasn’t already, but I was losing my cool. Aki takes her hood off to reveal…….. blonde/orange hair. It was a joke, all at my expense. Her hair used to be a very dark brown. They’d bleached her hair and wanted to see how flustered they could make me. Mission accomplished girls. I joined them later as they dyed her hair to the now infamous Aki Blue. I went home, and I wished her luck with her mom, cuz I knew her mom wouldn’t like it.

In October of ’00, Aki joined us at the Haunted House, teaming up with her new friend Lara. They terrorized the elevator while I stalked the hallways. They were working the Legacy room once while I was walking through the E tunnel, banging on the wall to scare our guests.
thump
thump
thump
thump
“Hey! Who turned out the light?!”
“Uh oh!” and I flee the scene of the crime.

2001 I took on a job at Hardees with Tia and Aki. They were the ones who coerced me to apply there. It was during this time that she gained the name Aki, after people saw a resemblance between her and Dr. Aki Ross on the movie “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within”. She went to the Warped Tour that year and suffered a concussion in the Less Than Jake pit. This is where she picked up another trait from the movie, furthering the use of her name Aki. She would faint every now and then. People, namely me, would rush to her and ask if she was alright. Her response always was and still is “I’m fine.” This became rather frustrating during work when she’d sporadically pass out. Still, though I was concerned, I find it humorous now.

She joined us again at the 2001 haunted house, often times working with me in the kitchen. Usually though, she hid in the hallways or above the stairwell. When her mom came in we had fun with her. Everyone in the house singled her out.

Up until this point, we’d shared moments like these, but we still didn’t know each other all that well. The following spring, I was out cruising the town. I was just leaving Blockbuster as Aki and Gage came in. I opted to stick around and if nothing else walk with them for a while. We wandered around the store, talked, eyed up a few movies but wound up leaving. We walked toward Aki’s house and Gage went his own way, so I decided to walk Aki home. It had been raining on and off so she welcomed me to stay so the rain could pass. We were gonna go out elsewhere, but she wasn’t feeling well. So, we wound up sitting at her place from about midnght to 4:30 in the morning, just talking. We learned a lot about each other that night, and since then, it’s been as though we’d known eachother for years. Well, it kinda has really, since I’ve known her since she was yay-tall. Dunno if that analogy really works with her, since she isn’t much yay-taller. Man, two short jokes already. I’m gonna die.

There are so many more stories, but I wager you haven’t the patience to read them all. So, I’ll just touch on them briefly.
-Many nights at the Haunted House, working the same room.
-Tuesday night coffee nights at Webb’s.
-Promising redemption against the man who raped her.
-Her calming me down when things were going to shit in my house.
-Her roadtrip to Oklahoma.
-Being there for her through the fireworks on the 4th of July this year.
-Her graduation party.

It’s all been quite odd. Back when I first met her, I’d never imagined we’d even be friends. I’d just kind of thought, an afterthought really, that she’d have her friends, I’d have mine, and we’d live our own seperate lives. In the past three years we’ve shared so many things that had you told me I’d be doing them with her back when she was the annoying little girl who loved to tease me, I’d say you were insane. Whew, that’s a mouthful. But it’s odd how the threads of fate intertwine. She’s gone from one of my good friend’s kid sister, to my most trusted friend. As the years went on we’d seen each other through many trials and tribulations, in fact we still do now. We’ve both lived our hard lives, and thankfully, we’ve been here for eachother.

It came as little surprise to me that she graduated from highschool a whole year early. She’d been telling me that that was the plan all along, get out as soon as posible. She hit up many places in town for a job and eventually landed one at a local restaurant as a waitress. It didn’t last and was soon in the search again. We don’t have the greatest job market in West Bend, so when you need one, they’re hard to find. We couldn’t find anything, and that’s when she approached me with her plan. She would move down to Milwaukee to get her life started. The thought bothered me at first. She was my last remaining tie in this city. Who would I have when she left? But that all gave way to how proud I was of her. Not many people can say that they graduated at 17 and willingly left their home and comfort to get their life started. I’m not the kind of guy to throw a party, but I figured she deserved a party in her honor if she was leaving, and I had the accomidations to do so.

