The Oscillator

the oscillator neal&bob nandb_04.bsp quake 2 ctf q2ctf acme acmecon 3rdarm reefer h0ps sly beer fright night angry

“There is Sly the player, and BEER the mapmaker. Sly consulted BEER on his maps and therefor BEER gave him credit. But AFAIK Sly has never made a map.” -Target

Another amazing WTF map:  That Egyptian themed map where the quad spawns in the cage… no one could find the lever / switch to pull up the cage.  We were all surprised by the sound of natives chanting Indiana Jones-style and the cage raises up and back down. I got trapped in the cage.

the oscillator neal&bob nandb_04.bsp quake 2 ctf q2ctf acme acmecon 3rdarm reefer h0ps sly beer fright night angry

The other thing is that my favorite part of The Oscillator map beyond the more obvious floating / flying movement (regular gravity) and unique graphic look was that map’s sound.  I was way beyond “regular stoned” by the end of the night (The Cleaner asked, “Did you eat it or smoke it?” and the correct answer was C all of the above), but I have seriously never heard sounds in a Q2 map like that.  These vibrating tones deepen as you get to the basement where quad is.

the oscillator neal&bob nandb_04.bsp quake 2 ctf q2ctf acme acmecon 3rdarm reefer h0ps sly beer fright night angry

After last night I am left with 2 important questions:

Have you ever played The Oscillator?  Have you ever played The Oscillator ON WEED?!?!

Sudden Death



q2ctf acmectf quake 2 capture the flag 2015 fact3 bsp mintro as2m7 cacophony h0ps 3rdarm reefer

That was awesome!  Thank you everyone who played the weird maps.  Big thank  you to angry, The Cleaner and greenz for staying up late and playing so many cool maps. My favorites from last night were… 

q2ctf acmectf quake 2 capture the flag 2015 fact3 bsp mintro as2m7 cacophony h0ps 3rdarm reefer

Fright Night (b7ctf) 1 quad – haunted house ambience and seemingly custom built for smooth movement. i love how they put ramps in front of the spawn points so you can just take off back into the action. does anybody know if SLY the map maker is the same as SLY the player?

q2ctf acmectf quake 2 capture the flag 2015 fact3 bsp mintro as2m7 cacophony h0ps 3rdarm reefer

Sudden Death (fact3) 1 quad – classic clusterfuck tight quarters map with lava switches playing an important role in quad control and railgun.

Tyrants (lock01) 1 quad – love the whale spine look to the area above the flag room, small fast well-designed map

Jill Kelly (starctf2) don’t remember why or what the map is but I remember i liked it. I also like the name Jilly Kelly for a map.

q2ctf acmectf quake 2 capture the flag 2015 fact3 bsp mintro as2m7 cacophony h0ps 3rdarm reefer

Penetrator (penetrator) no quad, great small map for 1v1. The Cleaner insisted this was the map for me, funny name. “No seriously Reefer.  Remember penetrator.”

The Oscillator (nandb_04) Neal&Bob says it best, taken from the readme file and their website:

The style is abstract but not without tons of character.  The idea is to continue building maps that feature interesting geometry which is accented by clean brushwork and a minimal use of textures.  The end result is something very different from most Quake 2 maps and will continue the goal of redefining Quake 2 multiplayer with every map released under the Neal&Bob name.

the oscillator neal&bob nandb_04.bsp quake 2 ctf q2ctf acme acmecon 3rdarm reefer h0ps sly beer fright night angry

Neal&Bob maps are potentially hazardous due to numerous environmental variables.  Neal&Bob maps typically use minimalistic color schemes and patterns that may induce previously unknown conditions in users which may result in risk of bodily harm, damage to property or even death.  We do not recommend anyone venture into the confines of the Neal&Bob experience without first surveying potential hazards in an offline test and with adequate supervision.

Throwback Maps

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I listened to a Ready Up Radio podcast where they interviewed Alex “Jehar” Popa (the guy behind tastyspleen.tv):

[url=http://readyupradio.com/?p=168]http://readyupradio.com/?p=168[/url]

He was asked why Quake 2 is his favorite game after so many years.  Jehar’s answer was that Quake 2 is the most fun high skill competitive FPS, and so much fun to make mods and maps for. 



ACME CTF is keeping the competitive Quake 2 CTF alive… and the competitive focus is on a handful of maps for good reason.  

