Pages

*OUR GREATEST HITS*

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

REJECTION. It's Simply Part of The Plan.


REJECTION.

It's Simply Part of The Plan.




Doc Livingston-  Team Shrink


We all get rejected at different times in our lives. Our lovers unexpectedly break up with us. Friends terminate relationships sometimes without rhyme or reason. The job that seemed a shoe-in was not to be had. The college you banked on accepting you with open arms sends a terse rejection letter. Rejection is tough to take but I guarantee that its a blessing in disguise.

Rejection hurts whether you are prepared for it or not. There is a whole series of emotions you go through when you are snubbed. These emotions are similar to what one goes through while grieving. At first it is extremely difficult to take in the rejection experience. It often feels like being totally abandoned and left to fend for yourself. Denial is the state that occurs here. The rejection does not feel like it actually happened. It feels surrealistic, a trauma someone else is facing, not you. 

The next emotion experienced is rage. You are angry with the person who rejected you. You may feel this anger intently or it may be experienced as more distant. Often the rage becomes self-directed. You express anger at yourself for not being "good enough" for the rejecter. You dwell on second guessing and wondering what could have been. You blame yourself for his leaving and at that point you are indeed broken hearted. 

The next stage of grief is bargaining. You say to yourself, "If I keep living the clean life, she will come back to me." If I stop smoking, I will be reunited with my boyfriend." The next stage is depression when you begin to realize that the person who rejected you is not coming back. This stage is filled with sadness where the tears fall and the longing ache for the rejecter is realized. Bitterness is also part of depression. It is at this point that you feel extremely resentful that you gave so much of yourself to your lover and now he is gone. You also realize that your vision of your former lover is tainted and he is not the virtuous person that you believed him to be. It feels like he bought the heaviest boots he could find and stomped all over your heart.

The final stage is acceptance where you understand that the time to dwell on this loss is over and it is time to move on.

Theses stages don't have any set sequence and you can experience more than one simultaneously. It also takes time to work through rejection. It is not a matter of snapping your fingers in order to instantly remove the pain. 

Some folks are so devastated by rejection that they avoid social situations or other settings that may lead to rejection. They learn to not take any risks that even hint at the possibility of becoming emotionally wounded. Their lives become safe, but lacking passion and fulfillment.

Other folks attempt to escape the pain of rejection through drugs, alcohol, overwork or other nonproductive means of escape.

Often times the most recent rejection triggers intense memories of earlier rebuffs. Most likely the earlier rejections have not been worked through and resolved. These rejections are experienced as abrupt, horrifying abandonment.



We are not taught by our parents or society at large how to effectively deal with rejection. First of all, we need to be aware that rejection is an essential facet of life. If we take chances and risks like trying out for a play, writing a book, applying to college or asking out the attractive man, there is the distinct possibility that none of these pursuits will work out. Will your feelings be hurt? Of course they will, but if you don't follow your dreams, your life will be restrictive and perhaps most of all, boring.

The second truth about facing rejection is that you can recover from it. However, you will never resolve this loss if you push it away through denial or other self-destructive behavior. You can take the following steps to recover from rejection: 
  1. Be aware of the different stages of grief you are experiencing. You may be experiencing denial, anger, bargaining, depression, bitterness or acceptance. Knowing what stage you are going through help put your loss in perspective and provide a road map for recovery.

  1. Keep repeating to yourself that rejection is part of life and if you continue to pursue your dreams, they will eventually come true. I vividly remember getting stacks of rejection letters from literary agents and publishers. I did feel hopeless at times, but I knew that rejection was as natural as the sun rising and if I kept pursuing my dream of being a published author, it would happen and sure enough it did.

  1. Make plans to actively face the pain of rejection by writing about it in a journal, talking to your friends and family. Don't isolate yourself. Talking and writing about your pain are proactive means for reaching resolution, while isolation and silence prevents the pain from being felt and released.

  1. Begin a regular exercise program and feel the pain of the rejection eventually move through your body until you feel the weight of it lift and float away. When you are exercising, the endorphins are kicking in and you are able to face rejection in a calm, confident manner that does not occur when you are sedentary.

 If someone rejected you, It was probably their loss any way.  :)



Best Regards,

Doc Livingston

Monday, November 29, 2010

WHAT ARE YOU REALLY LOOKING FOR IN A GUY?


Romance and an Interesting Conversation on WHAT ARE YOU REALLY LOOKING FOR IN A GUY?

Star Roman-  Host / Commentator

My close friends often ask, "What do you look for in a guy?" This is a very interesting question that I've given a lot of thought to lately. After much deliberation, I've finally narrowed it down. In this fine process of elimination, I have noted that a very big part of this question is that it is really about me. What am I looking for in a guy?

