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A tale of love, life, and a barking dog

I've spent the last two, no, three weeks, shitting my brains out due to some weird stomach virus I got for some fucking reason. It got me thinking, what kind of Beauty & Beast member would I be?

See, when we first moved into our new apartment about a year ago, I was really nervous about sound. The last apartment we lived at was in government housing and our neighbors were the worst. They had this weird fixation on me and so every time I would make a noise, they would complain. They never even met me, I mean shit, people got shot at least once a day in that neighborhood so I wasn't going outside any time soon. It turned me into a recluse. Worse still, it made their fixation on me grow deeper. I have always been a night owl and so I sometimes sleep during the day and stay away at night. It's just who I've always been.

But I make noise sometimes. I can get loud, although not too loud. But their fixation shifted into this weird fantasy where they thought I was listening to them have "adult time", if you know what I mean. Every time I would make a noise, they would be over knocking on our door, complaining about the pervert upstairs listening to them. Ironically enough, I bought a pair of 5.1 Surroundsound Wireless Stero Headphones for my PS3, so I couldn't actually even hear what was going on in my own room, much less next door.

It got worse though as time went on. They complained pretty much any time I would talk to friends, be it via skype or playing video games. Whenever I would yell downstairs to my mom or anything, they'd be over, saying I was listening to them have sex. Every day it happened. Even sometimes when I'd be at work for 10 hours, they'd come over and complain because they thought I was still home even though I was not. It was funny watching these people practically devolve right in front of me. But they made life hard for us. I couldn't watch TV anymore because they'd just complain about me listening to them, because they somehow misinterprit the sounds of gunfire and screaming about getting to the chopper as me with an ear to the wall. Don't even ask, I don't know.

But we got out of there and moved. I was actually able to live without fear of crazy neighbors. In fact, our neighbors seem okay. I think they are drug dealers but I don't say anything because they keep to themselves. But see, something changed recently. The neighbors got a dog.

Now, this dog isn't your typical dog. It's not one of those blue eyed American Dream, family value dogs. This dog is the most annoying fucking evil being on this planet. This cross-eyed white furred bastard does NOTHING but sit outside and BARK, BARK BARK BARK, BARK BARK BARK at the fucking ground. No, not at passing cars, not at the neighbors kids or even another dog, the GROUND. THE IMMOVABLE EARTH ITSELF.

See, I don't mind when the neighbors kids would go out and play, even when they do so right outside my window, because kids need to go out and have fun you know. I remember when I was a kid some guy yelled at me about playing outside and it affected me. No kid should go through that. No, I have no problem when they play. But this fucking four legged infidel beast from hell... this fucking creature of damnation itself. The  GOD. DAMN. JOHN CENA OF DOGS. IT DOESN'T STOP. IT DOESN'T QUIT. IT DOESN'T SHUT UP. IT WON'T SHUT UP. IT CAN'T SHUT UP.

I open my window sometimes and just look at this monster, staring at the ground, barking. Why? Why does this dog bark? Why does this evil have such a problem with Mother Earth, Terra herself? Is it the color of the stone? The amount of dirt covering it? Ants? Could it be ants? These questions keep me up at night while the dog keeps me awake during the day. I've developed an intense insomnia and I have trouble going to sleep. I can't stay still, my wrestless leg syndrome waking my mind and the obsession this dog has with the ground. But that's not where it ends, unfortunately.

Back to the sound, why does no one else hear this dog? Why does no one else complain? Am I the only person being kept awake at night, with the thoughts of this fur covered living hell? Do the neighbors not hear this? What is their strategy? I am prone to thick, noise cancelling headphones and loud muisc, but that dog seeps through, one BARK, BARK BARK BARK, BARK BARK at a time.

When my body collapses due to the intense fatigue of staying awake for days at a time, I dream of the dog. But these aren't just dreams. These are nightmares. I see the world through its eyes but I don't understand its thoughts. Bark, bark? Bark bark BARK! BARK! BARK BARK! BARK BARK! Bark... Bark? Bark! Bark! BARK!! The ground...? Why the ground? Why are we barking at the ground? Is there something there? Someone? Have we discovered a secret of some sorts?

