Wednesday, 30 April 2008

HC In Charge

Rather than my usual "archive" HC post, I'm doing a full post as this is something different. We got through two games this Friday, but it was something rather special.

The first game I wrote... which makes playing in it a little odd, so I didn't so that... I ran it instead! Yep, I actually GM'ed a game, in an effort to prove that I shouldn't GM games. (I have no improvisational skill and I consider that an essential GM skill. Fortunately, I think they went soft in a few places, and I had prepared stuff as much as I could. Still thought of neat twists afterwards though, but that's the way these things go.) And now I might have to come up with a sequel, although I do have another idea as well. They decided to called this one... Japanese Hospital Fun: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Also, we spent far too long on a mod in which the big truth was something I didn't see coming even after it was revealed. (There's a lot of military stuff happening, and I have little to less idea about anything related to that.) DB: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.


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Tuesday, 29 April 2008

DW: Episode 4.4

Just as well we don't see the monster in the opening trailer, as we have no idea what it is...

Compare with Helen's two parter last year... and marvel at how much better this is! No pansying around with "I want to make the Daleks a better race" here, mate, just straight get-on-with-it action!

Actually, to tell the truth, this reminded me incredibly of a Sarah Jane Adventure story, in that it featured a kid genius, lots of colourful sets, and there was no pretensions about an in-depth plot. Way hay, that's more the style we want to see! (Waits for immediate contradiction by the billions of fans who only tune in for the emo.)

But, yes, the return of the Sontarans... and they've changed a bit, as the Doctor noted. Lead by a hammy Christopher Ryan, they're more like a boys club than the mightiest warriors ever. "Sontar! Sontar! Sontar!" And was I the only one who thought that the kid was Justin Suarez's older brother?

Once again we are all enraptured by Freema Agyeman's performance. Why, oh why did you have to leave? (Was it pregnancy as one rumour had it?) Please come back to our screens permanently soon...

Fortunately, the obligatory "family grounding" was tolerable. Yay, Bernard Cribbens! I hope they get him out of the car, although it would make a change (and Helen has already done one twist with the whole "I'm going back to my family" schtick).

So, in all, a great first parter, and hope the pace can be sustained.

Next week: Christopher Ryan goes Over The Top!


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Sunday, 27 April 2008

DW: Revenge of the Judoon

Another quick read! (Although I think I'm reading slow.) Revenge of the Judoon by Terrance Dicks.

Not much plot, so it's a race around big figures in 1902 in true Dicksian style. So, namely, we go right to the top and meet the King, Edward VII, as well as picking up Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Lieutenant-General Baden-Powell. Certainly can't say Terrance doesn't know his history (or, at least, doesn't have a "Famous People To Meet Each Year" book he's steadily working through).

Anyway, it's a straight-forward plot of alien takeover, although nothing really gets off the ground as there's a lot of running and not many pages to run around in, so the real problem introduced here is left past the end of the book, which makes the point of the book not the plot but the running (which isn't exactly a first for nuWho).

And then there's the Judoon, shoe-horned in. Terrance was probably asked to put them in, rather than gave a proposal with them, and it really is odd to have them in there as their main contribution to the plot is to teleport a castle around and them help dispose of the real enemy at the end of the book. The whole titular "Revenge" aspect is barely worth mentioning, and only really gets a few pages. (But it was probably either that or "An Adventure Which Accidentally Has Judoon In It".)

Anyway, for a quick read, it's perfectly readable and Terrance knows how to keep the pace going.

Order: could be anywhere, but given that Martha is very much a companion now in the Doctor's eyes, I'd put this in the gap after The Lazarus Pit.


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Saturday, 26 April 2008

Better than zombies!


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Friday, 25 April 2008


Karnov is an old arcade game which looked quite interesting. And it looks like someone decided to make a movie out of it!


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Thursday, 24 April 2008

TW: The Twilight Streets

The cover alone dictates this as the one and only Torchwood book you must read. Inside... close... The last book in this set: The Twilight Streets by Gary Russell.