The shopping list consisted of watermelon, Doritios, Milller Genuine Draft, Smirnoff Ice, and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. We spent the majority of the night out by a roaring bonfire, chatting and drinking. It was a small gathering, but a gathering none the less. It was supposed to be her final night in town, so it was a nice sendoff. Just before she left, I insisted on playing a song for her. I could have sang it, but that would have been too sappy. The song:

“The Brightest Bulb Has Burned Out”/”Screws Fall Out”
by Less Than Jake

You told me that your 20 years have gone by much to fast
And you’ve been hopin’ this year will be better than the last
You said you’ve been wagin’ a war against the loneliest of nights
With the strongest drinks and longest lines
Well it’s not that big a surprise
That you’re feelin’ more dead than alive
You’ve feelin’ more dead than alive

So I’ll let you know
If you need, somewhere to go
I’ll be listening when you call
And I’ll be there if you fall off
If you need someone to believe in you
I’ll let you know I will.

You said the whole in your head has gotten bigger than the hole that’s in your chest
And you’re stuck between the past and present tense.
You say you’ve been wagin’ a war against so many years of lies
With stronger drinks and longer lines
Well it’s not that big a surprise
That you’re feelin’ more dead than alive
You’re feelin’ more dead than alive

So I’ll let you know
If you need, somewhere to go
I’ll be listening when you call
And I’ll be there if you fall off
If you need someone to believe in you
I’ll let you know I will.
I’ll let you know I will.
I’ll let you know I will.

But sometimes…….
Ya gotta let it go!!!

So this pen is starting to become
A pipe bomb and these songs
Have turned to anthems again
To everything that’s changed and to everything that’s gone away
Here are my condolences tot he future I never met
It’s gone and never coming back, it’s not coming back
So don’t hold on to your past, you gotta let it go

‘Cause friends leave as time fades away
The people and the places along the way
Without a doubt
Screws fall in and screws they fall out

Tomorrow’s gone up in smoke
And I wonder when I’m alone
Where’d my convictions go
So to everyone that’s gone away
Or fades away or stays the same
Here are my apologies to the person that I used to be
Before I burned down every bridge and every inch
Of everything I used to know, I gotta let it go

Friends leave as time fades away
The people and the places along the way
So don’t hold on to your past
No, it’s never coming back, you gotta let it go

I just wanted to send her off with the message that I’d always be there no matter what, and she shouldn’t worry herself needlessly with the past she’s leaving behind. She said it meant the world to her.

Since that time, I’ve been out there to visit her a few times. She’s doing well, has a job at Claire’s, living at her dad’s, but still gets out every night whether it be for coffee or whatnot. The reason I’ve been down there lately, well, she’s breaking me out of this town. Within a few short week, I’ll be joining her in Milwaukee. That’s right, we’re gonna be roommates. We’re looking at a place later today, and hopefully we can seal the deal shortly thereafter.

Did I do this column to stoke her ego or win favor with her? No. I did it simply because she’s an amazing human being and has changed my life for the better. We all have friends such as these I hope. I just wanted you to see her through my eyes. If she were to die before I do, I’d no longer fear death. Be there a heaven, and she couldn’t get in on her merit alone, she’d sweet talk her way in, trust me. Then one by one, as her loved ones joined her, she’d sneak us all in.

Buried Treasure: Earthworm Jim

Buried Treasure: Earthworm Jim

Fast Facts
Title: Earthworm Jim
Genre: Video Game
Platform: Gameboy Advance
Publisher: Majesco Games
Developer: Game Titan
Release Date: 6/10/2001

Ah, Earthworm Jim, the timeless tale of an ordinary earthworm who is granted with extraordinary powers when a supersuit falls out of the sky and lands on him. Naturally, Jim heads off to rescue Princess What’s-Her-Name, who has been imprisoned by her evil sister Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Puss-filled Malformed Slug for a Butt, while also evading the Queen’s henchman, Psy-Crow.

