Old Grandma Hardcore

This blog is the chronicle of my experiences with Grandma, the video-game playing queen of her age-bracket and weight class. She will beat any PS2, XBox, GameCube, etc., console game put in front of her, just like she always has. These are her stories. She is absolutely real. She lives in Cleveland.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Grandma Can't Fucking Wait

One of the most frequently asked questions here at OGHC is "what is your Grandma looking forward to playing when it comes out?"

This is a complicated issue.

Many have suggested that the months before Final Fantasy XII and the new Zelda shall forever be known as "The Black Period," in which Grandma will make a solemn exodus of pain to the local game store, hoping to appease her addiction with some unfruitful mediocre attempt. Not so, at all.

Take Dirge of Cerebrus for instance. Grandma is the type of person that jumps dangerously high for joy when the phrase Final Fantasy comes close to the number 7. Also, Vincent was a staple of Grandma's party in FF7, so this should come as a nice bit of nostalgia.

King Kong. For fuck's sake, never have I thought someone would slap a magazine on my desk, point to an article and say "now THAT's going to be fucking AWESOME" and it's not be a hokey movie scene of some sort; but it happened.

Or Fatal Frame III. Or Prince of Persia III. Or any third part of a series she likes. She has Warrior Within waiting for her XBox when she's done with God of War for PS2; but the third is usually the zenith of a franchise to be watched with respect.

Motherfucking CONDEMNED!! God DAMN that game looks fucking good! Grandma is a huge Horror fan, it is already certain.

Or Shadow of Colossus! They made ICO god dammit! You can be sure that Grandma will swear at some beautifully rendered graphics this fall.

Don't worry. Grandma is going to have a particularly good fall this year. There is PLENTY for which she shows sincere excitement.

--More updates coming; a new video tomorrow! This post probably looks funky right now; but it's my first attempt at mobile blogging, so bear with me until I get all the errors fixed tonight. Thanks for the comments and e-mails!--

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Grandma's Recipe for Fuck Yeah!

Some of you have noticed that in a couple videos, Grandma is happily munching on something tasty while destroying her enemies. Several times the question is asked "Does Grandma have any good recipes and also has she played Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal?" Well, second part first: yes, she has! First part last; there is much to talk about.

The food you eat is dependant on the type of game you play. When Grandma plays World Championship Poker on XBox Live she eats Pirouette cookies (although, they're not really cookies, they are more like soft, chocolate biscotti). Also, be wary of eating too much of the same food whilst playing a long game; you'll accidentally condition yourself to have odd taste associations. For example- I have a triad of connecting elements that I
can't gid rid of ever. If I ever hear Pink Floyd's "The Wall," I think of eating Spaghettios and playing Final Fantasy VIII. If I ever eat Spaghettios, I think of Pink Floyd and Squall Lionheart. If I ever play Final Fantasy VIII, I get the taste and smell of spaghettios in my mouth and the song "Comfortably Numb" stuck in my head.

For RPGs, Grandma eats macaroni or some noodle dish. Any noodle dish will do, or perhaps rice. They're perfect to eat while your waiting for random battles to begin after the "PPSSSWOOSSSHH" sound, and later after the battle when all your stats are going up. Grandma prefers the Kraft "Fairly Odd Parents" shaped Macaroni and Cheese.

For platforms such as Jak and Dexter, popcorn is king. Only not just any popcorn. Here's what you do:

1 Bag of Microwaveable Popcorn (anything but Kettle style)
1/2 Stick of Margarine
1 Big Ass Bowl, preferably plastic
1 "Shit-ton" of salt

Directions: Put the popcorn in the microwave and set for High @
3:00min. It won't take that long, so listen for the popcorn to stop exploding around 1:50. Elegantly place the stick of butter in a tiny sauce pan and put over a gas stove at medium heat. Stare at it and swoosh it around a bit until it's all melted (but not boiling and splashing you in the eye). Magically, the popcorn and the margarine finish at about the same time, so grab the bowl, stick the fucking popcorn inside (Careful! It's hot, asshole!) Coat it with the melted "butter," stick a whole lot of salt on top, grab a Diet Coke (Grandma's Preference) and munch in a gluttonous manner while killing things and collecting objects in your favorite platformer.

Now if it's a difficult, action-type kick-your-ass game like God of War or Prince of Persia; you are going to need Taquitos. If you don't have Taquitos, expect your ass to be kicked. For those of you new to Taquitos, they're usually in the frozen section of the grocery store, somewhere by the pizza. They are thinly rolled tortillas filled with some sort of meat. And that's it. They're like really skinny burritos. Grandma likes the chicken, but the beef is delicious also. You can dip them into the salsa of your choice, or eat them plain for a quicker meal. Bottom line, they are perfect to eat for action games. You eat them like really long mozzarella sticks only without the uncomfortable "shit, the cheese won't break!"

Here's what you need:
A. 1 Can of Pepsi; 1 Larger Than Life Plastic Cup with ice.

B. TAQUITOS (3 Taquitos = 350 calories, they come in boxes of ten- which is about 1200 calories. Play it safe kids, don't give your life away.)

C. 1 Pack of Camel Turkish Royal Class A Cigarettes; 1 Ashtray; 1 Non-Childproof Lighter. Camel Turkish Royal tastes better than Marlboro, but burns faster, perfect for long cutscenes in games like God of War. Grandma's not a smoker, but I need these to watch her, so.... yeah.

D. 1 iPod with loud angry "I FUCKING HATE YOU" playlists filled with punk type music. Piped right into Grandma's head, or if she's really loud calling Kratos a "cocksucker"- my head.

So there you have it! Other than that, Grandma eats Blue Corn Chips, pretty much any brand will do as long as there is salt, but I warn you that eating these chips en masse will turn your poop green. And yes, hot salsa burns on the way out, too. I warned you. Also, if you're of age, the two best drinks for video games are the Dirty Martini (Vodka Martini with heavy olive juice) or my favorite- the Dr. Mario Screwdriver (A very tall glass of orange juice with a strong triple shot of extra dry gin and a splash of lime juice; consumed through a twisty straw.) Please note that these drinks may decrease your overall playing performance- but you won't notice or care.

Game on!

--More updates on the way!! Thanks for the comments and e-mails! What kind of food do you eat when you play? Discuss.....--

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Monday, August 29, 2005

Ask Grandma Hardcore: Topic- Jack Thompson, The Fred Phelps of the Gaming World

Open Mic Night!

Grandma is here taking your questions, and will be for a while. We'll update with answers to posts periodically through the night until the keyboard begins to mock my insomnia.

Chances are, Grandma will outlast me. Again.

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How To Subscribe To Grandma (In Case You Don't Know)

We have some very helpful readers here at OGHC who are willing to give tips on blogging tools, video format problems and strategy issues on Grandma's latest adventure to other readers.

The question has been asked enough, so I thought I'd do my part to show you how to subscribe to our very own OGHC RSS Feed of Doom.

If you have My Yahoo as your home page, it's the easiest thing in the world- you just click on our "Add To My Yahoo" button we have fashioned at the bottom of our menu on the ri
ght- and now you have piping hot posts straight to your home page each day and whenever we update. I ping Yahoo the second I post.

Same thing with Newsgator- we have a button. You know what to do.

Now if you don't do either of these things and you REALLY want an RSS feed, well you got one:

Step 1: Download Firefox (It's about time you did anyway, don't you think?) It's free.

Step 2: Check out how awesome Firefox is, download some extensions and have a ball for awhile.

Step 3: Visit the site again (that's http://oghc.blogspot.com)

Step 4: Clicky the magical subscribe button, located thus:

When you click on it, it will add us as a separate, easy to navigate section to your bookmarks menu with every single post since we started this thing for your perusing pleasure.

Here's our feed address if you have your own ...thingy. I'll add a button one of these days. Tomorrow. http://oghc.blogspot.com/atom.xml

And there you go!

Coming up at 9:00pm EST begins our Ask Grandma Hardcore "Open Mic" session on Jack Thompson, The Fred Phelps of the gaming world. So stop on by, ask Grandma or me a question or respond to a genuine internet troll the only way you know how. By asking in our comments section. If you're a long time reader and don't know yet, you don't need a Blogger account to post comments on the site- just click "Anonymous" or "Other" if you want to include a name and a link.

See you tonight!

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Grandma Discovers God Mode

God mode. A strange little phrase used frequently in video games; but not like this. I started my own God of War save last night when Grandma wasn't home. I didn't have the three options at the beginning Grandma had; Mortal (Easy)-Hero (Normal)-Spartan (Hard); I had a fourth, although still currently locked choice, GOD (Very Hard). I selected Normal so I'd be a step down from Grandma by the time she plays a second time through.

When she was back, I showed her the option. "Fuck, Tim! It's already a bitch! I guess this is going to take awhile...."

When Grandma starts a new game, she starts on Normal. Not because Easy Mode is "for pussies" (as she constantly reminds me in the original Halo) but rather to make sure she gets the full experience of the game. Sometimes items and powers in games are level restrictive, so why do that to yourself? Also- if she gets stuck and needs a quick strategy guide from GameFAQs.com; chances are the guide will be written playing Normal Mode. If Grandma likes the game enough and really obsesses over getting every little thing, (so... always), she'll play the game again, notching up the difficulty level by one; so when Grandma plays God Mode in God of War, it will have been her third time through. I don't know if I'll be able to keep up with her this week in the game, usually I'm a bit faster than her.

