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The Wonder Years - The Upsides

 The Wonder Years - The Upsides Pop Punk's not dead? For the last 10 years the genre of pop punk has been dying a slow death. In the early 2000's Emo, Screamo and Metalcore took over as the predominant genre in the scene and because of that, pretty much every pop punk either disbanded or converted to another genre. Probably the best example of this is Blink 182. Their self titled CD wasn't even close to pop punk, the genre they helped create and popularize. So for the last 7 years, I've been listening to pre-2005 bands.

Enter The Wonder Years. I did a random Google search one day on the term "pop punk's dead". What I found is during the last couple years there's been a revival and The Wonder Years are one of the bands leading the charge. Their second CD, The Upsides is a perfect example. After my first listen, It sounds eerily like The Starting Line's "Say It Like You Mean It" which has always been on my list of top 10 CDs.

No surprise, the band grew up a mere 30 miles away from The Starting Line in a Philadelphia suburb. While the lead singer sounds almost exactly like Kenny from The Starting Line, the band does have some differentiators.

The Wonder Years are a bit faster in tempo than The Starting Line. Their lyrics are also a bit more personal to the lead singer. He frequently makes references to friends, inside jokes and locations that the average person would know nothing about which is somewhat of a drawback but I've never been too lyrically focused with music.

The guitar riffs are the real standout on this CD. It's melodic punk to the extreme. There is seldom a second on the CD where there isn't at least two guitars playing two separate melodies to combine them into one great sound.

The overall arrangement and song selection is pretty good. There are 2-3 songs that I don't "love" but when compared to other bands releasing music now days they are well ahead of them. The songs that are my favorites are REALLY my favorites. They're of the charts on a 1-10 rating. Say, a 15/10. I've found that their faster songs seems to fit into this category more than their slower songs.

My favorite songs are well spread out through the track listing:
2. Logan Circle
4. Dynamite Shovel
7. Hostels & Brothels
9. This Party Sucks
11. Washington Square Park

Overall I give The Upsides a 10 out of 10! It's by far my favorite CD purchase of this year and I'm extremely happy to have run across this band....View Comments (0)
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Rating: 5/10  |  Votes: 5

Dead Island (PC)

 Dead Island (PC) I bought Dead Island a month ago after reading about it in some of my RSS feeds. I was a bit hesitant at first since I hadn't done a great deal of research on it first but, the game turned out to be a surprise and I've found it to be incredibly fun!

Dead island is a mix between a first person shooter (FPS) and an role playing game (RPG). One thing that sets it apart from other FPS games is that you almost exclusively using melee weapons (weapons that you hold in your hand and do not shoot). While there are guns in the game, they aren't very effective against the zombies. The guns can be used to set off explosives such as propane tanks though. The hand-to-hand combat really makes for a distinct game like no other out there.

The RPG elements allow the player to upgrade and customize their melee weapons making super weapons. Also, the player is allowed to upgrade their abilities to their choosing allowing for distinct gameplay each time you start the game over with a new character.

I've owned the game for little under a month but according to Steam I have 65 hours of gameplay into it. I'd this clearly states that the game is a classic in my library. I give it a 10/10....View Comments (0)
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Rating: 10/10  |  Votes: 1

Western Digital VelociRaptor Hard Drive

 Western Digital VelociRaptor Hard Drive I'm reviewing my new Western Digital 150 GB VelociRaptor hard drive. What's special about this drive is it spins at 10,000 RPMs. Typical hard drives spin at 5,400 or 7,200 RPMs which means that they take longer to find data on the drive. While it may be related to much of the other improved hardware in my new computer, I have noticed that my computer now boots much faster and applications installed on my VelociRaptor run much faster than normal. Because of this I installed Windows 7 on my drive.

The one drawback to the drive is it will cost you a bit more money for the performance and you'll get less capacity for the price. I offset this by buying a 1 terrabyte drive to host the remainder of the files on my computer.

I give the Western Digital 150 GB VelociRaptor a 10/10....View Comments (3)
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Rating: 6/10  |  Votes: 2



I recently bought a new TV set that came with Netflix embedded into the TV's software. I had previously been using Blockbuster, mostly as just a holdover since all my movies were entered using that service. A friend of mine recommended Netflix, and since it was integrated into my TV I gave it a try. Since then I have been quite satisfied with the service.

Streaming Movies

One of the best things about Netflix is I can pick out movies on my computer and they will show up on my TV letting me pick from them since my TV is hooked up to the internet. Not all movies on the service are available this way, and not all of the movies available are in HD. Regardless, this is a really awesome option. In a way it's almost like I own the movies because they can permanently sit in my streaming queue on my TV.


Also, while using Blockbuster I would often pick out obscure 80's horror movies that I'm interested in. It seemed like these movies were always stuck in "long wait" mode and half of them never shipped. I have a feeling that Blockbuster didn't have these movies available in the first place and was just trying to lead me on with them. After using Netflix I've found that all of these movies are available and immediately.

Ship Time

It seems like Netflix might be slightly faster with shipping times than Blockbuster. Overall I probably average about a movie once a week or sometimes twice a week. I do think that Netflix ships my next movie quicker than Blockbuster did.

Wrap Up

Overall I'm quite satisfied with Netflix and all of the devices they're available on. I could pick between my Xbox 360, Blu Ray player or TV set to watch movies on and I'm quite happy with the available movies to choose from with the service. I give Netflix a 9/10

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Rating: 3/10  |  Votes: 5

ZDoom - A Doom Source Port

 ZDoom - A Doom Source Port

I've always enjoyed playing old school videogames from my youth. I'm constantly reminded that graphics are nice, but gameplay is the most important factor in a game. Recently I got the itch to play Doom 2. I cranked up my install of Windows XP, installed the game (if you can call it installing) and played it. Unfortunately the game is so old (almost 15 years) that I was unable to use the mouse in the game. After 15 minutes of playing terribly, I looked for a solution. I first found a mouse driver but that didn't work. Next I tried an old school joystick I use to use but that didn't work either. Finally I found on a Doom wikia, a source port called ZDoom.

Back in the 90's Id released the Doom source code for Linux. Some savvy people took this code and converted it for Windows. The next step was to enhance the game to make it playable with modern technology. One of these enhancements was a source port called ZDoom.

ZDoom adds many of the features of modern first person shooters. You can now jump and crouch. The game also lets you define custom controller options (something that was lacking from the original Doom.) Because of this I was able to apply my tried and true FPS controller settings to an old school game like Doom 2. In a way, this made me a super-player and made the game much more enjoyable.

Probably the coolest thing about ZDoom is the modders went back and updated many of the textures in the game for higher resolutions. I can now play Doom 2 fullscreen at 1920x1200 without extremely blurry graphics. The graphics don't look earth shattering but I will say they look good enough that I can once again play the game without being distracted by the blurriness.

ZDoom also comes with an updated network play option that supposedly makes it easier to play against friends. I haven't tried this yet but it would be fun to play with friends.

A few other features the game includes is an updated HUD that is much more useful than the original Doom 2 HUD. The new one shows you your ammo for each weapon along with with other stats like secrets found/total secrets and enemies killed/total enemies.

Overall ZDoom takes a classic game and makes it playable again along with a few modern conveniences we come to expect from modern FPS. I give it a 8/10.

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Rating: 5/10  |  Votes: 2