This classic yarn is brought to the Gameboy Advance by Majesco in a recreation of the Super Nintendo game from the days of yore(yore being back in the 90’s before all of these new-fangled next-gen consoles came about).

Earthworm Jim combines classic platform action with some innovative levels and a crazy sense of humour. The game is pretty much a direct port of original SNES version, so you can expect to see all of the same wacky levels and characters, such as Professor Monkey for a Head and Peter Puppy. The graphics are slick and the characters all look great, especially Jim, which is good, since he’s the guy you’ll be looking at most of the time.

The play control is pretty solid, allowing you very good control over Jim’s running, jumping, blaster-firing, head whipping, bungee jumping, hamster riding, and what-have-you. The head whip can be tough to use sometimes, because you have to smack targets with the tip of it, and you can’t move and fire your plasma blaster, but these are relatively minor quibbles in a game that controls very well overall.

The sound isn’t as good as it was on the Super NES, but the voice samplings are still there, allowing Jim to celebrate finishing a level by hopping on his Pocket Rocket and saying “Groovy!”. The voices sound a bit tinny, but it’s better than no voices at all. The music is nothing spectacular, but it’s decent overall and catchy in places.

Where Earthworm Jim really shines is in the level and character design. Evil the Cat, for example, manages to pry Jim out of his supersuit in What The Heck?(the second level, for you normal people). Jim is forced to jump around avoiding blasts for Evil’s fireball cannon until he can get his suit back, at which point Evil drops from the ceiling in attempts to use you as a scratching post. The two stages that deserve the most praise for overall coolness, however, are Snot A Problem and For Pete’s Sake, featuring Major Mucus and Peter Puppy, respectively. In Snot A Problem, Major Mucus and Earthworm Jim engage in a bungee jumping brawl over a lake of snot inhabited by a large and rather hungry monster. The two combatants have to knock each other into the jagged walls of the cliff to snap their opponent’s bungee cord and make sure he becomes monster food, whilst simultaneously avoiding said monster, who will pop out of the snot to try and eat you if you get too close. For Pete’s Sake involves Jim taking Peter Puppy for the toughest walk in the universe. Jim has to use his head whip to bounce Peter over pits filled with nasty things, as well as running ahead to fend off enemies who would do Peter harm. Unfortunately for Jim, however, is that should he screw up and allow Peter to get hurt, Mr. Puppy will turn into a hulking purple monster and take a bite out of Jim while dragging him backward in the level.

Earthworm Jim is a classic game that, while not technologically ground-breaking, provides something much more valuable: a heck of a lot of fun. Definitely check out Earthworm Jim for the Gameboy Advance, because it’s definitely Buried Treasure.

Guilty Pleasures

Guilty pleasures, we all have them. Whether it’s that stuffed bear from your childhood that you refuse to get rid of, but hide behind your pillow so no one sees it. Or maybe it’s that old copy of Slippery When Wet by Bon Jovi that sits on your shelf collecting dust. You take it down and listen to it from time to time, making sure not to disturb the dust on it so it appears untouched. While I do own a copy of that very cassette, it doesn’t sit on my shelf collecting dust. No, instead it sits in a shoe box in my closet with the majority of my old cassette tapes. Regardless what it is, we all own or enjoy at least one thing that we won’t readily admit to just anyone. Myself, I’m no different. I’m a music lover, and my CD collection rounds out at about 600 CD’s. My problem is, that even if I rarely listen to a CD anymore or not at all, I hate to get rid of them. Over a period of time, I’ve collected a few CD’s that I might not be too proud of, although some of them I’ll still play occasionally. I just won’t tell anyone about it. That is, until now.

