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Today's Update


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Western Meadow Lark

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Dr. Phil McGraw

I should apologize beforehand for today's update since it's not the typical kind of comedy you've probably come to expect. That might be a positive, but then I'm never a good judge of that sort of thing. I had intended to post this last week, but in the middle of writing it I got some really unpleasant news and was in no condition to be "funny," not that this turned into something funny anyway.

This article basically came from me thinking a little too hard about mostly trivial things. My grandmother passed away under comically depressing circumstances last month and I kept thinking about all the things she had seen and done in her life. She was big on telling stories, mostly about her life and family, and historic events such as World War II or the Depression often factored in heavily. Of course when I looked back on my own miniature life, history was kind of off to the side and never really a factor. Furthermore, if someone asked me what I was doing on a day when something historic happened, I would have a really horrible answer that would probably involve playing computer games or telling inappropriate jokes about said historic event. Granted I am pretty young and jerk-like, but it got me thinking about history's lack of effect on me. I've somehow managed to avoid just about everything of a remarkable nature in my life directly, and the indirect stuff just goes in one ear, gets turned into a bad joke, then simultaneously exits from the other ear and my mouth. It's just noise.

Obviously there are some faults in an article like this, since history takes time to soak in and isn't always going to impact people the same way. I was trying to be kind of abstract about it I guess. I'm sure it's a different experience altogether if you live in Sri Lanka and survived the tsunami or witnessed 9/11 from the streets of New York or live in Iraq, but so much of everything I take in from the news is second hand and disconnected from the reality I live in. Second hand news packaged with second hand opinions tailored to suit a specific need. It all seems very excluding to me. Not that I want to be drafted and sent off to explode, mind you.

Anyway, I really didn't set out with any grand ambition for this article, and the premise was murky at best, but it was kind of fun to write. I was just worried I'd end up sounding like one of those crazy conspiracy nuts I make fun of in the Awful Link of the Day. Yes, it was a pretty pathetic article for a comedy site, so just deal with it, missy. JUST DEAL. I get bored writing typical rants and that sort of thing, so I try to mix things up whenever possible with bad short stories and whatever else my brain comes up with.

Next week I'll try to write about something fun and phantasmagorical!

The Mars Tourism Industry is a Joke


I played through "Resurrection of Evil," the add-on for Doom 3. It was pretty much like Doom 3, but with a gravity gun that seemed weak and frail and girlish. The helltime stuff was a pointless addition that annoyed me when I had to use it. It was just a lot of window dressing on weak gameplay. For some masochistic reason I still enjoyed the game overall. I don't know why. The add-on is definitely a step up in terms of fun from vanilla Doom 3, though. I guess sometimes you don't need much more than point and shoot at dark blob cloaked in shadow gameplay. I may write another DynaMars update soon. Those are seriously fun to write, but I don't want to overdo them.

Things Doom 3's Grabber can do:

Pick up small crates, projectiles, flying enemies, and clutter.

Things Doom 3's Grabber cannot do:

Lift a tiny little candle in the hell level. The wax is made from the souls of dead fat people.

I don't understand why the thing can't just kind of half-heartedly try to move larger objects. It would be kind of fun if you could just sort of drag things that are too heavy with it. And hey, why not have a little toggle switch that makes it act like a grappling device? You know why that option isn't in there? Because it might accidentally make the game fun. I swear sometimes there's just no logic in these first person shooters about transdimensional demonic invasions.

Also just because you can make a monster that flies at the player and knocks him around or runs up and claws at him in total darkness doesn't mean you should. I can't stand when some stupid little monster starts scratching at me from nowhere or flying into me and knocking my view around. And what's with the gratuitously annoying "CAWWWWW!!!" scream every time that happens? If I wanted annoying realism I'd join the space marine corps where I would excel to the top of my class by inventing a method of using a flashlight and gun at the same time. But then I complained about that already.

Quake IV looks hideously ugly from screenshots. Don't get me wrong, the graphics look sharp, but that doesn't help much when you're filling your game with unattractive crap. I hope there are at least a few missions that take place somewhere pleasant and sunny and colorful. Maybe they could have the game take place during the 1980s so that all humans dress in colorful clothing and all the aliens are partnered with Columbian narcoterrorists. Otherwise why not just call it another Doom 3 expansion? It's not like Quake IV is part of a coherent franchise.