Aside from the natural things that every human being should be equipped with like loyalty and honesty is also the ability to able communicate and to be understanding. Those are the essentials to successful relationships in general. So am I looking for this in “a guy” of course and not just in guys, I’m expecting those things in everyone.

I’m not the perfect fit therefore I’m not looking for the perfect fit. I want a mirror. Show me everything that is holding me back. Bring me to my own attention so I can make the changes I need to make in my life. Be the most important person that I have ever met. Tare down my walls and help me awaken from my dream state.

People come into our lives and they help us reveal another layer of ourselves. So shake me up, show me my obstacles and my addictions, carve your way into my heart and show me a higher state of consciousness.
I’m looking for the reality of the present moment not for the rulebook of intimacy because maybe there are no rules. Perhaps, those will have to be defined as we go along.

I’m looking for romance and interesting conversation.  I am looking for a grounded person with meaningful foundation and a strong desire for life.
I don’t care if I need to stay up crying all night long. Stay up with me. Protect me until I die. Be stronger than my bad days, and braver than my lonely ones. Don't let anything exhaust you please, especially me.

Celebrate with me in my successes. Be supportive of my goals and dreams. Have your own goals and dreams and look forward to celebrating in their success. That’s what I’m looking for in a guy. I’m not looking to be rescued. 

Honesty, loyalty and understanding- those are a given. What are you about? What moves you? What would you like to experience with “the one”. Come on- our relationships often fail because too often we settle for things that should be given from the very beginning. And how can we expect magic if we are merely settling for traits that should be given?

In the infamous words of Carrie Bradshaw: “I am looking for love, real love. Ridiculous, consuming, can’t live without each other love”
What are you really looking for in a guy?             

Thanks For Reading Beautiful People!


Star Roman




Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Mystery Note Found on a Windshield. DAYDREAMING



A Mystery Note Found on a Windshield... DAYDREAMING


Star Roman-  Host / Commentator 


Dear Love,

I missed you today when I awoke from my slumber only to find my heart empty and my eyes still tired. My dreams are slowly becoming as I sleepwalk steadfast throughout my day wondering how you are. And they are most definitely bittersweet, like the rest of me.

I’m a little scared. I know I shouldn’t say that. Although I will admit it is a thought that frequently visits the back of my mind lately. I shouldn’t feel this way, I know and that isn’t even the hardest part; the hardest part is that I did this knowingly. You have somehow changed me and I am not sure what that means exactly. I certainly do not know you long enough to feel this way but I certainly do long to know you better perhaps, because I enjoy you deeply. I’m not good at relationships. You make me feel uncertain, awkward, weird, vulnerable and a few other things that I’m too prude to write.

There are so many reasons why I shouldn’t tell you this: I have left the broken wreckage of relationships behind me. I couldn’t stand to ever hurt you and though I am very concerned that you will hurt me I have taken the chance and fallen anyway. I hope you can forgive me.

Love,

Your Muse. (I’m flattered)


-STAR ROMAN




Friday, November 26, 2010

DO MORE PEOPLE BREAK UP BEFORE THE HOLIDAYS?



DO MORE PEOPLE BREAK UP BEFORE 

THE HOLIDAYS?

Marcos V-  Host / Commentator  

Be honest: the most exciting part of your Facebook news feed is the little broken heart followed by a “[friend's name here] is now single.” We get almost a sadistic pleasure out of wondering where and who and why and what went wrong.

Similarly, Facebook notifications often are the final nail in a break up coffin. Feuding couples on the verge of ending often hold out on making it public so as to not look wishy-washy, so when they finally decide to pull the plug on Facebook, you know there is something going down. This must have been the thought process the chart connoisseurs at Business Insider had when they decided to pull the valuable stats about break ups from Facebook to give us this great representation of breakups throughout the year.



The results are pretty compelling, right?!
As you can see, break ups peak during two times of year: spring break, and the weeks preceding Christmas. Many people have been making the joke that “no one wants to buy presents!” and as funny as that comment is, we think there is more behind the numbers… so how can we change this miserably depressing stat? Well, I have a few ideas…

1) If you say “let’s not do presents,” mean it.
2) Spend time, not money
3) Be understanding, it’s a stressful time of year!
4) Don’t let your family drama spill into your relationship

There is no secret to a lasting relationship. People change and grow apart, they make mistakes and realize that maybe life isn’t as perfect as your honeymoon stage makes it seem. But follow your common sense and be compassionate, and your relationship can make the distance!

