08 November 2008

Missing Runaway Xbox Gamer Body Found

Xbox Gamer Brandon Crisp Likely Froze To Death

Crisp's body was found undisturbed in a wooded area near his Canadian home.

By Paul McDougall InformationWeek November 7, 2008 09:24 AM

Investigators eyeing the death of gamer Brandon Crisp are speculating that the 15-year-old likely succumbed to hypothermia, according to media reports Friday.

Crisp's body was found Wednesday in an undisturbed condition by deer hunters in a wooded area several miles from his home. Police said they do not suspect foul play. A post-mortem was scheduled for Friday.

Crisp had been missing for about three weeks from his house in Barrie, Ontario, a small Canadian city about 60 miles north of Toronto. Crisp bolted after a dispute with his parents over the amount of time he spent playing Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare on his Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) Xbox.

Crisp was "addicted" to playing online video games, particularly Call Of Duty 4, over Microsoft's Xbox Live online gaming service, according to reports. The game allows players to assume the character of a contemporary combat soldier.

The Center for Online Addiction estimates that between 5% and 10% of the population suffers from some form of Internet addiction. It defines the condition as "any online-related, compulsive behavior which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones, and one's work environment."

Microsoft contributed $25,000 to a $50,000 reward fund for information on Crisp. Beyond the funds, Microsoft aided the search by turning over to police Crisp's Xbox Live account information. One theory that made the rounds was that Crisp had run off to join a "clan" of fellow gamers.

In releasing the information, a Microsoft spokesman told InformationWeek that the company "expedited" its standard privacy procedures.

The move came following the launch of an online petition, called "Project Red Tape", that asked the software maker to hand over the youth's account data. Microsoft's spokesman said the company began cooperating with police as soon as it was asked to do so, and was not influenced by the petition.

The petition appeared on a Web site that was established to help the search effort. It noted that Crisp was 5' 3", 100 pounds with dirty blond hair and green eyes. He was last seen alive on Oct. 13.

She & Him concert review

Hey all - here's a copy of my review of the recent She & Him show at the House of Blues. Once in awhile I'll contribute some musical thoughts to my friend's LA indie music scene blog Eight Track Hero. Whether she put this one up on the site is totally up to her but I thought I'd cut her at the pass anyway and post this one up here too! =)

She & Him with Lavender Diamond at the House of Blues, Anaheim, November 5, 2008

Could it be possible that there’s musical talent out there that proves to your eyes and ears that the live performance will completely blow the studio album out of the water?


Wednesday night’s She & Him show at the House of Blues in Anaheim proved just that. Lavender Diamond, a peace-loving, the world is magnificent band started off the night with their soul-capturing borderline country-esque melodies and their Harriet Wheeler meets Tracyanne Campbell vocals. Lead by Becky Stark, it’s simply hard to imagine that such a haunting, ethereal voice can come out of this lil’ lady. But it’s true! And I’ve quickly become a fan.

Accompanied by a pianist, drummer, bass and acoustic guitarists, and a backup vocalist, Stark portrays a Western atmosphere in her onstage presence and band’s musical composition, and surprisingly enough, her “accent.”

After a half hour set with Lavender Diamond, Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward strode on stage, opening their set with “I Was Made for You.” Starting off the night with one of their stronger tracks off of their Volume One album, Deschanel, Ward and their accompanying band did not disappoint. Deschanel, who doubled on vocals and the piano, graced the audience with her sweet voice and humble stage presence. Throughout the night, she would banter with audience members, commenting, “I only hear what I want to hear. I have a filter,” after someone yelled out, “Zooey, I love you!”

And of course, she like most everyone else in California, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Oregon, and Washington, was thrilled that Barack Obama was voted as president-elect for the next four years. “Change is one the way,” she exclaimed. “Not for the better,” yelled the handle-barred mustached guy standing behind me. “Yes for the better,” prompted Zooey, “because we love Barack Obama!”

Performing most of the songs off of Volume One and new material that may be included on their upcoming Volume Two album, in addition to a few cover tunes (e.g., Screamin’ Jay Hawks’ “I Put A Spell On You,” Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home To Me”), She & Him performed an excellent set infusing ‘50s inspired melodies coupled with the powerful guitar riffs of M. Ward. And even though this is my first time seeing M. Ward on stage, he proved to me that it’s 100% possible to add a hard-shredding edge of electric guitar on such a classic tune as “You Really Got a Hold on Me.”

