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Rick V "Rikity" (Phoenix, AZ)

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City of Heroes
City of Heroes
Offered by Entertainment Centre
Price: CDN$ 8.99
8 used & new from CDN$ 3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars G rated but tons o' fun, May 21 2004
This review is from: City of Heroes (CD-ROM)
City of Heroes has been the best execution of a MMORPG launch that I've ever seen. Many that I've played in the past have been plagued with bugs and connection problems. For all game developers of MMORPG's, the launch is critical in how fast and well word spreads about the game either making or breaking a game in its first 2 months of release.
The object of the game after creating a hero is to "arrest" villans throught the city to accumulate experience to advance in level as well as influence points that can be spent on upgrades to skills and abilities. The city is broken up in to multiple suburbs catering to each level of hero then each suburb is further broken down to zones that are color coded to reference the highest and lowest difficulty villians wandering each sect.
Characters can be created a choice of "origin" assigns the hero to a sort of guild that affects the types of missions the hero can choose from and which stores they purchase equipment from after the inital levels. You then choose an archetype, which is a class of character being Tank (fighter), Blaster (ranged offensive fighter) etc. After choosing skill sets comes the fun part, creating the gender, look and costume. Capes are currently not available, but the patch that is supposed to arrive soon (June 04) will allow for more variety of costumes as well as additional areas to explore.
An expansion pack has already been announced for 2005 called "City of Villans" that will allow a PvP aspect (which currently doesnt exist).
The great part about this game is that once you get in to the teen levels, you almost have to go after villans in groups balanced with a good variety of characters (healing, fighting, defense) to succeed. The creaters of CoH have done an excellent job of creating an atmosphere where people can easily group together (unlike many other MMORPG's where its hard to find other people to group with), all you have to do is click the "seek team" button to put yourself on a list to be invited by another group or even check the list and create your own.
I've tried to be as brief as possible in describing this game, there is much more to check out if it sounds interesting so far (more info on the game is available from their web site coh dot com).

Kill 'em All
Kill 'em All
Price: CDN$ 16.75
16 used & new from CDN$ 6.62

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 stars because its missing something!, March 19 2004
This review is from: Kill 'em All (Audio CD)
Metallica fans should all know this one.. What song is missing from this album? Am I Evil?! Without the complete original album i cant give this more than 3 stars.
I suppose I could go into the whole history of Metallica about now, but it seems like every other reviewer here already covered that territory. I'm going to have to disagree with censorship almost every time it comes up (I did say almost). Kill 'Em All is a case where something was censored before the other Bush was President. It was one of the groundbreaking albums that went into territory that other bands were scared to touch at the time. Am I Evil for me was a key song in my rebellious years of high school and it helped me mentally vent my anger towards whatever it was that ailed me at the time, good news is now I'm past it and I turned out ok. Am I Evil didnt make me go and become a serial killer, rob banks, steal cars, OD on drugs or become an alcoholic.
Two decades later, filth is the mainstay on albums released. Eminem lyrics make Am I Evil look like the theme song for the Muppets. In its time it was over the top, that time has passed and things are different now. Though lyrics are worse now than they were back then, does anyone really still believe that music entices the youth into the dark side? My generation (the one that grew up with headbanger 80's music) statistically have become more conservative than our parents, if music had anything to do with this change then censorship has a lot of egg on its face right now.
Bring back the full Kill 'Em All album!

Gambling Wizards: Conversations with the World's Greatest Gamblers
Gambling Wizards: Conversations with the World's Greatest Gamblers
by Richard W. Munchkin
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.51
26 used & new from CDN$ 7.77

4.0 out of 5 stars Candid Conversations with Professional Gamblers, March 3 2004
Gambling Wizards: Conversations with the Worlds Greatest Gamblers, gives you exactly what you read in the title. A short intro to each person interviewed then a Q&A format from there on, some questions have some prior research on the part of the author so he knew which way to lead the conversation as well as a couple standard questions asked each person like "If your teenager came to you and wanted to be a professional gambler, what would you say?".
What I liked about this book the most is the personal information learned about these very famous gamblers. How they started on the road of gambling, personality, views on other gamblers and what it is like to be a professional gambler. I didn't expect them to be so candid and honest. The stereotype that most gamblers are liars hooked on drugs and alcohol didn't even come close to being upheld, most of them talk about having a great routine of exercise and are either completely against drinking and drugs or very infrequently touch it, especially while "working".
There are some really great stories about things that they've gone through, some shaken down by the government/police for money or flat out robbed by someone waiting in the parking lot. Being a millionaire one day, broke the next, and back again the day after. The gamblers don't give up secrets about particular games, which is something I didn't expect to see anyway since every time someone does then everyone knows and it doesn't work anymore.
The book is what you would expect if you were buying based on the title, candid conversations with professional gamblers. I enjoyed it.