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This Sunday angry and I invite you to come to the match server an hour before the PUGs (say 6PM central/ 7PM est) and we are going into the Mine Entrance to search for hidden gems…

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Angry is a Quake 2 map expert: he will admin.  I like to play mindlessly for hours: I’m the wing man.  Let’s play short games on a bunch of random maps and maybe even get some high scores.  Please remember to bring an open mind!

February in Review

xoco chicago february review 2015 arthur mullen noble square

Despite what any objective observer would describe as plain awful weather (coldest Feb in Chi in recorded history, 14.6F average temperature, 3rdsnowiest Feb) we ended just $1300 short of February 2014 sales.  

xoco chicago february review 2015 arthur mullen noble square

This must have been due to the consistent, delicious pace of the kitchen, the friendly, engaged attention by the servers, the deliveries ordered on Xocotogo.com, and the amazing creativity of our chefs.  

xoco chicago february review 2015 arthur mullen noble square

If the February weather was the toughest of punches, we’re only down $1300.  

xoco chicago february review 2015 arthur mullen noble square

Xoco is still standing and we have all of that going for us AND some new tricks up our sleeve. 

xoco chicago february review 2015 arthur mullen noble square

I can’t wait to see what this team does with even a slight increase in temperature:  March, I’m looking at you.

Trompo

xoco chicago trompo tacos al pastor 3rdarm coalfire

Richard Gustave Stracke, one of our all-time best regulars, wrote in, “The Pambazo is incredibly high in the running for my all time favorite Xoco torta.”

xoco chicago tacos al pastor trompo

“If I paired that with some al pastor on a Wednesday night I could almost close my eyes and conjure up the D.F.”

Zagat Rating

xoco. chicago zagat rating 2015 nayeli ramon flores garcia future 3rdarm

We are up 2 points in food and 2 points in service in the 2015 Zagat guide for Chicago.

carlos alferez arthur mullen manager xoco chicago 3rdarm zagat guide

I have no way of knowing when we got those extra points though. It was sometime between now and 2009.

That’s Why I Don’t Eat Shrimp

Chicago west town noble square erie street 3rdarm sunset February roly poly cat maine coon Arthur Mullen

The last time I quit eating shrimp it was because I crammed so many in my mouth that I got weirded out. As the closing manager I had been inspecting the main walk-in refrigerator, in particular the sheet trays housing the mise en place for the ceviche station. Those first few weeks closing the restaurant I played a dangerous game called how many shrimp can I fit in my mouth. Open access to unlimited shrimp had turned me into a walking whale: nothing got my baleen salivating like a late night shrimp snack. And then one night, alone in the dark restaurant, I reached my limit. Mouth crammed with textures of shrimp, I panicked. And that’s when I switched to slurfing sweet treats at the end of my closing shifts.

Chicago west town noble square erie street 3rdarm sunset February roly poly cat maine coon Arthur Mullen

Two tangentially related stories:

The first time I remember experiencing a freakish panic over food was when my age was somewhere in the low single digits. My family was having lunch at Kathy John’s, an old school ice cream parlour just outside the rural campus of the University of Connecticut. At Kathy John’s they served the famous “kitchen sink” to college students and other boneheads, a humongous disgusting salad bowl with 1000 scoops of every kind of ice cream and topping. The waitresses rang a bell when you ordered it. Anyway, I was just a little kid having a hamburger, and when I had eaten my hamburger down to a crescent half-moon shape, I was suddenly overtaken by the feeling that this hamburger could be anything, a sandworm from an alien planet. This was way before any drugs, by the way. I remember looking at the remains of my hamburger, bell ringing wildly as a bunch of cheering college boneheads were presented with a tub of frozen goo, totally weirded out thinking, “What the hell is this thing?”

Chicago west town noble square erie street 3rdarm sunset February roly poly cat maine coon Arthur Mullen

The other story is the first time I got food poisoning. Again it’s my early childhood. It was the year I unsuccessfully tried out as an altar boy at the local Catholic church. Come to find out I just wasn’t cut from the right cloth. My older cousin was getting confirmed at the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich, CT. Perhaps as an harbinger of my growing agnosticism, I lost interest completely in the ceremony. Bored out of my mind, I hung out in the cathedral’s basement, where the buffet was already set for the post-confirmation fiesta. The Bishop was on hand to personally bestow the sacrament, and it was a big deal. Evidently the Bishop considered himself a big deal as well, because he was the first one to come down to the basement, before the local priests had even finished up. From out of site, I watched him go down the buffet line. The Bishop took a chocolate milk. The Bishop took potato chips. The Bishop took iceberg lettuce salad. He came to the platter of sandwiches: the Bishop picked up a tuna boat sandwich, put it down, and chose roast beef instead. The Bishop took his meal to-go. Alone again in the cathedral basement, I ran over to the sandwiches and scarfed down the tuna boat that sucker the Bishop had passed up. It was delicious, and it bestowed on me a full day of traumatic, harrowing food poisoning. I remember my cousins’ hunting dogs trailing me around the yard, chowing on my piles of barf.