What are you gonna do?  Drop a Comment below...

Warm Hearts,

Marcos V

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

GIVING THANKS TO THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY


IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY

  
 




Family is very important part of our everyday life. It helps us in improving our personality. It also helps us in shaping our life. It teaches us the value of love, affection, care, truthfulness and self-confidence and provides us tools and suggestions which are necessary to get success in life.
Family is a place where you can be yourself. It is a place where you are accepted for what you are. This is where you are completely tension free and everyone is there to help you. Family encourages you when you are surrounded by problems. It helps you survive through tough times and bring joy and happiness into life.

Decency is very important in the communication of daily life. It helps us make strong relationship with others and make us come across as a very gentle, intelligent and likable person. Everyone loves to be in a company of such person. Family helps bring decency into our life which is necessary to lead a happy life.

One of the most important aims of our life is to build a successful and highly rewarding career. Our families help us in creating a strong future. It gives us valuable suggestion about different career prospective. It not only guides us in choosing the best but also financially helps us to cover the expenses of education. Thus it helps us in making a good future.

The importance of family is probably realized when one went to holiday or celebrate an occasion without family members. It was very hard to celebrate an occasion or went to holiday without being surrounded by family members. At that time probably we realize that how important they are to us. At that time, we came to know about the importance of our families.

Today, most people don't realize the importance of family. They prefer to spend most of their time with their friends. But when they are surrounded by problems, it was their family that helped them get rid of problems. At the time, when even our best friends refuse to help us, it was our family that came to help us. So it is very important for each and every individual to give importance to their families above anything else and enjoy spending time with family members.

On Behalf of everyone at Love + War, Have a great Thanksgiving!!!


God Bless All!



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

SHOULD WE ELECT PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR ANOTHER 4 YEARS?






SHOULD WE ELECT PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR ANOTHER 4 YEARS?






Whilly Bermudez-  Host / Commentator 


As I signed on to my computer yesterday I see that America Online asked a question that I had been speaking about for some time. Does President Obama deserve a second term?  Has he done enough to earn the respect and win the hearts of the American People?  Before arriving at an answer lets elaborate some.

My opinion of President Barack Obama may surprise you a little bit. I am by all accounts, much more conservative than all of my peers. I’ve been a Reagan Republican for as long as I have known myself. I am against the Liberal way of life and it should not shock you that I DID NOT vote to elect Obama in 2008. However, I consider myself an intelligent person and an Independent thinker. I do my own research and formulate my own opinions. I don’t believe that any form of extremism is good for the conversation. Regardless if it’s from the Right or the Left.    

Whether on Facebook, Chain emails, or in real life, I often hear people say that Obama is a Socialist, a Marxist, a Communist, a Double Agent placed in the Presidency to bring down our country, and a few other conspiracy theories. In fact, seeing these posts so often gets rather annoying. People that feel so strongly about politics should run for office instead of watching and yelling from the side lines. I’m no fan of Obama but let’s not feed the hate monster for our own agenda.  

I do believe that racism is alive and well and its not going away anytime soon. Most people didn’t want Obama because he historically does not fit the bill from all of our past Presidents. Let’s just say it:  A black President is much more than our racially charged inner prejudices (that we all have) were prepared to endure. However, he won anyway. He came at an opportune moment when all of our problems were being blamed on George W. Bush and Republicans. He stepped in with a message of Change and Hope. His campaign strategists found a way to connect with voters and young people everywhere. They breathed political life into Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter. –Even Mobile Texting digital campaigning. John McCain was too old, came off as a bully, and could not ignite people’s passion.  So the end result, The unlikely victory of Barack Obama became a reality.

Those of us that did not vote for Obama had no choice but to sit back and hope for the best and hope for midterm elections to optimistically start turning the tide. I believe that we’ve given him an opportunity to prove himself as the ultimate leader of the free world. I believe that as American Citizens and entitled critics we have given him a chance. His decision making or that of his cabinet advisors have made a lot of bad decisions: Spending money that we don’t have is a negative that we learn in grade school, Pushing a Health Care Plan through with no regard to the hard details that can add further to our undoing, failing to connect with the American People by demonstrating more of an eagerness to appease other nations, and even employing various people to higher office that can be considered questionable or unfit for those posts. The list doesn’t stop here and the rebuttal from loyal and patient fans is that he simply hasn’t had enough time to do a job that we can consider significant to the needs of our nation.