I started seeing a therapist. We talk about my life. The loss of my birth mother/sister and how that may have affected me at a young age. He says that even though I was too young to understand it, it may have caused some sort of trauma in my young mind. We discussed the passing of my father and how I still have trouble accepting it. When I was young, I would be too scared to sleep in my room so I'd go out to the living room and sleep on the couch, only to be awoken by my dad playing Gran Turismo. I'd wake up to play with him and we'd take turns beating the time trials. We had so much fun doing that. He didn't play many video games, but Gran Turismo was certainly "our" game. And in my dreams, sometimes I'm there with him on that couch again, playing those games again. I look to my dad and tell him I love him and he looks at me and he mouths something, but I can't hear it. There's this... this noise, it's so loud that I can't hear my dad. I tell him I love him again and he mouths something else but I can't hear him. It's this sound coming from somewhere... Bark... Bark bark. Bark bark bark. Bark. BARK. BARK. BARK BARK BARK.

It's the dog. It's that same fucking dog, outside my window, barking at the fucking groud. I can't even see my dad anymore because of this fucking dog.

My therapist came up with an idea to do a sleep test. I'll come over to a hospital and they'll hook some wires up to me and study my sleep patterns, that maybe they can get me the help I need. It goes well enough, they gave me a nice comfortable bed with a blanket and some pillows, hooked me up to some wires that run into the room next door where they can monitor me, and after a temporary, 20 or so minute fight with insomnia, off to sleep I go.

This time, sure enough, is a dream with my dad again. This one is one of my favorite memories of him because of how absurd it was. See, my dad was a truck driver, he drove semi trucks across the country for about 30 years, especially long before I was born. Growing up, me and my mom would go with him all across the country. I have memories of seeing New York, California, Las Vegas and all kinds of crazy monuments before I was even 6. We'd been there and seen it all. This memory wasn't actually that old though. I was about 15 or 16, just a year or so before he ended up getting sick. We're on a trip to New Jersey, where we have to deliver a load. As it happens, the load got delayed. We picked it up too soon so we had to wait in the middle of nowhere at some truck stop in New Jersey. It. Wasn't. Pleasent. We're in the parking lot of a Flying J truck stop, using the worst wifi imaginable while I talk to my internet-girlfriend on Gaia Online(No one said being a teenager was easy) and that's about all we did for three straight days. Aside from going inside and eating from their terrible buffet which was terrible, there was nothing else we could do.

Cut to three days later and we're finally on our way. It's night now and we're driving across this dark road somewhere on the way out of New Jersey. The radio is on some rock station and no one is talking. I decide to look over and see what my dad is doing and he has the biggest shit eating grin on his face I've ever seen. I'm all - what - and he's over there trying not to laugh. I look out of the front and see this deer standing in the middle of the road... but... but this is different somehow. The dream is different from my memory. I've dreamed this a thousand times, but this time it isn't the same. It's as if time stops while my mind tries to work itself out, to figure out what is different. Is it my dad? No, my dad is the same. Is it the truck? No, that's the same too. Is it me? I don't know, I can't say for sure, but everything looks like it's okay. That's when I look out at the road, where the deer is standing. Except this time it's not a deer.

Bark... Bark... Bark... Bark... Bark. Bark. Bark. BARK. BARK. BARK. BARK! BARK!! BARK!!!

It's the dog. But he's not barking at the ground anymore, he's walking towards the truck. But I'm not in the truck anymore. I'm standing in the middle of this empty, black road. He's walking faster, and barking louder. It's starting to hurt my ears, I try to turn around and run but I know I can't outrun a dog. Those things are fast. But the sound is hurting, it's so loud. I've got to try something.

I run faster than I ever thought I could and my chest is pounding. I tell myself not to look back, but I do and the dog is close. I keep looking back and the dog is getting closer and closer. I turn one more time but this time I trip and fall down and the dog is right on me, about to bite my face off and that's when I hear people calling my name. It's drowning out the barking, little by little. I wake up in a hot sweat with my therapist grabbing onto me, trying to wake me up. There's some doctors standing around the room with cooling blankets and I'm immediately worried. Am I gonna have a heart attack or something, what the fuck are these people doing.

They said I was sleeping fine for a while but then my heart rate began increasing rapidly followed by a body temperature spike. They said if I hadn't woken up I could have stroked out. That's not something you'd want your doctors telling you after a nightmare, but nothing I can do now I guess. I stayed there for a couple of extra hours while they made sure there was nothing wrong and I went home.

The day was a lot better for me, definitely one that I needed. It was raining and very chilly outside, so the neighbors kids or dog were inside this time, and I could relax as much as I wanted to. I hit up Netflix and started watching It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia since some of my friends keep cramming it down my throat, why not finally watch? The day goes by and I get some much needed rest. The next day I can hear the neghbors kids outside playing and I bide my time until the dog starts barking again, but that day goes by and I get even more R&R. I'm almost back to feeling 100% when the next day comes along. Outside the children are playing but no dog. Did they get rid of it? Did someone else finally complain and they got rid of it? I saw the neighbors outside and decided to ask.


"Hey, I haven't seen your dog around in a while. What happened to it?"

They looked at me, then each other and had a little laugh.

"We've never owned a dog."

And in the distance I could hear the all too familiar sound creeping back to me, one at a time...

BARK!!! BARK!!! BARK!!!

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MGSV: Going off the rails in a Phantom Train

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain seems to be bursting at the seams with ambition, from what Konami has released in these past few weeks. First we get a brand new trailer, some hot new screenshots, and press even got to see a live demonstration of the game played behind closed doors at E3. And their reactions say a lot.


Phantom Pain is an immediately stunning game. The scope of the mountainous landscape littered with canyons, livestock, villages, and creeks is staggering. Riding your horse across the plains brought shades of Red Dead Redemption, even down to the way the music would swell as you neared a dangerous area.
Writes IGN.
Before Snake heads towards the enemy camp, he surveys his surroundings. It's a gorgeous scene. The Phantom Pain's stunning open world is 200 times bigger than Ground Zeroes', we're told. This is true next-gen gaming, I think. Then Snake's horse takes a dump, right in front of the camera. We see everything, from the rear, in all its 1080p60 glory.
Writes Eurogamer.
All told, The Phantom Pain is the most complex Metal Gear Solid game yet, and I can't wait to dive into it headlong; under the cover of a cardboard box, of course.
 Writes Gamespot.

From the sounds of it, The Phantom Pain is a popular game amongst the people who got to see it at E3, and this is why. Just today Konami has released a 30 minute video of this demo onto the internet.



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Ground Zeroes: The first non-Metal Gear Metal Gear. Part Three, Final.

Ground Zeroes issue number 121423: hashtagnothinguponcompletion.

This is a big detractor for me as a fan of the series and someone excited for the game: You get nothing for getting 100 percent. Absolutely nothing. Again, big shock. In past games you would get get a bundle of things depending on conditions met such as: A Tuxedo costume that you can wear when replaying the game, a bandana(Editors note: This almost said banana) which gives you infinite ammo, a stealth camo device that turns you completely invisible to enemies, allowing you to poke and prod and preform all sorts of not-very-nice activities. You would also sometimes receive a weapon such as a Revolver or a Patriot, with infinite ammo.


You know, Joaquin Miller, I have no idea why you are still here.


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Ground Zeroes: The first non-Metal Gear Metal Gear. Part Two.

One big issue I have with the story of Ground Zeroes is one of the most confounding to me: The new voice of Snake. After David Hayter was fired and Kiefer Sutherland was hired, it really wasn't easy for me to accept. It still isn't. The voice of the english version of Snake for over 15 years and let go without notice because they were shifting focus from voice acting to facial capture.

I need an adult

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Ground Zeroes: The first non-Metal Gear Metal Gear. Part One.

With the release of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes we have witnessed the next entry in the Metal Gear Solid universe, but was it good, or was it bad? Once upon a time(Read: One month ago) I thought it was good, great even, but now I'm not so sure.

One reason is probably the most disappointing: The glitches. Metal Gear Solid often has little to no glitches found within its titles and the ones that are there are so small and trivial that it's not worth mentioning. Ground Zeroes is littered with bugs that make me question many things, particularly the FOX Engine's reliability.