The man most identified with gratuitous fanwank (nah, that'll be Craig Hinton) writes a Torchwood novel... and makes it make sense! Yes, there are plenty of references to events in a fair few episodes, including the obvious one, but this time it's not gratuitous, nor even overdone. They are solidly built into the plot, which is more than can be said for other books (but then other authors didn't have the inside track Gary does).

The story is clearly a sequel to End of Days, what with Bilis Manger on the cover and all, but unfortunately the book takes a long time to get going. They said the audience shouldn't be ahead of the characters, but half the book is spent on set up (and the mystery of Tretarri isn't really paid off) and it's around halfway that the Torchwood team find out Bilis is involved! Get on with it, man! Fortunately, the second half does pick up speed, but it's not at all clear who's really good and who's bad, nor even if there is a good and bad. Philosophical ambiguity is one thing, but it shouldn't leave the readers confused and annoyed.

There is also a wee "future story", the sort of thing that might well be a full episode of it's own that either ends with someone going back in time to change history, or being told as a tale by said person, or as just a general future vision. It takes a long time for it to make sense, and I did wonder for a long time what the point of it was. But there finally was one, so it eventually managed to redeem itself.

The characters themselves come across well, but once again we get what is really a Jack story with the others bolted on. Tosh and Owen really get the short shrift and Gwen isn't that much better off. Ianto gets the bulk of the non-Jack scenes, but Bilis is more developed (as far as he can be and still be a complete enigma) more than the main cast.

Of all the Torchwood books, this is the most integrated into the series, but still can't quite be the team effort it should be. If there is another series and another set of books, hopefully other authors will be given the access Gary has and we can get more books of this quality.

Order: Definitely before Reset, but, oooh, Gary's definitely seen the scripts for the rest of the series...


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Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Escape from insanity!

No, not another flash game, but an actual RPG experience. At the recent WARGS meeting, we were Cthulhu adventures who were banged up in Arkham Asylum (what? the tentacle story really happened, yer 'onour!), and had to survive. (I have to admit I was hoping to play a board game, but since they were down on players, I jumped in there instead.)

The rules were a vastly cut down version (basically six stats which we were Strong, Normal or Weak on) of CoC, but the idea what very much in the vein. At night there was a lurking horror in the cells and it wanted us. Thanks, but no thanks, please respect my boundaries. Luckily, I didn't die, so that's all right.

However, point of honour has to go to another player who tried to create a shiv out of a wooden spoon: thus was born the 'spiv', which we ran with for as long as it was funny (and it was always funny). With a spiv in your hand, you can't go wrong (as long as sticking it in your own thigh and getting it stuck in a padlock don't count as wrong). Ah, happy days...


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Tuesday, 22 April 2008

DW: Episode 4.3

This is an episode I never thought I'd ever see in the new series. And it took someone who wasn't RTD to write it!

Wow! An episode that isn't set on Earth, on a space station around Earth, or on a planet that's remade into Earth! Okay, not exactly the first time, but a bit more of a proper alien planet than we've seen so far (compare with Impossible Planet and Utopia planet) so, huzzah!

But, what's even more impressive... THE HUMANS ARE THE VILLAINS! YES! For the first time in NuWho EVAH! So it's not surprising RTD didn't write it, I'm surprised he let the episode go through! (This must have been when Gary was running things behind RTD's back.) Woo! Oh, but they try hard to disguise the fact, but yeah, it's "Humans are bad!" all the way. Finally! This alone makes it a great episode, but the plot is actually quite decent (although there are questions about evolution that aren't quite explained) so this is currently topping this series in terms of best episode.

Moreover, Donna isn't at all annoying. But this is probably due to the writer not knowing how to write her, so runs her fairly generically. Also, there's a lot of action (which is good), so there aren't many chances for her to mouth off, although she does try. The Doctor also runs in normal Doctor-mode, although isn't quite the one in command, and the end is almost a return to the Eccleston days...

Still, due to the role of the humans, headed by the brilliant Tim McInnerny, this is a highly rated episode from me.

Next week: I want to like it... but I'm not filled with hope.


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Monday, 21 April 2008

HC Again

Logan's putting them up quite quickly, actually. I'm slow.