Before their encore set, the band performed an impressive rendition of “Sweet Darlin’,” with a terrific run-on by the accompanying band; I personally felt like I was at a good ol’ fashioned ho-down at a local barn (in Downtown Disney)! All we needed was the sweet tea!

An interesting tidbit of the night: after the encore performance was over and the band started to walk off stage, an unidentified girl (who looked like she was about 17) jumped on stage and ran toward Deschanel and made it look like she wanted to either get a hug from her or jump her for a lock of her hair. Deschanel in turned gave her a look of, “Who the hell are you???” Security then came out and got in the way between the fan and Deschanel. Since I was in earshot of the girl, I heard her (or one of her friends) exclaim, “Who the **** does she think she is?” Whether it was directed to the fan or Deschanel, I wouldn’t know.

Aside from the possible paparazzi-inspired scene of the night, She & Him, along with Lavender Diamond, put up an amazing performance that didn’t leave one person standing still or a dry eye in the house. Five out of five stars.

29 October 2008

Microsoft to double reward for missing Xbox gamer

(story by Michael Comte, AFP)

US software behemoth Microsoft has doubled a cash reward for information on the whereabouts of a Canadian boy who ran away from home after his father took away his Xbox game console, it said Tuesday.

Brandon Crisp, 15, took off on his bicycle from his Barrie, Ontario home on October 13 -- Canada's Thanksgiving holiday -- and rode east along an old rail line.

He has not been seen since.

His father told local media he had removed Brandon's Xbox, built by Microsoft, after noticing changes in behavior since Brandon started playing "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare" online.

The boy started skipping school, stealing money and ignoring his studies, his father said.

A local newspaper, the family's Internet service provider and Child Find offered a 25,000-dollar (19,500-dollar US) reward for information leading to his return.

Microsoft topped it up with another 25,000 dollars, the company said Tuesday in an email to AFP, "hoping for his swift return."

"Like everyone, we are deeply worried about the disappearance of Brandon Crisp," the company said.

Exhaustive searches have not turned up a single clue beyond the boy's bicycle, found last week with a flat tire.

Police are said to be examining who Brandon played with online. "Law enforcement has contacted Microsoft about this matter and we are cooperating fully with them," said Microsoft.

On Sunday, 1,600 volunteer searchers packed up their reflective vests and ended their efforts to find him, while police stopped their air and water search.

In an interview with the daily Globe and Mail, the boy's father, Steve Crisp, said he had not known how important the gaming system was to his son and how he would react when it was taken away.

Experts commented that gamers may form bonds with fellow online players.

"This had become his identity, and I didn't realize how in-depth this was until I took his Xbox away," Steve Crisp told the Globe and Mail. "That's like cutting his legs off."

"This is such an issue that hits every parent out there, with video games that are starting to control our kids' lives," he said.

"I just took away his identity, so I can understand why he got so mad and took off. Before, I couldn't understand why he was taking off for taking his game away."

Now, Brandon's father says he just wants his son to come home.

Copyright (c) 2008 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AFP report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of AFP.

I'm completely floored. BTW, if you go to the original Yahoo! article here, you'll notice that there's an ad for the new Call of Duty game. Brilliant.

16 October 2008

Gamers - Early Voting Has Begun

PSA: Early voting has begun - tell your friends you'll be right back, pause your game, and head down to your local city hall, school, post office, or neighborhood polling place. If you're not yet registered to vote, you still have time, albeit not much. Go here, here, or here to register or to double check to see if you are in the first place.

Remember, Election Day is on November 4th. It may not be a good idea to write "Caboose" for your write-in candidate. We're looking at real world candidates to be our next President.

To learn more about the ad above, read more about it here.

10 October 2008

Max Payne

Starring Marky Mark and Meg from Family Guy. Out in theatres Oct. 17, 2008.

06 October 2008

We Didn't Start the Fire

How'd I miss this piece of the pie? An overheated 7-year old Xbox is to blame for burning an apartment in Clio, Michigan to a crisp. The console was apparently left running for four days straight in the apartment, igniting a spiral-bound notebook near or on the console, and the rest, as they say, is crispy.

Well, this could've easily been avoided. First of all, don't leave any electronic device running for more than the amount of time needed (e.g., leave the console on for the length of ONE game = one hour max, 'doku). Second, can you recall of any recalls for your console? Not sure? Google "(name of console) recalls." Everyone knows (well, not everyone, apparently the folks who left the Xbox running weren't aware but I'm sure they are now) that Xboxes out on the market before 2003 were recalled for defective power cords. Not too many were recalled...about 14 million.

