Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Agnoizing Summer Job

I picture the perfect summer evening by relaxing in a comfortable in my back porch with something cold to drink and surrounded by my friends. Unfortunately, I was stuck up every morning at 8AM, driving to some random location somewhere in Connecticut and proceed to hock items at people who walk by. Sounds like a wondrous summer, right? It was definitely the agonizing summer everyone would love to never experience in their lifetime.

It was the summer after my junior year from college and like always, I was left without a summer job due to inept planning and a lazy mindset. Actually, for this particular summer, I was planning on a summer job at a mail processing center where my mom works but plans fell through so my ideal and hefty paying summer job was a figment of my imagination. While living at home with very few cares was great, I eventually felt like a bum and decided to go look for a summer job. Thankfully, a friend of mine, Erik, was in the same boat as me.

I’ve known Erik since middle school and we’ve remained friends through college; he goes to Providence. In fact, we made it a mini-tradition to go see a few concerts over the summer, such as the Warped Tour or other gigs. So having Erik around, along with the possibility of working together, was a spirit booster during a time of inner turmoil and impending lack of funds through college.

We hit the usual hotspots near my house, since I live near several strip malls, such as Toys ‘R Us, RadioShack, Wal-Mart, Blockbuster, FYE, Blimpie, heck, even PETCO! But much like my fortune, no one was biting until an excellent turn of events unfolded right before my eyes in front of a Shaw’s. I was met with a smiling, young man wearing a suit and he commented on our style of clothes. Bewildered and confused for a moment, the man suddenly threw t-shirts in our direction. Suddenly, I immediately knew what was happening, I was in the throes of a salesman – the t-shirts were adorned with the DARE logo. In the end, that’s what their job is: raising money by selling items for charity.

I recognized all the classic signs, the enticing greeting, the smooth talk, the quick hands, the lightning-fast placement of items into my hands and the rapid-fire succession of money; I was in the presence of the typical salesman. Little did I know that my desperation of a job would eventually lead me to one of the most painful job experiences of my life. If only I had a time machine so I can go back and tell my past self to not take this job; I’d rather suffer at home than baking in the 100 degree summer day weather.

The pre-interview jitters were getting to me as I was anxiously waiting in the reception room. Community Events (previously located in East Hartford, CT, now in Cromwell, CT), I’m going to admit, I didn’t think too much of the name; I actually felt it was a pretty laughable name to be honest. Obviously, that’s not something I’m going to mention to the owner of the company though. Along with Erik and me, there were probably 3-5 other people sitting in the reception room. I immediately noticed they were all the same age as me and I assumed they were in the same situation as I, desperate for a quick summer job.

The actual interview was an experience in itself because it was different than your typical interview. Instead of your usual Q/A session, I actually went out with two salespeople to a location somewhere in CT, in this case it was a CVS in Storrs, CT, and I observed the two salespeople as they did their job. I was constantly told that if I was free to leave at anytime and was given strict instructions to not interfere or assist during sales too. So for several hours, I stood in the sun, scribbled notes on my hand-pad as my trainer rattled off notes and observed the two salespeople (two ladies, aged mid-to-late 20’s) do their sweet talking and selling various items for charity. Thankfully, the day wasn’t too hot and there was plenty of shade so the whole ordeal wasn’t that terrible.

Once the day was winding down around 4PM, we packed up the table and the items and drove back to East Hartford (at the time) for a quick interview with the company’s owner (a rather financially successful middle-aged woman) and I was offered a job. I’m going to admit, I was completely naive in the deal, I was absolutely happy that I got a job but I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

The insanely early mornings, the constantly shuffling of heavy ports (the boxes filled with items to sell), the constant cramming of information and sweet-talking tricks, the constant yawning, the constant yelling at people to come over; all of these lead to the crippling summer job. It was a harrowing experience but also a knowledgable experience because it gave me some experience in talking to strangers and somewhat expertly selling products. It’s the art of legal swindling; a job like this is one step above selling stuff from the trunk of your car on the street corner. You’d be taught on how to sell items and how to pull fast-ones over people because using charity as a scapegoat (in a good way though) is a good way to get people in the giving mode.

Wintery Wonder

The day opens with a wintery wonder complete with rain and snow

Looking out the window, all I see is white

The loom of nature surprises me and puts me in the know

Clouds turn to pale and become bright

Each snowflake is unique and maintains a dream

I ask, “Does each snowflake really commit to be unique?”

Putting an ear to a snowflake, here is what they mean

“Listen closely and here is what you seek.”

The wintery wonder puts me at ease

All I really see is just a mix of snow and rain

And I think, is this what I should really see?

To think like this, it’s really vain.

The wintery wonder is what makes me smile

Without it, humanity would be so much more vile.

Haze dissipates, confirmed for May '08 release

Like a continuing line of slaps in the face, the broken record line of announcements from Ubisoft throughout late last year and this year regarding Haze's release date was pretty painful to endure.

On Eurogamer, Ubisoft threw all of these delays into the trash can and confirmed that the first-person shooter Haze will be released for the PS3 this May.