Overall, I'd say I'm sick to death of demons and robots and demon robots. Oh, and also demonic robotic aliens. But, if pressed against a wall, I would prefer demonic robotic aliens to elves and hobbits any day of the week. I guess what I'm trying to needlessly say is that fantasy games are awful. Would whoever is making Fallout 3 please get it done soon? If you could do that and not mess up the story like they did with Brotherhood of Steel, I would appreciate it. The post-apocalypse is my favorite place in the whole world. It's my summer camp.

Although this isn't in the DSM-IV yet, I'm pretty sure I've developed an irrational fear of checking my e-mail. Sometimes it's very exciting and there are lots of nice responses, and other times it's just full of junk and scary letters I don't feel like making sense of. What's more fun is that if I make a mistake I hear about it roughly 80 times. I make no secret of the fact that I am illiterate, and I write these updates by slamming my hands on a giant board with buttons that feature pictures representing common words. Sometimes I mash the wrong button or don't properly interpret the pictogram. I'm pretty sure this is actually a converted cash register from a fast food restaurant, which might be why I write about hot dogs so often.

So if I don't get back to you in a timely fashion, it's because I'm having crippling anxiety attacks that prevent me from even moving my mouse cursor near my e-mail program's icon. I do ultimately read every single thing I get that doesn't insult my penis size or my ability to please a woman right off the bat. Oh who am I kidding, I even read those.

When I was young Nintendo welcomed me as ripe material for Team Power. Today I'm not so sure they'd even consider me. I'm still putting my Team Power membership on my Résumé.

Some Words from Dr. David Thorpe


Josh “Lowtax” Boruff has generously donated part of this Daily Dirt section to let me write some stuff, so I’m much obliged. Josh is a weary old cowboy. I’ve only met him once in person, and I can tell you three things about him: first of all, he is quiet and morose, and you wouldn’t think he was funny if you saw him working at the gas station, you would think “give me my change, peasant.” But when you get him talking, he’s quite an amiable and funny dude. Secondly, he is a corn-fed white boy from Indiana, and if you played him a rap song (or even showed him a picture of a black person) he would probably get really uncomfortable. Third, his cell phone number is (000) 000-0000. Or at least it used to be, but he moved a while ago so that might not be current. But it matters not, because he is currently editing this part out. [DAVID YOU FUCK!]

Many busy executives ask me, “David Thorpe, how can I get a job writing for Something Awful?” Well, they might not be busy executives and there might not be many of them, but the point still stands. The point is that people want to know how to write for Something Awful. My answer is: I don’t know. I stumbled into it through blind luck. I made a few posts on the stark and imposing Something Awful Forums that caught the attention of some higher-ups, and Zack “Lowtax” Parsons eventually invited me to develop some sort of a feature based on my playful hatred of music. Since then, I’ve been coasting on charm and quietly waiting to be fired. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Zack for mistaking what I have for talent, and Richard Kyanka for donating his bandwidth to my endeavors.

Sometimes it seems like a pain in the ass to write about music every time I write. It seems difficult to come up with new stuff to write about all the time, but I shouldn’t complain: I just have to decide which bands to make fun of, but people like Josh and Zack and Richard “SpokkerJones” Kyanka have to come up with ideas out of nowhere. If they wrote about the same thing every week, they’d be accused of being one-trick ponies, like I ought to be accused of.

Thankfully, most of the people who write to me are very nice, and I appreciate all the mail I get, even though I don’t have nearly enough time to respond to it all. I even appreciate the mail that says my newest update sucked, because it helps me figure out how to please my audience. For example, whenever I do a Demo Roundup, I get ten or so mails saying “oh god, not another Demo Roundup” and about a hundred mails saying “make fun of my band.” I don’t know whether people think they’re boring to read but just want to get made fun of, or whether people want to get made fun of because they enjoy reading the Demo Roundup. It’s a conundrum, which is a type of small bucket.

The thing that people ask me most is “Dave, what do YOU listen to?” Well, I’m reluctant to answer that, because my internet mystique is based on me hating everything. I should just write up a form letter for when people e-mail me. I’ll give you a hint: my favorite American band had a video in which a man sneezed out a cat, and my favorite UK band had a song about gay oral sex (well, in terms of UK bands, that doesn’t narrow it down much). The band which I’m currently listening to most is composed of has-beens. And I love mainstream rap. Honestly. I watch the MTV2 hip hop countdown almost every day. The new Fat Joe single is hot! I also recently bought a Juelz Santana t-shirt on ebay. So there! Okay, this is too long now, I will stop writing.

– Josh "Livestock" Boruff (@Livestock)

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