Read more about it here and here. Please note: my favorite part of the report is that the kid's parents mention he's autistic. I just want to clarify to everyone that his being autistic is NOT the problem; the problem is that the console WAS NOT turned off, thereby setting the apartment on fire.

29 September 2008

Chuck of Duty?

It's been years it seems since I've watched a weekly series on basic cable (remember Friends?) Indeed, I used to watch a show like Grey's Anatomy, it was called ER. Is that still around? While eating my pizza for one frozen dinner, I happened upon a show called Chuck. Don't know much about it, other than the basic premise of an awkward geek who becomes an awkward CIA agent. It's cute. There's a hot chick in it and everything.

Anyhow, what struck my fancy was the fact that in tonight's episode Chuck's coworker-slash-friend (the one pictured in the green shirt, is his name Morgan? And by the way, Chuck is a not quite higher up at a store called Buy More) unrolled what was basically a game map to (drumroll) Call of Duty. In fact, Call of Duty played a recurring role in the first half-hour of the episode (if it came up again after that I wouldn't know...I had dishes to wash at that point). Morgan had a strategy and everything, including x amount of foot soldiers, x amount of helicopters, etc.

If it sounds like a product placement, looks like a marketing ploy, or smells like a deal between NBC and Activision, it probably is.

18 September 2008

9.16.08 My Wrath Unleashed, A Dialogue

me: What's that?
tsudoku: What?
me: That...(pointing to Star Wars: The Force Unleashed) Is that new? Did you just buy that??
tsudoku: [silence]
me: [silent stare of death] Where's the receipt?
tsudoku: In the trash
me: The trash right there? (pointing to the one by the door)
tsudoku: No...outside???
me: How much was it?
tsudoku: [silence]
me: How MUCH was IT????????
tsudoku: [silence] I love you baby...
me: If you tell me it was $50 I'm going to ream you
tsudoku: .....
me: Don't think that by not saying anything you'll be able to save yourself from getting reamed. How much was it?
tsudoku: [nervous chuckle]

Later on, about two days later..

me: SIXTY DOLLARS?!?!!? You spent SIXTY [bleep] dollars on this GAME?!!?!?!?
tsudoku: [silence]
tsudoku: .....
me: Ugh! You just wait...when you're asleep, I'm taking that Xbox and EVERY one of your games and selling them!
tsudoku: Then how would you play Katamari?
me: ....

26 August 2008

In Rainbows

Can I just take a moment here to say the following:


That is all, I'll step off my soap box for now. (Left: Radiohead at the Hollywood Bowl, August 25, 2008. Tour to promote the In Rainbows album, in stores everywhere--and should be playing in your ipod now).

26 May 2008

I've gone a-twitter

You may now call me your Queen of Royal Coolness LOL. Not really. People at work have been peer(?) pressuring(more like, demanding) me to join twitter.com. So, I have. Come follow me and find out what I'm doing (when I should be working, sleeping, eating, etc). Search me out: Vickipedia. My picture's pretty cool if I do say so myself:

Nudge me, I like being nudged so long as your fingers aren't sticky.

24 May 2008

I've got video game skills....

I just stumbled onto a small link for Napoleon Dynamite: the Game (PSP, DS). Seriously?

Tater tots not included. Image courtesy of
No. I'm sure it sucks, just like the movie. If you're so inclined, go to IGN.com for a fair review.

21 May 2008

Hey Sailor!

When Tsudoku isn't spending his time gaming the afternoon away, he's working on his Mac. And when he's not looking at girls in bikinis and calling it "work" (don't you wish you had his job?), he's manipulating images of my friends and emailing them to me asking me to create some appropriate copy. So, I took a stab at it...

Oh come on! If you're posing with your bottle o' rum like that you're seriously asking for it!

19 May 2008

Gears of War 2

For you Gear-heads out there, Gears of War 2 made an appearance at a Microsoft press event held in San Francisco over the weekend. While the game's 2006 success and eminent sequel have been highly anticipated, some are thinking that perhaps the game is a wee bit...oh, violent. Some have even gone as far as question whether Microsoft has gone too far??

To give you a quick synopsis, the game takes place approximately six months after the end of the first Gears, and "humanity faces a new and more deadly threat from its Locust enemies." There's a deeper plot and more realistic visuals in the sequel, but what really raised some eyebrows was the gory reverse groin-split scene. What? Apparently, "Gears 2 adds a reverse attack that actually slices an enemy in half -- from the groin upwards." Yikes.

