Archive | March 2012

Get up, fuck that, I’m down with the sickness….

So both my 3 year old and my wife are sick. We pulled an all nighter with the wee man on Saturday night, ending in a trip to the ER, only to be followed by a 4 hour ER trip last night for my wife. My son didn’t get it quite as bad, and was throwing up and such and crying, but took it rather well with all things being considered.

My wife apparently got hit with a different strain, something that should be called the Vesuvian Electric Chair or something. Besides being sick every 20 minutes or so, hers was accompanied by massive spasms of pain. She ended up with her hands locked into claw-like positions while she spasmodically convulsed on the hospital bed until they gave her something strong for the pain. Unfortunately, though, they offered me no such drugs….stingy fucks. She is now home recovering.

This prompted me to really contemplate what it’s like being sick, and the differences between being sick without having children and being sick WITH children.

Being sick without having kids is a breeze. You feel like hell, like everything sucks and you could instantly perish at any moment. You can also decide to lay on the bathroom floor and stay there for awhile, since it logically provides all that you would need. You have water, a toilet, medicine, and a cool tile floor to sleep on, or a warm rug to sleep on, depending on the level of fever at the moment.You can just mellow out on the couch watching television in a miserable fever-induced stupor, going through tissues faster than a frat boy at a party goes through beers.You can decide to not leave the house for days, make your food at your leisure, and watch or play whatever you want on TV. If you’re married, your significant other can care for you and tend to you fully while you recuperate.

Well now you have kids. Basically it’s the same as any other day for you, except you feel like you’ve been gang raped by shit demons. For those who don’t have kids, let’s walk through a bit of it.

Kids will ask for things constantly, will want to go here or there, will need to be fed, and will ABSOLUTELY know that you are feeling like shit, which means they’ll pay even MORE attention to you. This results in less time to yourself than you’d ever get when you’re well. This also means that you must perform all parental duties completely, while all the time you’re struggling to maintain consciousness and not vomit on the newly folded laundry.

Wanna watch a movie? OK, it’ll be either a kid’s movie, or a ‘crossover’ movie that you’ve seen 1000 times because your child was showed it once and needed to watch it every day for 3 1/2 months straight.

Wanna play video games? Well, you’ll have to settle for something child friendly, and will have to deal with the child grabbing at the controller during key sections, thus adding to your frustration and the headache you’ve had for 8 hours.

Feel the need to run to the restroom and explode while filling the bucket that is now resting on your lap? Well then I hope you like company, because you won’t be alone.

There is no being alone or without responsibility when you have kids, sick or not. It’s not like just having dogs, for instance. The only thing that’s similar is that you can’t spend the day on the bathroom floor when you have a dog, since you’ll end up with your ears licked off. Oh sure, you could always lock yourself in the bathroom so the dog can’t get in, in which case you’ll be cleaning up bits of pillows and such when you finally emerge stinking of vomit, feces, mouth wash, and toothpaste. This will also make you MUCH more interesting to your dog’s sense of smell, which means MORE LICKING!!!

Finally, for those who don’t get the ear licking part, here’s some research material, written by none other than the great Dave Barry…