Grandma's opinion of the VMA's last night were extremely similar to mine. First: Gorillaz never wins anything, and they should. Second: God damn, why did Green Day win everything?
Quothe the Grandma: "Jesus CHRIST they won again??"
You figure a band that has saturated every Clear Channel station with the same two songs for the past year would get annoying. I dig Green Day; saw them when they were on their Nimrod tour back in the day. But god DAMN! And Third: It's difficult to get into a performance when you're changing the channel during commercials to make sure all our Southern readers are alright. To you folks in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi- we drink to you tonight. Stay safe.

--Updates coming later today; Ask Grandma Hardcore: tonight's topic "Jack Thompson: The Fred Phelps of the Gaming World...." More on God of War..... Another Video....... Etc.,.... Thanks for the comments and e-mails!--

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Sunday, August 28, 2005

A Quiet Sunday Evening With Grandma

"I don't think I could jump that far...."
"Come ON!! Don't PICK on me!! FUCKERS!!!"
"JUMP!! Down DOWN!!! Fucking DOWN!!!"
"AAHH!!! BITCH!! NOW where are the going to start me from?"
"Son of a BITCH!"
"That's no FAIR!!!"

Grandma is maneuvering her way through saw blades and large, pre-Roman industrial booby-traps only to be greeted by mini-Medusas and creatures of the world of the damned playing God of War. She's going back out tonight, so she's on a pretty intense quest to reach the next savepoint before she has to quit. So I'd like to take a moment while she screams my ears off to talk to about something. Something dear to Grandma. Her loathing of Jack Thompson, and what it means.

Some of you asked "Why Jack Thompson? Why give the asshole any attention at all? He's a real life troll trying to grab up any time on screen that he can." Here's your answer: Jack Thompson is a miserable fucker. He's not, however, stupid. He manipulates the media's necessity for answers to vague questions when no reasonable explanation to the desperate question "why?" is available or believable. So we decided to provide a service to the media. We're calling this fucker out so they can save face when they actually have to turn to Jack for a sound bite.

Grandma doesn't like this guy or what he does. How would you like it if pornography studios had to follow specific content rules, and were unable to sell their product because they didn't "think perhaps maybe a child would see it?" How would you like to live in a country where sex was so incredibly taboo, its mere suggestion is absent from all popular culture? "But, but- in The Sims! They have.... you know.... sex!" you might say. The Sims is short for "Simulation," yes? Do not people have sex in real life? The game is rated T for Teens because most teens can handle a little bit of booty. If it's your opinion that Spy Kids 3-D should be the new standard for PG-13, so be it- but the regulatory systems we have in place seem to be working just fine, dickhead. Do you have any credible evidence that this is hurting anyone?

Anyway, Grandma is trying to figure out how not to have the floor drop out from underneath Kratos and needs some suggestions.

...Nevermind. She got it.

--More updates coming!! We appreciate your support against the forces of evil in the form of comments and e-mails. Thanks folks!--

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God of War: A Musical Cavalcade of Grandma

While I don't think Tim Rice would really add the dark atmosphere the lyrics would require, Grandma and I have determined that God of War would make an excellent musical. Tightly choreographed, epic dance numbers would flood the stage in an orgy of blood, fucking, and mythology (you know, for kids!) in a production that would make each playbill drip with sweat by intermission. Hell, they already might make a movie version, so why not go the full monty?

We came to this conclusion around 3:00 this morning.

Grandma- "This SUCKS."
Me- "What?"
Grandma- "I'm wandering around the FUCKING DESERT looking for SIRENS."
Me- "Oh yeah?"
Grandma- "I can't SEE anything!"
Me- "Maybe you have to listen for them. They sing you know."
Grandma- "I don't hear anything but the WIND."
Me- "Maybe if you turn up the volume..."
Grandma- "I still don't hear anything. Why would they sing?"
Me- "You know, to get Ulysses and his men-"
Grandma- "I'm not Ulysses. I am Kratos."
Me- "Yeah, but- they sing is what I'm saying."
Grandma- "I don't think this guy is into music."
Me- "Why not?"
Grandma- "Look at him!"
Me- "I could see this being a musical."
Grandma- "You're a weird kid."

The chapter with the Sirens is wonderfully done; even their voices add an appropriately creepy unnatural minor key while Kratos engages the creatures. Turning up the volume actually helped the game a lot; the music is fantastic! It's appropriately sweeping when it needs to be. To prove this, try playing the game on mute with The Shins playing through some headphones, especially the song "Those to Come."

It just isn't the same.

--More updates coming today!! Thanks for the comments and e-mails everybody!--

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Saturday, August 27, 2005

11:30pm Update- Grandma Begins XBox Live Marathon

If there are any folks that wanted to play World Championship Poker with Grandma, she just got out of bed and said she can't sleep. This probably means she'll be at the thing all night before a God of War campaign tomorrow.

Grandma's signed in as OGHC

Thanks folks!

--Update: She got cleaned out at the tables already (12:13pm EST). She just popped in God of War, so the fun has begun yet again.....--

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The Netherlands Love Granmda

I have to get this out there because I'm dying to know. The international response to Grandma has been wonderful. We've had thousands of hits from each continent except Antarctica, but their search engines are really hard to list.

One country stands out. The Netherlands.

Our usual rank order of country has consitently been:
1. United States
2. The Netherlands
3. Canada
4. UK
5. Sweden
6. Germany
7. Australia

...then the rest of our country's graph fluctuates from day to day. But why The Netherlands? This covers a 24 hour period, even when set to different time zones. Most often they have no referring link and a unique IP address and ISP, so it's a bunch of people. Many send us e-mails saying "Grandma is the Shit!" When Grandma and I discussed this she had this to say:

Grandma- "The Netherlands??"
Me- "Netherlands!!"
Grandma- "Why?"
Me- "I don't know!"
Grandma- "I hear it's pretty there."
Me- "Never been."
Grandma- "Why The Netherlands??"

Europe has a pretty intense gaming culture. It would make sense that they also have a whole slew of gaming grandmas, each swearing at PAL television sets in their respective language. Grandma seems to be really liked in most countries of Europe, but Netherlands offsets my whole US-Canada-UK-Australia prediction. I don't understand. It's fantastic, but I don't fucking get it.

Please help me.

--More updates coming! Grandma continues with God of War.... Grandma Departs With A Long Time Friend..... Grandma versus Jack Thompson: The Movie...... etc.,.... Thanks for the comments and e-mails!--

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The Mother Of All Political Campaigns: My Grandma Hates Jack Thompson

My Grandma hates Jack Thompson. When the Florida Bar Association granted this man the ability to file paperwork all by himself, they unleashed a demon. Yes, a demon. A demon with righteous indignation and a bad hair cut; the worst sort of demon.

Here are the facts:

1. Known by his peers as "Jack The Insufferable Bitch," he has whined about "2 Live Crew" without reading a little poem by Alexander Pope called "The Rape of the Lock," in which Pope is as nasty as he wants to be.

2. Jack Thompson walks like a sissy girl and has cooties.

3. Jack Thompson, under the veneer of moral firmity has chosen easily targetable elements of culture which, driven on a pre-existing field of popularity painstakingly built by artists, musicians and designers, unfairly must hoist him into the collective attention of the nation to defend themselves from his unfounded attacks.

4. Jack Thompson has sex with chickens. Underage, minority, atheist chickens. He then aborts their unfertilized eggs in a cruel ritual he calls "the omelette of love."

5. In propagating an unqualified smear campaign against Rockstar Games, Jack Thompson has saturated the minds of an unproductive legislature with fresh ideas of mandated social tyranny, in which the choices of all parents are placed under the scrutiny of those who distrust their own constituency, creating political red flags and unnecessary debate and causing the unfortunate and horrifying transformation of Hillary Clinton into a Tipper Gore clone.

6. Grandma says he looks "shady."

7. Jack Thompson has misrepresented the understandably cautious "family friendly" market, in which a decision to not purchase a game based on its rating is considered an unspoken allegiance to Jack Thompson rather than a parental choice. Jack Thompson takes credit for the current game-content awareness parents and guardians take to retail outlets.

8. Jack Thompson murdered Mufasa by hiring Hyena cronies to drive a stampede into the very canyon where Jack Thompson's nephew Simba awaited a 'surprise.' Upon accusation of his involvement, he only replies "I.... KILLED... MUFASA!!!!"

9. Jack Thompson received an F- while attending college for his thesis on William Hogarth's series of paintings: "Marriage A-La-Mode," stating Hogarth's message was "Disgusting, sensationalist, and indicative of the video game designers painters of middle 18th C.E.,." Upon the reception of the grade, Jack Thompson was heard to scream "Oh YEAH? Well I'll SUE you!! I'll SUE ALL OF YOU!!! SUE!!!" Midterms at Queens Community College are today immortalized by "The Jack Thompson Pre-Exam Party" in which everyone dyes their hair white and screams "I'll sue you!" while drinking Cafe' Nelsons and smoking large, pretentious cigars filled with delicious, exotic leafs.

