Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ear Plugs Please

My son is out of school for the summer.

We bought him a Play Station 3 to replace the aging (and no longer cool) Play Station 2 about month ago.

What do these two events have in common?

He's been bugging me to take him to Gamestop so he can cash in his old PS2, GBA, various games and controllers and whatnot. So, today while he and I were out running errands, I capitulated to his request (which is a nicer way of saying I was sick and tired of his endless nagging, Dad, please please please take me to Gamestop so I cancashin myoldpeeestooooostuff andgetbigmonenyandbuyrockbandsomethingorotherblahblahblah).

You know, in the grand scheme of things, Gamestop is a pretty cool idea. You can turn in games and game boxes and assorted game related stuff and get cash or credit and buy used games and game boxes and assorted game related stuff for pretty decent discounts.

Including RockBand for the PS3.

What is RockBand you ask? This is a big friggin' box of stuff that includes a guitar, drums, and I don't know whatthehellall that plugs into the PS3 along with some software. Basically, near as I can tell, the object is to make as much goddamned noise as possible short of a Titan missile launch complete with main booster malfunction and accompanying explosion.

Once, when I was in bootcamp, I got caught sneaking a smoke when the smoking lamp was out. The Drill Instructor made me light up a non-filtered Camel, assume push-up position with my head and shoulders inside a large metal garbage can, and do 100 push ups while hotboxing the cigarette with the rest of the platoon beating a thunderous cacophany on the outside of the can with various metal objects. My head rang, my eyes watered, and my stomach heaved for hours afterward. I'm fairly certain that the severe degradation of my hearing began on that day.

Rockband Hero for the Playstation 3 is a lot like that experience.

Pity me.

It's going to be a long, long summer.


  1. I stand corrected.

    It's RockBand 2. Way more much better.


    What?Sorry, can't hear you.

  2. Rockband 2, Guitar Hero, whatever.

    It's all way too LOUD.

    And get off my lawn!

  3. Aren't you supposed to play it with him? You old fart!

    (Or maybe just buy him headphones)

  4. Nathan, I have no musical ability at all.

    though, I may try the drums...

  5. the "drums" in that kit would benefit greatly from some dynamat stuck to the bottom of each pad.

  6. I played it once, and as a bit of a musician found it difficult until I stopped trying to play the songs and realized it was just a hand-eye coordination thing. As someone who hasn't enjoyed video games since the 80s, I found it fun, but then I was playing it with a group of other adults.

    I found the drums the hardest to play, honestly, but I'm a bass player.

    And if I'm not mistaken, it can be played with headphones. Get some good around the ear cans, those earbud things are terrible for your hearing.

  7. Mensley, You ain't kidding. I was a cryptologist for a significant fraction of my enlisted career, I know all about those damned earbuds. The only thing better than earbuds? Sharing the last two pairs with the entire watch section for the remaining four months of the deployment. CT's know everything there is know about every kind of ear infection there is. And Tinnitus, for that matter.

    I really haven't played Video games since the (very) early 80's either, well except for Sins of a Solar Empire, that just rocks.

  8. Hmmmmm, Sins looks fun, and I'm looking for a good time-waster as the wife is about to leave the country for a few weeks.

    Sharing earbuds? bleh! I felt weird using the aforementioned wife's once when we were traveling this Spring and she needed to go to sleep and I was still wired. And I wouldn't feel odd about sharing a toothbrush or deodorant with her. I guess it's because we're not in the habit of aural intimacy.

  9. Wait, you're smoking again? What?

    And I was going to make a joke about bass players and musicians, but I'll just leaved it that we can all rag on banjo players.

    Hmm. Rock Band 3, Bela Fleck edition. I can see it now.

  10. Bootcamp was twenty-five years ago, Steve. I quit smoking when I married my wife, almost 18 years ago now.

  11. Banjo players? Crap, that's about the only thing that could make this worse ;)

  12. Bela Fleck makes the banjo actually sound cool. It might make the game better, if that's at all possible.

  13. The banjo IS cool!

    But Bela Fleck does make it extra cool.