Molecular Homicide
by Dave Barry

We have the flu. I don’t know if this particular strain has an official name, but if it does, it must be something like Martian Death Flu. You may have had it yourself. The main symptom is that you wish you had another setting on your electric blanket, up past “HIGH” that said: “ELECTROCUTION.”
Another symptom is that you cease brushing your teeth because (a) your teeth hurt and (b) you lack the strength. Midway through the brushing process, you’d have to lie down in front of the sink to rest for a couple of hours, and rivulets of toothpaste foam would dribble sideways out of your mouth, eventually hardening into crusty little toothpaste stalagmites what would bond your head permanently to the bathroom floor, which is where the police would find you.
You know the kind of flu I’m talking about.
I spend a lot of time lying very still and thinking flu-related thoughts. One insight I have had is that all this time scientists have been telling us the truth: Air really is made up of tiny objects called “molecules.” I know this because I can feel them banging against my body. There are billions and billions and billions of them, but if I concentrate, I can detect each one individually, striking my body, especially my eyeballs, at speeds upward of a hundred thousand miles per hour. If I try to escape by pulling the blanket over my face, they attack my hair, which has become almost as sensitive as my teeth.
There has been a mound of blanket on my wife’s side of the bed for several days, absolutely motionless except that it makes occasional efforts to spit into a tissue. I think it might be my wife, but the only way to tell for sure would be to prod it, which I wouldn’t do even if I had the strength, because if it turned out that it was my wife, and she were alive, and I prodded her, it would kill her.
Me, I am leading a more active life-style. Three or four times a day, I attempt to crawl to the bathroom. Unfortunately this is a distance of nearly 15 feet, with a great many air molecules en route, so at about the halfway point I usually decide to stop and get myself into the fetal position and hope for nuclear war. Instead, I get Earnest. Earnest is our dog. She senses instantly that something is wrong, and guided by the timeless and unerring nurturing instinct that all female dogs have, she tries to lick my ears off.
For my son, Robert, this is proving to be the high point of his entire life to date. He has had his pajamas on for two, maybe three days now. He has a sense of joyful independence a five-year-old child gets when he suddenly realizes that he could be operating an acetylene torch in the coat closet and neither parent would have the strength to object. He has been foraging for his own food, which means his diet consists entirely of “food” substances that are advertised only on Saturday morning cartoon shows; substances that are the color of jukebox lights and that, for legal reasons, have their names spelled wrong, as in New Creemy Chock-‘n’-Cheez Lumps o’ Froot(“part of this complete breakfast”).
Crawling around, my face inches from the carpet, I sometimes encounter traces of colorful wrappers that Robert has town from these substances and dropped on the floor, where Earnest, always on patrol, has found them and chewed them into spit-covered wads. I am reassured by this. It means they are both eating.
The Martian Death Flu has not been an entirely bad thing. Since I cannot work, or move, or think, I have been able to spend more Quality Time with Robert, to come up with creative learning activities that we can enjoy and share together. Today, for example, I taught him, as my father had taught me, how to make an embarrassing noise with your hands. Then we shot rubber bands at the contestants on “Divorce Court.” Then, just in case some parts of our brains were still alive, we watched professional bowling. Here’s what televised professional bowling sounds like when you have the flu:
Play-By-Play Man: He left the 10-pin, Bob.
Color Commentator: Yes, Bill. He failed to knock it down.
Play-By-Play Man: It’s still standing up.
Color Commentator: Yes. Now he must try to knock it down.
Play-By-Play Man: You mean the 10-pin, Bob?
The day just flew by. Soon it was 3:30P.M., time to crawl back through the air molecules to the bedroom, check on my wife or whoever that is, and turn in for the night.
Earnest was waiting about halfway down the hall.
“Look at this,” the police will say when they find me. “His ears are missing.”

Hilarity Ensues…

So this post is mainly to test the link between this blog and my twitter account, but if I’m to do it, why not include some classic and hilarious videos!!!

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!!!

FLAME (war) ON!!!!

I’ve been going back and forth with a friend of mine lately over tablets, and it’s a continuation of an age old discussion from a long running war. Of course, I’m referring to the war between Android and Apple. We go back and forth about pros and cons, boons and banes, and we tend to end in a stalemate each time. I also seem to get into it over the whole PS3/360 debate. Now to attempt to avoid being called a fanboy, which I don’t believe I am, I’ll try and sum this up in a post that will hopefully come off as unbiased.

For starters, we’ll go with the Apple vs Android debate. People have extremely strong opinions about which phone or tablet is best, especially techies. No tech seems to want to get caught with the shitty device, because apparently it somehow depicts them as not being technical enough or worthy of elite status in the techie crowd.

What it really comes down to is this: It’s the same discussion as Mac vs Windows.