One bug not particularly exciting were the disappearing bodies. On PS3 and PS4(And Xbone360, I'd wager) the bodies would disappear if there were a handful of them in the same area. One such occurance of this was during the Side Op: Rogue Threat Elmination, in which I had tranq'd one of the targets and he fell down invisible. The map showed he was still there but never the less, I had to return later to find his body laying there, as it was before.

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On Ground Zeroes; Pricing, Length, and Entitlement

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes has drawn up a bit of controversy in these past few days. It started with a Game Informer article, which says they were able to finish the game in "about" two hours. That was shortly followed up with information that Kojima Productions speed-runners were able to finish the main mission(Of which there is only one. The rest being side missions.) in 5 minutes.

The controversy surrounding the game chalks it up to being a cash-grab for Konami, a clear plead for more money. They've hit a "roadblock" that Ground Zeroes could clear, people say. Konami needs money, and they are splitting this segment of the game from the rest of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, to earn it back, and that's not cool, people are saying.

The reality with this scenario is that The Phantom Pain is an unknown amount of time away and bears such a drastic change from the traditional Metal Gear Solid formula that it would benefit both the fanbase and Kojima Productions by easing players in with a tutorial. But it's not just a tutorial, there is a narrative that will lead players into the next game, The Phantom Pain.

This way, with as far out as The Phantom Pain could be, they can incorporate feedback right into the game and improve it even further. But for some people, this isn't good enough.

Let's look at the pricing for Ground Zeroes.

  • Retail PS3/360: $30.
  • Digital PS3/360: $20.
  •  
  • Retail PS4/Xbone: $40
  • Digital PS4/Xbone: $30.

Hmmm. It's actually quite pricey, isn't it? It may be quick to write off most people as "the internet" we all love to hate, but when you look at the numbers, for a game that can be potentially completed in 5(Read: FIVE) minutes, those higher numbers start to look worse and worse.

It's definitely interesting to see a reduced price for a small taste of the game, that definitely makes sense and it's nice to see publishers making such forward progression towards the realization that digital games are cheaper than retail games, due to no case, and less overall cost to them, the additional price on the PS4/Xbone versions are not so nice.

In practice, you could end up paying double the cost for one version of the game than the other. It's nice to think that Konami would be so progressive with its pricing for digital being less, but it forces me to think the opposite when you see next-gen versions are more expensive than their predecessors.

When you boil it down, what advantages does the PS4/Xbone versions really have to offer? Better graphics? Faster loading times? Is that worth paying twice the price for it?

When you boil it down to looking better and loading faster, under all of the grime and glitter, it's the same game. No additional content will be applied to the next-gen versions, no additional support is planned. When you buy the game, you get the game, whatever version it happens to be.

In my opinion, people have a right to be peeved about the situation with Ground Zeroes. In my boat, I have always planned on buying digitally for the PS3, which in my opinion, is the most appropriately priced version, $20. For $20 you get one short mission and 5 side missions, and a couple of cutscenes. You also get to play around with the brand new mechanics, weapons and world of Metal Gear Solid, which is the biggest selling point to me, but not many people would agree with me on that.

For a time, you could get a game titled Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag for around $40 when it was on sale. That game consists of at least 50 hours of content. For someone without a lot of money, that $40 commitment is a no-brainer. Assuming you like the Assassin's Creed formula, you are getting tons of content per dollar. A stark contrast to the content you will find in a game like Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, which is already the spark of debate around the net.

How much you spend vs. how much fun you have, that's something you'll have to figure out for yourself. But as Hideo Kojima and the rest of Kojima Productions have recently posted around their social media counterparts, they truly believe in the quality of their product and will proudly see the title on shelves next to games very much like Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.

Regardless, there are people out there that would probably pay even more.

On second thought, maybe $40 isn't so bad...

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The blog is now finalized

It's been months, and quite frankly I've forgotten all about this thing a few times, but it's finished. It's unfortunate that image Shack had to move to a premium model, as that's where I decided to host the images for this blog, so that probably won't end up backfiring or resulting in catastrophic failure.

I am excited. The world will hear my words(that kill) and I will be internet famous in no time, and dead by 30. The way it should be.

I hope you enjoy what I may potentially write in the near or far future, depending on when I forget this exists.

Thanks.

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