The blog formerly known as The Dobbs Method

1 Year of The Dobbs Method

Posted in The Dobbs Method by Taylor Dobbs on 01/14/2010

It’s been a year since my first post on this blog, and there have been a lot of changes. I went from blogger to wordpress, tech to geek, and got more personal. I started this blog simply because I liked the idea of blogging. I didn’t know what I would write about, if I would get hits or not, or what I would take away from the experience. I learned a lot.

I had a very successful post, tweeted by a well-followed account, and I continued to write similar posts until I realized I didn’t enjoy writing those and stopped altogether. When I picked it back up, I decided this blog would be whatever I wanted it to be. I told myself I wouldn’t pay attention to how many hits it was getting or write in a way that I thought would get more hits just for the purpose of bringing in readers. I still pay attention to my numbers, but I really am blogging whatever I want. It’s an extremely nice freedom to have. Maybe in the future, the things I blog about will become their own niche, or maybe they already are and I just need time to grow. Either way, I can truly say that I look forward to whatever this will become and to deepening and widening the readerbase I already have.

To the people reading this, thank you. Thanks for hearing me and listening to what I have to say. It’s not always interesting, and rarely important, but thank you for appreciating what is my voice in a vast sea of noise.

Until next time,

Taylor Dobbs

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I’m with Conan

Posted in Rants, Television by Taylor Dobbs on 01/14/2010

"I'm with CoCo" conan o'brien support picture

I’m going to start by saying that I am an advocate against how much television this country watches. I don’t have a problem with TV itself, but I have an issue with the quality of the programming. There is so much – excuse me – shit on television these days. Anyways, that’s not my point. I mainly just say that so that I can put my foot down on this without seeming like a couch-lurking American sociopath (there are lots of them).

I didn’t watch much late-night TV growing up. Bedtime usually claimed me before Leno or Conan, but on the rare night where my parents fell asleep before me, I remember flipping through channels, seeing Jay Leno, and making a mental note to come back to that channel at 12:00. Why? Conan. I loved watching Conan. Leno wasn’t funny. All he did was have hot-shot celebrities on the show and made so-so jokes while they made bad ones in return, then he had a musical guest. Conan, now Conan was funny. Just the way he spoke and moved, Conan was funny, and he still is. His smile, his true gratitude for what he gets to do every night, and his ability to laugh at himself made him so easy to love.

Leno might be able to laugh at himself, and maybe he has a nice smile and seems funny to some people, but he’s no better than Conan. Regardless of their merits as late-night show hosts, Conan has had this spot lined up for himself for the last six years. NBC has a contractual obligation to give him this spot. Conan has done nothing to lose the spot, and has not really had the chance to fully settle in to The Tonight Show. The problem is that Jay Leno, king of late-night comedy, is in a fit because his show, which he seemed so casually invested in knowing the risks of a show that early, is failing. NBC, in a desperate effort to save its ratings and pet the ego of their golden goose, is completely disregarding the talents and ability of the two other hosts that their move would hurt. Jimmy Fallon, who I personally don’t find to be funny, but has not had a chance to get used to his role as a late-night host, would be without a slot and therefore off the nighttime schedule. Conan O’Brien, who is in my opinion the best late-night comedy host during my lifetime, would be pushed back into a too-late-for-good-ratings slot.

Here’s what it comes down to: It’s Conan’s spot. It was Leno’s, and he lost it. It wasn’t lack of talent. It wasn’t offensive material. It was simply an expired contract. He had a good run, he made a ton of money, and he made a great name for himself. Leno needs to step aside and let Conan do the same for himself, and maybe Fallon after him. The world has too many people who won’t let go of their professions, who could go out as legends, but instead fade into irrelevance. Leno took that risk when he decided to do an earlier show this year, and he needs to stop now, while the majority of his career is considered a success.

End rant.

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Avatar

Posted in Film by Taylor Dobbs on 01/06/2010

I checked out Avatar last night with my dad, and I couldn’t be happier about it. I walked into it with mixed emotions. After hearing all the hype, I wanted to either love it and be able to get fully into it, or to be able to criticize it effectively. I was really left no option at all except to fall head-over-heels in love with it.

As much as I’d like to be a rare nay-sayer on this one, it’s just not there. This movie was amazing. What blows my mind the most I think is that the movie didn’t take a new approach to writing, as did Momento, or even action really. It was just a plain good action movie. They didn’t have to have crazy plot twists or anything to make a great movie, they just took the classic action template, and did it better than anyone before them.

Of course to mention Avatar without talking about the visuals would be wrong. There have been stacks of articles and blog posts about how Avatar was filmed, but to be honest I am glad I didn’t read any before seeing it. To see something as realistic as that was and have no knowledge of technology capable of creating that just made the movie that much more magical. The integration of live action and CGI (or whatever it was) was so seamless that it simply felt real. I saw it in 3D (which I highly recommend) and besides having amazing CGI, the scenes with humans in them felt like I could have reached out and touched them.