Let it be known!! Grandma is going to show what Jack Thompson really is, as if that can't be discerned from hearing the man listen to his own voice. I'll talk to Grandma about this disgusting man and post what she says.

So it begins.

--Update!! Grandma Quote of the Evening:

It's the wee hours of the night and she's still playing God of War.

[2:00am EST] [Oracle] Kratos! Hurry!! Athens is crumbling!....
Grandma- "God, why doesn't she shut up?!"
[Oracle] Kratos, please hurry!! I'm up here!!
Grandma- "This bitch is getting on my nerves." [to television] "I HAVE TO MOVE THE STATUES!! SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!! CHRIST!!!"
[Oracle continues to scream]
Grandma- "This chick sort of reminds me of that guy Thompson..."
Me- "Jack Thompson?"
Grandma- "Yeah. Fuck that guy." [high pitched mimiced voice] "KRATOS!!! SAVE ME!! WaaHH!!"

The fight continues....

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Friday, August 26, 2005

Hate Mail Grab Bag #2: God of War Edition

It seems Video #9 made it's way onto the screens of some very ...passionate people. I have here a glass of orange juice with a bit of Gin and a tiny umbrella, so...

Let's do some responding!

#1: This FILTH is EXACTLY what we are TRYING to REMOVE from video games. And you think it's funny! You need to take a good look at your life and decide if what you are doing is GOOD or just NASTY. Signed- Trisha

Thanks for your letter Trisha! Well, Grandma and I think sex in video games can really work sometimes, for instance: what about Birdo from Mario Brothers fame? Remember Birdo? That pink, wide mouthed egg shooting monster was shooting fetuses. What about the unborn Troopa children? Are they worth nothing to you? ARE THEY??? Yeah, fuck it- Mario had it coming. He should just step up and pay child support, that's what he should do... What was the question?

#2: Why do you endorse violence in video games? More importantly why do you make it seem as though your GRANDMA endoreses [sic] violence? You should grow the fuck up. Signed- MbMonkey33

Thanks for your letter, Monkey! Well, I make it seem like Grandma likes violence in video games by "typing" on a "keyboard" the things she "says" and "taping" her having "fun" with said games. Also, she used to slap me upside the head when I goofed off as a kid (I deserved it, I was an annoying little shit) so I know she uses violence as an educational tool as well.

#3: You are completely missing the point in God of War. The sex was a SELLING point, it doesn't ADD to the game, you sellout fucker piece of shit. I used to think Grandma was funny, asshole. Don't highlight all the sensationalist bullshit that makes mainstream gaming the pile of mediocrity it is. Signed- Fuck You

Thanks for your letter Fuck You! Fuck You!! That's a silly name, but who am I to judge. I'm named after the mouse in Mrs. Brisby and The Rats of Nimh. And try putting Timothy St. Hilaire on a credit card! They can't do it! There's a period! ...Also I have shitty credit. Well, you see- in God of War you're a pretty, say- "period-appropriate" sort of guy. The heroes back then, when gifted with extravagant powers of the gods, did get the pick-o-the litter so to speak. It would be like making a game about Christopher Columbus and omit the whole "cut the hands off natives" bit that made the story so.... "sick beyond words." Now if they made a game where you're a native battling against the conquistadors, I'd fucking play it, man. I just hope they give it the attention to detail it deserves. The sex in God of War was a bold choice, man. Just because you make it a point not to buy anything that makes the top 50 list for the month doesn't mean that you're special. There are a lot of good indie games there are a lot of good "mainstream" games. You don't need to-- ....aw fuck it, next e-mail.

#4: I came here from the review in the Village Voice. You aren't anything special. My Grandma plays video games too. She can beat your Grandma any day. Signed- Louis Prima

Hey!! I LOVE your music man!!! Rock on!! Oh, that was one of those 'pseudonyms.' Fuck, I got all excited. The Village Voice review in "Screens" was very nice to Grandma and I. To get a review from Village Voice in any form is an honor I don't take lightly. You, however, are correct in saying there are many other gamer grandma's out there, and some could probably beat her in some games. I say this a lot, but I stick to it- Grandma is my favorite gamer granny. After that comes the very cool gamer granny's that read and comment on the site, then comes your gamer granny Mr. Prima. Sorry to disappoint you.

#5: You are a transgendered freak. I went to CWRU, don't think I don't know. You think people would read your site if they knew you're going to be a girl soon? You think people would link to you if they knew what you are? So help me I will find every message board that mentions your dumb ass site and tell people what you are. You make me fucking sick. Signed- 'anonymous'

So? People read about Grandma, not me, so- Fuck it, next question.


Thanks for the letter Joe! You know, I think Grandma and I disagree with you. Oh well! It's your hotmail account, do what you want!

#7: God of War is just as bad as GTA: San Andreas if not worse. You just helped me see that, thank you. I will be sure to add this game to my list of horrible marketing tools designed to hurt children. Do you like what you do? Do you think that parading your Grandma around will make people think twice about these petty games?? Signed- Rebecca

Thanks Rebecca! Glad I could help! You have a list? That's cool, I keep lists too. GoW is a great game, I hope you reconsider. It has a great story so far with some wicked graphics.... Come on.... you sure you don't want to play? To answer your questions- first one YES, second one, NO not really. Games are only petty if you don't appreciate them for what they are.

Wow! My glass is empty! Gin is great, man. Great stuff. I love being legal. Maybe I should spell check or something..... Well, I could have printed all the hatemail we got over Video #9 but "Ctrl-C + Ctrl-V" is really hard after the hundredth or so time you do it. (Not even kidding, friends, we got, as Grandma likes to say, a "shit-ton" of hatemail over that last one. So go watch it again! It don't cost you nothin'!)

--More updates coming tomorrow!! Thanks for the comments and e-mails!!!--

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Video #9: Grandma Encounters Mature Elements Within God of War

Grandma has become sufficiently addicted enough with Sony's masterpiece God of War to play well into the wee-hours of the night (hence the black and white 'serial-killer vision' mode on the camera.) This little diddy was shot sometime after 1:00am and addresses a specific question asked in the comments section by the always present "Anonymous," who is credited with writing some of the best poetry of the early 13th Century:

"I think you can jump into bed with the womens after the Kraken. Let us know if it can be done and what Grandma thinks of it. :-)"

Oh, it can be done, Anonymous. It can be done. One might expect Grandma to jump off the ship yelling at the women "Quis hic locus, quae regio, quae mundi plaga??" but that just doesn't sound like Grandma. Grandma is more of a "Hey!! It's fucking Medusa!! DIE BITCH!!!" and that's why we love her.

Here ya go (may the gods forgive me on this one):

[WMV; 01:57; 3.69mb]

--More updates coming tonight! Also, right now, I'm updating the music track listings after a lazy spell- sorry about that by-the-way. Thanks for the great comments and e-mails!!--

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Grandma's XBox Live Code of Conduct Update

Grandma has a nice little friends list going- but most of them are on Halo 2 when Grandma wants to play World Championship Poker, and offline when she's playing an FPS. So it's up to the Rumble Pit and an open table to quench her thirst for competition. Here are some of the great things Grandma has heard from the nation's upper middle class youth:

"Dude! I met a Lesbian playing Conker!! A LESBIAN!!"

"I kill all you mothafucka's man, all you bitches goin DIE!! You hear me BITCH? I shoot yo head CLEAN off, asshole! [moment of silence] Hey, my mom says I hafta go to bed now, I'll see you guys later! Good game!"

"All you bloody yanks do is fucking fold, what's wrong wit' you!?"

"Does anyone on this table have a mic on? Does anyone at this table have a mic on? Hey OGHC. Hey... hey OGHC, is your mic on? Say something if your mic is on. Say something. SAY SOMETHING!! ........Okay, say something if your mic is off."

"Grandma Hardcore!!! COOL!! My hand fucking sucks. What cards do you have?"

Grandma has heard a lot of little kid like voices (you know the type, vulgarity coming out a little weak, makes frequent references to something known as 'Degrassi,' etc.,...) so she really doesn't swear. Sometimes she doesn't realize she has the mic on and a FUCK or two will pop out much to the delight of the 11 year old who just went all in with a shit hand and still won.

There is a weird sort of predator lurking on WCP, however. They enter a table with a clean $1,000, go all in on the first few hands no matter what they have, lose, then come back with a fresh $1,000 and do it again. Grandma met one of these folks last night who was kind enough to notice that she had caught on to his little racket. The gentleman's response: "I'LL COME BACK TO GET YOU BITCH!! YOU'LL SEE! YOU'LL ALL SEE!!!" I was excited to hear such a character outside of a comic book reenactment rehearsal. Grandma just laughed an evil laugh to herself.
"No he won't."

--New video coming tomorrow! New God of War updates!! Everything New and Shiny!! SHINY!--

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Grandma's Crazy Music

Grandma's musical tastes are somewhat ...um, insane. She claims to be a "country music fan" but I don't believe her. I'd like to think she only says that to make me cringe as though I were a vaudeville villain as the leading man enters from stage left. She only owns one country CD, Allen Jackson or some such thing. In her CD box... well let me just get it for you.