To loyalists from the left I ask a simple question: How much more time should we give a President to become our savior?  Yes, Obama came into to the presidency in the midst of a financial meltdown. Yes, Obama gets blamed for the approval of the TARP funds-which Bush authorized. Yes, going to war with Iraq set off the chain reaction-financing a war is insanely expensive. However, it’s not as simple as blaming Republicans. You think it was easy for Bush, barely into his presidency to be faced with the attacks on 9/11? Why doesn’t anyone mention that most of the Wall Street de-regulation and policies can be attributed to Bill Clinton’s era? This has been part of President Obama’s dilemma; he and his inner core have spent too much time blaming Bush for all of our problems.

The blame game should have been over when our country reached sky high unemployment rates. The blame game should have been over when millions of us lost our homes to foreclosure. The blame game should have been over and that energy should have been directed to help feed the fuel of our economy- small businesses everywhere.

Did Obama have it easy coming in? No. But why should the United States Presidency be an easy post? We need a leader that can rise up to any challenge and stare adversity in the face. We need a leader that can make us feel safe from all potential threats that may arise. We need a leader that makes his objective to connect with all people-regardless of our party affiliation.



The recent midterm elections echoed what the nation is feeling and what we expect. The lightning rod that gave birth to the Tea Party Movement was President Obama. In fact, I watched his presidential press conference about those elections and I paid careful attention to his words and his body language. I saw a defeated man, someone that was overwhelmed by his duties. I saw a man with no answers, I saw fear and doubt. This confirmed what I had always stated. I knew with certainty now that this was a man that bit off more than he can chew. The junior senator from Illinois had found a way to win a job that he could not handle. He is not an evil man, he is not a tyrant, I believe that he genuinely wants to help our country. He didn’t have the experience to become President and today it shows. The American presidency should not open itself to “on the job training”.  However articulate he can sometimes be at speaking he does not have the Presidential timber of those before him.

With all his faults, George W. Bush made me feel safe when he spoke to the people. I believed he always said what he thought without hesitation. I think he was courageous and bold. As he recently said himself, “History will have its say on my Presidency”. I think that the contribution of Barack Obama to history will be opening the possibility of the Presidency to minorities. Because of Barack Obama there will one day be a woman President and a Hispanic President as well. I think that will be his legacy.         
                   
I turned to social media last night and asked Facebook friends the simple question: “Does President Obama deserve a second term? About 30 people responded “NO” and only one person replied “YES”. Many of the people that voted for Obama will not admit it today-in regret. He has lost much support from his Democrat and liberal base. Conclusion, I do not think that President Barack Obama is fit to lead our nation and should not be considered for a second term.   

The problems of the United States of America are a direct result of Republicans, Democrats, and us-the voters. We always have a say in who we elect to public office. The party bickering and constant contests to see who has a bigger **** is counterproductive to the American People and our way of life.  Together, were always either going to sink or were going to swim.

God Bless You & America,

Whilly Bermudez 

Monday, November 22, 2010

SOCIALLY, INTELLECTUALLY, LABELING AMERICA'S CHILDREN



SOCIALLY, INTELLECTUALLY, LABELING AMERICA'S CHILDREN


Miss La Rosa-  Host / Commentator 

Labels and I don't go well together. This really annoys me especially when our children are being labeled as if we need to be classified in different ways. ADD, ADHD, AUTISTIC, ETC. We all know that our children’s minds are like computers and absorb everything at a very early age. Is giving them a label and applying it at an early age a good thing??  The only label I'm aware of is the “human being” label.

It really upsets me because I feel when there is much of a mental incapacity in a person’s brain then  there has to be an elevated level of capability in another area. Yet, we choose to focus on the incapability and hang on to that to label someone. There are many theories as to why in the past 25 years there has been an increase of one hundred and fifty percent on children labeled “learning disabled”. Some Doctors suggest too many preservatives in food, environmental causes, early over use of television or electronics. One out of ten children are labeled ADHD. Children are given medication as early as two years of age.

I personally believe there is an increasing amount of mislabeled children. Our society and the “medical community” is designed to look for what the problem is and not for whatever positives that may co-exist. Everyone is unique and has different challenges that they must face growing up and even as adults. Children vary in their learning styles and sometimes have difficulties coping with self control, information processing, self discipline. Also, there are children that are very attached to the parents before starting school and have difficulty adapting to a class setting. These children can be easily misdiagnosed.
 
I'm truly thankful for science and it's advancements to be able to help the ones that need it. I do think that before diagnosing a child their attention capabilities must be tested in a formal way. It seems like the easiest thing to do now a days is stamp biological and psychological labels on our children without considering the appropriate tests. Yes, please in all areas. Perhaps the weak points should not be our only focus.  It is known that big gifts sit right beside an incapability.