Rounders (Widescreen) [Import]
Rounders (Widescreen) [Import]
DVD ~ Matt Damon
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 4.67
35 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The Poker Revolution, Feb. 24 2004
I first saw Rounders when I had been playing Hold'Em for about 2 years and noticed a big change in the "drop ins" at the tables. (Drop In - A new player that isnt one of the regulars that usually play in a reoccuring game or location) People were throwing out quotes from Teddy KGB, the Russian character played by John Malkovich. I could tell the movie was creating an insurgance of new players to the game. Years later you can play Hold'Em at nearly any table in any casino and say something like 'weaddy ageasieev' and get at least a couple chuckles.
Matt Damon plays the main character, Mikey McDermott and Edward Norton his best friend Lester "Worm" Murphy who's freshly released from a prison term that Mikey might have also had to serve if Lester would have given him up. Feeling obligated for the sacrifice his friend made, Mikey trys everything he can to keep Worm out of trouble while attempting to hold together a failing relationship with his girlfriend while juggling law school. Mikey cant resist the draw of poker and ends up back in the frey of the Rounders again realizing that life is a grind without his true love of poker.
Damon portrays the main character brilliantly and Norton was so convincing that I actually felt angry at him for fouling everything all up. Malkovich invents his own odd version of the Russian accent while pulling off the role of Teddy that is completely unforgettable. There's also a great cameo by the 3 time World Series of Poker champion Jonny Chan.
Rounders portrays a professional gambler more realistically than I've ever seen it before. From hiding large amounts of cash all over the house to the dark smokey poker rooms hidden away in a basement to ring games at the casino. Amassing large fortunes and getting broke again then back in the same day. The life of gambling is one of extremes, danger and euphoria. People get drawn into it and like a drug become addicted, a small handful end up conquering it and carving out a life for themselves.
This movie can almost be attributed to the start of a new revolution of poker players, TV shows like World Poker Tour sprang up, attendance at the World Series of Poker has increased by bounds every year. Though it was an already growing sport, Rounders has been the catalyst to growth and has pulled people into poker like never before.

Blue Light Red Light
Blue Light Red Light
Offered by BestSellerRecordShop
Price: CDN$ 6.05
52 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite, Feb. 19 2004
This review is from: Blue Light Red Light (Audio CD)
This album is by far my favorite of all Harry's offerings. I first saw him on Donahue ages ago and ended up getting this CD. Harry since put out several other albums trying to re-invent himeself along the way with a little funk but the songs from Red Light Blue Light are what I measure all his other albums up against.
Harry on Red Light Blue Light is backed up by an extremely talented big band whom much of which are also featured on a Harry Connick Jr. DVD I highly recommend called The New York Big Band Concert.

The Runaway Jury (Full Screen)
The Runaway Jury (Full Screen)
DVD ~ John Cusack
Price: CDN$ 11.26
47 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Good for a once over, Feb. 18 2004
Well known actors John Cusack, Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman along with a handful of others that have made a good showing in other films bring up the cast list along with what seemed a fairly decent budget. Based on the John Grisham book "The Runaway Jury", the adaptation to film seems to have twisted the original book storyline of Anti-Tobacco People Vs. Big Tobacco Industry into Anti-Gun People Vs. Big Gun Industry.
I could lie and try and boost this thing but I just cant bring myself to give it 5 stars. I'm a huge fan of John Cusack especially in High Fidelity and Pushing Tin as well as Hackman and Hoffman in countless other films like Unforigiven and Rainman so I had to give this one a peek.

Runaway Jury (Widescreen)
Runaway Jury (Widescreen)
DVD ~ John Cusack
Price: CDN$ 6.99
68 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Gary Felder submits another amazingly lackluster film, Feb. 18 2004
This review is from: Runaway Jury (Widescreen) (DVD)
Well known actors John Cusack, Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman along with a handful of others that have made a good showing in other films bring up the cast list along with what seemed a fairly decent budget. Based on the John Grisham book "The Runaway Jury", the adaptation to film seems to have twisted the original book storyline of Anti-Tobacco People Vs. Big Tobacco Industry into Anti-Gun People Vs. Big Gun Industry.
I could lie and try and boost this thing but I just cant bring myself to give it 5 stars. I'm a huge fan of John Cusack especially in High Fidelity and Pushing Tin as well as Hackman and Hoffman in countless other films like Unforigiven and Rainman so I had to give this one a peek.

No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars Lost in Translation but definately understood in English, Feb. 17 2004
I can't help but wonder how parallel the main character Bob Harris is with the real life Bill Murray? My favorite Murray works are Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters, Stripes, What about Bob? and Scrooged. He has also had a showing in a few dramas as well so he didn't struggle in this type of role like Jim Carey seems to, or does Carey just seem out of place? This film is a splendid mix between comedy and drama yielding a refreshing balance between too corny and an intense love story leaving you still awake and sometimes laughing aloud. The thing that I really liked about the casting is the choice of supporting actress Scarlett Johanson as Charlotte, who emanates a more natural than constructed beauty that is the mainstay among many of the current wafer thin marquee actresses of late.
To me this picture makes a number of underlying statements, without making this review too verbose I just want to share the two I thought most important:
Does the institution of marriage make any sense? Many people get married for all the wrong reasons or grow apart as the years go by. Bob Harris is a middle aged man who's been married for many years and its been going downhill since day one, Charlotte just got married to photographer (Giovanni Ribisi) and it is already seeming like a bad decision since he never has time for her. Both characters seem to yearn to embrace the other, tossing aside the whole point of marriage in exchange for infidelity.
How different other cultures are from ours (USA) and the degree of difference one person can make in the life of another. Tokyo should be one of the most exciting places in the world to go. Yet to the two solitude characters, are surrounded by millions of people but no matter how much of the American culture that has been integrated in to Japanese mainstay (advertising, red headed Caucasian singer in the bar, Levis, etc.) the people are still so much different and even harder to communicate with if you don't speak the native language. It's so easy to be in some of the greatest places in the world yet have a horrible time, I have managed to do it before and found myself in the same position as Bob Harris did on more than one occasion. The only thing it would have taken to turn it around would have been one other person to share it with.

