Monty and Morgion 037: Cutscenes Within Cutscenes

08Mar03 (Monthenor): Like the comic says, I was watching Xenosaga yesterday. That's why this is the closest my comic has come to deadline in a long time. This week a friend described the new MM look of drawn-gerbil-on-digital-photo as "surreal", but I bet he hasn't even known surreal until this comic. Using apartment photos for the background doesn't make it less work, it just shifts the work to a different location...Photoshop as opposed to my clipboard. And yes, that is my actual clipboard being featured.

So what's Xenosaga like? Well, I'm only about ten hours in so far...meaning I've gotten about five hours of gameplay. I shit you not. It's definitely a different RPG experience from my DiabloII/Final Fantasy I roots. The story just feels massive, not necessarily timewise, but it has a weight behind it that I've only felt in novels and The Longest Journey. I really don't mind sitting through thirty- and forty-minute cinematic expositions, except when one ends and the next is only five steps away. Again, I shit you not.

Despite these occasinal pacing problems, when the gameplay settles in it's a masterful creation of turn-based strategy. I'll admit something, I'm not very good at the active-time battles that Final Fantasy has turned to. I like the more thoughtful combinations and tricks that come from having time to plan...or go get a drink.

So the story keeps me going, and I'm sure that I won't be done by 7PM tonight when it's due, but that's what Spring Break is for. I'm also VERY interested in the Xenocards minigame. I was just wallowing in Magic nostalgia last Sunday with nobody to play.

"It's like a pen shell crapped a rainbow in my brain!"
03.08.03 (Morgion)

OK, so it borrows from Sealab 2021… and Iron Chef… and Monty said it (at least I think that's what he said—there's still a lot of Xenosaga in my noggin). "What are you blathering about," you bitch at me. "I'm aw stufft ub… fribbin hed cold," is my reply. Those are the sorts of associations that are expressed when everything else is blocked by the phlegm filter in my head. Yes, it is gross. But I haven't had to deal with a cold for a very long time… so that means everyone gets to share in the joy.

Speaking of joy, my part-time employers at [store name removed to thwart the competition… because we know everyone reads GM] have given me a go on designing a completely new website for them. They're currently at Yahoo! Stores. Here's a sample of a Y! Stores template which, like all Y! Stores templates, seriously blows. Yeah, that's right, you have to program your layout. It uses RTML (read "proprietary Yahoo crap") which is based on LISP (hence the "R" for "recursive").

Within about five minutes of starting work there, I was hearing things like "and now that you're here, maybe we can [insert a myriad of features to implement or problems to fix]". I had excellent ideas on how to enhance the site's functionality within a beautiful interface. Unfortunately, trying to do that through Y! Stores would be like trying to open a pickle jar without opposable thumbs. I could eat some radioactive waste (metaphorical equivalent of attending a Y! Stores conference) in an attempt to mutate thumbs… but that option would be quite unattractive.

Monty tells me to tell you to visit Probably so we can all stop asking him "which gerbil is that?"

Public Service Announcement: has their server configured to discourage deep linking of images. So don't try it, unless you like trannies. Unfortunately, I'm not talking about automobiles… *shiver*

08Mar03 (Monthenor): I was feeling pretty good about five minutes ago. Xenosaga was spectacular, and I'll be attempting to finish it up over Spring Break. Not only that, but just before it had to go back it opened up the splendor of Xenocards to me. Once you get past the small fonts used for the life and attack values, you get to enjoy a pretty good card game mechanic against (what seemed to me) a vicious AI. To say that I was "schooled" in Xenocard is to cast aspersion upon the entire schoolteacher community, as this game was much more like "recess", inasmuch as the computer recessed my testicles into my abdomen with his knee.

But I was still flying pretty high. Xenosaga was great, and now it was time to satisfy my craving for Chinese food. So, we'll just get in the Montymobile here (imagine you're getting in the Montymobile) (no, it's a two-door), and give her a little gas...c'mon baby...c'mon...START, DAMN Y--. Okay. Good. Turn up the heater, turn up the radio. Turn on the rear defrost...hey. Hey! Don't die on me!. DON'T DIE ON--fine, I'll just crank her again with some more gas and...hey! Give me my key back! GIVE ME MY KEY YOU DIRTY FROZEN PIECE OF CARBURETED GUTTER SCRAPINGS!! *yank yank yank*

Right. Car ate my key. I've had some trouble with cold before, and I've had some trouble with not-cold before, but never before has the car refused to return my key. It had only been sitting idle for a day, but apparently it doesn't feel like going anywhere this weekend.

Fortunately the Chinese food and after-dinner movie (the good Psycho, not this trash) lived up to expectations. Then I get home and actually read Morgion's post. Now I'm giggling and choking and coughing and I can't believe anyone would actually use Yahoo!!!!! Stores. I haven't choked this much since I saw Gilbert Godfried doing a Jerry Seinfeld impression, but that was choking in a "please let me die" way whereas this is more of an "I despair for the Internet rubes". It's a subtle difference in the phlegm content and pitch. Most people miss it.

And yes, the quote in Morgion's title is me. I forget what exactly on Iron Chef set that off...probably the Japanese actress saying "Pen shell makes me so happy" or some shit like that. Yet more factual content in Morgion's post: I did indeed finish the Biographies mostly so people wouldn't bug me about which gerbil is which. And each image also links to a large poster-quality image for our fine folks up at CNSE.

Consectuive Phlegm-Mentioning Post Count: 2!

Attend a Yahoo! Stores Conference and learn our advantageous Shoe-Tieing Algorithm!
03.09.03 — 8.43 PM (Morgion)

After Monthenor's reaction last night, I thought I'd post the description of the Y! Stores conference that I narrowly avoided attending. When my employer showed me the crap I'd be "learning" at this farcical exhibition of convolution, it compelled me to convince him Y! Stores is a dead end.

I made the right decision… if I'd have to sit through a tutorial on how to add a graphical order button, I would have gone postal; Y! employee and geek-wannabe gibs splattered all over their "state-of-the-art computer lab".

Oh! I almost forgot. Phlegm.