If you want a device that is simple, functional, and trendy, you’ll be going for an apple product.

If you want a device that is customizable, has more features, is of a different size (iPads/iPhones, at the time of this writing are one size only, physically), you’ll be going for an android product.

To delve deeper, Apple devices have some advantages. They’re generally better on battery life during idle times than many Android phones (except the Razr Maxx). They have a simple interface, which is generally straightforward. Beautiful screens and a huge app store also sweeten the deal, as well as the tons of accessories.Siri.Face time, which is video chat. And, iTunes purchasing with a built in iPod.

Android also has some advantages. True multitasking for applications. A customizable interface. Widgets, which means you can check your email, calendar, and Facebook without opening an application. Better web browsing, and multiple web browsing options. Capability of playing back virtually any video and audio format. SD card support, and finally, the ability to use any application to copy content to and from, along with standard drag and drop capability for files without needing conversion.

So there you have it, the better features of each. There are many nitpicks for both sides, but I’ll only list the top few for each.

Android seems to confuse people more. Let’s face it, people have been using iPods and iPod touches for years now, and the interface is known and simple. Anything outside of pure simplistic seems to be too much these days, which makes me wonder how people used Blackberries and Windows Mobile devices all these years, since they’re at least as confusing as Android. Android phones are typically worse with battery life without being tweaked a bit. Also, Android tablets can be heavier and thicker than iPads, and aren’t based around iTunes for music purchases. This isn’t to say it’s not possible, through amazon or google, just not as known as iTunes and not as populated with apps and content. These devices tend to take more getting used to, and aspects of the interface can be confusing. Also, there isn’t one dedicated software to manage everything on your device from a PC. This leads into the opposing argument.

Apple device means iTunes. iTunes can be buggy and problematic for users. The interface cannot be changed or customized at all. Video and Audio files MUST be converted by iTunes for them to be able to play on the device. Notifications are also a pain on iOS devices since they don’t have a good notification area. You’d have to go to the page with the app icon to see if there are notifications.Apple devices also lack any expansion capabilities. SD cards and flash drives are not supported. You also cannot change the battery without sending your phone in.

Those are the facts, folks. If one appeals to you more, then go for it. My personal feeling is this, which will probably label me as a fanboy but whatever. Apple phones and tablets are sort of like a beginner’s first device. When someone grows out of it and wants more bang for the buck, they go Android. A final wrap up to this is that I firmly believe that both of these should absolutely be on the market. Apple should be there to get anti-technology people to feel more comfortable with tech, and Android should be there for people comfortable with tech who want to get the most out of their devices and the experience.

Now we’ll go for PS3 and Xbox. This should be relatively short. Stereotypically, PS3 users are more geeky, techie kinds of people, where Xbox users are more frat boys and angry 13 year olds. In reality, it’s very similar to the Android and Apple battle. Xbox is the more mainstream experience, while PS3 is a little more versatile. A few pros and cons.

Xbox has TV channel integration for some channels. This adds another level of content that the PS3 doesn’t have. They both have Hulu Plus.

Xbox has very infrequent updates. I think it’s once or twice a year. Playstation sends out updates every few months, which is annoying as fucking hell!

Most Xbox Live Arcade games have a downloadable trial version or demo. This can’t be said for all PSN games, although they have been getting better. Nothing more irritating than not being able to test a game before purchasing, especially when so many Blockbuster Videos have been closing.

Both systems have stuff like Netflix, Hulu, streaming video and audio, and great exclusives.

PS3 has free online play, while Xbox requires a Gold membership which is 50 bucks a year. Not exactly a deal breaker, but still a difference. PS3 does offer a pay service, but that service is for added features like cloud saves, free games (which stay free as long as you’re a subscriber), discounts on content such as games and DLC, and a few other features.

PS3 has a hard drive that can easily be changed for any SATA notebook drive. Xbox forces you to buy their proprietary hard drives, which have little variety in size and MFG.