My son took long to walk. When people would ask, “Well why doesn't he walk”? I would answer because he talks full sentences. He did not tie his shoes till he was ten. When people would ask “Why doesn't he tie his shoes?” I chose to say “because he talks about space and science and we can't keep up with him. I was called when he was in second grade because of his extremely high SAT scores. His dad said in amazement “But he's always daydreaming as if he was in his own world” I answered “HE IS”. May seem weird to you because it's not your world, but it's his       :)    

  
Some famous people with ADHD
Will Smith, Robert Williams, Bill Cosby, Kirk Douglas, Jim Carey(Actors) 
Abraham Lincoln, Prince Charles, John F Kennedy(statesmen) 
 Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Ansel Adams (Artists)                     
Michael Jordan, Pete Rose, Babe Ruth, Magic Johnson (Athletes)
Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo Da Vincci, Thomas Edison(Inventors)
Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein,Galileo(Scholars) 
Walt Disney, Henry Ford, (Entrepreneurs)

Thank you for reading,
                                      
The Miss La Rosa
                          





AFTER THOUGHTS BY

Whilly Bermudez-  Host / Commentator 

Interesting and important post by Miss La Rosa this morning. I can definitely understand your feeling on this topic. My feeling is that no child or any person should be discriminated against or mistreated. However, in order to provide the right instruction for a child some form of identification must take place. I mean the truth of the matter is that were not all created equal in terms of ability, mental capacity, or intellectual level. 

I do believe that all too often children may be diagnosed improperly. So the problem solver may be taking another look at how we can improve the methods that we use to evaluate kids.

Our society's reality is that labels exist for kids, grown ups, situations, and just about anything that can be socially expressed. 

Do you have a special needs child? Please comment on your thoughts below.

Thank You,

Whilly Bermudez

Sunday, November 21, 2010

WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE TV COMMERCIAL? -Old Spice Guy VS Geico-



WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE TV COMMERCIAL?      

-Old Spice Guy VS Geico-                                                                             

 El Zorro-  Mystery Host / Commentator 

How do you take the social web by storm in a day, winning over even the coldest of hearts and gaining international acclaim - with commercials?

A team of creatives, tech geeks, marketers and writers gathered in an undisclosed location and produced 87 short comedic YouTube videos about Old Spice. In real time. They leveraged Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and blogs. Everybody loved it; those videos and 74 more made so far today have now been viewed more than 4 million times and counting. The team worked for 11 hours yesterday to make 87 short videos, that's just over 7 minutes per video, not accounting for any breaks taken. People just love the Old Spice Guy.

He looks so hot and smells so cool – in the shower, on a boat and atop a horse in the Old Spice commercial that's been mesmerizing audiences all through the Winter Olympics. Now, thanks to the TV spot's immense popularity, "the man your man could smell like," actor Isaiah Mustafa, is riding high in real life, too.

Since the commercial first launched on YouTube Feb. 4, views have skyrocketed to nearly 5.9 million. Mustafa, 36, also appears in a smoking jacket in another deliciously cheesy spot on the Old Spice Web site, declaring that women "should smell like butterflies and salt water taffy" and men like "jet fighters and punching." 



Oh by the way... Old Spice Guy even proposed to his girlfriend through a Twitter video so that all his fans can know how much they are appreciated.


Here it is:



Just a few hours later, Beals tweeted at Old Spice: “SHE SAID YES!!!!” Many users congratulated him, but a few questioned whether or not it was legit. To prove it, he uploaded this picture of his new fiancée wearing her diamond ring. Congratulations to the bride and groom to be!







ON TO GEICO...


Geico commercials don't quite have the same type of appeal. People are often trying to gauge if they like one of them or is it just too annoying. Regardless of which it is, they stay in your head and they go viral.  

Geico's advertising campaign strategy incorporates a saturation-level amount of print (primarily mail circulars) and television parody advertisements, as well as radio advertisements. A common tagline used by GEICO is "fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance."

The ads are effective at getting customers to switch to GEICO. Warren Buffett, owner of GEICO parent Berkshire Hathaway, has stated that over 40% of Americans could save money with GEICO. He has indicated that he would spend $2 billion on GEICO ads if he could, far exceeding the $751 million in advertising in 2007, the last year where data was available.



Geico uses an arsenal of characters that we already know well. The gecko, the caveman, the piggy, a few celebrities, and lately the wood chucks. 


Clever or annoying? Personally, I love the Little Piggy Commercial.






