Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gaming: The Slow Motion Death Scene

Today I was listening to The Weakerthans. The funny thing about music is that it can make you long for a life you don't want. For example, whilst listening to "One Great City!" and apartment hunting in Vancouver; all I could think about was flannel lumberjack coats, snow, basement suites and iced over ponds located five minutes from the one-bar town. I've NEVER wanted that life. As far back as I can remember, I've been a city girl. If I'd been allowed caffeine at age five, I would've asked for Starbucks cards instead of Barbies. Yet, here I was, dreaming about living in the small town that I couldn't get away from fast enough, with envy. Lust even. Maybe I'm just having an off day?

In other news, I tried InFamous for the first time. First let me say, I am aware, I'm behind. Second, I've never really blogged about gaming so let me lay down a few guidelines before I tap this land mine of possible comment abuse.

1. I am a girl.
2. I like to game.
3. We have a PS3. We have a Wii. We DO NOT have an X-Box 360. Anyone who wishes to regale me with the song of this so-called travesty is welcome to send me their used 360 which they've just replaced with a bigger HD and Kinect, OR send me a brand NEW 360 complete with Kinect, OR a shiny Best Buy gift card loaded with $335.98 (the price of a 360 with Kinect).
4. I play Bio Shock on "dummy" *ahem* "easy", to give you an idea of my skill level. That being said, I have an 80 priest in WoW (no, I'm not playing Cataclysm).

So, back to InFamous. Just like The Force unleashed, I rather ADORE wreaking havoc with electricity from my finger tips. It is possible that I've had more than several dreams about this very ability. The idea that I am the only person around with this ability is weighty, yet satisfying. I was a little miffed that the game auto-defaulted to inverted horizontal camera controls. Seriously? Was it Dyslexic Gamers Awareness Week when they programmed that? Maybe it's just me, but inverted controls drive me around the fracking bend.

Secondly, and I'm more embarrassed to say this than you are to read it... I am having a hard time without the auto-lock feature that Red Dead Redemption and BioShock have spoiled me with. I don't have a lot of spare time, so when I play a game I like to power through. Aiming just slows me right down. This unfortunate aversion to learning proper aiming tactics caused me to lose every game of 007 Golden Eye I ever played, and almost killed a beautiful gaming partnership (which no longer includes Golden Eye). It has not caused me to nut up and learn to aim. Perhaps InFamous will rock me out of my LazyBoy game play. Perhaps I'll quit if I can't get past this current hurdle (blogging to shake it off).

Third, is it really necessary to die in slow motion? I always consider this such a slap in the face. Lets just put it out there, dying sucks. It will never be glorifying, or exciting. It will always be the moment I feel absolute failure as a gamer, and possibly blow a tantrum due to the slight against my l33tness. There really REALLY is no reason to drag out this moment by programming the game to mock me in slow motion. In InFamous, every time you die, the screen turns black and white, and your character falls dramatically to the ground in whatever twisted, painful position seems the most suited to his demise. The fall itself seems to last eight seconds. In gamer time? FOREVER. I really wish that when I die in game, a quick fade to black will happen, maybe in easy mode big white letters spelling out DEAD, or even throw in a X_X to tip me off, then right back into the action. I get it. I failed. The milk has been spilled, but can we move on before it grows its own bacterial Dubai here? Game developers, I implore you, to avoid brain melting, controller damaging outbursts, please PLEASE avoid the slow-mo deaths.

That's all I've got at this point. For those of you who aren't gamers, I'll let you get back to Angry Birds (who am I kidding, I love that game). For those who are, I'm sure you've already had your daily judge-gasm over this post. Hope it was entertaining to say the least.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tips for Impressing Your Barkeep

Yes. Recovery is almost finished. Energy levels are still a bit wonky, but pretty much, I'm back at it.

Mostly that means serving an excess of company Christmas parties, and bartending for catered events. One thing that completely shocks me about these parties is people's lack of ability to be on time. You book a table for 40 people for 5:00 PM, and you don't show up until 5:45 PM, which puts you at the exact same time as the other party of 35. Then, you complain when your food takes a long time. I'm going just put this out there - the later you are, the more people order ahead of you. It's the physics of dining out.

That being said, I've had some very friendly guests lately, and not as many grinches as I expected (though I seem to fall into that category this Christmas). So many friendly ones, in fact, that I am making sure my wedding ring is in full sight at all times. I'm not sure what it is about female bartenders charging horrendous prices for rum and coke, but they're coming out of the woodwork. Perhaps its the fact that I'm generally the only girl in the room they HAVEN'T had to CC on a by-weekly email. Maybe it is just that I try to smile when mixing a caesar, and make conversation when I'm searching for your non-alcoholic beer (really?!). I'm told its a combination of something I'm unintentionally putting out there, and something that wish they were seeing. The funny thing is, there are so many many more head-turning women working there than me. I can only imagine what would happen if they were behind the bar!

Either way, I always feel like the jerk of the situation when I have to let someone down, and try to do it easy. Here, in the spirit of winter festivities are a couple tips for anyone planning to hit on their event bartenders. We see more than you'd think.

1. Festive ties are NOT sexy.

2. Telling me how lame your night is? Not sexy. My night is NEVER as good as I say it is but I can fake it. You're getting free food, and potentially company booze. Just, enjoy it.

3. Asking for a free shot is NOT sexy, you're not the first person to ask, and if we are caught, we will get fired.

4. Bringing mistletoe does not require me to come near you. Bartenders get a boat-load of loopholes most people don't know about. Please leave the holly at home.

5. If you are planning on coming anywhere close to asking your barkeep on a date, or even to the after-party / club / party-in-your-pants, you won't have a chance unless you tip for your drinks. Even the five free tickets you scammed off the underage receptionist. Savvy?

Good luck to all those who are on the prowl this season, and Happy Christmas to the rest of you. If anyone is volunteering to set up and take down my tree, there may be some Pumpkin Bourbon Cheesecake in it for you.

Time for this Grinch to polish her wine crank and get on with it!

**This post had NOTHING to do with writing - but that post is coming**