Two games this time! The first is a repeat for HC, but a first for us. Freddy becomes an example of the Peter Principle in action. Zombie: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

Second is a much quicker mod, but nearly ends in player-on-player death! Cart: Part 1, Part 2.


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Psychic me this!

The news is a few days old now, but it's still fun (and easy!) to make fun of some people who can now be persecuted under the law. The psychics! Britain has taken the step of removing protection for psychics and mediums and putting them into new consumer rules that will protect the customer instead (what a concept!). Some choice quotes:

They think sceptics might bring malicious prosecutions to force spiritualists to prove in court that they can heal people, see into the future or talk to the dead.

They might be forced to prove that they can do what they say they can do??? Never! Balderdash! It'll never stand up in court! Heresy! Heresy! ... yeah, their claims will never stand up in court, and they know it.

"If I'm giving a healing to someone, I don't want to have to stand there and say I don't believe in what I'm doing," Carole McEntee-Taylor, a healer who co-founded the Spiritual Workers Association, told Reuters.

Belief has nothing to do with it. The key work to remember is: evidence. And not anecdotal evidence. Not subjective evidence. Evidence that can stand scientific scrutiny. I'm sure they have plenty of that after all this time, right?

"By repealing the Act, the onus will go round the other way and we will have to prove we are genuine," said McEntee-Taylor, from Essex. "No other religion has to do that."

Yes, once again, how dare they be forced to prove they are telling the truth. And since when is being psychic a religion? Or are they implying that religion should be forced to prove it's telling the truth as well? (Which I'm sure would be faced with equal equanimity from the priests... who would just pull out the "oh, the martyred we" card again...)


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Sunday, 20 April 2008

Escape from time!

Speaking of flash games that eat up time, AddictingGames has some that work (I tried a few sites, but either they had junk or wouldn't play, not a good sign).

I like puzzles games, and like the Escape From series a lot, so I'm going to link to them here!

Escape the Car
Escape the Closet
Escape the OMG Scary Room! (A parody episode.)
Escape the Phone Booth

A lot more fun and engaging that the titles sound.

(Go Afro-Ninja!)


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Saturday, 19 April 2008

TW: Trace Memory

The second Torchwood book: Trace Memory by David Llewellyn. Wow, new levels have been set in how not to write a Torchwood book!

Now it has often been said that the Torchwood team cause their own problems, but in this book, the team barely even appear! And have nothing to do but observe events! I'm not caring about spoilers in this, because this isn't a Torchwood book. This makes Border Princes look like an actual episode!

Okay, I suppose if Random Shoes could be an episode, then this could be too, but even that used the team more than here. Events are narrated as in the past, and everything's pretty much happened before the present say, so... what the hell was the point of this book again? I'm really thinking David wanted to write a "Captain Jack before Torchwood" book (one more thing contradicted by Fragments) and managed to con the series book editor into buying this.

I can't say if the main characters are well written, because they hardly appear! Micheal, the "hero", is... I'm sure David had this in-depth picture in mind about him, but it doesn't quite manage to come across. Much like the monsters. They look fantastic on the cover, but I didn't really get the menace of how they looked from the text itself.

I'm not sure if this even rates as fanfic, rather than "something I padded out and got paid for". Avoid it, it's so pointless. (The only bonus point it gets is more acknowledging the Jack/Ianto relationship.)

Order: same as the last one.


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Friday, 18 April 2008

HC Again

I start off trying out some spells as I have no idea what they do, but soon we are into a mission I vaguely recall, and thus end up switching to a no brainer. Also in this adventure, you'll hear Logan bitching about how I didn't switch earlier, and Pete try to tell me I suck at handling NPCs. Bond: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8.

The "fun" continues with after game chatting, also about NPCs. Gamer Talk: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.


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Neanderthals, eh, bro?

How about them Neanderthals, eh? Great leaps in science have meant that we know what the Neanderthals sounded like when they talk. And the amazing thing is, they sound like us kiwis!

Wow! That's just astounding! Considering it's not like we have full bodies from back then, just bones, impressions on rock, maybe some tool remnants... and from that, we've got a voice box and the actual voice sounds a Neanderthal made. (Gareth Roberts, eat yer heart out!)