PS3 can save video and audio to the hard drive over the network. Xbox can only stream video, and you can’t save video files locally. Xbox can rip audio cds locally.

PS3 has video and picture editing software. Xbox does not.

PS3 allows usb hard drives to be connected and used to play video, audio, and view pictures. Xbox somewhat allows this, but limits the size to 16GB.

PS3 has a Blu-Ray drive built in. Xbox does not have a blu-ray drive, internal or external.

PS3 has Playstation Home, which is a 3rd person virtual world online, complete with a quest system, added content, exclusive videos, and tons of mini games. Xbox has nothing like that.

Both systems have online communities containing douchebags and 13 year olds that curse more than Sam Kinison, although many people feel that the 360 community contains many more of them.

Both systems have a motion control system, Xbox with Kinect and PS3 with Move. Both work well enough, but aren’t supported strongly enough right now. Kinect has a few more hot titles, which gives it the advantage.

So as it is, those are the pros and cons. What it really boils down to, in my opinion, is the controller. If you try them both, and you like one over the other much more, then get that system. You’ll spend most of the time with the system with a controller in your hands, so you have to be comfortable. I generally suggest people who are buying for their kids to get a PS3, since it has more great games geared towards kids, like Ratchet and Clank and Little Big Planet.

The other consideration to keep in mind is this. If you are going to get a system so you can game online with your friends, you should get the system they use. There is no cross platform play for online titles.

So that’s pretty much it. These are my feelings on each system and OS, so when I’m bashing one or the other, don’t be so quick to out me as a fanboy. I know the pros and cons, I just have my preference that fits my lifestyle, and just wish people would follow the same. People are too quick to shell out cash for something that isn’t needed just to have it.

-Sent from my Android Smartphone via the Playstation Network.

“To Infinity……yeah that pretty much covers it…”

I came across some videos yesterday from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, one relating to the shutdown of NASA and one containing the most astounding fact as he sees it. These are definitely worth checking out.

The first video, embedded above, relates back to a previous post of mine. He has a slightly different, and rather profound, outlook on life and the universe. It honestly moved me, and resonated in my core. Statements like this seem to be passed over by most people, who choose to not think of such things, as if it’ll make them depressed at best, and break their sanity at worst. I personally believe that after the initial fear of that, the effects such things have are life altering…in a good way.

The second video, embedded below, is about the underfunding of the NASA program over the years, and the dreams that have been cast to the wayside as a result of it being shut down. I, for one, was incredibly saddened by the end of NASA. It had a HUGE impact on me as a child.

When I was younger, I (of course) wanted to be an Astronaut. I loved everything to do with space and the universe. I was a member of Young Astronauts, and watched the movie Space Camp dozens of times. My friend around the block and I would then re-enact the movie (mostly just the piloting and space stuff), using his parent’s bed and his Atari 2600 as the space shuttle and controls. I knew so much about NASA and the space program, and I still look at it with fondness and wonder. I ended up abandoning that dream due to my inability to keep up with the work and my lack of Einstein genius.

Now, my son appears to be following in my footsteps, so to speak. He’s in love with all things space related, and I had virtually no part in that. It’s just something that appeals to him innately. What makes me even more sad than the space program ending, is the fact that my son will never know the wonder and joy that it inspired. The dreams and imagination it encouraged. I’ll do my best to show him what I can, but without a destination or goal, like going to space camp, I fear it may just fade away. Still, I’ll continue to dream that one day it’ll come back, and he’ll get the same amount of good from it as I did, if it still appeals to him…

Grease 3: The Slickening

Rare as it is that I post twice in a day, this most definitely warrants it. A friend of mine sent me a link to a product on Amazon. The product, a 55 gallon drum of sexual lubricant, is now discontinued.

