Amoeblog

Guitar Hero World Tour & video game timeline

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 21, 2008 06:48pm | Post a Comment
Guitar Games

The first installment in the Guitar Hero series was released in 2005. The developers at Harmonix were obviously inspired by 1998’s Konami’s GuitarFreaks, in which players also use a guitar-shaped controller with colored fret buttons on the neck and a pick lever to score points playing along to rock music. That game never took off on the level of Guitar Hero though, partly because GuitarFreaks required players to shred along to the likes of Mutsuhiko Izumi, 桜井 敏郎,  小野秀幸, 前田尚紀 and Jimmy Weckl (né ジミー・ウェックル), who composed songs especially for the game. Guitar Hero's innovation was including 47 AOR songs by the likes of the Ramones, Deep Purple, umlaut-abusers Blue Öyster Cult and Motörhead -- songs that, whatever you think of them, are seared into your brain if you've ever drank a Mountain Dew, rode in a Z-28, watched a television commercial or shopped at Amoeba. That means even if you've heard "More Than a Feeling" 603,501 times more than you ever wanted, you'll have no problem playing along.



In 2006, RedOctane (the manufacturers of the guitar controllers) was purchased by Activision and Harmonix was bought by MTV. In 2007 Harmonix released, through Electronic Arts, Rock Band -- basically an expanded version of Guitar Hero which added other instruments, another innovation inspired by Konami’s games of the previous decade which followed up GuitarFreaks with DrumFreaks and KeyboardFreaks.

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Ceres - Dwarf Planet

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 19, 2008 09:01am | Post a Comment
Dwarf planets are objects with sufficient mass to assume a roughly spherical shape but yet too small to get picked for the starting lineup in the solar tee-ball match. There are currently four planets designated as dwarf planets. Before 2006 they were also known as minor planets, planetoids and (my favorite) subplanets.

  

Although there are currently only four designated dwarf planets, there are at least 41 known objects which may qualify when we get around to it. And when the Kuiper belt is fully-explored, there may turn out to be another 200. Beyond that there may be another 2000 subplanets in our solar system.
Ceres is named after the Roman goddess of cereals (a word which is itself derived from her name) and motherly love. She was both the sister and wife of Jupiter. Her worship was adopted by the Romans in 496 BCE, during a particularly severe famine. Her followers were mostly plebes who controlled the grain game in antiquity. For some reason, their rites included tying burning sticks to fox's tails.

The original name for the planetoid was Ceres Ferdinandea but that got shot down as not everyone was so keen on brown-nosing Spanish royalty. The dwarf planet is the smallest of the currently designated subplanets. It was actually discovered way back in 1801 by Giuseppie Piazzi who wrote, "since its movement is so slow and rather uniform, it has occurred to me several times that it might be something better than a comet." Even further back, Johann Elert Bode, in 1768, had suggested that there may be a planet between Mars and Earth. And lo, Ceres is situated within the asteroid belt. It's actually the largest  object in the belt --making up a third of the belt's mass. Its surface is made up of water ice (more than the total amount of water found on Earth), carbonate and clay. The weather on Ceres isn't that bad, reaching -38 degrees Celsius, which is warmer than some Midwestern winters I've experienced.

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Hispanic vs. Latino & Hollywood Brownface

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 15, 2008 02:24pm | Post a Comment

Hispanic Heritage Month


September 15th to October 15th is officially recognized as Hispanic Heritage Month in the USA.The dates of the observance were chosen due to the timing of El Grito, the "cry" that brought the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua's independence (followed closely by Mexico and Chile.).
 

Some fellows celebrating "El Grito"


"Hispanic" vs. "Latino"


I suppose it's kind of interesting that whoever named the month chose the term "Hispanic" instead of, say, "Latino." Hispanic sounds old-fashioned to me, but then again, I know people younger than me who refer to themselves as just that. I still think it's like calling February "Colored History Month" or May being "Oriental Heritage month." The government's choice of "Hispanic" probably owes to the fact that the term "Latino" was in less common usage forty years ago when the observance was instigated by Lyndon B. Johnson (initially as Hispanic Heritage Week). Both terms are considered offensive by some indigenists since they disappropriate Native Americans from their origins and languages by defining people with sometimes no European ancestry with Eurocentric terms.

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An Amoeba with a blog?

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 12, 2008 10:36am | Post a Comment

The punchline includes the phrase "...an amoeba with a blog?" Seinfeld, or "Jer" as I call him, is a loyal reader of the Amoeba Blog.  ...and since I know he's among the dozens of loyal fans out there I just wanted to say "Thanks, B."

And now, if I may, I'll scratch your back, Mr. S...

Jerome Allen (as he used to be known) was born in Massapequa, a hamlet which was also home to Steve Guttenberg, the Baldwin Brothers, Neil Diamond and Twisted Sister's Dee Snider.

His big break came on the television series, Benson, as a mail delivery boy.

Throughout the '80s he appeared on late night chat shows peddling his humorous observations that invariably began with the question, "What is the deal with..." Allow me to have a go... "What is the deal with sporks? Are they spoons or forks? And what's the deal with skorts?" Guaranteed to bring the house down!


He became known for his influential sartorial sense as much as his humor. Frequently he would wear a billowing denim longsleeve with jeans, a suit jacket and high-top sneakers --a look which says, "I mean business, but I'm a kid at heart!" His hair, swept back and bushy, was de riguer for comics of the '80s, from Richard Lewis to the aforementioned Guttenberg and loads of others.


In 1984, he landed a part in the comedy The Ratings Game (available exclusively on VHS).

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Today's holidays

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 9, 2008 09:00am | Post a Comment


St. Ciarán of Clonmacnoise Day - Catholicism



Kiku no Sekku (Chrysanthemum Day) - Japan 

  
Republic Day - North Korea



Independence Day - Tajikistan



Admission Day - California



Synaxis of the Theopatores Joachim and Anna - Orthodox Christianity



Father Laval Day - Mauritius
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