Chicago west town noble square erie street 3rdarm sunset February roly poly cat maine coon Arthur Mullen

This past Friday, I worked my first manager shift at the new restaurant. The restaurant opened last summer, but I don’t really have the stomach for restaurant openings. I’m a person who likes my routines. Six months in, I was finally there to lend a hand. With my fresh eyes (and nose) I identified a key issue: the host podium was topped with unsealed metal that reeked like blood and stained the hostesses blouses. I uploaded a fun photo of the wood-burning oven onto all the Micros POS screens. Just before the kitchen closed at 11PM, I asked the chef if the shrimp in garlic mojo would be a good dish to try, and he said yes. I’d actually had shrimp for lunch as well. “What can I say, I’m like a walking whale,” I joked. I put my food order in. I followed up by going up to the Latino cook working the wood-burning oven. I pointed at my ticket, the last on the line. “Bien Preparado,” I said. The cook was nonplussed. “Hecho en Mexico,” “Estilo Sinaloa,” I goaded him, getting no response, “Trabajo Para Chapo Guzman.”

“I’m from Ecuador,” the cook replied, as he reluctantly got out the shrimp bucket and added more shrimp to the wood-burning oven.

My body knew instantly that something was wrong. Right away my stomach bloated up and garlic started sweating from all my pores. Five to eight hours later, the diarrhea faucet switched on. That morning, in agony, I emailed work, described the situation and conveyed my hope I would be well enough to work in the afternoon. Around noon, I crapped the bed. Needless to say, I called out sick from work. Without the care of Etta and Roly Poly, I may not have made it through that one. As NBA great Charles Barkley once said in a T-Mobile commercial, “And that’s why I don’t eat shrimp.”

I’m taking a short break from small friends with swimmerets. Upon receipt of an email detailing my condition, Aunt Judy’s reply was classic. “Not the first time [you crapped the bed], Arthur.”

Foot Biter

february erie st sunset winter chicago 3rdarm roly poly cat maine coon arthur mullen

I had trouble sleeping last night. I got up to read my book in the living room while the sun came up.

february erie st sunset winter chicago 3rdarm roly poly cat maine coon arthur mullen

I’m reading Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. Roly Poly is still a foot biter.

Goofy Green Sweater

erie st goofy chihuahua roly poly cat maine coon cat arthur mullen chicago 3rdarm

We are in the dog days of winter. It snowed again on Sunday and the temperature is in the single digits in Chicago.

erie st goofy chihuahua roly poly cat maine coon cat arthur mullen chicago 3rdarm

I watched my elderly neighbor sweep snow from the sidewalk. His 20 year old chihuahua Goofy emerged from the house, alive, and wearing a small green sweater.

Yo͞onək

roly poly maine coon norwegian snow cat 3rdarm chicago arthur mullen orange white river north february sunset xoco

One night after work we were all talking about the new trailer for the upcoming season of Game of Thrones. The talk turned to who would be which character. To be honest, there are not any characters I would want to be in the brutal fantasy world where it’s kill or be killed. Brie, the training manager, said that because I am crafty, always trying to manipulate the action behind-the-scenes, that I would be Varys, the eunuch. “Storms come and go, the big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling,” is a typical Varys quote. That would be fine, I shouted at her, except that I have it where it counts. I’m not a eunuch!

roly poly maine coon norwegian snow cat 3rdarm chicago arthur mullen orange white river north february sunset xoco

Over the weekend, I overheard Shane talking about Game of Thrones in the dishroom. Shane is a person I respect immensely: multi-instrumentalist, college professor of music, has played drums for Steely Dan. He was born in Germany to American parents with roots in the South, and his voice has a kind of stoner twang that wouldn’t be out of place on The Simpsons. “What character would you be?” I asked him.

“The badass with the fucked up face… what’s his name… The Hound!” he answered.

“What character would I be?” I asked.

Shane’s face scrunched up while he thought over the question. And then it came to him. “Ohhh… man. You’d be that guy in the capitol who is always controlling people… The Eunuch!”

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