But wait... just one small moment... what exactly does a Neanderthal sound like? As usual, Stuff fails to link to anywhere useful, but a quick net search finds... this article, which contains a link to a wave file with the speech.

Eh? ... that's it? One small blip of a sound, that doesn't even register in WinAmp as a second? And from this, we get "sounds like a New Zealander"? WTF? That's one hell of a comparison... one might think a step too far...


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Thursday, 17 April 2008

Time Shift-ers

Who needs time when there are flash games to play? Check out this one, Shift (and the sequel Shift2). It's a fun wee quirky games that takes a little getting used to, but once you get into the swing, it's interesting to work out the solution to it. (Usually there is only one.) Shift2 has some annoying screens I think, a little bit too much of DIAS (as it's called), but I finally managed to get through all the levels. How about you?


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Wednesday, 16 April 2008

It kicks off...

Today's the day the website goes properly on line. This is the day when the full force of the strike back begins. What website?

Well, first of all, I'm not sure how many of you are following American's news, but there's a new film out that says that people are being thrown out of universities for their beliefs, despite the fact there is not one shred of evidence that this is happening, and the closest they get to is people who happen to believe those ideas who are thrown out of universities for failing to do anything useful.

Once again, I'm talking about Creationists and Intelligent Design. It's not even science, people! But also talking about the new film, Expelled. Now, I'm not saying that if you must see this film, you should download it from the 'net, 'cause that would be illegal. But they are paying for kids to go see this movie, so why should we hand over dosh?

Anyways, the website is Expelled Exposed, which has already been running reviews and the like, but now goes full force. All for a little film called Expelled.

(Why do I keep saying Expelled? I'm sure it has nothing with trying to make it the number one site found by Google when searching for Expelled...)


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Monday, 14 April 2008

DW: Episode 4.2

Pompeii, Pompeii, Pompeii... what more can we say? It couldn't stay. But it was revived the Doctor way...

James Moran (or RTD rewriting...) does try a few interesting things. The language issue is addressed again, with an interesting take on the idea of speaking Latin, although the Celtic gag goes on a little too long. And when the Doctor said it's just like SoHo, he really wasn't kidding. Fortunately the night life of Pompeii isn't up to much.

But it's all a very quick romp through the imminent volcaning of Pompeii (so quick night seems to pass in a matter of about an hour) which is lovely and light-hearted (yeah, the sooth/counter-sooth scene was amusing) until the last ten minutes when there's is whiplash change of mood and suddenly everyone can't get morose enough. (Frankly, I do prefer the Big Finish version... which isn't contradicted by this, interestingly enough.) The destruction of Pompeii is made a crucial story point, and is a very harsh lesson for Donna on the intricacies of time travel. The ending, while dark in an abstract way, does manage to avoid being dark in a more concrete way, but I never doubted the Doctor would go back to save them as otherwise it's too bleak a message for the kiddies.

Donna is less brash in this episode, but note that this is the first time we've seen someone else write her, so I'm not sure how much input RTD had into her. At the moment, she can be broadly summarised as "argumentative", but hopefully we'll see her character fill out (and from the looks of it, her dress might full out more and all too) as the stories continue.

It is a very NuWho take on Pompeii, and we see they are sticking with the "Human vs Aliens" plot of every episode. Come on new pastures...

Next week: Everyone ready for a really Ood time? Oh dear, they're making the Doctor/Donna marriage into a running gag...


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Sunday, 13 April 2008

Best Graph Evah!

At one point, I was involved in looking at the government standards for electronic communications (as it related to standards to make integrating data easier). Exciting stuff, in which a lot of work has been done, and of course a lot of documents about "where to" and the like. I came across what I think is the best graph ever created, back on an old roadmap document. Information content just doesn't get better than this.


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Saturday, 12 April 2008

TW: Something in the Water

The new Torchwood books are bigger than the usual set. I'm thinking this is to allow for more story than their DW counterparts. The first one is Something in the Water by Trevor Baxendale.