Originally slated for release last November, the game was pushed back to December of last year, then to Q1 2008, then to next month, and finally then rested at Ubisoft's fiscal 2008-2009 year, which runs from April 2008 to March 2009. The last "confirmed" release date seemed to be a death sentence for Haze, but thankfully the game will be released this May.

The game is currently a PS3 exclusive game but past rumors have appeared that the game may head to PC and/or Xbox 360 in the future.

Sunday, April 1, 2007


Been awhile since I made a post here. Seriously now, it's time to use this. 'Use this' refers to just posting gaming news and stuff, I guess.

News - Sunday - March 31st:

Wii NiGHTS Details

"2-player mode, online play, new characters, underwater levels, epic boss fights and wii-specific posts"

Eidos Still Steamin'

Bring on the rest of the
Thief games and Tomb Raider games and I'm good to go!

My Previews or Reviews:

Sam & Max: Reality 2.0 Review - March 30th

"Episode 4 took the craziness to the presidential level; now Episode 5 takes it to the virtual level. So how is
Reality 2.0? In a few words, it's absolutely wonderful...Of course, the voice acting is once again spot on. I would run up and hug all the writers that give Sam & Max their wonderful and colorful humor and charm, because it's characteristics like these that really make this adventure series what it is, and do a good job of keeping gaming fresh." Final Score: 8.3 out of 10.

Maelstrom Review - March 29th

Maelstrom tries too hard and ends up failing at several core RTS concepts. Poor AI, unnecessary skills, a lame story, and a wonky camera all contribute to the game's shortcoming, but it still retains some dignity with its terraforming system and quick and easy online matchmaking." Final Score: 6.2 out of 10.

Red Ocean Preview - March 27th

"Picture an underwater research facility. Now picture the same underwater facility with terrorists who've taken it over, and you're sent in to annihilate them all with large weaponry. If that tickles your fancy, then Collision Studio's upcoming FPS
Red Ocean will be right up your alley."

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sam & Max Episode 2: Situation: Comedy Review

Who would have thought that one of the first few episodic game series to actually stick to the formula would be about the adventures of a dog and a rabbit-like thing named Sam and Max. Now that the second episode is out just a mere two months after the first one, fans who enjoyed the comedy shtick between the two main characters will be perfectly satisfied with Situation: Comedy. Along with adding new characters, appearances from old ones and a whole new slew of zany conversations, Situation: Comedy is a solid pick-up for folks who are looking for an adventure filled with hilarity.

Situation: Comedy picks up with, where else, Sam and Max getting another mission from their office. This time, talk show host Myra Stump has gone crazy and taken her audience hostage. So it's up to the two pals to figure out what's up. Familiarity will immediately strike you once you look around the office again and also when you venture outside. Sybil's place is still up at one end of the street, albeit with a change from psychotherapy to journalist of the "Alien Love Triangle" (which is pretty self-explanatory). On the other end, you still got Bosco's store, who adopted a hilarious new moniker to keep the heat off his back. Trotting to the TV station where Stump holds her show, you'll have to convince the studio director that the duo are suitable to appear on Stump's show. In other words, ol' Sam & Max will have to humiliate themselves on low-brow TV shows before jumping to Stump's show. It's pretty obvious where these TV shows get their ideas from and its the laid back, satirical humor that makes the duo's appearance on them that much more hilarious.

For example, Max can act as one of the judges on "Embarrassing Idol", which is full of painfully hilarious acts and rather horrendous insults from the rabbit himself, such as "His singing sounds like a cat being dragged through rusty machinery." Poor Sam can only act as one of the contestants. In "Who Doesn't Want to Be a Millionaire" Sam stumbles on absolutely random questions and, unfortunately, doesn't win a million bucks despite his best effort. New characters include Hugh Bliss, famous "magician" and Prismatologist, and Philo Pennyworth, the unfortunate prize-winning actor who's stuck on some crappy TV sitcom. Bliss' overly exaggerated happiness and Pennyworth's acting skills are all great additions to Situation: Comedy.

The puzzles are not hard at all, just like the first episode, and they are all adopted into the game rather tastefully. One early puzzle has the duo trying to track down Bosco's last can of shaving cream, which has been captured by a group of rather dubious, and skinless, rats on little motorcycles. The rats can easily dodge Sam's revolver shots so you have to figure out how to use the road to slow-down the rats.

The audio is still one of the main points. The voice acting of not only Sam & Max but also the rest of the characters is still top-notch. Also, the accompanied jazz-influenced soundtrack is absolutely superb. All in all, the humor is still offbeat and hilarious and the various quips from Max are still absolutely random. Like the first episode, expect the gameplay to range from 4-6 hours, depending on how long you decide to look at everything and listen to what the duo have to say. Situation: Comedy is currently available on GameTap and will be available from Telltale's website on January 5th for $8.95. The machinima shorts that bridge the gaps in-between each episode are released somewhat weekly on Telltale's site, too, so check them out.

Final score: 8.4 out of 10.

Gameplay: A point n' click adventure game with funny dialogue.
Graphics: Neat art style, like Episode 1.
Sound: Great soundtrack and voice acting.
Replay Value: Play to listen to everything, but that's it.
Final Word: Hilarious continuation, and it looks like it'll only get better from here.

Posted at GamerNode.