(10.) Simple Plan No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls Okay, so it’s cheesy pop-punk. I know that. You know that. The entire Warped Tour crowd that gave these guys the finger at every outing also knows that. But it’s catchy, cheesy pop-punk. Damn catchy, and I like it. Extra points for guest appearances by Mark Hoppus(Blink 182) and Joel Madden(Good Charlotte).

(9.) Creed Human Clay and Weathered I think for the most part, these guys just got a bad rep. They play good music and they’re obviously talented, but most people steer clear of them for their Religious beliefs. I can’t think of a worse reason to not like a band, personally. Besides, songs like Are You Ready, What If, and Bullets rock pretty hard.

(8.) Nickelback The State and Silver Side Up Same as Creed, I think they’ve just got a bad rep cuz they’re not “balls to the wall” rockers. So they play some love songs, what’s wrong with that? They’ve got some rockin’ songs too, such as Leader of Men and Never Again.

(7.) Da Brat Funkdafied and Anuthatantrum Yep, I own them both. So the songs that got played on TV and radio weren’t the greatest, but one listen to Da Shit Ya Can’t Fuc Wit from Funkdafied, and it’s obvious this chick has talent. Here ode to weed featuring Krayzie Bone, Let’s All Get High is pretty good too. She also came from the same camp as the next guys on my list.

(6.) Kris Kross Da Bomb and Young, Rich, & Dangerous When these kids released their first album, Totally Krossed Out, they got by strictly on a gimmick. Wearing their clothes backwards? What an idea! But guess what. It caught on! If only for a short amount of time, kids were wearing their pants and shirts backwards. Well, at least kids in my school did. Their wasn’t much to their rhymes either. Rapping about missing the bus? Come on. But when they released their second album, Da Bomb, they proved they could actually rap and that they could hold their own without a gimmick. Young, Rich, & Dangerous was even better in my opinion. Not exactly a hip hop classic, but a good album regardless. Check out Live and Die For Hip Hop for a perfect example of these kids skills.

(5.) Will Smith Willennium I bought this album for two reasons. Will 2K and Wild, Wild West. I ended up liking the majority of it, and still do. Seems a lot of people steer clear of this cuz it’s not the cool thing to listen to, and the fact that he doesn’t swear has been an issue as well. What’s really wrong with a positive musician, huh? I say nothing at all. A talented positive musician is a plus! I was even motivated to purchase a collection of his old tracks, titled Before The Willennium. This was back when he still went by the name of Fresh Prince. A Nightmare on My Street, Parents Just Don’t Understand, and Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble are all great old school tracks.

(4.) Various Artists Monster Ballads I know you’ve all seen the commercial on TV. The bands on this album are all bands that I grew up listening to. Warrant, Whitesnake, Poison, Europe, and Cinderella just to name a few. One of my favorite tracks on this album is Wind of Change by the Scorpions.

(3.) Poison Look What The Cat Dragged In Aside from the fact that they all look like females on the album cover, these guys were a great band. Underneath all of that eyeliner, lipstick, and hairspray were great musicians. Okay, so I bought it mostly for sentimental value. As I said before, I grew up on these guys. It brings back memories of when I was a kid, hanging out in my garage with friends and playing that broomstick guitar pretending to be C.C. Deville. Yeah, I was that damn cool.

(2.) Sisqo Unleash The Dragon Two words. Thong Song. Nuff said.

(1.) Britney Spears Oops!…I Did It Again I guess here’s the point where I lose all respect that anyone might have had for me before. However little that might have been. I could save face and say that I bought it for the pictures, but that would be a damn lie. Mostly I bought it cuz my girlfriend wanted it, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like any of the songs.

So there you have it. All of my embarrassing or semi-embarrassing albums for all to see. Do I listen to them on a regular basis? Most of them, no. But still, they sit there on my CD shelf along with the rest of my collection. So go ahead and laugh, point, poke fun, do as you wish. It won’t matter to me. In the end, I’m just being true to myself and that’s all that matters.