Certainly this is a more adult novel than his DW effort, and quite a decent story too, but again rather simplistic in the (lack of) complexity. There's a new infection spreading throughout Cardiff, and Torchwood find themselves dealing with sore throats and mythical creatures. (Have to say, while reading this, I thought I had a sore throat!)

One definite benefit to the books is the ability to spend more time on the characters. Ianto still gets a bit of a short shrift (I wonder how many scripts the authors got to read, especially with regard to his Captain Jack relationship), but the others get a lot of page time (as it were). Owen gets a lot of attention (as this is partly a medical mystery), but we don't get an arbitrary backstory like last time (I'm looking at you Another Life). Captain Jack gets to be competent without being annoying, so major plus there. (I'm not sure why the team are in black on the front cover, though.)

The villain of the piece isn't that much of a challenge, to be honest, and the ending is a quick "and then it was over". The focus is more on the impact than the cause, but we have to have something to defeat, and there she is.

Not the best effort by Trevor, but quite fitting the Torchwood mold.

Order: Reference to To The Last Man means this occurs right after that.


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Friday, 11 April 2008

Coming soon...


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Thursday, 10 April 2008

Oh. Dear. Freaking. Gods.

Speaking of HC, the next adventure features the following really, really creepy... thing... (mildly NSFW).


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Wednesday, 9 April 2008

HC Again

We started trying to work on a case that has been developing in the game, but then we devolve into working on something Logan had actually prepared for us. Just the one module this time as Pete the Sherlock had already seen that episode, so it was just TJ and myself to solve it. Fortunately, TJ stepped up to the plate.

Rave: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9.


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DW Review: Peacemaker

Last of the lot, Peacemaker by James Swallow. And, despite language similarities, it is not a Doctor Who/Firefly cross over.

While using many tropes of the typical Western, James does manage to give us a story that is interestingly original. There are two stories, that of Alvin Godlove and the people that he helps (and the consequences they then have to face), but both plots develop well and intertwine nicely as one full-on story. It's not an expansive story, the world isn't threatened, and to be fair the threat isn't much more than a handful of people, but the personal nature of events make for engaging reading. (Although I would have liked to see the cover happen in the book.)

There's not a lot of character development, the characters we met pretty much stay that way for the book, but they manage to be more than one-dimensional at that so I'm not minding. I'm including the Doctor and Martha here, but in some ways they aren't incredibly detailed personalities in the series either (all that 45 minute episodes aren't that easy for showing in-depth motivations).

A straightforward and decent story all told, and a pleasant way to while away the time.

Order: after the other two.


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Tuesday, 8 April 2008

News overreaction!

Ripped from today's headlines, without even pausing to read the blurbs, let's see what the news media wants us to know:

Inquest rules Diana unlawfully killed
What? Really? You mean there was a consideration that she was lawfully killed? There are circumstances in which people could officially arrange for a car to crash and kill someone and the law will go "yep, looks all right by me"? Wow, they say you should learn something new every day, and today we find out there's a new form of capital punishment available! I bet Fox would make a show out of it.

Outcry over online auction of cheese
Oh noes! They're selling cheese! Quick, hide your dairy products! Ban eBay! Never before has commerce gone so out of control! Next thing, fruit and vegetables will be verboten! Cows, you're next!

Judge annoyed by delay in porn case
You just gotta wonder, which aspect is the most annoying? Fine, it might be "come on, let's get this case over already", but the newswriter decided that it must be the "porn case", so the porn is important. Clearly then, the Judge is wanting to get their hands on the porn. Maybe they've run out of their own and want a fresh supply. (But let's keep this tasteful so no "it's coming now" jokes, please!)

Olympic flame snuffed out in Paris
Once again we see the vicious French striking a blow against international relationships. You can just tell the writers wanted to say "Today the French took the Olympic Flame out in a hail of gunfire Martin Scorsese would be proud of". Unless they're talking about Paris Hilton. While I wouldn't put it past her, I don't think I want to know those snuffing details...


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Monday, 7 April 2008

DW: Episode 4.1

He's back, and there's no teaser trailer! And is that a new arrangement I hear?