Let's take a look-

"Native Spirit, Nature's Harmony," "Ocean's Relaxing Surf,"
"Meditation and Relaxation: Meeting Angels through Sound and Music," (WTF?) "Ocean's Relaxing Surf II," "Morning Song Birds," "Romantic Gypsy Guitar," "Water Meadow" (not sure what that means), "Bamboo Forest," "The Desert," "Gentle Rain: Enhanced With Music," "Swim with the Dolphins," "Lifescapes: Best of Nature," "The Drifters: Bringing You Their Best," "Janis Joplin: Pearl," "The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds," "Reba McEntire: Read My Mind," "Music Box Broadway," "Dr. Elmo: Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer," and "Reader's Digest: Stardust Moods."

That's it. After perhaps five (arguably four) actual music album
s she has a bunch of shitty nature sounds cd's. Look, I dig nature sounds, there are some very well done storm recordings and rainforest DAT recorder tapes that are worth a listen. Grandma, however, probably bought these from the 3 for a dollar section at a gas station. She has a great DVD player hooked up to the surround sound, not to mention the XBox has music burning capabilities and the PS2 has never failed me as an extra CD player. Grandma doesn't use these for music, though. She uses this:

This "CD Clock Radio" has a single tiny tweeter in the back she sets on high volume, creating a bassless treble scream that penetrates wall and bone alike. It's LOUD. While on the couch watching Daily Show after everyone else is asleep, I can only hope I won't hear the last of several progressions of sound seeping from Grandma's room. If I hear the faint laughter of the Jimmy Kimmel show go off and the Outlaw Golf 2 theme does not follow, the dogs and I know to hide our ears in the most basic of duck and cover maneuvers to help regulate the damage to minimal.

First it is only a loud, high-pitched ambient static, supposedly the "silent" part before the music that comes from pushing a small speaker far past it's limits.

Then comes the inevitable loud "song birds screaming in terror" for about two minutes until either a flute or oboe solo. While I'm sure the pony-tailed college professor was astounding in the studio when he whipped out his instrument and began to earn his pay- his art is now part of a program not unlike the ATF's audio assault on the Davidione compound in Waco.

Then comes the Indian.

No, not "Native American." I know many Native Americans, most awesome in their own way, and they would never stoop down to the angry war-cry superimposed over the pony-tail professor flute and the song birds screaming in terror with the occasional coyote howl in the background.

The whole awful mix crescendos for awhile before a "storm," which, transformed and bastardized through Grandma's excuse for a musical device becomes nothing more than the audio track of a 1958 B-horror movie with the dialogue removed.

This shit is supposed to be relaxing. I get tense just writing about it.

--More updates coming tonight!! Keep on keepin on with the comments and the e-mails and the thing! Thanks!!--

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Gamer Grandma Video #8: God of War

We have a new camera, Grandma has a new game, you get a new video!

[WMV; 02:00; 5.17mb]

This is Grandma's new challenge, so stay tuned this week for updates on her epic struggle against the omnipotent forces of the holy sepulcher. Or Greeks. Whichever is more violent.

Anyway, rock on!

--More updates coming this week... Grandma's Crazy Music... Grandma Censors Herself For The Greater Good... etc.,...Thanks for the comments and e-mails! Grandma loves ya!--

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Circuit City #3554 In Bainbridge Ohio Can Kiss My French-Canadian Ass

We picked up the camera you bought us today. B&H decided "In Stock" means "I Can Sell You Something Else," and 47th Street Photo thinks that the cheapest possible way to send a 3lb box from New York to Cleveland is somewhere around $6 million dollars or "shut the fuck up and take it, you need a camera, so fughedaboutit, asshole." To 47th St.'s credit, the dude did call me back to answer a question about something.

So it was either outrageous tax or outrageous shipping. I had a feeling your donations wouldn't fully be used to pay UPS if you know what I mean, but I hate giving the State of Ohio a damn thing. Fuck Ohio. It's a shitty state with a shittier government, but it had to be done to get a camera. Wal Mart was out of stock, so we went next door to Circuit City.

Grandma and I have given this store a lot of business since it opened recently. I bought a whole desktop computer set for my mother there. I bought an iPod, headphones, CD's, the whole DVD collection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and The Ren and Stimpy show, the TV Swivel for Grandma's TV, Grandma's TV, a DVD player, a couple games Gamestop and EB priced too high, not to mention numerous boxes of Nerds candy with each purchase. Grandma picked up her copy of God of War today from this store.

Not no more, I tells ya. I've done learned my lesson.

To get someone to help us in a store with about 12 or more employees, and perhaps 3 customers, I had to juggle various camcorder bags in a humorous way saying "Who wants commission? Easy sale! I know what I want! Please unlock it!! PLEASE!!!!" After the security guard noticed that Grandma was leaning on one of the cases because she had been standing there for 20 minutes with a crazy person juggling shit jumping around next to her with his girlfriend holding a sit-in protest against the tyrannical union-busting store management bosses for ignoring us in the camcorder section by sitting in the lotus position on the floor of Circuit City chanting "Please Help Us! Please HELP US!!"- we finally got some kid to unlock the case. (It has come to my understanding while re-reading this post that we are in fact lunatics. This is irrelevant.)

I ask if any of the higher model numbers of the Sony series have manual settings for shutter speed and aperture. His response: "Did you look?" I ask if there is anyone who knows in the store. He says no. I buy the fucking camera.

The kid proceeds to try and sell us a $90 protection plan to a camera that isn't going to leave its mighty Pelican pressure adaptive hard case unless filming Grandma by guilt tripping us with the fact that it was donation money that bought us the camera in the first place. For a half hour. Grandma just wants to get home so she can play God of War. The kid keeps trying.

To get a good price sometimes you have to do some crazy shit. Like shop at Circuit City. In Bainbridge, Ohio. The one near Payless Shoes.


Oh but it gets better. See, Grandma bought God of War. We did the right thing and formed a human chain around one of the fast moving red shirted employees, forcing him from his assigned vector to unlock the glass case. He gave it to me. "No," I said. "The game is for her," pointing to Grandma.

He gives Grandma and me the dirtiest look since Ann Coulter showed up for Woodstock. Grandma was a bit hurt that this kid thought we were fucking with him. Grandma had to follow him to the register, run her card, and sign the little pad in silence.

On the way home, she had this to say:
"That was NOT cool. How long were we in there? Did you see the LOOK that guy gave me? We should say something on the site, that kid was a DICK."

I responded- "...alright."


--Updates coming TONIGHT!!--

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Grandma Versus GOD OF WAR

Grandma has taken your suggestions seriously. She has read your comments, she has read your e-mails, she's read the reviews- she has bought the game. She is pounding away at her Playstation 2 as I type this now; she is ready- she is excited.

The update comes tonight. By the way, I have a new camera sitting here thanks to you folks. Just guess what it's recording. Grandma is kicking some ASS.

God DAMN, she's liking this game!

--Updates coming tonight!!--

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Ask Grandma Hardcore--Open Forum

Tonight's topic- Gambling in games. Or whatever you want. Hence the "open" forum. Nevermind, I'll shut up now- you know what to do :)

Post away!

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Grandma's Life on XBox Live

Grandma is experiencing the unique world of XBox Live through World Championship Poker. She hasn't gotten the "mute button" quite down yet, so be patient with her; because this is what happens:

[Grandma fires up XBox, plugs in headset, signs into live, begins playing on open table]
Grandma - "Tim! I can't tell if the headset is working! How do I tell?"
Me - "I don't know, ask them a question or something."
[Grandma scratches her finger on the microphone]
Random Anonymous Player - "AAAHH!!!! MY FUCKING EARS!!!"
Grandma - "I think it works!!"

Grandma - "Oh FUCK!! Dammit! I spilled coffee on myself!!"
Random Anonymous Player - "You spilled coffee?"
Grandma - [looking at me and whispering as though the mic can't pick up her voice] "I think he heard me!"

--Ask Grandma Hardcore: Open Forum coming again tonight at 9:00pm EST continuing on into the night like we usually do. More updates on the way!--

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Monday, August 22, 2005

Predator: Concrete Jungle Kicks Grandma's Ass

If there is one thing people hate to see, it's a little old lady sitting in front of a television whimpering "Ooo! My Hands!" while Predator (who I had mistakenly thought was a nice guy) laughs viciously on screen. While the game resembles Spider Man in a few ways; the incredibly high jumping to a place your camera view will never be able to see very well; a sweet little package of graphics; the thrill of tearing a spine and skull trophy from a hapless gangster screaming "I AM PETER PARKER, BITCH!!", this Predator game is what Grandma calls a "button masher."

A Button Masher is defined as a game where the calluses you thought you so righteously earned playing acoustic guitar split open and bleed, leaving a purple stain of goo on your controller. Button Mashers (hereinafter known as "BM's") don't have the elegant combos of Devil May Cry or the sweeping death blows of Street Fighter Alpha II; they just hurt your fucking thumbs.

That's not to say Vivendi didn't try. They made a beautiful game. The cut scenes are fantastic, and Grandma could understand the concept of a dishonorable kill without a nod from Danny Glover- it was very true to it's Predator fan base- which certainly includes Grandma. The combat styles of this were just too much for the old bag, who couldn't remove the laid back memories of Soul Reaver from her tactile memory.

