Saturday, October 23, 2010

       Hello once again people, it's time for an update. If you hadn't read the previous blog and the comment I left on it, sadly I did not make IMEA, but I feel that it was a good experience because throughout practicing I had to take a good look at what I was doing right and wrong with playing music, so I feel that I have grown practicing for the auditions.
       People in my school who play videogames always ask me, what game are you playing? Since the unfortunate death of my Xbox 360 2 weeks ago I have been too lazy to fix it, and so I have been playing the PC/Xbox 360 Team Fortress 2 on the PC. Although you can get it for the Xbox 360, it is highly recommended that you get it for the PC because the amount of support the company Valve gives it as well as the support of the mod community makes the PC version completely different from the 360 version.
        When I answer with this people usually say, "What is that? that sounds like a dumb game," unless they are nerds like me. Well here is the description of the game. Team Fortress 2 is a cartoon styled objective based team shooter. There are 3 types of classes, and 3 of each. For offence, there's the scout, a Boston boy who's very quick but has low health, the psychotic Soldier whose main weapon is the rocket launcher, and the maniacal pyro, who uses a flamethrower. On defence you have the Scottish demoman, sticky bombs are your friends, the Soviet Heavy, wielding a fierce minigun, and the good ol' boy from Texas, the engineer. The last three are the support classes, who more indirectly help out the team, the Australian Sniper, the French Spy, and the German Medic. As you can tell from the descriptions all of the characters have their own unique personality and abilities when used right can help out the team well. An example would be the feared heavy medic combo. Heavies are slow but have a lot of health, making them an easy target, but put a medic who can constantly heal him then he is practically a walking tank.
(Warning following videos have lots of blood)

       Those two videos were just two examples of the crazy personalities of Team Fortress 2, also notice the violence. They have one video for each of the classes except for the Medic and the Pyro, don't know why. There are 5 modes you can play, payload, where you have to push a cart to an objective, one team defends the other is pushing, arena, basically team deathmatch, control points, where there are 5 control points, both teams push foward to capture all 5, king of the hill, there is one point and both teams want to capture it for a set amount of time, and one mode (not sure of the name) where there are 3-5 points which one team must defend and the other must capture. Notice the fact that none of these modes are free for all, meaning that teamwork is a necessity to win a match. The beauty of the game is that certain classes have certain areas where they can work efficiently and the fact that a lot of the classes have good chemistry together and can destroy the other team if used properly.

         I prefer to play as a rotating cast of the Spy, the Engineer, Heavy, Soldier, and Medic, depending on what the situation calls for, although if I have my choice I always go Heavy. The community is a great part of the game it is the community who keep the game relevant and move it forward. It is also a pretty mature community that don't usually spam their mics and aren't 10 year old children who somehow got a hold of the game. It's a great game with lots of personality and something that "casual" gamers don't usually know about. Also this story is a testament to how supportive Valve is to the modding community. Basically now that Valve has updated all 9 classes since the initial launch in 2010, they allowed some people in the community to make a new update and with the newest update gave them 25% of the profit, which was a big $39,000 for just making a couple of new weapons and hats. Crazy, right? This game continues to change and develop, and it is for sure not going to stop soon, showing that PC games still have a lot of steam.
        Like I said before, my 360 is broken and I don't know when I'm going to get it fixed. Does anyone know a good repair shop or an electronics shop? The holiday season this year seems packed with some good releases. I also just got the new Kings of Leon album, "Come Around Sundown" and I gotta say, it's pretty average. It's not a great album for sure, but it's also not a bad album. Something about it felt a little too formulaic, but you have to give the KoL credit for making their albums varied and their pretty impressive playing. Once again, check out Arcade Fire and their albums, if you don't you're missing out on some great music.
       Glak Out

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Blog of Failure

         So as promised, here's a new blog for this week. Earlier today, about two hours ago, I had my IMEA tryouts. As explained in the previous blog IMEA applies to some sections of band, choir, and orchestra. The orchestra IMEA tryouts were today, and they didn't go as planned. It started when I was driving to get to the school for auditions, and there was a LOT of traffic and therefore I did not have as much time as I would've liked to warm up and to practice the selections (which were posted on the door when you arrived). The piece that was being used for auditions was Brahms' Academic Festival Overture, which taken as a whole isn't that hard, but there are a couple of somewhat challenging parts in it. Here's a clip of it being played for those of you who like classical music, which I know isn't a lot.