You know that hilariously funny bit where two people just miss meeting each either other by the slimmest of margins? Well, just imagine how funny that gets over half an hour! As in: it doesn't, and gets less and less so as time goes on.

Still, when Donna and the Doctor finally meet, yeah, it is amusing. This episode is all about Donna getting back to the Doctor, and there's some other plot about some mad woman (RTD script, what else?) trying to do something, but it's really about Donna. And yes, I will give that Catherine Tate is already 100%... well, maybe 75% less annoying that in The Runaway Bride. I think I still decent nascent "Doctor love", but at least it might be able to stay at a more platonic level, but time will tell.

As for the other plot... what the? RTD needs to lessen his drug dose. Living fat cells? Fortunately, he does explain the entire body converting to these wee beasties (if not how shooting the middle of the door collapses the entire thing), but this is Doctor Who, and I'm sure the kiddies will love the things. (Who's for an Adipose doll then?) Interesting that the woman didn't get any chance to redeem herself, but she isn't human, as we know what this series is like there.

And as for the surprise guest at the end...

But Doctor Who is back, and hopefully without a budding romance might start being able to tell decent stories without throwing relationship bricks at the audience. We are off to a good start already!

Next Week: "It's Volcano Day"? As in a direct reference to the Big Finish audio, or just a similar source idea?


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Sunday, 6 April 2008

TW 213: Exit Wounds

Maudlin alert! Maudlin alert!

Oh dear gods, how much emotionality can one person stand! Grey is back, and is the big bad, all because he was taken as a child and tortured... well, it is a story that has worked before. But then we get the whole forgiveness/absolution layer added on, and the emotional brickbats are out in force. Still, it's good to know that if one is indeed responsible for the destruction of a city, the worst that will happen is being stuck in a deep freeze of oblivious sleep.

Speaking of destruction, most of it did seem pointless, a distraction by the writer to keep the rest of the team busy and create something to cut to when needed to fill in time. The nuclear reactor in particular seemed like an easy ticking clock, but it then provided the other emotional wellspring with tears aplenty for all. Now, technically, Owen might still be around in there, we can't tell, but I doubt anyone will really go in and check. But bravo on Chris for actually killing off members, and also for finally acknowledging the space pig, which people have been going on about since the series first began.

Despite the city-wide tapestry, this final episode is all about the personal stakes of the team and Jack in particular, and serves as a far more downbeat ending. If there is a series three (and as I write this I haven't heard confirmation either way, perhaps the Declassified might say something) it will be interesting to see who the replacements are. I doubt Marsha will be coming in permanently, and here's hoping Captain John only makes the odd cameo, but let's do hope that if the team does returns, it's with even more maturity than they tried this series.

Next Week: Next week? Never mind next week, tomorrow is the return of Doc the Who!


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Saturday, 5 April 2008

4 minutes

As soon as I heard it was available, I went to YouTube, and yep! The official video:

Video is rather bizarre in parts, and the music is a bit too loud making it hard to hear the words (as such). But why Timberlake and Timberland? Oh, and how exactly does one save the world in four minutes? I have to doubt that listening to this sound would do that (just end up padding Maddy's pockets).

(I wonder how long the remix version is ;) )

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Friday, 4 April 2008

DW: The Pirate Loop

Next up is The Pirate Loop by Simon Guerrier. Wee, fun! Pirates! How original! Never had pirates in Doctor Who before!

And it is a lot of fun! People die, but it doesn’t matter! Let us all have a lot of joyous fun solving the mysterious puzzle of Starship Brilliant! There is indeed an interesting puzzle here as the Starship is caught up in some weird time craziness and the Doctor and Martha land right in the middle of it. Plot-wise, it is captivating, although the reader is ahead of the Doctor and Martha, which rather undercuts the drama Simon is trying to build.

Then again, Simon changes tack with the tone of the book entirely in the latter part of the book, making what has been enjoyable romp into something deadly serious, although he then tries again to change tack once more. It’s disconcerting, and ruined the atmosphere he had built up. And the ending was a bit weird as well.