Bottom line, if you have a Grandma that has an irrational fear of a "B+Y" button attack sequence, this isn't the game for her. But if she just loves hunting people, then goddammit here's a great game. I'm still playing it, even if Grandma is done with the Rental.

This creates tension, though- it always has. Whenever I like a game she dismisses as a BM, or even worse a FDAG, GDPITA, or FB (Fucking Dumb Ass Game; God Damn Pain In The Ass, or Fucking Boring) she always sits behind me like a fun killing vulture, pouncing on every opportunity to turn my choice into a mistake she can't believe I made.

Here are some Grandma quotes:
"Are you still playing that shit?"

"You're not suppose to kill civilians- they're green."

Grandma - "The graphics suck. I can't see anything."
Me - "No, I'm in Thermal Mode."
Grandma - "...Why?"
Me - "....so I can see thermal-y."
Grandma - "That's stupid."
Me - "You liked Metroid Prime; you liked SplinterCell; why is thermal vision suddenly bad?"
Grandma - "...Cause it's stupid. That's why."
Me - "......"
Grandma - "You just died. Does that mean you have to start the mission all ov-"
Me - "Yes."
Grandma - "That's stupid."
Me - "......"

"Why would you need different costumes? He's PREDATOR!"

"Like those police barriers would actually stop Predator."

"Why do people keep showing up to get shot?!"

Grandma - "They stole that from Spiderman."
Me - "Great minds think alike, motherfucka'!"
Grandma - "No. I fucking hated Spiderman."
Me - "...."

--More updates on the way! Keep with the comments and e-mails alreadys! Thanks!!--

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Grandma Is Quite Displeased With Sid Meier's Pirates

Grandma rented this little gem when I was out camping. She's been a Sid Meier fan since "Civilization" and the life crippling "Civilization II," but for one reason or another, Sid rubbed Grandma the wrong way with Pirates.

Her gender confused pirate name was "Mr. Barb," although I'm sure she was going for the terror found at the business end of fish hooks in a swarthy sort of drinking moniker and not the obvious "Barbara St. Hilaire, The Pirate." I really had hoped she would like this one, being a recovering Meier addict myself looking for the next sweet hit of strategy laced methadone. It wasn't meant to be.

I asked her specifically what she didn't like about it.
Me- "What specifically didn't you like about it?"
She said she didn't know.
Grandma - "I don't know."

I wish I could have been there when she played it. It took a bit more nerve massaging to finally get the truth out of her.
Me- "You know, I hear the Pirates game is pretty good, I don't know what your problem was. You must hate Sid Meier; that's what it is. If you hate Sid, you hate America. What do you have against our troops?"

Grandma- ".......I couldn't get the fucking ship to go straight!!!!"

Me- "....that's it? That's why you hated the game?"

Grandma- "I got stuck on some stupid fucking Island, then I didn't have enough food so there was a mutiny; I tried to raid another ship but the crew were a bunch of assholes who wouldn't do what I wanted them to!! It was fucking stupid!"

Me- "Maybe you just didn't get it."

Grandma- "Oh, I got it. You're a pirate. You do pirate stuff. It was stupid, Tim. STUPID."

Me- "Okay."

Grandma- "Let's go rent something."

So I think in the end it all came down to Grandma's seamanship rather than the game's weaknesses. Mr. Barb's story is a short and sad one, but will forever be known in the pubs of the Caribbean as "that weird guy who kept running into shit with his ship." I tip my glass to you, Mr. Barb. May you rest in peace.

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Grandma Wins At Bingo- Paypal No Longer Needed! Kickass!

We did it! Check out the math: With all the generous donations you gave us plus the proceeds from the quite awesome Fatal Frame II auction on eBay, we have $236.30 net, after all the fees are taken out. Now we can add $150 of "Dirty Sin Money" that Grandma gave us after a lucky night of Bingo at the local religious establishment hideout. That brings us to a grand total of $386.00, motherfucker!! Woo hoo! That means we can buy the camera, the camera from B&H that is cheaper than the one at Wal Mart, the camera that is Sony, the camera that will bring laughter to the hearts of thousands of internet folk all around the world, the camera!!

Wait, what? ....Out of Stock? WHY DID THEY CAPITALIZE THE WORD STOCK?? What the fuck?!

Alright, let's try somethin' else....

YES!! 47th Street Photo! I knew I could count on you! We can finally hide that stupid Paypal button somewhere underneath the underbelly of the blog, I can stop asking for money like it's the first of the month, we can all breath easier knowing there is going to be some more funny ass shit coming soon, we have a copy of "Predator: Concrete Jungle," her eyes are on God of War and Geist, and all is good in the world because you held my hand. Fuck yeah! Thanks Haley Joel Osment! God bless your fucked up android little self! Grandma's winnings put us just over the limit. To everyone who donated: ROCK ON! To everyone who bid on the eBay auction: HELL YEAH! To everybody who didn't give us anything but kept on reading: We love you guys too!! Thanks everybody!

Let's bring on the funny!

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Grandma Versus World Championship Poker

Grandma is in between games at the moment. She has always resisted the temptation to go after the casino simulators; really- it isn't the same as a good FPS. Now she can play poker on XBox Live. World Championship Poker lets you create a character in a Sims sort of way that creates a pretty fair depiction of Grandma. The high pitch pleasant voice the quips her character makes don't exactly fit, however.

Character - "I fold! Tee hee!"
Grandma - "I don't have SHIT. Fuck it."

Character - "All in!"
Grandma - "I'm not letting you buy me out, you fucker."

Apparently one of the online game types allow people to enter games randomly when someone leaves, so the game could theoretically go on forever. After the initial "where the hell did these people come from?" Grandma makes her own commentary on their fashion.
"Look at this guy!!"
"What the hell? Tim! Check out this chick!! HA!!!"

I swear to god, if I hear "player checks.....player checks.....player checks....." one more time, the speakers will meet an untimely end at the hands of a late night session with a high powered magnet. We're going to get some new games later, oh yes. It's going to be today.

--More updates coming today!--

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Grandma's Week In Electronic Hell

I think it's Jack Thompson who opens his weekly updates on the war on rationality with "So here's the shit that went down this week...."

Sunday - (10:00am) Left Cleveland for the Allegheny wilderness in New York and Pennsylvania; left Grandma instructions for updating site with mini-posts. (10:30am) Grandma accidentally closes instruction file for posts, freaks out, closes all windows monitoring the Paypal donation account, E-mail, My Yahoo Refresh Request; and Blogger Dashboard. (3:00pm) Set up tent in pouring rain, make mental note to self to either purchase raingear or camp in the fucking desert next time. (7:00pm) Grandma goes to Hollywood Video in Aurora, Oh. to rent Sid Meier's Pirates. (7:30pm) Grandma fucking hates Sid Meier's Pirates.

Monday - (12:00pm) I wake up in the god damn forest. It's late, I don't care- it's a vacation god dammit. I wonder to myself how Grandma is doing with the site. (4:00pm) Grandma buys World Championship Poker for XBox from Best Buy in Cuyahoga Falls, Oh. (11:30pm) Grandma is addicted to World Championship Poker.

Tuesday - Maintained a sentry post at the campsite guarding from a thieving raccoon the family nicknames "Sly Cooper" for about 12 hours. No one sleeps. The raccoon begins to test our perimeter's weaknesses, plotting for night two of "Operation Annoy The Stupid Campers." The day is lost in a fog of thick insomnia. One of the proudest moments of my life occurs in Bradford, PA, a surprisingly nice little mountain college town with cheap gas and cheaper cigarettes. While walking through the Tops grocery store, I overhear two flannel wearing, student looking dudes say "Yeah, man- she's got a fucking website with VIDEOS man, it's fucking hilarious, she's like 80 or whatever and she plays Devil May Cry. I saw it on MetaFilter, dude- it's the shit!" I leave the store with a big stupid grin on my face and the world feels just a bit smaller. To you two guys in Bradford, you made this little blogger's day.

Wednesday - Ally's cell phone miraculously receives service in the middle of nowhere. Grandma leaves the following panicked voicemail: "Tim, call me as soon as you get this this morning, um....I'm sorry hun, I think I fucked up the site- everything's gone. ......call me!" I return the call to find that Grandma has not posted for two days and has received to spam e-mails informing her that the Paypal account and the Blogger account had been closed for suspicious reasons and that she could get access back if only she entered in her bank information, social security number, pin number for ATM, etc.,..... I calm her down and ask her if she actually responded with any information. She replies "No! I'm not fucking stupid, Tim!" I talk her through posting three days worth of SMAGGS material and tell her it's no big deal. She tells me the eBay auction for the Fatal Frame II / Camera bundle is up to $60.00 and that there have been more donations. Everything goes from being really shitty to really cool and the sky is beautiful. (11:30pm) Sly Cooper returns to feast on hot dog buns. We hate Sly Cooper.

Thursday - I call Grandma to talk her though the next post but she says she says she already has it done. We all go hiking down a mountain and almost kill ourselves wheezing and breathing heavy like we just swam the English Channel. Upon reaching the top we all sit down and triumphantly light a delicious Marlboro cigarette. I make a note of the irony and move on. Mom sees a black bear near the road leading to our camp. No one sleeps.

