Just the one module on Saturday, but it was many hours, and no cake is served as paygrades are changed. Note: the module deals with adult subject matters. Kids: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7.
There was also chatting afterwards, but we were all at the end of long days, so not of a lot. Gamer Talk 25: Part 1, Part 2.
Monday, 30 June 2008
Just the one module on Saturday, but it was many hours, and no cake is served as paygrades are changed. Note: the module deals with adult subject matters. Kids: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7.
Sunday, 29 June 2008
Taking a page from overseas, Christians are sending "intelligent design" material to schools to "teach the controversy" regarding evolution in science class. (The same thing happened after the media reaction to the Dover trial.)
Oh dear... There is no good here. First of all, yes, let's teach about intelligent design... in philosophy or religious discussion classes. ID is religious. It can basically be summed up as "I don't know how the universe got to be as amazing as it is... so Goddidit is the answer I choose".
Evolution is a theory - in this case, "theory" means "an explanation that encompasses facts and is scientifically rigorous" and not "educated guess" as TV (and other media) has it. It can be challenged, for example "rabbits in the Cambrian", ie fossils where they shouldn't be. ID explains nothing (how did god do it? Who or what created god?), and cannot be challenged ("I don't know, but it happened.")
Louisiana recently passed a bill that allows teachers to teach the "controversy". This is a major set back. Creationism was denied access to science classes because it was religion. It recast itself as ID and tried again, and was shot down again (Dover). Now the tactic is "allow teachers to teach both sides of evolution". This has been successful once, and opens the doors.
THERE IS NO CONTROVERSY. EVOLUTION IS AS CLOSE TO FACT AS SCIENCE WILL ALLOW. (And anti-evolutioners who feel like commenting, take it to Pharyngula.)
There is a poll for "should ID be taught in science classes?". Yes is currently winning... but I'm not sure how much of it is unbiased (not that an internet poll is exactly rigorous).
Let's be honest here. Evolution is a part of reality. Check this out: reality is cool. (As is xkcd!)
Saturday, 28 June 2008
Friday, 27 June 2008
Thursday, 26 June 2008
It's finally happened! I've finally gotten the notice!
It is my pleasure to inform you that you are being considered for inclusion into the 2008-2009 Princeton Premier Business Leaders and Professionals
Honors Edition section of the registry.
Really? I feel so honoured! Of all the people you could have possibly asked, all those "business leaders" and "professionals", you picked on little ol' me! And to think, if I hadn't had my email on a website that has nothing to do with this, but where any web spider could pick it up, I might never had been selected at all!
The 2008-2009 edition of the registry will include biographies of the world's most accomplished individuals. Recognition of this kind is an honor shared by thousands of executives and professionals throughout the world each year. Inclusion is considered by many as the single highest mark of achievement.
Wow, all those people... many, many people... beside whom I might have an entirely paragraph of self-dictated indulgence... it's like some kind of dream come true... the chance to be associated with all those other people who received this very same email!
For accuracy and publication deadlines, please complete your application form and return it to us within five business days. There is no cost to be included in the registry.
That's likely to be true. Yes, there is no cost to be in the registry. Can't accuse them of any dishonesty there. What they miss out in mentioning is that pretty much anyone can get in (so it's not that exclusive) and that to get a copy of the registry, all nicely printed up and bound... that's where the money earner is. The chance to be associated with all those names!
Yeah... sign me up... I'd rather Send Your Name to the Moon!
[END] Read more!
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
There were many posts around when Iron Man came out, but almost nothing for the feature The Incredible Hulk. Not sure why. I'm sure just as many when to the latter than the former... are we tired of Hulk movies?
Certainly, this movie could easily fit after Ang Lee's one. The opening credits are all about how some guy got gamma-radiated, got his mad on, kicked General Ross' arse, and moved to South America... which was basically Hulk. Added bonus: no long origin sequence, yay! (Also could consider a link to that movie with the Hulk getting mad at a lightening storm. But a far better link is the classic soulful music of the TV show.)
Anyways, when watching a Hulk movie, mainly you're just marking time until the latest CGI creation hits the screen, and this is no exception. Fortunately, we do get a lot of Hulk, and the rest of it isn't too dreary. There are some, as ever, emotional moments (ironic considering that Banner is supposed to be emotionless), and lots of military scenes of General Ross being a complete idiot... I mean, exceptionally militarily minded. This movie takes the line that General Ross wants Hulk under control and just runs with it...
But not entirely. There's also a sub-plot to develop a real bad guy, but for that I'll just link to Dork Tower. (Will add: another CGI battle...)