Let's not forget the Caveman:






So, Who Gets Your Vote? Old Spice Guy or the Geico Brand?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Best Thing About CALL OF DUTY-BLACK OPS: ASSASSINATE FIDEL CASTRO







Review By: Zorro

Beyond the hype for the release of the game and anything else that we will tell you is that the best thing about the game is having the ability to ASSASSINATE FIDEL CASTRO. If you're a Cuban American or can understand the horrific crimes this dictator has committed through out the last 50 years, you cant help but feeling warm & funny when being granted the opportunity. Oh not to mention, that there is original Celia Cruz music playing at the beginning. What a treat!  After months of hype, and following one of the most drama-filled situations in recent gaming history with Infinity Ward, Call of Duty: Black Ops has been released and guys everywhere are playing. Thanks to the appeal of the subject, the pedigree of the name, and the monstrous success of the last game in the series, Modern Warfare 2Black Ops was destined to be a massive hit from the moment it was announced. But would it be any good?

Activision could have sold Black Ops on name recognition alone. It could have released a terrible game and still made money on the pre-orders, but it would have damaged the most successful third-party property in video game history. After the falling out between Activision and Infinity Ward, the level of scrutiny on the franchise has been at an all time high. But the behind-the-scenes drama isn’t important right now. If you are curious about the telenovela surrounding the Infinity Ward and Activision split go ahead and Google it. Or just wait for the multiple lawsuits to begin. But for now, it is Treyarch’s big day. So with the video game world watching, did Treyarch manage to succeed with the shadow of its predecessor looming so large? 

Yep, they sure did.




Call of Duty: Black Ops does a few things very well — mainly by not doing anything at all. Rather than reinvent the wheel, Treyarch looked at what worked and what didn’t with Modern Warfare 2 and its last title, Call of Duty: World at War, then made changes — some subtle, some innovative — but for the most part the game looks and plays like the previous games in the series. In a good way. The multiplayer is as strong as ever and some of the new features have added a layer of depth that will keep fans playing for a long time, while the campaign delivers one of the most intense stories you will ever see in a video game. So basically, Black Ops lives up to the hype.

The Cold War

With just a little bit of work, the story of Black Ops could easily be adapted into a Hollywood movie. It has the action elements down, plenty of twists and turns, and it touches on enough historical events without subjecting itself to the limitations of history, to make it appeal to a broad audience.  World at War contained some compelling characters, interesting scenarios, and intense scenarios, but there wasn’t much of a story. It was WWII—you fought the enemy and advanced; beyond that there wasn’t much to it. On the other hand, the Modern Warfare titles took a more fantastic story, with invasions, nuclear detonations, and the start of World War III. Black Ops falls somewhere in between.

You play as Alex Mason, and in a change for the series, you are a fully realized character, voiced by Sam Worthington, with a very specific story. Unlike previous entries, you do not switch between characters (with a few brief exceptions), and you are not just “that guy”, bouncing between events because you are trained to be there like all the characters in a WWII game. Instead, Mason is at the center of a mystery involving a series of numbers that relate to his long career as a soldier, which has included some  of the most difficult, and secretive missions that occurred during the Cold War. Beginning with the Bay of Pigs, Black Ops weaves in and out of Mason’s career as a soldier, a spy and an assassin, and takes him everywhere from Cuba to Vietnam; from the Ural Mountains to Star City, Russia.

Mason has seen the worst places in the world, and along the way he has made allies and enemies with people that live in the shadows. One of those people is Viktor Reznov, the one-time Russian Sergeant who acted as your guide through the Russian settings in World at War. Voiced by Gary Oldman, Reznov and Mason form a friendship through mutual adversity, and the pair work together despite their ideologies, in order to stop a new enemy. Giving away more would do more of a disservice than it would help illuminate the game, but the story is well thought out, and the finale nicely wraps everything up.
Joining Worthington and Oldman in the cast are Ed Harris, Ice Cube, Topher Grace, Emmanuelle Chriqui, and more. Treyarch approached this game like a studio would approach the sequel to blockbuster movie. There are no corners cut on the scope of this game, and each level contains moments that make you want to simply stop and look around. When mixed with real events and real people like President Kennedy, Castro, and many more, the story is arguably the best in the Call of Duty series, and one of the best FPS shooter plots ever told.
Black Ops is perhaps the most mature game ever made. While there are no hookers to beat up ala Grand Theft Auto, there are also no comedic moments to offset some truly brutal scenes of violence and carnage. This is not a game for kids, it is a game for a more mature audience, and should be treated as such lest it becomes another exhibit in the case against violent video games. If this game were a movie, it would be a hard R. Because Hollywood loves to try and make money off of things that already made money, it wouldn’t be all that surprising that someone tried to make Black Ops into a movie. It would be ironic though, since Black Ops is already pretty much a movie that just happens to be a video game.