Friday - Grandma plays Poker on XBox Live for the first time. When I come home Saturday she remains signed in as "OGHC." I just hope she's slept. We take the canoe and the kayak out on to the Allegheny Reservoir, which resembles a Scottish Loch. Ally loses a shoe, Mom outruns a thunderstorm by paddling harder than her arms should for about a kilometer. A crazy redneck in a country store tells us there is a tornado watch for the area that night, and we all head out a mile into the woods to our campsite expecting the worst. Kenny and Bobby play their SP's to pass the time and we learn that the game "Bullshit" is best played with Gin.

Saturday - We return home. The eBay auction closes at an extremely nice $71.00 donation; and there are more donations to the Great Grandma Camera Campaign. This week we've had some great mentions from some fantastic blogs and the eBay auction got some attention for adding to the "Haunted Item" category history of eBay, right up there with the cheese sandwich. Grandma gives me a big hug when I get home and tells me she's played a few games this week she wants me to tell me about. Tomorrow those stories will be your stories; the posts are coming. Tonight brings the immaculate sort of sleep that can only come from hours of hiking, driving and a week of telling children to "stop touching the goddamn porcupine."

It's good to be back.

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Back From Camping!

I'm back! There was a little bit of a scare when Grandma couldn't figure out how to post the updates until Wednesday afternoon, but it's all good. Oh, do I have stories for you.... A much bigger post is coming tonight at 10:00pm EST, so check back with us- there is much to be shared.


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Friday, August 19, 2005

[Friday] SMAGGS #6: Silent Hill 4- The Room

[This is the sixth post of a mini-six part series I wrote last week for everybody so you would have some fresh stuff about Grandma while we are out camping in the trees hunting each other and feeding on the collective fear of the tribe. We'll be back August 20th when we blog live back in Cleveland once again. Enjoy!]

Part 6
Silent Hill 4- The Room

We both tried to get into this game, but it just didn't happen. It had all the right elements; It was a Silent Hill game- awesome; It had great graphics- sweet; the audio was creepy as fuck- kickass; by the way, you keep coming back to this room...... Shit.

I remember Grandma being all clever and reading the phone number on the billboard across the street out the window, writing it down and dialing it only to find spooky noises. I remember both of us asking "why are we watching this?" as we peer through a hole in the wall at some chick in her bedroom. We watched the mysterious portal in the bathroom get larger and more creepy with crazy sounds coming from inside, but it all didn't matter because Grandma was bored.

I remember her taking the game back to EB and trading it in for credit she would later use to buy RE4, a much better game- so in the end it all worked out. The concept of the game was solid, just not to Grandma. This cat don't like repetition, you dig?


[We're coming back tomorrow! We post live again TOMORROW! TOMORROW!! God, I wonder what I'm doing while you're reading this. I'm probably falling out of a kayak like a jackass. See you tomorrow!!]

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

[Thursday] SMAGGS #5: Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

[This is the fifth post of a mini-six part series I wrote last week for everybody so you would have some fresh stuff about Grandma while we are out camping in the mountains training our children to be world class yoldelers. We'll be back August 20th when we blog live back in Cleveland once again. Enjoy!]

Part 5
Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

I have no idea what this game is about. Grandma played it from beginning to end with the same concentration one gives to painting Degas replicas on grains of rice. She was completely fascinated by this game. She says the first Zelda for the NES was her first true love; while she may have hammered away at Centipede and the like before it; Zelda let her know gaming could be a passion.

So apparently, there is this guy, Link, and he has a sword or something; and there is this Wind, right? Well the wind is all pissed..... I don't know. My memories of this game involve me getting out of bed to get a drink or watch infomercials, walking past Grandma's room and seeing this game go for hours and hours and hours and hours..........

6:00pm - Dinner; Meatloaf w/ Corn and Gravy.
6:09pm - ZELDA
12:15am - Bathroom Break
12: 21am - ZELDA
4:10am - Bathroom Break
4:17am - ZELDA
5:50am - Look out window at sunrise, let eyes adjust for a moment
5:51am - ZELDA
12:00pm - Lunch; Rice Crispy Treat w/ Ice Tea
12:02pm - ZELDA...


[Come witness the next exciting post! THE POST FROM TOMORROW!!!]

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

[Wednesday] SMAGGS #4: Jurassic Park

[This is the fourth post of a mini-six part series I wrote last week for everybody so you would have some fresh stuff about Grandma while we are out camping in the Hundred Acre Wood trying to find some goddamn honey that doesn't have some bitchy rabbit guarding it with sarcasm. We'll be back August 20th when we blog live back in Cleveland once again. Enjoy!]

Part 4
Jurassic Park

I read Michael Crichton in the 3rd grade and felt all cool because I could read a book without pictures that was more than 150 large sized type pages. The first one was a black novel nobody was talking about called Jurassic Park. It was a GREAT book. Scary as FUCK. Gruesome and nasty while scientific without being snobby. Then they came out with a movie of the same name, loosely based off the book. (Very loosely) Grandma and I waited in line for two hours with the rest of the hype crowd to see it opening night. We were at the front of the very long line for the next showing, when I hear the Tyrannosaur roar from within the closed theater. About four seconds later, a little girl comes flying out of the theater, and sat against the wall holding her ears rocking back and forth. She was absolutely terrified. That made me anxious. I was about to see something GREAT, or so I thought at the time.

Then it completely ruined my perception of the book. Fuck.

And THEN Grandma brings home a rented Genesis game. Jurassic Park. By this time, I had the Jurassic Park lunch box, the t-shirt, the poster, the trapper keeper; I was a little consumer whore. And now I cast all those items aside in shame after actually seeing the movie. I didn't play the game much.

But Grandma did.

She liked playing as the Raptor more than playing Dr. Grant, I remember that. I remember her pouncing on humans and screaming "STOP SHOOTING ME!!!!" She ran from the T-Rex; she snuck onto the catwalks, she played this thing to death. But all I can remember is my shame.....


[Tomorrow. Here. ....You know. There will be another post and stuff.]

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

[Tuesday] SMAGGS #3: Aero The Acrobat

[This is the third post of a mini-six part series I wrote last week for everybody so you would have some fresh stuff about Grandma while we are out camping in the woods getting lost in the cold and resorting to cannibalism for sustenance. We'll be back August 20th when we blog live back in Cleveland once again. Enjoy!]

Part 3
Aero The Acrobat

Shit, I get the first one and the second one confused. I believe she played this one on the trusty old SNES. Grandma was sort of funny playing this classic 2D sidescroller because the music was so goddamn funny. I remember her rocking her feet back and forth happily to the tune of some weird circus music for awhile, but then she would bellow out screams of nastiness when the little bat couldn't quite get shot out of the cannon in the right direction:

"No! No NO NOO!!!!! SHIT!!! ...........Alright, can he MAKE it this time..........GO GO GO GO GO GO GO SHIT!!!!!!!"

It was very much like drunkenly watching Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas with the ghost of Hunter S. Thompson sitting next to you saying "You know, it wasn't really like that. The car was yellow. This movie was a pack of fucking lies, man." It goes from being really happy and upbeat to completely and utterly frustrating. She still loved that little bat, though.

It's hard to remember this game with the static of the circus level in Sonic The Hedgehog (2, I think) running around in your head. Come to think of it how many circus levels ARE there in games? It's like the last cliche. You have to have a water level; you have to have a "woodsy" level; and maybe circuses have powerful lobbyists in the game industry. Who knows?


[Another exciting installment coming tomorrow!]

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Monday, August 15, 2005

[Monday] SMAGGS #2: Kingdom Hearts

[This is the second post of a mini-six part series I wrote last week for everybody so you would have some fresh stuff about Grandma while we are out camping in the forest searching for the fountain of youth so that our foreheads will never be wrinkly with anger. We'll be back August 20th when we blog live back in Cleveland once again. Enjoy!]

Part 2
Kingdom Hearts

Again, this is something Grandma played, I did not. She wants to get Kingdom Hearts 2 because she says she "LOVES Kingdom Hearts!" I have come to learn that either acceptance or rejection of this game segregates you into two warring tribes. Either you love it, or you wish it would just fucking die. I never played it. I'm like the boring guy in the middle spouting hateful rhetoric such as "Meh..." and "Didn't play it yet, no comment....." Grandma, like many others in her tribe; believes such apathy towards Kingdom Hearts to be prophetic of a miserable life filled with depression and tragedy. To be successful, you MUST get this game.

I remember watching her play it and thinking.... "this isn't really Final Fantasy, don't let it trick you..." Grandma bought into it hook, line, and sinker. She really enjoyed it. Here's what I remember:

"It's GOOFY!!! That's cool! Yay!!"

"It's DONALD!!!!! Why is HE here? NEAT!"

"It's that EVIL CHICK!!! Sweet!!!"

"..........................................AERIS?! WHAT THE FUCK??"


[Stay Tuned Tomorrow To See If Batman DIES!!]

