1997–The Offspring–Ixnay on the Hombre

By no means a new album, or even an underrated album that I wanted to help people discover, I found myself listening to this one again just last week and I had to share it with everyone.  Ixnay on the Hombre (mp3 download or on CD ) is one of those hallmark albums by a band.  It had some of the biggest hits, and the long time fans all agree it’s one of the best: just before The Offspring “sold out” with songs like Pretty Fly for a White Guy & Original Prankster.



This was the album where, I feel, The Offspring really began to show they were more than just punk rockers with power chords.  They had songs like Amazed that seemed to have been influenced by the likes of Nirvana, Way Down the Line, which almost had some kind of karmic message, and Mota, which at first seems to glorify the use of marijuana, but actually goes to great lengths to stress how it’s ruined the life of the song’s protagonist.  This album also holds what for many is the pinnacle song of The Offspring’s maturity: Gone Away.  What people consider the last great song before the “sellout era” (which, I must admit, at the time I started to turn a little against the band, but I couldn’t get enough of songs like Staring at the Sun).


Gone Away is one of those songs that really gets at the core of why we listen to music in minor chords.  To know that other people have been in the same dark places we are.  This album takes you there and back out, with songs that make you smile, laugh, and even some that make you want to riot in the streets.  Some may consider this the album where The Offspring lost their edge, but just before they really sold out.  I consider this the album where The Offspring showed they had the ability to mix up their playing style and really showcase some previously untapped talent.

Xbox 360’s Ring of Light




Ever seen that ring of light that lights up when you start up the console, and corresponds to which controller is connected?  It’s also used to diagnose problems with the Xbox 360.  Nothing new, we all know about the “Red Ring of Death.”


But did you know that Microsoft has provided you with an easy way to figure out what the lights mean, AND even how to try and solve your issues?  Microsoft has created the official Flashing Lights Wizard.  It will walk you through the process of troubleshooting your Xbox 360, and even help you get it serviced, if it comes right down to faulty hardware.  It’s quick, easy, and provides all the information you should need to try and fix your on Xbox 360. 


Be sure to check it out on Xbox.com!

Rocky Jumped a Park Bench

If you’re on my site, chances are good you’ve played a video game or two.  Chances are also fair that you’ve seen the “Angry Nintendo Nerd” on YouTube.  Did you know that the same guy put together a series of videos, detailing as many of the spots around the city of Philadelphia that he could find that were featured in the Rocky movies?  Well he did, and he put them all together in a series he called: Rocky Jumped a Park Bench.




B-Games (like B-Movies) so bad they’re good!


I’m cheap.  Extremely cheap.  So when I see a game like Shellshock 2, Blood Trails for $20 brand new, I have to pay it some attention.  I picked this little gem up and started playing it.  While the graphics don’t live up to a lot of contemporary titles, they’re by no means bad.  And the story?  It’s as over-the-top plot (like an exploitation film from the 70’s!) combining war and horror.  Think Full Metal Jacket meats Condemned (too obscure itself? Your loss. Fine, think Resident Evil).



The game takes it’s “M” rating and runs with it – the “F” word is only sometimes abused in dialogue, but in the “journal entries” that you see on load screens our favorite-fill-in-for-fornicate may has well replaced the space bar.  It’s so ridiculous I can’t help but get sucked in.  It’s one of those games I can only take in small doses, but for under $20 I’m sure to get my money’s worth.



What’s that?  You don’t know what Sacred 2 is?  Well, it’s a game that, according to Amazon, is $11 used right now.  It’s also about as close to Diablo 2 you’ll ever get on the Xbox 360.  Like killing things and picking up loot?  Sacred 2 may be what you’ve been looking for.


Finally, I have to tell you: when I heard DarkStar One: Broken Alliance was coming to the Xbox 360 I was thrilled.  I had always wanted to play DarkStar One on the PC, but never had a chance to sit down with it.  For some reason, I found it more convenient to be coming to my Xbox 360, and what made it better?  It was budget-priced!



DarkStar One is a bit like the classic Wing Commander spin off series, Privateer.  If you liked space flight sim games from the 1990’s, this looks to be another case of “as close as you’ll get on the console.”  Here’s hoping that changes in the future.