At first, I must say that I was somewhat taken aback, considering the sender is a woman who is not my wife. However, she also wrote a note with it, stating that I should skip down and read the comments. First, I’ll post the item description for you:

What are you going to do with all this lube?! Wrestling match? Biggest adult party ever? If you are looking for a simply jaw-dropping amount of lube, Passion Natural Water-Based Lubricant is ready to get the fun started with this 55 gallon drum! With its superb formula you will have a natural feel that keeps you moist longer and also works great with all toy materials. Easily washes away with warm water and mild soap. You may never run out of lube again!

Now, I’m no stranger to activities that require lube, but for fuck’s sake, 55 gallons?

Anyways, I started reading the comments, and they are filled with such gloriously hilarious and irreverent stories, that I was locked in and laughing my ass off!!! Seriously, this item’s reviews are packed with more laughs than Dane Cook could elicit, even back during the 3 1/2 hours when he was actually funny.

So go to that link and read some reviews, I promise you won’t be disappointed. For those doubters out there, here’s a sample:

178 of 188 people found the following review helpful:

1.0 out of 5 stars Hazard for cats
This is a hazard! I’ve already lost two cats in this thing. There should be a warning sticker or something. I assumed the cats would float, but they sunk like rocks into the lube. And no, it’s not what you think. Don’t be disgusting. I was trying to create my own cat lube wrestling league. You know, for sickos.

Enjoy, you filthy sickos…

I’m not a fan of that boy…I’m lying, I’m a HUGE fan!

So last night I was watching the movie Fanboys, and never realized that it was written by none other than Ernest Cline. Aside from writing one of the most hilarious movies, albeit a niche comedy, he also wrote one of the most incredible books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. That book, is Ready Player One!

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READ THIS BOOK!!!

Now I may be a bit biased, because this book appeals to virtually everything I love. Pop culture references, movie quotes, video games, obscure trivia, anime, the list goes on and on. I figure I’ll share my short story of how I became aware of it, since after I started reading it, I ended up causing an absolute avalanche where the vast majority of people I know ended up reading it. I say that with the utmost pride, since this is a book that absolutely deserves to be well known and adored.

I used to work in Manhattan. Living on Long Island, I took the train to and from the city every day. I would often see people reading on the train, but most of the time it was the current trendy NYT bestseller, or those Girl with the dragon tattoo who kicked a hornet’s nest etc… books. One day, while sitting next to some woman in her early 40’s, I happened to glance at the pages of the book she was reading to see what it was. I’m a people watcher, not the creepy Denny’s variety, but the ‘curious about people and society’ kind. That’s when I noticed that the chapter numbers were done in a very old computer font. That was it. I pretended to drop something just to see the name of the book, and I promptly googled it on my phone. I read the blurb online and was instantly intrigued. So I took the next logical step….

I subscribe to Audible, and have done so for years. I spend a lot of time commuting and in the car, and since I’m an incredibly slow reader it just makes more sense to listen to unabridged audio books. I signed into audible, bought the book with one of my free credits, and started listening. The audio book is read by none other than Wil Wheaton. Maybe about 5 minutes in, I was completely hooked. Upon arriving home, I asked my wife where her Kindle was. I immediately bought the book on kindle, and notified her that she would start reading it immediately. She was rather perplexed at such a display from me, but she apparently knows me well enough to take such action as the extreme enthusiasm it was intended to be. Needless to say, she finished the book in about 2 days! After I finished it, a few days later, we discussed the book and its content for days. During this time, we took the only logical next step…we told EVERYBODY!!! I have friends who NEVER read, aside from maybe 2 or 3 books, and who could not put the book down!

I seriously cannot push this enough. If you are reading this, and haven’t read this book, then  you seriously need to stop reading and check it out. I won’t go into the plotline here, since I don’t think my limited writing capability can correctly portray it’s awesomeness. I’ll instead paste the blurb from Amazon. Seriously, if you like any of the things I described earlier, you’ll most likely love this book. My wife doesn’t really know much about video games, and she’s not really into them, but she nevertheless LOVED this book.

Oh, and they’re making a movie about it!!!! WOOT!!!!!