 



The gameplay is what you would expect, in a good way

The gameplay of the campaigns is as solid as you might hope from a Call of Duty game, and the new additions, like the crossbow with exploding bolts, gas grenades, and a handful of other additions keep the game feeling new even though it will be very familiar. The missions are varied and interesting, and while sometimes you will be involved in stealth missions, the majority of your time will be spent fighting for your life as the enemy closes in on you, or you suddenly find yourself on the frontline of a major battle. Black Ops continually mixes it up, and each level has something unique to offer.

Black Ops offers a satisfying campaign that will last you between seven and nine hours, longer if you increase the difficulty and odds are you will want to play through more than once.

The look of the 1960s

Black Ops looks amazing at times and generally maintains some stellar graphics throughout the campaign, which is important because the look and tone play a huge part to the storytelling.  The character animation, both in facial and body movements, are top notch, and the sound is also well done for the most part, with a few exceptions.  Oddly, the multiplayer graphics are not quite as impressive, especially compared to Modern Warfare 2, but they are still solid. The music is nothing spectacular, but it is not obtrusive either, and it is generally overpowered by the sound of gunfire and explosions any way– although the sounds do seem off at times.  It might be a syncing issue.

It is easy to take the graphics on games like Call of Duty for granted.  They are the leaders in the gaming industry, and stellar graphics are expected.  Perhaps this is unfair and it takes away from the accomplishments of the designers.  Black Ops looks amazing, and the look quickly helps to build the atmosphere of the story.

It isn’t all gravy

While the story, graphics and settings are generally amazing with a few exceptions, there are a few technical glitches that mire the exceptional campaign. The levels are always linear, so it is generally easy to find your way around, but sometimes the mission objectives can be unclear, even contradictory. A few objectives will ask you to take a location, but your teammates will simply sit there as the position you are meant to take is literally surrounded by enemies. Sometimes you just need to take the “Leroy Jenkins” approach to the game and charge in to see what happens.
Treyarch also loves to toss you in situations where you are not able to wait it out, instead you must fight through to get to the next point. If you don’t move, the enemies will simply keep on coming endlessly. It adds to the sense of intensity, but it also can become frustrating when you are unsure what exactly you need to do.
There are also several instances of AI befuddlement, where your teammates will wander around aimlessly, and take cover until you advance well beyond them. It is also good that they are invincible, since they tend to wander in and out of gunfire now and then. The enemy AI are equally simple, and most will stay exactly where they are, no matter what, except to maybe move a few feet to the side.
Thankfully, these glitches are minor and are more quibbles than problems. The campaign is so good that when something goes wrong, it stands out like a spotlight in the dark. While you can be assured that you will see a problem or two along the way, you can also be sure that you will quickly forget about it as the pace of the game pushes you ever onward.

And now, the multiplayer

While the campaign might be worth the price of admission, a good chunk of the people that buy the game will buy it just for the multiplayer. Putting aside every question about how it plays, what the leveling is like, and all that, the answer to the one question that most fans of the series will want to know is yes—it is good enough to succeedModern Warfare 2.

To delve into true geekology here, Black Ops definitely feels like a Treyarch game, but it builds itself on the foundation of Infinity Ward’s designs — even more than usual. While fine wine connoisseurs might be able to tell the difference between a 1999 and a 2007 pinot noir, first person shooter geeks can tell the difference in developers by the subtle differences. Medal of Honor and Call of Duty play very similarly, but most that have played both games would not mistake the two anymore than someone would confuse the gameplay of Halo for BioShock. The same is true for Infinity Ward and Treyarch’s shooters — albeit the differences are subtle.

Treyarch’s games tend to move at a slightly more frantic pace than IW’s, both online and off. There is also a different feel to the guns, both in the way they sound and recoil, not to mention the damage they deliver. The level design is also set differently for a different pacing, and little things like the damage grenades do are also slightly different. It isn’t a good or bad thing, just a signature, or a style, like two bands playing the same song. Black Opsis not Modern Warfare 3, but it is a worthy alternative that takes enough from its predecessor to justify replacing it.
The competitive multiplayer is essentially identical to the previous games in terms of gametypes. The standard multiplayer deathmatches and objective-type games are all present, as is the new wager mode.
Wager mode is perhaps the most obvious addition to the Call of Duty franchise, but the most significant might be the CoD points. When you play through a game, you earn experience points to level up, as always. In addition to those experience points, you also gain CoD points, which are earned both from completing challenges and simply from time spent playing. These points are used to unlock items and add-ons, including weapons, camouflage and killstreaks.
When you reach a pre-determined level you usually unlock an item like a new weapon. But now with the CoD points, you unlock the weapon but still need to purchase it with those points in order to equip it. While at first that might seem like you are doubling the amount of work, it can also lead to a far better level of personal customization. In Modern Warfare 2, if you wanted to create a silent class, you needed to wait until you reached the level to unlock the proper perks, then you needed to complete the weapon challenges to earn a suppressor. Now with the CoD points, you can unlock only the things you want and either save up for things you will have access to later, or simply spend them on things like killstreaks rewards, which you can now also customize to your preference. The more you play it, the more you will feel how deep it goes, and people who love prestige will likely find this a huge boon to keep the game feeling fresh.



