Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Disposable Income: January 2009

Well, the first month of the new year has already gone by, and actually, a good deal quicker than I might have expected. Anyway you know what the end of the month on a fledgling blog means: Time for me to try out a monthly-ish feature and see if I like doing it enough to write it on a regular basis! Yay for experimentation!

The premise this time is pretty simple: I buy stuff sometimes! This generally happens at least once a month, and is probably the only perk of having a full-time job I can think of. I figure maybe it'll be neat to keep track of the things I purchase over time, whether they be awesome movies and games or dumb impulse purchases. That way I get to touch on some of the stuff I buy that maybe I wouldn't normally write a full article on.

So let's go, Cheerios! Here's what I got this month.

The Powerpuff Girls: The Complete Series

So, first, fun fact that I love sharing: Did you know that when the show's creator, Craig McCracken, pitched Powerpuff Girls to Cartoon Network, they were originally called The Whoopass Girls, and they were created by Professor Utonium accidentally dropping a can of Whoop Ass into his concoction? Cartoon Network obviously made him change the name since it wasn't exactly kid friendly. Still, best origin story ever!

Anyways, yes, this has probably been the gayest purchase I have ever made, but you know what? Despite the audience it was marketed to, I remembered it being a fantastic cartoon when I watched it ten years ago. I'm also a pretty big buff on animated stuff in general, and on top of that I was feeling a little nostalgic when I saw it on sale, so it ended up becoming pretty much a must buy. Even then, though, it seemed like kind of a risky purchase. What if it wasn't as funny, clever, and well written as I remember it being? What if it was just this girly kids' cartoon that my 12 year old self put up with because he was a sucker for anything that included superpowers?

Well I've watched a good half of the series now, and I don't regret the purchase one bit for the first two seasons alone, cause they're amazing. Nearly every episode in seasons 1 and 2 on the set is a classic. There's too many highlights there to list, but if I had to choose a few favorites I'd probably pick:

Telephonies: The Gangrene Gang get a hold of the Powerpuff Hotline Phone and use it to make prank calls. This episode is one of the best examples of the show's great sense of humor.

Something's A Ms.: A villainess kidnaps the Mayor's assistant, takes her place, and seduces the Mayor so he doesn't notice her robbing the city blind. There are like five billion dirty jokes in this one, I can't believe Craig McCracken got away with half of them.

The Powerpuff Girls Best Rainy Day Adventure Ever: It's a rainy day so the Powerpuff Girls play a pretend game of... Powerpuff Girls. This episode is just plain adorable and a lot of fun.

And that's just a small fraction of what I love about the show. Unfortunately, I haven't even finished the series yet and it already seems to be going downhill. Season 3 is really quirky and weird, and although there's some fun episodes it's not as filled with classics as the first two seasons. Then the downward slope becomes a bit steeper with Season 4. The animation is cleaned up a bit, but it also becomes a bit more streamlined and not as charming. Plus the entire season is exclusively half-hour long plotlines, instead of two fifteen minute episodes at a time. The series generally suffers from this, as the stories become less fast paced and there's a lot more awkwardly timed moments. The newer episodes aren't necessarily bad, they just seem to have lost what made older episodes amazing On the other hand, I'm only halfway through Season 4, so maybe things change for the better? I guess I'll see!

The DVD set itself is fantastic and packed with extras, by the way. All of the original "Whoopass Girls" pilot episodes are in here, as well as the "What A Cartoon Show" shorts, an episode that was never aired in the US called "See Me, Feel Me, Gnomey, a brand new special episode made for the show's 10th Anniversary, and a buttload of other stuff. Definitely worth a purchase for any PPG fan, whether the show eventually declines or not.

The Powerpuff Girls Movie

I bought this to make my PPG Collection a truly complete one. However, the movie didn't come out until after the fourth season, and I'm watching the series in chronological order, so I actually haven't watched the movie yet.

So how about another random fact: The underpants I'm wearing right now have drawings of a dog roasting marshmallows. The dog is wearing sunglasses!

Time Hollow

This is an adventure game for the DS that came out recently. It's been on my radar for a while, and after finding out that the game is now out of print, I snagged a new copy from a retailer on Amazon immediately, while it was still relatively cheap.

The main jist of the storyline is that the protagonist's parents have disappeared, and have apparently left him a magical pen that gives him time traveling powers. So throughout the game, you use the pen (or should I say your Nintendo DS stylus? Boy that sure was clever and not lame Konami!) to draw portals in areas that you've been having context-sensitive flashbacks about. And you use those portals to try and change the past back to normal, and also solve the mystery of why your parents are missing. The game has a lot in common with that movie The Butterfly Effect, except Ashton Kutcher isn't in it, so it's actually good.

I've already blasted through a pretty big chunk of the game, and it has a flaw or two, the most blatant being that point-and-click adventures are just becoming an awfully archaic and limited genre despite how much I loved them when I was younger, but I'm still enjoying myself a good deal. What's weird is that I've only been playing the game a few hours and it already feels like I'm reaching the climax of the story. Hopefully this adventure isn't as short as it feels, because I'm enjoying the characters and puzzles being thrown at me and am definitely up for more.

Xbox 360 120GB Hard Drive

So I've been loving my 360 a lot, but lately there's been one glaring problem: I never had any freaking space on the thing! Whenever I wanted to download a new game demo or video of something that became available on the system's fantastic online service, I usually had to delete something that was already on my measly 20GB hard drive. If you guys recall, I've been having a similar problem with my Wii's storage space for roughly the past year now. Of course, there's one pretty big difference between the 360 and the Wii in this regard: The 360 actually has a solution to the storage problem. A bit more expensive of a solution than I'd like, but I use my 360 pretty much all the time so I'd say it was a pretty solid investment.

So yeah, I bought the new hard drive this week, and it came with everything I needed to transfer all the stuff on my 20GB over to the 120GB quickly and easily, which is an awesome bit of customer service I wasn't expecting. Aaand... now I have 100 gigs of free space on my Xbox! Hooray! To celebrate, I ordered one last thing for the month off of Amazon:

Final Fantasy XI: Vana'diel Collection 2008

So I've wanted to play an MMO for quite a while, but as I've mentioned before, my computer sucks balls. So pretty much just last week I find out that FFXI isn't just available for the PC and PS2, it's a 360 game as well, and it's cross compatible with all the other versions! Add those facts to my brand new hard drive, my fondness of the Final Fantasy series in general, and the fact that I could get the game and every existing expansion pack for a total of 20 bucks off of Amazon, and we have ourselves a winner!

I haven't started playing it yet, since it's being shipped to me as I type this, and I'll probably have it this coming Monday or Tuesday. The first month within me starting an account is free, so I'll have that much time to figure out if I like it enough to pay for it on a monthly basis. And if I do, maybe you'll see me talk about it in a future Disposable Income installment.

Anyways, that's all the crap I bought this month! Next month: More crap?

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