Despite having great visuals and a perfectly executed plot, what sealed the deal for Avatar in my eyes was the character development. Forty minutes into it, I was feeling indifferent about the movie. The visuals were great, for sure, but nothing had really jumped out and hooked me in. Somewhere along the way, as the lead character is running though the (beautiful) forest with the female lead, I found myself smiling. I realized then that I was proud of this guy. This alien-looking guy who I could barely identify with at all had earned a place in my heart, which needless to say isn’t very easy when you’re a 9-foot-tall blue (male) alien on a planet six lightyears away.

If you finished up that last paragraph and cringed at the sound of Sci-Fi, don’t. I don’t like Sci-Fi movies either, but Avatar brings it in a way that the only thing you can really do is sit back and watch in awe.

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Burnout: Paradise

Posted in Gaming by Taylor Dobbs on 12/21/2009

I have spent more late night hours on this game than any other. It’s ability to make me laugh out of the sheer ridiculousness of what happens, as well as the never-ending stream of objectives and trophies make it almost impossible to  be “done with,” so pick it up and you’ll rarely find your console lacking in things to do.

On that note, it’s bedtime.

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Operation Chokehold

Posted in Technology by Taylor Dobbs on 12/15/2009

Sometimes I forget what service bars look like...

I just found this article, which explains that iPhone users are launching an attack on AT&T this Friday December 18 at 12 PM PST, 3 PM east coast, to try to bring down the data network. This comes in the wake of a blog post by angry iPhone user and popular Apple blogger “Fake Steve Jobs.” After already having experienced plenty of my own AT&T fail, I will very enthusiastically partake in this campaign against the big blue (and orange) beast.

It’s simple. iPhone users are all going to heavily use data-hogging apps on the network for an hour starting at noon pacific time in an attempt to “bring it to its knees.” I see a long hour of slowly-loading YouTube videos in my future.

The only problem now is that I’m not sure if I’ll notice if the network slows down as a result of Operation: Chokehold. I also wouldn’t mind getting a T-shirt out of it.

5 Games I’d Buy Remastered

Posted in Gaming by Taylor Dobbs on 12/11/2009

Since I’ve moved in with my roommate, he has discovered many gaps in my gaming experience. As any enthusiast in anything will tell you, there are certain basic experiences you must have in the field before you can enjoy the finer points of it. This is just as true with gaming, so along side Political Science 137 and Philosophy 001, I’ve been taking Gaming 101. It’s been really cool to go back and play some of the classics that helped shape the games I play now. Never was this more true than with God of War.
I bought the God of War Collection when it launched with a recommendation from my roommate. The cool part about this set was that is was a pair of PS2 games that had been remastered in HD for the PS3. While the graphics aren’t completely redone, the edges are sharp and the aspect ratio is right on. My only complaint about this concept is that it hasn’t been done more.
While there’d probably be a market for just about any old game remastered in HD (and especially these ones) for new-generation consoles, there are my 5 top picks. Keep in mind, I’ll probably miss a few essentials since I haven’t played all of the classics. Here are my picks…

  1. 007 Nightfire – This was probably the most fun multiplayer game I ever played on the PS2. The campaign was definitely awesome, though not mind-blowing. Seeing maps re-done in HD and having online multiplayer would open a whole new can o’ whoop-ass, and I’d definitely lay down some green for it.
  2. Grand Theft Auto Collection – As Santa Monica Studios did with God of War, Rockstar games could definitely double-dip Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City in a re-release with HD remastering or (if they were feeling ambitious) a complete graphical reworking.
  3. Shadow of the Colossus – Though I’ve never played it, watching my roommate play back through this game was one of the most visually unique experiences I’ve had with gaming. It seemed before its time with vast, stretching landscapes, massive cliffs, and extremely intricate collosi. With visuals like that, it’s just begging to be reworked and put on today’s screens with a whole new sharpness. Getting a few more copies into circulation wouldn’t hurt either, as the game is somewhat hard to find these days.
  4. Splinter Cell Collection – I know these games weren’t popular with everyone, but the people (like me) who liked them loved them. I’d love to see all of the Splinter Cell games re-released in HD for another play through with some badass trophies/achievements.
  5. Hitman Collection – I bought this collection on Steam for my gaming PC back when I was into that, but the graphics for the first game were still old, and there were no achievements. Giving the Hitman games a fresh coat ‘o paint and some trophy support would definitely make for a cool addition to my collection.
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Professing Disgust

Posted in College, Rants by Taylor Dobbs on 12/09/2009

I froze like a deer in the headlights, iPhone in my lap for quick access, iChat icon bouncing playfully in my dock. My notes weren’t even open yet ten minutes into class. The professor had just dropped that dreaded, tucked-away phrase, “classroom etiquette.” I was a lost cause. My right hand slowly, as if I was at gunpoint, slid my cell phone back into its pocket. I said goodbye on iChat, then snapped through all my windows, quitting each app with speed and perfection that seemed almost practiced. I opened my class notes and typed, in a sort of high-tech under my breath whisper, “Fuck you.” (more…)

5 Unnecessary Things on My Desk

Posted in Random by Taylor Dobbs on 12/02/2009

Because I’m bored.