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Sunday, August 14, 2005

[Sunday] SMAGGS #1: Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix

[This is the first post of a mini-six part series I wrote last week for everybody so you would have some fresh stuff about Grandma while we are out camping in the wilderness chasing dangerous squirrels with sticks. We'll be back August 20th when we blog live back in Cleveland once again. Enjoy!]

Part 1
Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix

Oh Christ, what can I remember about this game... I remember Grandma playing both Fear Effects right around the time the Playstation 2 was hitting the market, and everyone was so proud of Sony's commitment to keep making great games for the PS One. I didn't play either game; but I can remember Grandma's perception of different aspects of the game.

The art behind the graphics of this game is what made it appeal to Grandma. She loved the way the characters looked; strangely animated polygon renderings like something out of a newer Disney movie, only with boobs. And guns. Boobs and guns, I remember that much. Damn..... she even played this again recently, sometime last year but I can... only sort of remember.

Ummm.... Oh! I remember feeling uncomfortable when the main character seemed to get all trampy and sexy with Grandma sitting there in silence waiting for something to happen. That was an awkward moment. Also, her TV at the time sucked, so she was pretty close to it the whole time. I remember that classic Sony Playstation startup sound when she clicked on the console.

That's all I can fucking remember. Shit. She really enjoyed both of the series, but I can't honestly remember the exact dialogue she used in this one. Hence the title of this series....


[Another exciting episode coming tomorrow!!]

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The Great Grandma Camera Campaign Update

It's about 2:00am EST here in Cleveland, so I'm typing this in a bit of a rush because of our long ass drive later this morning. Remember when I told you guys we only wanted enough money to get that Sony Camcorder from Wal Mart and that was it, we'd take down that donation button and everything? Remember me saying that sometime?


Here's the thing. I wasn't kidding. =)

I found the exact same camcorder, the Sony DCR-HC21 over at B&H Photo Video in New York, some folks I've used in the past for much bigger still camera supplies, for $359.90 and that's including tax and shipping. That's $70 whole dollars of your donations less than Wal Mart. So we're going with B&H now, I just lowered the goal and presto! We're almost there! It really looks like this is going to happen this week. The eBay auction is at $61.00 now, added to the $155.00 in donations you've given us, so that means we only have $144 left to go!!!! I've told Grandma this, so she knows the math has changed, so I thought I'd tell you guys now as well before the trip. Then we can finally take down that stupid button and get back to the funny. Sale Prices Rule! Game on!


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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Grandma Is Taking Over

Okay, here's what's going down here in Cleveland. My family is going camping. I don't mean park the RV by a water / electric hookup and go swimming at the motel camping; I mean PRIMITIVE camping; hiking out into the middle of one of the largest national forests in the country with nothing but a tarp, a butter knife and some sunglasses, and returning in six days only to find toilets as the greatest invention of all time since the Dual Shock. I fucking love camping. It's the only vacation that costs practically nothing while simultaneously rocking me to my nature roots. Bears, raccoons, documentary film students all out in the open wild together as part of nature.

We leave tomorrow morning, and return Saturday. Grandma isn't going because she has other stuff planned; also the knee replacement might hinder the Class 4 Rapids. We don't want to leave you folks hanging, though- so here's what we're doing: I'm typing up six daily entries about my memories of Grandma playing specific games, each day a different game. Grandma ha
s agreed to publish the saved draft posts each day until I get back- so you guys get daily entries to read about Grandma, Grandma gets to learn all about the fascinating world of FTP, and I get to, quite literally, shit in the woods.

Grandma is also going to monitor the donations on paypal to make sure it doe
sn't go over our goal- we don't want to take more money than we need to get the camera, including the progress over at the Ebay auction of the broken camera and the signed copy of Fatal Frame II, which is going extremely well! We won't be able to have the progress meter at the side page update, only because it's actually just a really lame ".gif" I update each time a new donation comes in our inbox, and Grandma and Photoshop have exchanged harsh words in the past. I'll try to get Grandma to include the donation progress in the daily posts, and if necessary put up a big ol' post saying when the goal has been reached.

This also means we won't be able to answer any e-mails until Saturday when we get in; so if you leave comments or ask questions and no one replies, it's only because there is nobody here. Until Saturday. We get back on Saturday. The last day of the week, that is. Saturday. Grandma will read your comments (she always does) but no one will be here to answer.

If you guys have any questions or if any of you crazy media people need to contact us; e-mail us before 10:00am EST on Sunday; otherwise e-mail us next Saturday. August 20th. That's when we will be back. Maybe by then the donation thingy will wrap up; the Ebay Auction will end, we'll go pick up a new game and the camera and bring you some fresh The Grandma versus The Game ass-kicking action. Fuck yeah!

Just so we're clear- From Sunday, August 14th to Friday, August 19th: six prepared daily posts will be published but no one will be here to answer e-mails or comments until Saturday. Just think of the comments section on these days to be open forums each. Somebody will forget, and that's cool- they probably won't have seen this post; we forgive you already. If something goes wrong and the site just sort of sits there for some reason, let's say- Grandma spilling homemade peanut butter onto the motherboard, forgive us- everything will be better on Saturday. I just hope you rack in a lot of gaming hours while I'm schleping it off the grid. Kill something for me, man. Do it for the children.

--Thanks everybody!! I can't wait to come back to keep posting for ya! Keep coming this week for daily posts- topic: Shitty Memories of Awesome Gaming Grandma Shit (SMAGGS), a six part series. I'll see you all on Saturday, August 20th.--

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Special OGHC Auction: Grandma's Copy of Fatal Frame II

Grandma is selling her copy of Fatal Frame II: The Crimson Butterfly on Ebay. She signed the cover and made it look all pretty and everything. You regular readers know there is a bit of history with this particular copy of the game. That's why, in the interest of eliminating all bad juju from the house, the Canon Optura 20 camcorder, the one that spit out Video 7 before becoming dark, is included in the auction. I figured, well- the damn thing doesn't work, or at least I can't repair it the way I repair still cameras, so... why not? The auction has a starting price of $1.00 and no reserve. That's how we roll here at oghc.

Here's the auction! [long haunted game back story within Ebay auction for you folks]

Grandma's autograph on the game reads:
This game scared the shit out of me
Barbara St. Hilaire
"Old Grandma Hardcore"

--The sale of the game and the camcorder (it's a package deal) will go right into our Great Grandma Camera Campaign fund, so- it's like donating money and getting something cool for it! Rock on! More stuff coming today!!!--

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Friday, August 12, 2005

"Grandma Talks Politics Motherfucker!!" A Podcast

We don't have a camera yet, but as you can see from our donation chart, we are well on our way. Tonight, I sat down and had some piping hot coffee with Grandma around a little DAT recorder to pass on the whole conversation, because let's face it- typing is hard work! My brother Kenny is heard extremely briefly at the beginning; he didn't have much to say.

Tonight's Podcast subject: If Hillary Clinton and Jack Thompson were here....

I made it all for you.
[MP3; 05:51; 2.68mb]

--Not a whole lot of cussing, Grandma is pretty careful when she talks politics, so it's just the straight dope, man. We have lots of stuff coming tomorrow so keep in touch!! Remember to donate to our camera fund if you haven't yet, if everyone who visited the site today donated $1.00, we'd have a shitload of dollars. Enjoy!!--

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Cookies Need Love Like Everything Does

One of the advantages of having a gamer Grandma is the ability to really talk about games with someone without sounding like Level 60 Unemployed Mage. It's one thing to sit around discussing the merits of the realistic gun barrel sight system in Brothers In Arms with your roommate, who could care less; it's an entirely different conversation when it's your Grandma. At the very least it leads to some interesting dialogue about upcoming purchases.

Me - "So... why are you still playing Fatal Frame?"

G - "There's these mission mode.... ....things, look- shut up; I'm fighting ghosts."

Me - "Yeah, but people want to know what's next. This guy said you should-"

G - "Geist."

Me - "Oh, yeah. That's this week, huh?"

G - "The 19th"

Me - "Didn't that get a 4.5 score or something in EGM?"

G - "[Grandma is attacked by ghost] No!! COCKSUCKER!!! What did you say?"

Me - "Geist. It got shitty reviews in EGM."

G - "Alright, so I'll rent it. I don't know, Tim- Madden just came out; I want to buy Pirates from EB when we go to Chapel Hill.... um... The World Series of Poker-"

Me - "What?"

G - "Poker. I want to play poker on XBox Live."

Me - "Don't they already have-"

G - "Yeah, Stacked- I think it's called. I haven't played it yet."

Me - "We have a computer, you could just play online now."

G - "It's not the same."

Me - "Alright. [awkward pause] Oh! We're using your Xenosaga Memory card in the PS2 in the living room, Bobby wanted to start a new Katamari game but they only have three-"

G - "Wait- What did you do with my memory card?"

Me - "Cookies need love like everything does."

G - "........."

Me - "........It's from the Matr-"

G - "Yeah; no- I get it. ....DON'T DELETE THAT FUCKING FILE."

Me - "I won't."

G - "Well, don't let Bobby delete that file."

Me - "He won't; he's just-"

G - "Fine!! Go away!! I'm playing!!"