There's also some cast I guess I could talk about. Edward Norton is a fine actor, not quite sure he fits here (but any Banner is going to play second fiddle to his alter-ego). Liv Tyler... is in the movie, but again Betty is never going to be the screen draw. Frankly, the best actor in the entire movie is William Hurt as General Ross, can't go wrong with that hair and mustache. (And then there's that guy that turns up at the end... but I won't say more.)
So if you've seen Iron Man, why haven't you seen this yet? And if you have any intention of seeing the Avengers movie, again, why haven't you seen this yet? Not to mention it's a good general action movie. (However, general buzz is the next one is Ant Man... now there's a draw card!)
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
Once more unto the breach, and once more being a GM of a Heroic Cthulhu game. This turns out to be part three of a three part mini-campaign, completely incidentally created as the players complained about needing more closure. (And then they miss all the background details!) But the main important point is, I didn't name the episodes. Cross Dressing for Fun and Profit: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.
Also, yet more sitting around chatting (although I think we could have gotten a mod in so I could have played...). Gamer Talk 22: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.
Another series kicking off is J. J. Abrams' latest, Fringe. From the pre-air version, yes, I agree that it does look highly like another X-Files clone. The main scientist just so happens to have worked on a number of topics that would be considered "fringe" science (aka pseudo-science), so I'm guessing each episode will involve latest crazy science of the week in the effort to solve a weird mystery...
Yeah, well, not the only show like that, so what does Fringe do differently? What any show has different is the cast. The main cast of this show is the crazy scientist, his estranged brilliant son, and the sexy FBI agent (with the preair being all about the FBI agent and her getting help from the other two). Problem is, none of them is that likable. Scientist has crazy working for him, but by and large they are largely bland. (Whether or not this is it, or if it will be reworking, is information I don't know.)
And then there's the mythology, as this is a J. J. show. We get the mysterious corporation which is shadowy and probably has high connections, and a name "The Pattern" to put to weird events that happen. Certainly distinguishing itself from X-Files there...
I can guess that this will be a successful show, considering the creator, but from the preair, it looks like another tread along the known groove.
Monday, 23 June 2008
Holey guacamole! Not so much for the episode itself, but for the trailer afterwards!
There were two points to this episode. One: establish that Donna is the bestest, most special person in the world, and Two: the big bad is about to hit. But first, I want to talk about point three.
Three: the world without the Doctor is very different. Oh sure, there are the Sarah Janes and the Torchwoods, but this earth is barely scraping through... however, without the Doctor, the witch-thingies would have won in The Shakespeare Code, not to mention that the planet would be destroyed or whatever after the events in Pompeii... Yes, alternative universes are all very nice, but trying to work out the details of a sans-Doctor version never really works all that well. (And what about the bee-man?!)
Anyway, RTD uses this episode to state very loudly: Donna is the bestest person ever. Ironically, who gets worked into this episode to help say that? The bestest companionest person ever, Rose Tyler! (Remember the joy we all felt whenever Martha returned to the series... yeah, not so much here.) As they say, methinks the man doth protest too much. Just saying she's special ain't cutting it much, especially when other people are saving the world when the Doctor isn't around, and all Donna is doing is whinging. Aren't they special then? (Actually, with these episodes, it looks like we are slipping back into Rose Who.)
We also have the Big Bad (Wolf?) come up, given the ever so useful name of The Darkness. (Which could have been the two words. Actually, I was suspecting "Medusa Cascade".) Since the arc theme has been more subtle that certain previous series, I'm not sure how anything ties in together, but it looks like everything will be mashed up for the final two-parter.
In many ways, this episode is the Doctor-less filler. Yeah, Donna gets a lot of screen time, but aside from "Rose is around, and The Darkness is coming", there's not a lot to this episode. What really blew me away (and not entirely in a good way) was the trailer...
Next week: Freaking fanwank! Did Gary Russell help write it or something?
Sunday, 22 June 2008
Another new series, The Middleman, has hit the TV screens... as they say, you only get to make a first impression once.
I'm not saying it's bad. It's... cute. They've got their geek references down pat, and, basically, the style of the show is very much akin to Men In Black (this is the standard reference to what this show it like, but it's largely valid).
However, I don't really respond to cute. I need something else. Preferably more depth (although some other new shows with depth may not meet my interest either. Eh, I'm fickle). Fine, I'm biased entirely by the first episode (and, yes, pilots are made to be sold), and the later episodes might be better, but... I'm still not entirely convinced by it.
I'm going to continue watching, but in a very lazy, laid back way (ie. not seek out new episodes but watch them if someone else hands them to me), but it's going to have to beef up its game for me to really get into it.
Saturday, 21 June 2008
There's a lot of new shows (sf-wise) coming out at the moment, one of which is the American version of Life on Mars. Now, let's be honest here. American versions of British shows general, in the large, DO NOT WORK. The classic example that one can always point to is Red Dwarf. Oh your gods.