Get the Edge at Craps
Get the Edge at Craps
by Sharpshooter
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.79
39 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book to start with but it is only the beginning, Feb. 16 2004
This review is from: Get the Edge at Craps (Paperback)
I read this book cover to cover in the two weeks preceding a trip to Vegas. It has some great information regarding the game of craps and sharpshooting but definitely has some biases on what part of the table to shoot from and dice grips that could have been approached differently. After getting through the book I setup a small practice rig, rolled and recorded hundreds of dice throws attempting to use this method of shooting the dice. I will say that it does have an effect on the end result because I recorded ratios of how often the 7 came up far below the average 1 in 6.
A couple of years ago I started to set the dice (now that I know proper sets these were wrong combos) as well as throw them the same way as possible every time. Which lead me to become interested in anything that could be done to expand knowledge in this area, after getting through this book I felt I understood the concept quite a bit more but was still skeptical of it actually working. I signed up for a private class in Vegas and had some personal instruction along many practice rolls on a real craps table. Using the hardway set (described in the book as 4 4 up and 6 6 facing the outside) I rolled a total of 3 craps numbers out of 200 shots with a sevens to roll ratio of around 1:12 (which is extremely high and will most likely average lower over a longer period of time). The thing that surprised me is the drastic decrease of the craps numbers by placing the 6 and the 1 on the outside of the dice (craps numbers are 2, 3 and 12 - taking the 1 and 6 out of the equation makes it very hard to roll a craps number) with that particular set.
I was also able to play in an actual casino with 2 other sharpshooters and noticed we were the only ones who made profits for anyone betting with the dice. The rest of the time we bet against them and counted on the other shooters to 7 out every time. This of course isn't a science (betting on other shooters) since sometimes they will go into streaks. On my last night in Vegas I also ended up shooting 28 passes, made 5 point numbers and came out with a 7 twice when I set for it. Players at the table who religiously bet against the dice actually switch sides on my roll or picked up and left the table all together. I wasn't able to get any of the good positions stated in the book of stick right or left, even one off from either position at any time that night. Which forced me to shoot from the outside hook or corner of the table, I was still able to pull it off to some degree.
Even though I had a spectacular hand in one casino, I am still in the infancy stage of sharpshooting the dice which is also referred to as "Dice Control". You will find that you cant really control the dice but you can influence them and decrease your odds of rolling the 7 at the wrong time. I recommend reading this book as well as signing up for a class. The additional tips I learned with the one on one instruction helped me a great deal as well as reinforced techniques in the book. The book really is not enough to conquer the Craps table, but is essential before even starting down this path of craps play.

Positively Fifth Street
Positively Fifth Street
by James Mcmanus
Edition: Hardcover
45 used & new from CDN$ 0.50

4.0 out of 5 stars 5th place in the WSOP isnt good enough for its own book, Feb. 16 2004
McManus is a writer for Harpers Magazine as well as a writing teacher, somewhere below on that list he’s a long time poker player. Old players like Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim honed their skills through decades of play but McManus admittedly extracted most of what he knows about Hold Em’ from reading poker books, though he was corrupted by summer stays at his grandparents’ house as a kid. With an advance of a few thousand dollars to cover the World Series of Poker in 2000 for Harpers Magazine, he elected to try a different perspective and attempt to get his research by actually entering the tournament. The entry for the main tournament was $10,000 so the advance was a great deal short of just an straight out buy in entry. McManus had to score at least one satellite tournament win to assure him a seat.
The book has 3 main stories, James McManus’ progression through the WSOP, the murder trial, James McManus’ life in respect to the whole ordeal. The murder story concerns the clout of the former owner of the Horshoe Casino, Ted Binion (hosts the World Series of Poker) by his estranged girlfriend Sandy Murphy and mutual friend of theirs, Rick Tabish.
In the first few pages it is painfully obvious McManus’ has a well honed ability to construct sentences and resurrect words that have accumulated years of dust to phrase them with. I opt not to agree with some of the other reviewers on the format of inter mixing the stories together because there is a need for character building to pull off the resulting plot. If he were to just include the World Serious of Poker portion, it would have just been another poker book about a guy who placed only 5th and not a writer there to investigate two stories. Anything less than first place certainly could not warrant a story on its own merits so I enjoy this book as is.

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