I knew there would be risks involved to talking with her while she attempted to rack up points in Fatal Frame. Every time the girl on screen is touched by a ghost she lets out a painful scream that somehow (perhaps vibration) vicariously transfers whatever stinging sensation that comes from paranormal contact directly to the part of Grandma's brain the processes polite conversation. Not to mention, Grandma was kind of down about the ending plot elements of the game. (I won't ruin it for anybody, but let's just say Grandma was a bit saddened by her character's choice. She almost cried, god dammit.)

She saved the memory card from Xenosaga Episode I so she could have "special features" or some such thing in the second installment. She waited a long time for the second game to come out; the whole time that 8mb was stuck in with game unable to be touched. We have a whole bunch of PS One cards lying around from our nostalgia trip a few months ago playing Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix, but only one other PS2 card. She still thinks of the Xenosaga card as "precious" the same way kids strangely find participation award ribbons from fairs as unique and collectable. She's a bit of a packrat. I'm picking up some more memory cards today.

I can't wait till we have a hard drive on that thing.

--More on the way! We just loves those comments and e-mails! Check out our donation meter! We're getting close, but we need your help!! We're doing great! We're up to $110.00, so all we need is $319.00; or about 11 donations of $30. If you haven't donated yet and you want to; go ahead, nobody's lookin'. Indulge yourself in guilty pleasure! Donate to our camera fund!--

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Grandma's Behavior Invites Documented Scrutiny Of Doctor

Grandma is getting a second opinion about the now diminished yet still constant pain since her knee replacement surgery in early Spring. Long time readers will know Grandma's opinion of doctors. To receive attention from a second physician, however, she had to obtain medical documents from the first doctor, creating an awkward sort of "oh, so you want a second opinion, eh? Why? What'd I do to you?" Grandma showed me a funny sort of memo he put in one of the copies. In the interest of preserving the sanctity of HIPPA regulations regarding medical documents and per Grandma's request, I'm putting the blurb up here for all y'all to see. Keep the following in mind: they don't write something down unless they believe it has relevance to the situation. That's what made this so damn funny:
I know med school teaches people to write like legibility classes in first grade never happened, but cast your eyes to the bottom where it states: "spends considerable time playing video games." This will not be the first time gaming has been blamed for Grandma's aches, and it probably won't be the last. Grandma does her exercises at home as prescribed, she goes to therapy, which consists of physical rehabilitative therapy as well as water therapy. She takes pain medication only when things get really bad, only because she's afraid of what drug dependence can do, and she's sick of doctors telling her that she only wants pain management for "Oxycontin." Fuck pain pills, man. She hates them. She doesn't want to sue anybody she doesn't want drugs she just wants the god damn pain to go away. She's given several John Hopkins D-student practitioners an earful when it comes to accusations.

And now she has to again defend video games.

She may be hardcore, but she's not obsessed. She and I go shopping, she moves around, she's not a log. We get so many e-mails from folks in similar situations to Grandma saying that gaming might be the best thing to do when you're hurting. There are readers of oghc that are therapists saying Grandma is doing everything right. So today, Grandma goes to get that second opinion.

I've noticed a recent peak in parental hate-mail asking me how their kids found oghc. A couple of them were nice enough to offer a solution, so here's the compromise that seems to do everything and nothing at the same time: a rating system.

Video #1 - PG-13 (She says "SHIT!")
Video #2 - PG-13 (She uses Asshole, Shit, Hell, and Damn.)
Video #3 - TVMA (She uses Dammit, Damn, Fucking, "ASSHOLE!!" and Ass.)
Video #4 - TV-14 (She uses the phrase "Joint," "Inebriated," Ass, Dammit, Shit, and "PISS!!")
Video #5 - TVMA (She uses Fucker, Oh Shit, and Shit.)
Video #6 - R (She uses Jackass, Dammit, Fuck, Shit, FUCKER, and fucking)
Video #7 - TVMA (She uses Shit, FUCK, asshole, and "stupid.")
The Last Audio MP3 - MAY CONTAIN EXPLICIT LYRICS (She says "shit" and that's ...bad or something.)

--So there you go! Now you know!! You are an educated and enlightened parent! Please donate to The Great Grandma Camera Campaign! We're doing great, we only need $388, $378 bucks! Click on the little Paypal button to show you care. Any amount will do! Remember, a game of bingo is $30, so we only need 13 11 more games of bingo to get a working camera for the site. Thanks everybody, and keep up the comments and e-mails! We love you people!--

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Grandma Has Destroyed Fatal Frame II: The Crimson Butterfly

I compiled what was left on the MiniDV tape to show Grandma’s final battle in Fatal Frame II: The Crimson Butterfly. After putting the distorted video through several filters in Adobe Premier; e-mailing the AVI files to other videophile friends to analyze; it was determined that only the audio would be salvageable, adding a spooky twist to our whole Fatal Frame nightmare.

Here y
ou go:

[MP3; 03:08; 1.47mb]

Even the audio started skipping out at the end; but we got some good stuff. Just think of it as a Podcast with a vulgar 69 year old woman.

Grandma’s final thought on Fatal Frame II was simple. She loved it. The flowing graphics with unique gameplay and fucking terrifying audio made it an extremely enjoyable experience! Every frustrating aspect of the game only made it more frightening; the girl you control never really runs that quickly, the doors open slowly, the music always cues something horrible to come. The only bad part was the price. For a used copy you still have to shell out $30.00US, but like Grandma says “It was worth every fucking penny.” Grandma played the original Fatal Frame and loved it. I never got into the series, thinking there was no way Tecmo, a company I associated with pretty good fighting games, could ever make a survival horror game to rival the Silent Hill and Resident Evil series. This was one of the many times Grandma found a great game before I did.

To give you an idea of the impact; this morning I woke up from a nightmare in which I found a crucified corpse screaming “KILL ME!!” while peering into a back room during holiday shopping, and the only thing I could think to do was take a picture with an antique camera.

Grandma’s response to the dream: “HA!! I TOLD you it was a fucking great game! I KNEW it! THAT’S what makes a great game. NIGHTMARES.”

--More on the way!! Thanks for the comments and e-mails everybody!--

--Update!! Hey! MetaFilter!! Rock on. Thanks for the love! Be sure to check out the videos on the right, cruise the archives and drop me a line if you have any questions!--

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The Great Grandma Camera Campaign

Alright folks, the drive to get a camera that actually works to film grandma begins today. I've gotten several e-mails and a comment saying "The Canon GL2 is the finest camera known to man. It also makes French Fries. It not only captures your subject it captures their soul. You can also use it for amateur MRI screenings to find tumors. It's THAT fucking awesome." Look, I love French Fries, and I've used the GL2 before; it is a beautiful machine, but dude. It's $2,799.99 plus shipping. It's a great camera, but it's a bit more than we need. Also, I fear that if we ever raised that much money and didn't add it to a humanitarian cause, I would be clubbed to death by my Jiminy Crickett conscience, or my mother. Which ever is more disturbing.

I think we found a MiniDV camcorder with a much more appropriate price range: The Sony DCR-HC21 Cheap Ass Handycam. I use the phrase "cheap ass" as a term of endearment; Sony has always been good to Grandma- case in point:

One day, Grandma's PS2 stopped reading discs. I believe the game at the time was Final Fantasy X; not one of Grandma's favorites, but worth finishing. After about the 100 billionth cutscene with full dialogue (a reasonable estimate) the game froze; flickered off; reset; and said simply: DISC READ ERROR or some such horrible message. In a panic, Grandma grabbed the manual and found Sony had a tech support number.

...Long story short, Sony sent Grandma a refurbished PS2 at no cost that she still hammers on today. In addition; we had the tattered unit repaired at a low cost which performed well in my apartment at Case Western and now performs well in the living room here. This was back before Grandma had a following, Sony was just doing their thing. We like Sony.

So here it is:
Check the specs: It has a 20x optical zoom; 800x Digital (like anyone ever uses digital anyway); 2.5" Touch Panel SwivelScreen (there is a funny story about me trying to find the "Menu" or "Exposure" buttons at Wal Mart before some lackey comes over and pokes the screen for me; I'll tell it to ya' one day... ...you know, when your older) ; PCM Stereo (I liked what I heard through the headphones); A/V, DC, i.Link IEEE 1394, and USB input / outputs.... and the best part is: it isn't three grand. With 7.5% Portage County sales tax (I already have tapes and an external mic that will work and a Bogen Tripod with a decent fluid head courtesy of my days as a wedding photographer) the total comes to a reasonable $428.78!

I think we can do that. That's only 22 donations of $20; or 43 donations of $10; or 86 donations of $5; or 429 donations of $1.00. If you think like grandma, it's only 15 games of bingo @ $30 a game!

We just put the donation button up last night and we already have $5.00; so we're not doing too bad. Usually when I listen to NPR and they have some sales thingy, I turn the station because I figure All Things Considered has a lot of affluent followers that can do better at donating than me. Yes. This makes me a horrible person. That's why I feel awkward doing this now. NPR has Around Noon and The Diane Rehm show, bringing insightful commentary and hard hitting political action. We give you Grandma Hardcore, so it isn't quite the same. If you like Diane Rehm, go donate to NPR, they need it more. If you like Hardcore Grandma, clicky the little paypal button on the right and send some love.

--The last video the Optura 20 spit out is being cut right now, so come back to see us. Thanks everybody!--

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