However, some shows do work. Three's Company was a successful translation of Man About the House. And, again to be honest, The Office American Style is so good that I can easily think these are episodes of the British version!
Thus, I do not immediately want to dislike Life on Mars A. I've seen the pilot, which is largely a reshoot of the pilot of the UK series. Yep, Sam Tyler... girlfriend... car accident... Gene Hunt- Okay, stop right there.
Gene Hunt is played by Colm Meaney. Yep, Miles O'Brian. Yes, he has played some great roles, but Gene Hunt... Gene is supposed to be a big imposing bastard, and Colm... isn't. He's more the small dirty fighter type. He just doesn't feel right. (Sam is played by Jason O'Mara, but I don't recognise him, made up to look quite pretty, but can't really comment further.)
And, if we've met Chris and Ray, we haven't been told (there's a guy that's probably Ray, but if we learnt his name, I missed it). Annie, yep, looks to be a successful translation of the time (she looks to already be a detective, did women make better strides in America in the 70's?).
What this really comes down to is that so far, I'm trying not to judge it. The next episode should be a new take by the writers, as opposed to a redo of a British episode, so that should be the real test. I'm waiting, and remaining cautious at the moment.
Friday, 20 June 2008
Thursday, 19 June 2008
Current advertising by TelstraClear:
Now, some of this I can. Indeed, TC did rate highly in the main cities, and they do cite their results, so we can grant them that they were right... and the time.
However, their "Best Price" line comes out at the same time as their announced price hikes. Can I ask that their position be reevaluated? It's an interesting counter-effect of those who read that article, or are TC customers facing a rise (eg. me), versus those who see those adverts and think "oh, that sounds good". Spin, anyone?
Shopping around is always a good idea, and indeed TC might still be the best... but this does make me want to check that with independent sources...
Wednesday, 18 June 2008
Yep, have now seen the latest offering of M. Night Shyamalan, The Happening. And it's... meh.
His first films were undoubtedly brilliant, but now, it's like he's going "yeah, let's do something strange, but have nothing come of it!" The plot is pretty much like any disaster movie, something happens and people try to escape... and really what else is there to know? Some of the deaths are interesting from an effects point of view, but otherwise are just there to look pretty (in an effects way) on the screen. As for the big explanation of what is happening...
There is an accusation being made that the movie is a big pro-Intelligent Design argument. Now, I can how many movies can be interpreted religiously (and let's not pretend that ID isn't religious), but... I'm not buying it here. Fine, there might be religious connotations to the movie (see the linked review), but this movie belongs solidly in the "for some reason, humans are attacked" genre, and just substitute in bees or random virus or anything else. That it's an ID mouthpiece is just looking at one or two lines and focusing on them.
But I do have one big question for MNS... what's up with the extreme close ups? Often we have faces just huge in the screen for long periods, with just their reaction shots going on... and, to be honest, the best you can say for Marky Mark is that he fills the screen. Didn't really feel a huge emotional presence. As for Zooey Deschanel, I was too busy watching the ever-changing size of her irises to really take her acting ability in.
I haven't seen his Lady Water (or whatever it's called), and can't say that after this I'm wanting to go back and fill in the gap. I'm sure MNS has more brilliant movies in him, but this isn't one of them.
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
Only the one module this time, as we try to take as long as possible, discussing things for as long as possible, and put off actually doing any thing for as long as possible. What should have been over in half the time we managed to stretch out, because we're special. Keys: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.
However, we did also have a Gamer Talk, which I actually stuck around for. Gamer Talk 20: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
At the latest WARGS meeting, I hoped to get in a game of D&D. The game that was run as part of the D&D 4e Day (last Saturday) was offered as a game during this meeting. Was quite looking forward to it, actually... unfortunately, there were only two of us who wanted to play that, so so much for that...
Instead, we went for another Shadowrun mission (the GM of which was the other interested D&D player, as it happened). This one was a simple "search and retrieval" mission, where the S&R was for some large, one might say coffin-sized, containers... Fortunately, we not only managed to complete that ahead of schedule, we also got in some other jobs including shooting up a corporate party... all for the image, of course.
This time around, I didn't go for Gringr, but instead went for an Occult Investigator (by the name of Mr Inbetween). Unfortunately, I didn't really understand what skills I had, so I didn't do as well as I could of. And I actually had some spells! Most likely we'll be having more SR missions, so I'll be bringing him back for another one or so... and then switch again. Yes, I could go for a long term character, but don't really need that for this game and I like the option of trying out a range of possibilities.
Monday, 16 June 2008
Wow. Give RTD credit when it's due. That was one intense episode!
How long does it take to really kick in? