Reach vs. ODST

SPOILER WARNING: The plot of ODST and some of Reach will be discussed in this post!

When ODST was released, I was totally hyped. It was a Halo game with a protagonist that did not have the gravitas or plot strings of Master Chief. No shields, no dual wield, a weaker melee, shorter jump, a darker setting, and more tactical options. The protagonist would explore the city of New Mombasa after the Covenant have wrecked it and would determine the details of his squads demise by examining the wreckage they’d left behind.

This is a premise that has promise that the game did not exactly fulfill. It is true that there’s no shields, but there’s stamina, which is like shields. No dual wield, two new weapons which were kind of useful. The silenced submachine gun wasn’t all that useful but the silenced pistol was. But the melee attack was still really lethal, and no one would ever notice if someone compared the jumping and running speeds of the Rookie and Master Chief unless they were demonstrated side by side. But to me, the most disappointing aspect of ODST was the story: everyone gets out alive! A little banged up, a little dirtier but breathing! These were humans, not super-soldiers, dropped from low orbit into a wrecked, Covenant occupied city, separated from each other, facing the same kind of enemies and odds as Master Chief and getting out of it alive.

Throughout all of the Halo series up to ODST, Master Chief fights alongside regular marines and ODST troopers whom the Covenant cut through like wet paper bags. Master Chief survives and turns the tides because he is more than human. Bungie, in ODST, had the opportunity to tell a story that can connect to regular humans through loss and struggle, and everything ends up hunky dory.

When Halo: Reach was announced, I wasn’t excited. I knew Reach was glassed by the Covenant and it was a major loss for the UNSC, but after ODST I didn’t feel confident that Bungie would make use of that dramatic of a setting to do anything but give us another Master Chief Lite story. It wasn’t until the game was released, when other people were describing it as the best Halo story yet, that I actually got interested in playing it.

Thus far, it has delivered. Reach is taking a beating and the outlook is pretty hopeless. Jorge died blowing up a Covenant cap ship, just before a whole lot more pop into orbit. Kat takes a needle in the brain out of nowhere. Characters, heroes, potential Master Chiefs are dying.

Which is how things should be. Master Chief is so important and instrumental in the survival of the human race because he’s the last of the SPARTAN-II project. He’s the last super-soldier. If the rest of Noble team were to make it off of Reach alive, the question becomes “Where the hell were they during the first 3 Halo games?” In order to maintain that Master Chief mythology, no one can get out of Reach alive except him.

I’m on mission 9 out of 10. There are four more members of Noble team left. I’m sincerely looking forward to some grade-A heroics and an ending that preserves the legend of Master Chief.

The Google Laptop

I signed up to test Google’s Chrome OS as soon as I got a notification that it was open on my Chrome start page. I wasn’t expecting much to come out of it. I mean, why would Google send me a laptop? But I came back from an early class this morning to find a UPS truck blocking my driveway and then when I got inside I saw that he had dropped off a package for me! I was truly shocked to find it was a laptop! And even though it’s a test product, it didn’t come with a pile of paperwork and instructions. It came with one two-sided sheet. One side is for getting connected to the internet, the other side is some suggestions of things to try and simple usage instructions. But enough words, here are a bunch of poorly lit, blurry photos!

The Cr-48 in all it's glory! Note the huge touchpad.

The Cr-48 in all it’s glory! Note the huge touchpad.

A super-blurry photo of the search button, and you can see some of the browser buttons at the top!

A super-blurry photo of the search button, and you can see some of the browser buttons at the top!   

The log-on screen! That's an awful picture I took while I was getting changed this morning. The laptop has a built-in webcam and microphone!

The log-on screen! That’s an awful picture I took while I was getting changed this morning. The laptop has a built-in webcam and microphone!  

This is the start page. Unless you already had some pages open when you last shut it down, this is what it goes to after login! There is literally nowhere else to go, everything is contained within the browser.

This is the start page. Unless you already had some pages open when you last shut it down, this is what it goes to after login! There is literally nowhere else to go, everything is contained within the browser.

The only things in the system tray are a clock, your connection status icon, and a battery power indicator.

The only things in the system tray are a clock, your connection status icon, and a battery power indicator.  

The settings page is only slightly different from the settings page on the standalone browser but it's really just to accommodate a few essential system settings.

The settings page is only slightly different from the settings page on the standalone browser but it’s really just to accommodate a few essential system settings.

This thing comes with 100MB/month of Verizon 3G data for 2 years. FOR FREE.

This thing comes with 100MB/month of Verizon 3G data for 2 years. FOR FREE.  

Look familiar? Nothing really different here.

Look familiar? Nothing really different here.

Pretty much the same as the browser, except the account stuff.

Pretty much the same as the browser, except the account stuff.

The same scary stuff that the browser has. I've left it all turned on because I am actually interested in testing this thing and if my browsing habits help, then Google can have them.

The same scary stuff that the browser has. I’ve left it all turned on because I am actually interested in testing this thing and if my browsing habits help, then Google can have them.

Some simple account management and login security.

Some simple account management and login security.

Some of the pictures that didn’t come out were the actual laptop itself. It’s flat black, with no markings. No serial numbers, no giant Google logo, no nothing! There’s a couple of vents on the sides for heat, a VGA port, 1 USB port, a headphone jack, an SD card slot, a power receptacle, and that’s it. No disc drives and this thing is absolutely silent when it’s on. The battery is enormous but it’s also completely flat. I don’t know the dimensions of it but I’d hazard a guess that it’s a 12 inch screen and no more than an inch and a half thick.

I plan on taking it to school tomorrow to see how well it plays with the campus wireless VPN. Overall, really excited to have a new toy to play with!

Bizarre Teenage Love Dream

I thought I was going to bed at a reasonable hour when I went to bed at 10pm tonight but now it’s 1:30am and I’m wide awake. I had some screwed up dream about teenage love and I can’t get it out of my head.

I’m living in a house that’s not a house I’ve lived in before. My room is a big open shared attic, with two queen sized beds in between of two staircases leading down, with desks on the opposite sides of each staircase. I’m sharing the room with my sister. A girl I like is there. She’s got a pretty face and light brown hair.

We’re fooling around and I feel like I really like her and we have some kind of connection. She’s straddling me on the bed and I feel like I’m about this close to putting my dick in her and my sister cockblocks me. She says mom needs me to come downstairs to do something. So I go downstairs and whatever mom wants is trivial or dumb. I get back upstairs and she’s talking to my sister and the moment is gone. She no longer seems interested in me at all.

I go back downstairs and watch TV with some unknown father figure. The girl never comes down to talk or see me.

Then I’m in a van at night. Father figure is driving, my sister is there, the girl is there and we’re giving her a ride home. Father figure asks her something along the lines of where she needs to be dropped off and she tells him he doesn’t need to drop her off anywhere and that she left already. She’s got that sweet smile on her face. I tell her that she couldn’t have left already, I didn’t see her come down the stairs. I know this because I was waiting for her. She sits there with that sweet smile on her face and lies to me and tells me that she must have slipped past because she already left.

Now I hate her. I hate her because I feel like my feelings were misled and now she’s lying to my face and she won’t stop smiling like I’m the one who’s insane or confused. Now I’m awake.