I’m going to name 5 things I have on my desk that have no reason for being there, then tell you why each is there. Stop reading if you feel any sense of purpose right now; I assure you it will not be worth your time.

1. My broken 120 GB iPod. The friend who tried to fix it returned it to me a few months ago and I put it down and haven’t done anything with it since. The hard drive is broken, and it’s completely useless until that gets replaced. Why is it on my desk? So that I will remember to have it fixed. Mission: failed.

2. Ziplock bag full of packets of Emergen-C. My mom gave me these when I was home a few months ago to prevent me from getting sick. I didn’t use them. I got sick. Moral of the story: even when you’re in college and you don’t have to anymore, sometimes listening to mom is still a good idea. Why are they still there? Just in case.

3. Bicycle tube-patching kit. I have a incredibly frustrating tendency to run into curbs at high speeds on my bike. This often leads to a popped tire, so to keep costs down, I patch my tubes. It’s not worth it. Why is it still on my desk? Because it’s small, and it’s out of the way so it’d be more trouble than convenience to move it.

4. Box of 10-gallon trash bags. Honestly, I just barely noticed these. I put them down as I was moving into my room, and they’ve become so much a part of the scenery that I didn’t even notice to move them. Why are they still there? Because they haven’t been in my way yet.

5. Stretchy medical wrap. I somehow ended up with my girlfriend’s ankle wrap after a sports practice. Somehow, it stayed on my desk. Why is it still there? Honestly, it’s stretchy and kind of fun to fidget with.

The Kingdom

Posted in Film by Taylor Dobbs on 11/28/2009

The Kingdom PosterWhat better time to watch movies than Thanksgiving break?

 

Today I kicked back and watched The Kingdom. I’d seen this movie before, but at the time I’d been less politically aware and far less able to spot genuine acts of badassery. I wouldn’t say Jamie Foxx is the ultimate badass (because he doesn’t, at any point, say “yipee-ki-yay”) but I’d say he’s pretty close. When you have not one, but two “x”es in your name, then beat the shit out of a military officer in front of his whole squad for slapping your friend, “badass” is an unavoidable word.

 

Reading into it a little bit, the movie puts in quite a lot of cultural, political, and diplomatic dialogue. Not all of it is positive, but they’re definitely trying to go from boom boom pow action movie to “It’s an ugly world, here’s what might happen.” In my opinion, this is a must do for any action movie without massive robots that turn into cars that haven’t even come out yet.

 

The tension between almost all of the characters throughout the movie is almost palpable (though I’m sure many people would argue with me on this point) and the final scene is so far above and beyond my expectations that I was surprised again, even though I knew what would happen.

 

Though it’s definitely just a movie, The Kingdom somehow adds elements of surprise, plot, and character that make it feel like this could really happen. Just the right amount of spontaneity mixed with just the right amount of holy-shit-that-was-so-cool moments.

 

A must see, and one of the most underrated movies I’ve ever liked.

Modern Warfare 2

Posted in Gaming by Taylor Dobbs on 11/23/2009

The game has been out for almost two weeks now, I know. I’m not trying to sell this game, I’m just here to announce to the world my absolute love for this game. As soon as I put in the game, I saw the intro movie and then made my way to the menu. The simple, wonderful, three-part opening screen which said “Special Ops,” “Campaign,” and “Multiplayer,” spurred me to promise myself not to write a blog post until the progress percentages underneath each section said 100%. So here it is.

I love this game. My first holy-shit-I-love-this experience with Call of Duty didn’t happen until December 27, 2008. I got home from Blockbuster (too broke to buy a game after laying down all of my christmas money for my new PS3) and slid Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare into the machine. The campaign took me the rest of that night and the first part of the next day to beat. The whole experience was essentially a stretched out loss of my gaming virginity: As it happened, I was too amazed to focus on anything else. I had so much fun with it that it ended quickly, and when the credits were done rolling, I sat there stunned and satisfied, but wishing it hadn’t ended.

Then, gazing longingly at the main menu, I noticed “Multiplayer.” At this point I had two weeks left in my winter recess, and in those two weeks, I fell in love with console gaming all over again.

Needless to say, when I heard about Modern Warfare 2, I freaked out. I spent hours on YouTube looking for gameplay clips and watching trailers. Nothing prepared me for this though. It’s SO fun and SO deep. From having to use trigger buttons to climb ice walls to defending my teammate (roommate) on the ground with an AC-130 gunship to ranking through the online challenges on a variety of very cool maps, I feel – as I put it to my girlfriend – like a little kid at christmas time. It’s awesome

Based on the opening sales, anyone who cares about the game already has it, so I won’t bore you with details. I probably would, but I have a Search and Destroy mission to get to.

Over and out.