  14. Hey Jim, two questions, a) does the boy read your blog? and b) Are you the type who will cheerfully look ridiculous in order to embarrass the boy?

    If the answers are no and then yes, i have a suggestion for the perfect revenge to rock band abuse...


    Free open source game, similar to the guitar hero/rock band mes... but you can apparently load your own choice of music. **grin** And you play on your computer keyboard.

    Load it up with some tunes, that you like, but embarrass the kid, crank your speakers during a lull in his game with his friends around... It's all fun and games until you have to pay the bills for his therapy.

    Good thing i am not a parent, if i were, it's unlikely for me to live long enough to be a grandparent.

  15. Mfhc, No he doesn't read my blog and that is just a perfectly evil idea you suggest there.

    I like it.


  16. well Jim living in the barracks i see alot and i mean ALOT of rock band being played, something i did with some of my boot, i told them i would buy them a case of beer (just wait i know he is underage) if they read the first 5 chapters on a book called the dancing wu li masters by gery zurkov they havn't played sense, come to think of it they havn't done much except scratch their heads and qustion thier own reality.

  17. Good Gravy, Jarhead! You're not giving Marines philosophy. Are you insane?

  18. actually it's a very interesting breakdown of newtonian physics and quantum mechanics written by a physasist i personally loved it, however most people (yes even intellagent ones) have a tough time wrapping there head around it, i don't think the UCF will have any trouble but the average high school student (i was a junior when i first read it and havn't been right sense) will need to be very ready for it.

    and by the by tell your son STELLAR haircut he made this devil very proud and he looks very sharp.

  19. I dunno, as someone who's studied both Eastern philosophy and quantum mathematics, books like that make my teeth itch. That said, I love the use to which you've put it.

    I can totally see marines bursting into a fortified compound, putting boot to neck and screaming, "Prepare to have your fscking wavefunction collapsed! Where's the buddha-nature? WHERE'S THE FSCKING BUDDHA-NATURE? Call in a kharma-strike, these guys are totally supporting a dualistic worldview!"

    My favorite banjo joke is usually told by banjo players who relate that they made the mistake of leaving their banjos in their locked cars. When they came back, the car was broken into and a second banjo was left on the backseat.

  20. Sorry to be confusing, I usually comment as "mensley" but I seem to have been signed in with "fatoudust"

  21. I'm with Nathan, Jim: you need to try to do what uber-geek Wil Wheton does and play the game with your kid if he'll put up with you. It's a social game anyway--hence the "instruments" kit.

    Musical ability doesn't count for shit with Rock Band and Guitar Hero. There's a great clip on the internets of Rush (one of my least-favorite bands, but undeniably ultra-talented guys) in the greenroom at the Colbert show being given Guitar Hero and "Tom Sawyer"; the only member who keeps up AT ALL is Neil Peart (and the "drums" are the only "instrument" in the game kit with any resemblance whatsoever to a real musical instrument). Lifeson and Lee epic fail several seconds into their own song.

    Hell, I can't play Guitar Hero for shit even when I have both arms, and I used to do a passable version of "Is Anybody Out There" on my Alvarez back when I still sort of played....

    So give RB2 a try. You might find you and your son kicking some ass on a song you'd never'a'thunk you'd both like. And don't worry about "musical ability"--seriously, it's pressing buttons, not making an Esus9 or something.

  22. I stand corrected: Rush fails 2 mins in:


    It's mostly Lifeson trying to make chords. Like I said--ability doesn't help. Can even be a liability.

    Give the game a shot.

  23. Oh, sure, Eric.

    You cripple yourself, typing with a broken wrist, fresh from surgery no less, to comment on fucking Rock Band 2, BUT the Liberalism post only gets "Great Post, Jim?"

    Damn it, Man, you're making me insane! Damn liberals, no sense of priorities!



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