From Amazon:

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

Once you go dark, you never….shit, wrong adjective…

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So I’m almost done playing throughThe Darkness II on PS3, and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. The first game was very different from this one, and I loved it. I was a little apprehensive at first with this sequel, because it’s a much different style and feel, but it absolutely worked!

I played the first Darkness game because I checked out the demo, and it seemed pretty awesome. Sort of a mash up between gangster badass and evil tentacle hentai monster, so who would pass that up?!

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Throw in some sexy Cat Slave Girls, and we got ourselves a party!

Then I played it. I thought the idea and the story was excellent, as was the art design. The environments were great, the music was good, and the voice acting was superb. I really got into the story, and the gameplay was good enough to make it an awesome experience. I even hunted around for all the phone numbers and listened to the crazy messages you get when you called them from a pay phone. I seldom do side quests in action or FPS games, so this was unusual for me. Anyways, I was pretty psyched when I heard they were making a sequel.

Then I started seeing screens for the sequel, and I was not thrilled that they changed the style. D2 is much more like a comic than it’s more realistic predecessor. I read some stuff about the gameplay being more in depth, but personally couldn’t get past the art style. When the demo came out, I figured I’d give it a shot and see if it’d be worth it. That’s where it did me in.

The demo was violent, brutal, cinematic, and epic. The change in art style ended up fitting the game and universe even better than the realism. The story picked up where it left off, and was just as good as the one from the first game. So many times, the story of a sequel sucks it, long and hard, but not this time. Everything else was there as well. The voice acting is incredible, especially since the voice of the darkness is none other than Mike Patton, my number 1 vocal influence. The music was great as well. Then we get to the environments and gameplay, where the changes were most noticeable…

Environments now have much more color and depth. Even though the overall art design leans towards graphics novels, there is a very believable feel to everything. They also have objects that can be picked up and thrown around and such, which leads me into the gameplay.

The gameplay is addicting and sick! It now easier to use the demon arms to fuck shit up, swinging one around to pimp slap people, while grabbing dead people and throwing their bodies (or parts of them) at their compatriots. Also, ripping open an air conditioner on the roof of a building, just so you can tear out the fan and throw it at an enemy and slicing them in half, is something that really brings a smile to my face. Also, some objects like car doors can be used as shields until they either break, or you fling them across the board to bisect that asshole with the machine gun. Also, there are special cinematic execution kills which can give you bonuses like extra health or ammo. All of these awesome aspects, and you can also use all sorts of guns as well.

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Executions, Alien style!

They also integrated a leveling system of sorts, where you can purchase different talents and beef Jackie up.

With all of these things in your arsenal, you’d think this game would be a cakewalk. But nope. They curved the difficulty rather well. Still here is the usual stuff from the first one, such as needing to stay in the dark to be most powerful, since the demon arms disappear and you take damage whenever you’re in the light. They used this be giving enemies powerful flashlights and magnesium flare grenades. This made plenty of fights fucking brutal. Also, there are more powerful enemies as the game progresses, some with the ability of ripping the gun(s) from your hands and such. One area in particular took me about 10-15 minutes to beat, and had me spewing a tidal wave of insults and vulgarity that would make Tarantino blush. I like that in a game, believe it or not. So many recent games are a friggin cakewalk these days, and don’t force you to use your brain and innovate. This isn’t one of them. If you don’t pay attention and use some strategy, you’re gonna get your ass kicked!

Overall, I must say I love this game. There are certain areas of the plot that really made me go “what the fuck?!?????” and added to the mind bending oddity that this universe is built upon. I’m still not done, I’m at the end but haven’t had the time to sit down with it and finish, but unless they ruin the ending, I suggest checking it out. If you didn’t play the first game, don’t worry, there’s a full recap in the beginning where one of the characters explains what happened in the first game. If you ever played an FPS and felt it’d be cooler if your character was possessed by a demon that eats the hearts of his victims, then look no further….