Character-wise, the Doctor and Martha are solidly in charge of their scenes, as they should be. The rest of the cast are fairly non-noticeable with the exception of Mrs Wingsworth (who I never could picture properly) and the badger-faced pirates. Oh your gods, how many times did Simon write “badger faced pirates”? Too many times. These are obviously a creation that caught Simon’s fancy and by hell’s high water, he was going to make sure we knew about them. Tried too hard, and doesn’t really pull them off (like we need another “race based on some earth species” (although we do have a better reason for why they exist, unlike almost every other earth animal based species)).

Basically, the majority of the book was quite good, but there’s trouble with the ending.

Order: same place as Wishing Well. And it shows that we should read these in order as there is a reference to Wishing Well in this book.


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Thursday, 3 April 2008

HC Again

Didn't get to play the previous weekend due to the con, but I was back into it last weekend.

There was basically one module, in which we encounter a very unlikely combination of double murders. (Includes a "game show" of Doctor Bakwena in the Harry the Hippo costume.) Pool: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7.

This was followed by general chat sessions which was recorded and put up for no readily explainable reason. Gamer Chat: Part 1, Part 2.


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Dating Internationally

Here in New Zealand, we're at the cutting edge of the future, ie we get to experience the future before anyone else. And sometimes we forget that the rest of the world is behind us.

For example, April Fools, that delightful time of prankstering and japering that we all love so much. (Although all we apparently managed was for a radio station to cause some fans a few problems.)

This means that when others go for their April Foolering, we're already on April 2nd, and have our mind space out of the April Fool zone. Which can lead us to not immediately getting some jokes.

And it looks like there were some good ones. YouTube rickrolled everyone. Darths & Droids got taken down by Lucas Films. And there was much merriment over Dungeons and Dragons version 4.1.08 coming out (on a board I read that you'd need to subscribe to, so no point linking to the thread).

Some were obvious. Some less so. But I'm sure they would have been more obvious if we could just remember that the rest of the world is backwards compared to us... in so many ways. :)


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Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Hostel II: Fully Booked

So previously was the first one, and now I've seen the sequel. Hostel II is about a group of female backpackers, a clearly original variation on the male backpackers of the last movie. Lots of time passes as they wander around not being tortured, and, yes, the fast forward button was pressed. Eli tries something different in showing how the other side get in on it (yep, we're talking murderers here), but frankly I'm not routing for anyone to "win" (as it were).

At least until the last ten minutes. Then the plot does something actually interesting that made being bored by the two movies worthwhile. Not that anyone should endure these two movies just for that, but it does create an actual highpoint.

But once again, the splatter is low. A little more than the first movie, but still not really going all out.

As I said though: why appreciate splatter?

Firstly, it's fiction. Let's be clear about that. We know it's fiction, and so don't feel guilty about the violence on the screen.

Secondly, and the main thing, the special effects. The splatter shows off the true special effects artistes. Wow, that limb just got hacked! Hey, that person's head was just axed! Oh, was that her liver? Man, I don't think that's supposed to twist like that!

The more realistic, the more gross, the better the effects team (and the director/cameraman) are doing their job. Cutting away just cheats of their chance. Show it! Make them earn their money! This is what appreciating splatter is all about!


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Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Hostile about Hostel

There are some films that become wannabe legends in their own lifetimes, films that get overhyped in their own genre. Hostel is one such movie, doubly so because of Quentin Taratino's name being attached to it.

Last night I finally sat down and watched this movie. And fast forwarded through a lot of it. This movie is yet another entry in the "Americans don't get horror" file. This isn't horror. Butchering people is splatter. Look at the Saw movies. They are splatter. Look at Texas Chainsaw Massacre, that is splatter. Hostel is splatter. Moreover, it's bad splatter. It's... and this is a terrible thing to say... boring. It takes half the movie to get going (trying to pass time by showing naked women) and then there's no real splatter, a lot of it takes place just off camera, and we see the make-up'ed after effects.


I can get into the splatter genre, indeed own the Saw movies, but I'm wondering why I took a punt and now own this. And, sad to say, Hostel II. There's watching I'm now not looking forwards to. (But once I've done that, I'll blog about what appreciating splatter really means.)


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