The wager mode is an entirely new game type that also uses these CoD points, but it does so by having you gamble them. When you enter a wager mode, you bet the CoD points, and when the game ends, the top three players of the round are awarded those points. There are four different types of wager games: “One in the Chamber”, where every player has a single bullet (and you earn more by killing an opponent), their melee attack, and three lives. “Sticks and Stones” starts you with a crossbow, a ballistic knife and a tomahawk only. “Sharp Shooter” randomly selects the weapon you have, then changes it after a set period of time. “Gun Game”, arguably the best of the bunch, starts everyone with a pistol, and for each kill you are awarded a more powerful gun—the winner is the first to advance through 20 levels of weapons.

With the competitive and somewhat aggressive nature of the Call of Duty community, the wager matches should appeal to fans of the series. Even better, the next time you get taunted by a mouthy 13-year old kid with a vocabulary of racism, just challenge him to a wager match and take his lunch money.
The levels are varied, but there is something for everyone. The detail to each map is fairly incredible in parts, and the majority of the levels will have several paths to take, on multiple levels.  Snipers will be able to find areas to hunt, while close combat fans can haunt the tight corners, leaving the mid range players to act as a balance.
Treyarch has always excelled at map design. Where Infinity Ward tended to make maps that conformed to a similar style—generally a large area with three major ways to go from side to side and multiple paths leading off those three main paths, Treyarch’s maps tend to be more varied. Again, that isn’t really a good or bad thing but some people might prefer one style over the other, and Black Ops maps naturally conform more to the Treyarch style than the Infinity Ward design.

There is one issue with the multiplayer that some will like and others will despise. In what seems to be an attempt to keep the game moving quickly and offset campers, the spawning is unpredictable. You will frequently have people appear behind you, and you yourself will might suddenly find yourself surrounded by enemies. It seems like a deliberate plan by Treyarch to speed the games up, but expect complaints.
As with all heavily online games, and Call of Duty especially, if something is off balance, there will likely be a patch. So while a few things stood out as mismatched — certain guns being more powerful than others and things like that — Treyarch knows its a community, and you can expect any balance issues to be corrected. Beyond that, if you have played a Call of Duty game online, then you know what to expect. The gameplay is as good as it gets, and the games are fairly evenly balanced. There is a steep learning curve for new players, but the addition of a practice mode– where you can play the online game with AI-controlled bots filling in for online players — helps. The gun selection is robust, as are the add-ons and perks. Little inclusions like camouflage and adding tags to your weapons are nice touches, but in general it is the same game that millions of people play, just new and shinier.



Brains!
Making the trip over from the World at War online is also the zombie mode, a co-op scenario where you and up to three other people fight off waves of zombies. There are three game modes, the first is set in a theater, while the second and third are played with special guest characters in unique locations. No spoilers here, it is worth the surprise.
 
The zombie mode is something more of a diversion than a genuine addition to the online game, but it is a great diversion, and one that you will keep coming back to. Assuming more maps are released as DLCs, the zombie mode should continue to be a small, but well-played piece of the game.

Conclusion
Call of Duty: Black Ops lives up to the hype — at least as any game that has ads with Kobe Bryant, custom Jeeps worth $35,000, and a fanbase in the millions could. It builds on what worked with all the previous entries, Treyarch and Infinity Ward alike, and gives enough to be fresh, while retaining the core elements and keeping itself familiar.
 
A few technical glitches including wacky AI and unclear mission objectives mar the game, and while the online is fun, it is nothing new.  Treyarch may be an innovator, but it doesn’t invent.  If you have never been a fan of the Call of Duty series, or just hated World at War, Black Ops is unlikely to win you over.
Black Ops is a moody and mature game with a campaign that is strong enough to make the game a hit, but when added with a polished multiplayer, the game becomes one of the best values of the year. Expect to be playingBlack Ops for a long, long time- at least until we see what the next Call of Duty has to offer.

 
Score: 9 out of 10