Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band

Last weekend, I added an item to my bucket list:

Sing back-up vocals with an actual Beatle, in the flesh.

I then promptly crossed that item off of the list.

Sing back-up vocals with an actual Beatle, in the flesh.

My girlfriend and I had the pleasure of seeing a live concert performance of Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band at the Pearl Concert Theater in the Palms Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. I've seen several Beatles tribute bands perform, but this was my first time seeing an actual Beatle in the flesh.

Ringo's band is made up of former members of other bands such as Toto, Santana, and others, and so in addition to hearing a handful of songs from "that other band that Ringo was in", they also performed songs from the other members' former bands, ranging from Black Magic Woman to Africa and Bang on the Drums All Day. They also performed a few original solo songs from Ringo, such as Anthem. The Beatles songs that were performed were Boys, Don't Pass Me By, I Wanna Be Your Man, Yellow Submarine, and With a Little Help From My Friends - all songs originally written-by or sung-by Ringo. Not exactly A-List Beatles stuff, but - hey - a Beatle is still a Beatle!

With a Little Help From My Friends is actually one of my favorite Beatles songs, so that was nice to hear. In fact, one of my auxiliary Rock Band avatars has always been a custom Billy Shears character, based on Ringo's appearance on the cover of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. I'd show you a screenshot, but all my old Rock Band saves were lost when my PS3 died on me.

I've sung along to the Beatles a lot: in the shower, in the car, while practicing my guitar, while playing Beatles: Rock Band... But now I got to sing backup vocals with a Beatle: Ringo, himself! I did it from my seat in the audience, along with everybody else in the theater, but he was there, and I was singing with him. So that was special. And from now on, I can say that I sang a song with Ringo Starr!

Now I just have to keep an eye out for Paul McCartney visiting Vegas so that I can sing back-up vocals for Hey Jude...

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Game of Thrones - Telltale Game series

It was a couple years before I hopped onto the Game of Thrones bandwagon. My girlfriend insisted that I watch it, so I went through the entire backlog of seasons one through four over the fall and winter. So when I saw that there was a game available on Steam, I bought it for her. Unfortunately, she doesn't have the patience for this game's style of narrative gameplay, and she got bored with it and gave up within an hour. I had hoped that the excitement of new Game of Thrones content would offset the lack of interaction, but I was wrong. So I figured I'd play it in order to get my money's worth, since I'm more tolerant of "interactive movie" games, and I liked Telltale's previous Back to the Future game just fine.

Only the first two episodes (Iron From Ice and The Lost Lords) are currently available, and the remaining four episodes are expected to be released every couple months through the rest of the year.

Telltale is always absolutely dedicated to making their games look and sound like the source material,
right down to the show's stylish (and surprisingly informative) intro sequence for each episode.

As an "interactive movie", Telltale's Game of Thrones title is definitely worthwhile, as it's basically like watching episodes of the series. It adds to the narrative of the TV show by telling the tale of the Forrester house, who (following the events of the show's infamous "Red Wedding") find themselves suddenly under the dominion of the hated rival family, the Boltons. The game requires you to play as a small handful of family members (spread out between Forrester's own Ironrath keep, King's Landing, and the Black Fort) as they seek political alliances in order to protect the Forrester house from the Boltons' tyranny.

Or at least, that's the set-up. In true Game of Thrones nature, it doesn't take long for shit to hit the fan, and for all your expectations to fall apart.

The game has very little "action", as most of the focus is on conversation and plotting between characters. So if you're expecting a hack-n-slash game in the style of Skyrim, then you'll have to look elsewhere. Maybe that hack-n-slash game from Focus Interactive is what I should have bought for my girlfriend. Or maybe not...

Even the more intense action segments of the game (such as battles or brawls) require very little interaction or decision-making from the player. Most of the time, it's just an elaborate quick-time event, requiring you to complete the scene by just following on-screen prompts.

Once you get comfortable with the commands, action sequences require virtually no thought or skill from the player.

The action sequences were quite challenging at first, because they required the use of mouse commands and the arrow keys and other keyboard commands. And I only have two hands. Alternating between the mouse and arrow keys on the keyboard was a challenge, until I realized that the W,A,S, and D keys can be substituted for the arrow keys. Then the action sequences became trivially easy.

These sequences were extremely disappointing because of the lack of active participation from the player. The open exploration and puzzle-solving from Back to the Future is almost completely gone ...

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sunset on the beach
Sunset on the beach at Carlsbad, California.

Time sure does whiz by when you're busy. This year, I have been unusually busy. You all know that I've been neck-deep in Civilization V for about a year now writing strategy guides. I've also had a lot of home maintenance and repairs come up (but there's always so much more to do). I've been working on a stressful project at work. And my social life has also been surprisingly busy.

I was also recently stung by a scorpion in my home. The little bastard crawled up my pant leg and got me 3 or 4 times on the shin and inner thigh before I was able to kill it. Scorpion stings are really painful! That was not a pleasant morning. But supposedly I took it "like a champ".

scorpion that stung me
Little bastard stung my leg 3 or 4 times!

I ended up sitting with a pack of ice under my leg the entire day. If I removed the ice, my leg would instantly feel like it was being stabbed with flaming hot pokers. Fortunately, I had a pain reliever to help me sleep, and the pain was mostly gone by the following morning.

I do not recommend a scorpion sting, no matter how much you want an excuse to take a three-day-weekend!

At least now I know that I'm not allergic to the sting of the common desert scorpion!

Carlsbad hotel view
Beach view from the hotel.

Anyway, I had some time off of work the following week for a vacation, and I feel that it was well-deserved.

The original plan was to go camping in Yosemite, but my girlfriend and I had to scrap that plan on account of the park being on fire.

So instead, we decided to take a relaxing trip to the California beach at her favorite vacation spot: Carlsbad, California. No, not the one in New Mexico with the cave; it's the one half an hour north of San Diego..

I've never been to Carlsbad before, and I'm not a huge fan of the beach in general, but it was a very pleasant place to spend a week. We had a nice room in a hotel just across the street from the beach. The weather was comfortable - in the high 70's with a breeze - which is a great relief from the heat of the desert!

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Thursday, October 13, 2011 11:13 PM

Booty from Ren Faire 2011

in General | Women and Relationships by MegaBearsFan

This weekend, I attended the Age of Chivalry Renaissance Faire at the Las Vegas Silver Bowl park. I was only able to make it on Sunday, since I ended up sleeping in too late on Saturday. And I managed to come away from the event with a neat little piece of loot: a Klingon Bat'Leth from Star Trek. It's a cheap knock-off, but it still looks pretty damned authentic, so I'm very pleased with the find.

Bat'leth from Ren Faire 2011

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Welcome to Mega Bears Fan's blog, and thanks for visiting! This blog is mostly dedicated to opinions about video games and the video game industry. But occasionally, I talk about other stuff too. Feel free to read about the blog.

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