Without a doubt, regular gamers on Xbox 360 Live will appreciate the new effects and enhanced graphics, and Microsoft can already foresee the success of the game. Gears of War 2 is slated to be released in November and will probably be flying off the shelves by the time the holidays hit. Go here to read more about the game and press event.

Ghost Swimming

For you [adult swim] fans out there, if you haven’t downloaded your free copy of Ghostly Swim, do it now. According to Ghostly International, the Ghostly Swim album is “A genre-busting 19-song collection…Ghostly Swim features artists like Matthew Dear, Dabrye, Tycho and Aeroc and features new signings like UK cult band The Chap and NYC producer Michna.”

As an [adult swim](er), I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Unlike ordinary mix tapes, Ghostly Swm is what happens when J. Dilla’s Donuts meets Blue State’s Man Mountain, when Peter Griffin meets Nathan Explosion, when When Harry Met Sally, etc.

Plug this album into your cochlea.

NOTE: this will be a .zip file, and may take a while to download depending on your internet connection.

18 May 2008

Video games don't kill people - people kill people

Finally! No need to worry about your kid (or boyfriend) going on a ballistic shooting rampage in a corporation owned by Italian mob bosses. According to this Yahoo! Games article, a couple Harvard Med School brainies have found in a two-year study that kids/pre-teens/teens who have a "casual relationship" with violent video games will unlikely act out because of what they've seen or experienced in their games. The research has even been penned into a book aptly titled, Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do. The authors suggest that parents should take a look at the bigger picture and find out what other factors are buggin' their kids out (e.g., they're being bullied at school, bad grades, or even obsessive gaming habits).

In other words, stop placing the blame on the games--that's bad parenting.

10 May 2008

BioShock -- the movie

You've all heard already right? BioShock the video game is now coming to the big screen. According to IGN.com, joystiq.com, Reuters, and even KROQ's morning deejays Kevin and Bean have all announced that Gore Verbinski (acclaimed director to such films as The Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, The Ring, The Mexican, and my personal favorite, Mouse Hunt) is set to direct the film based off of "...the hit video game about an underwater utopia gone disastrously wrong." No financial deal has been discussed as of yet, and it looks like due to the success of the game itself, Take-Two, BioShock's and GTA's game label, has announced plans to create a sequel. The Big Daddies and Little Sisters are waiting for you...can't wait to see how that'll play out on the big screen. With Verbinski directing, I highly doubt there'll be actual movie blood shed...think Samara (of The Ring) and Davey Jones coming after you underwater...perhaps the Cracken will make a cameo? Read more here.

05 May 2008

Anywhere I Lay My Head

Scarlett Johansson's debut album featuring Tom Waits' covers and one original Scarlett track--A Song for Jo--comes out in stores on Tuesday May 20.

Mmm...that's my girlfriend up there, folks.

22 April 2008

Let's Get Out of this Country

You said it, Camera Obscura, while we're at it, let's tell Lloyd we're ready to be heratbroken.

I'm thinking of flying out to Japan so I can get away from this: only to run to another country to throw my arms around this:

Who cares, they have super computers and cell phones over there! Not to mention state of the art game systems and ramen stands galore!!! *gaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh drooool*

25 March 2008

Why Don't Sheep Shrink When It's Raining?

Much like how I pose the question, "Why haven't I had Bud Light (or is it Lite) in years (and I mean YEARS)?" Well, now I totally remember why--it's because what blue-collared Americans call "beer" stays in your system, keeping a "nice" buzz going for hours to come. After only 2.75 pints of this "beer" (or as I'd like to call, hop-flavored water), I came home to a wave of nausea only to wake up with more nausea sitting in my tummy.

After only an hour of a nap, I asked tsudoku for a solution, to which he offered, "throw it up." NO! What is with you and throwing up? He gave me a glass (ha, I almost typed "flask") of water, which only made it worse since it gave me the feeling that the beer was separating from the just consumed water like oil and vinegar.

The solution was simple: food. Had I told you that at the beginning, this blog would've been pointless and we can't have that. Would I go to happy hour with my coworkers to experience this American feeling in my tummy? Perhaps next time I'll stick to rum. =) Now if you'll excuse me, I'll need to evacuate what's left of the "booze" in my body.

No, I am NOT going to throw it up.

PS: for you regular gamers out there, Lost Planet 2's achievements have been posted.