        We found out that the teachers who are recording the auditions were late and somewhat clueless and therefore there had been a delay in our times, which was a waste of time and created chaos. Each room now was going at a different pace so no one was sure when their audition time was. I too was freaking out near my room, only to find out that I had been waiting at the wrong room and had to rush over to the right one and luckily make it barely in time. Halfway through the actual performance the recorder broke and I had to start all over again, which stunk because I had to start all over again. I then proceeded to fumble an easy part which really messed me up, and so I'm not sure how I did. Overall this was a pretty chaotic and strange experience
        I also said last week that I would be writing about Minecraft, the game that the gaming community has been clamoring about for the past month or so. Minecraft is game developed by indie developer Marcus Persson. The original concept of the game was a sort of survival game, but the community has turned it into a whole different ballgame. Their website is, and the game is still in an Alpha state which means in early development, although it is still playable. Gaming commentators Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik summarize the game pretty well in these comics, and (warning first comic has one explicit word). Minecraft is the very definition of a sandbox game, you can do anything with the tools. Your hand "punches/chops" materials and you can collect them and use them to build more things. Some guy made a floating city, another a fortress, another a city underwater, houses (which I burn down), underground tunnels, anything! The game had a free weekend when the servers crashed about 2 weeks ago, and since then more and more people have been exposed through word of mouth. This game is fascinating since it's so different and who knows what it'll bring to the table for future games.
Another resource,

        These two videos show how completely crazy the game is, especially the second one, some guy made a calculator within the game! This game has brought out completely crazy people from the gaming community and it'll be fun seeing what happens from here on out.
        This blog is running way too long so I'll close with a couple of thoughts. Today i had told my friends that I was blogging about videogames and comics and music and although some of them were joking around others were like "really man, that's really nerdish" or "I was going to, but writing about videogames seems too nerdish". Why are they so ashamed of what they enjoy doing? I understand that the level I take this stuff is pretty nerdy, but I don't know what the problem with it is. Just wanted to get that out there, and if you haven't already Arcade Fire is a great band that you should listen to.
Glak Out

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Intro! First Blog Post!

Hello the internet.
Today in Chemistry class we were assigned to begin a blog. This blog will be updated every week for a while. Let’s start with introductions. I am a sophomore in high school. I was born in South Korea but I have lived most of my life here, so I’m more American than Korean culture wise. I lived in the Boston area for about 10 years, Winchester specifically, and then moved into the Chicago area in 2008.
This blog will be about random topics that I’m interested in, at least for a while. Those subjects happen to be mostly in entertainment, such as videogames, comics, and music. Basically anything that comes across that I deem interesting I will write about. There are different sources that I will use for the blog. The two main websites that I used are for worldwide and general news, and for most of my videogame related news. Giantbomb especially is a great website, made of a great community and the editors are great. One of the four editors Jeff Gerstmann was a source of great controversy in the gaming community, the Kane and Lynch incident in 2007. If you google those two words together this controversy will be the top result, the end result being him being fired and his consequent formation of the indie website Giantbomb.
That's it for now mostly. Some music I have been listening to recently that are recent releases (came out in 2010) would be The Suburbs by Arcade Fire, and This is Happening by LCD Soundsystem, both great albums in their respective genres. Next week is IMEA auditions, which is an orchestra composed of different schools in their respective regions of the Illinois state, which will probably be tough to get in. I might also write about the new gaming phenomenon that is Minecraft, a sort of revolutionary and interesting game that is getting a lot of attention and for good reason.
Looking forward to writing some more later-Glak Out