The Gut: Week 1

Ladies and gentlemen I would like to welcome you to the first installment of the gut, a weekly look at sports as seen by one of the coolest dudes around. That would be me. For the first weeks we will focus on the NFL. I will pick a few games a week to showcase and let you all know my “gut” feeling on them.

Jacksonville Jaguars �vs.- Houston Texans

This game reeks of boring. Two teams who aren’t very good. Houston has their future starting now in second year sensation David Carr, who not only has game but an uber hot wife, and more importantly for this game an offensive line who isn’t gonna get him killed like they did last year when he was sacked an NFL record 74 times. What’s the gut’s feeling on this game? Well take one livened up defense in the young Texans group, add a couple of offensive weapons for Carr to throw to like speedster Andre Johnson and you might have a winner. But Jags QB Mark Brunell has a lot to play for with Byron Leftwhich breathing down his neck.

Gut Feeling: Expect the wily veteran Brunell to pull his team through this game 20-17

Philadelphia Eagles �vs.- Buffalo Bills

Through the first two games of the season did any team look better than the Bills? Or maybe a better question is did anyone look worse than the Eagles… well other than everyone’s favorite JV football team the Jets. Something strange happened in week three though. The Eagles had off so they could rest and the Bills defense was on the field for over 40 minutes!!! That just can’t happen this week if the Bills want to have a chance of winning, and it wont. As great as Donovan McNabb is with no help from “I’m worse than a smelly” Duce Stalley and the rest of the nobodies on this eagle offense expect Drew Bledsoe and the rest of the Bills offense to light it up like the Godfather.

Gut Feeling: The Eagles continue their first to worst trend as the Bills destroy them 27-10

San Diego Chargers �vs.- Oakland Raiders

Two teams that have been god-awful to start the season, The Chargers made a few mistakes over the off season. One name that comes to mind in a big way is David Boston. This guy just doesn’t come to play, another writer said it best when he said “We could not be more down on Boston right now. Literally, if you can get a handful of feminine napkins in the exchange for Boston, you should think long and hard about pulling the string.” And what do the raiders have going for them? Steve Young… I know he’s retired, but I got this feeling watching Rich Gannon after he got pulled in the Denver game on Monday night. Call it a “gut” feeling but he looked like Steve Young after the Eagles game years ago. The Eagles beat the 49ers by over 40 points and Young got pulled in the second half and sulked on the sideline and kept his helmet on the way Gannon did on Monday night. The 49ers went on to cream the Chargers in the Super Bowl that year. I’m almost positive former Niner and current Raider Jerry Rice knows what I’m talking about.

Gut Feeling: Deep threat Jerry Porter is supposed to be back this week to take some of the pressure off of Rice and Brown. And don’t expect another poor showing from Garner and Gannon again. Raiders roll 29-13

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens

Priest Holmes is the truth. He’s the first running back since Barry Sanders that will gain 4 yards and I will be like “what, only 4 yards.” Priest can beat you with his running and his receiving. I’m surprised we haven’t seen a Priest pass yet. I haven’t even mentioned all world Tight End Tony Gonzalez or the MUCH improved KC defense. And if you can stop Priest and score on their D, they have one more way to beat you. Dante Hall had a hundred yard kick off return in week 2 and a 73 yard punt return for a score in week 3. To sum it up, the chiefs have it all, except Ray Lewis that is. Can one player make that big of a difference? Especially someone who isn’t a quarterback? Well yes, just ask Joe Theisman or Ron Jaworski if Lawerence Taylor could turn a game by himself. Lewis is no LT, but in perspective he does play a more important position at the middle linebacker spot. And Jamal Lewis did just break the single game rushing record against the browns 2 weeks ago.

Gut Feeling: The Ravens keep it close, but with all I just mentioned this game is going to come down to the experience of each teams quarterback. KC gets big numbers most games from Trent Green and Baltimore rookie QB Kyle Boller just isn’t ready for a game of this magnitude yet. KC wins 25-15

Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Jets

In my suicide pool this was my game of the week, I feel pretty confident that I could use the Jets almost every week and pick whomever they were playing to win and I would go deep into the pool. Lets face it guys the Jets have an aging running back in Curtis Martin, a 40 year old signal caller in Vinny Testerverde, and the oldest, slowest set of linebackers in all of football. And how bout them cowboys! Now I have to admit I’m a diehard Giants fan and this pains me to say, but the Cowboys are on their way back. They have one of the most talented defenses in the league led by the old man Darren Woodson and Roy “biscuit” Williams. Not to mention that they have one of the top receiving cores in the league as well. Say what you want but there is no way “instant offense” Quincy Carter throws for 320 yards against my G-men without them.

Gut Feeling: Dallas is young and talented and the Jets are old and all their talent went to the Redskins. Tuna likes to beat his old teams and does so again 32-10

Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams

This is going to be an intriguing game. I hate most things from Arizona but the Cardinals aren’t one of them. I am banned from watching any game between the Giants and Cardinals because when I watch the Giants lose. But this is a match up of two teams who don’t know who they are yet. Can back up rams running back carry the load in St. Louis while the Marshall plan is out 4-6 weeks with a broken hand? Will Mike Martz ever run the ball more than 15 times in a game again? And as for the Cardinals, is Anquan Boldin the real deal or a flash in the pan rookie who got off to a hot start? And why pay good money for the NFL’s all time leading rusher in Emmit Smith and not get him the ball?

Gut Feeling: I’m really pulling for the Cardinals, Arizona has gone through enough torment with having to take Lizzie from New York and they deserve something good. I don’t see it happening because Marc Bulger has something to prove and I think he does it against the Cards weak D. Rams 24 Cards 17

Interview: The Dropkick Murphys

(Guest Author Rebecca Moyer)
Rebecca’s interview w/ James Lynch, guitarist for The Dropkick Murphys:

It was a muggy, overcast day in mid august, and the 2003 Warped tour was on its last legs of its summer long run, when I had the chance to catch up with James Lynch, guitarist of Boston based, Irish influenced, punk rock group, The Dropkick Murphys. As it was his second to last day of non-stop touring, and as I myself did not want to miss the upcoming Suicide Machines set, (not to mention the fact that I was a bit ill-prepared for this interview), we kept our repertoire sweet and brief.

First off I was very anxious to ask anyone who had had any sort of contact with Shane MacGowan (of the Irish band the Pogues) what he was like, what their experience had been like. A few years ago Dropkick released an album, Sing Loud, Sing Proud, on which they recorded a few songs wit Mr. MacGowan. These songs included old traditional Irish favorites such as ‘Wild Rover’, as well as new ones, such as ‘Good Rats’, which explore the mythology behind rat’s contributions to Guinness’ greatness.

RM: Can you tell me what it was like to work with him [Shane MacGowan]? Or just how he is…just talk about it…
JL: It was amazing. Working with him was a great experience for me ’cause it’s hard to get him to work. But myself, Ken the bass player and Matt the drummer, were in the studio with him. Matt and myself were drinking, Ken was trying to work and be the producer type. So everything that came out of his [Shane] mouth we thought was absolutely brilliant and half of it was garbage and Ken had to be the bad guy and try and get something usable out of him…you just want anything about Shane MacGowan what do you want?
RM: Yeah anything really.
JL: We played a show in London with the Pogues… and yeah we all stayed at the same hotel. So it ended up we sat at the hotel bar with Shane and its funny, he seemed totally out of it and out of nowhere he pulled something out like, oh you’re awake? I was sitting next to him and I was buying a round of drinks and I signed for it and he looks over at me and goes.. ‘What’s your last name?’ I was like.. ‘Lynch’ and he goes.. ‘My mother’s a Lynch’ and just went back to his drink. And we drank with him till the sun came up, went to bed ..came back down and he’s still sittin’ at the same table…
RM: So it’s like he took a nap there?
JL: I think he just kept on goin’. He’s a machine.
And that was the story on Shane MacGowan.
Next on the table was another important question…and that’s roots. Now one may assume that since we are talking about The Dropkick Murphys, a band famous for their Irish pride, that I might have gone on to ask Mr. J Lynch about his ancestry, where could he date the name Lynch back to. But then one would realize that this guy had quite the Boston accent, and would remember that if there is one thing that the Murphys are known for besides being Irish, it’s that they are from Boston. So I figured that some hometown questioning was in order. Besides, I also figured that Mr. Lynch might be able to recall his personal history more acutely than that of his great grandfather’s, though, I could have been mistaken.
RM: So, you’re from Boston originally are you?
JL: Um, I’m actually from Worcester.. ’bout a half hour outside of Boston…I live in Boston now, I moved when I was like 18… the way I ended in Dropkicks was I was in a band called The Ducky Boys, so I had toured with The Dropkicks before and knew the guys.. so when The Ducky Boys broke up it just so happened that The Dropkicks were looking to add another guitar player and that’s how I ended up.. ya know
RM: So how do you feel about Boston’s music scene, say back when you were in The Ducky Boys..there were a lot of small but well recognized, Boston based bands, compared to now, everyone’s getting bigger, I mean you guys have gotten a lot bigger but everyone still knows you guys are a Boston band…
JL: Yeah the whole Boston thing, when The Ducky Boys and Dropkick were first starting out that year, Boston just blew up..any shit band that started in Boston could have put out a record that year because everyone was just looking…its like anything else.. take like Rancid, No Doubt for instance.. Berkley. So everyone goes runnin’ there to look at the band.. Boston had our thing in like 96-97 whatever.. and it’s still there, its just not as apparent. There’s still shows all the time, there’s still a lot of great new bands that people don’t know about playin’ there ..you just gotta dig a little more for them..its not in your face.
RM: Can you tell me any bands that people should be sure to check out from that area?
JL: The Kings of Nuthin’.. Incredible.. Ah a new band called Homesick Radio.. some friends of mine that are really good.. The Unseen have been around longer than Dropkicks..they’re amazing. They’ve got a new record out.
Okay, so yay for Boston. We like Boston. Back to Ireland, and that line of questioning.
RM: Do you know anything about Irish folklore?
JL: Uh.. very little…couple of guys in the band could talk your ear off about it, but uh..
Okay, enough about Ireland. Maybe enough in general, that was pretty good for a first tie interviewer eh?
RM: Lets see.. do I have anything else? Do you have anything else?
JL: Eh…nothing that I can think of off the top of my head.
RM: All right well thank you.

Terrific, the end. Mr. James Lynch everyone, hell of a nice guy, was in hell of a good band (The Ducky Boys), is in hell of a good band (The Dropkick Murphys), lives in hell of a great city (Boston). Well hell, I say that rounds us up. Till next times ladies,

This is Rebecca Moyer, investigative reporter, over and out.

Oi, what a nutter.

For more on The Dropkick Murphys, visit there website at http://www.dropkickmurphys.com . And be sure to check out their new album Blackout, released by Epitaph Records.

Moment of Remembrance

I know the site hasn’t officially opened yet, but I’d like to take a moment and stop to remember all the people lost on this day two years ago, in NY, PA, and DC.

I especially would like to look out for the great men and women of the NYPD and NYFD who bravely fought to save as many people as possible and in some cases gave their lives.

May all of our fallen rest in peace today, but let it be known that they did not die for nothing, we are a better people today because of their sacrifice, we are closer, and much more aware of the injustices of the world, on each end of civilization. Though we may not all agree on the actions of our government since this we should be eternally greatful for the sacrifice our friends and loved ones made, for us and for eachother, for they are truely American Heros.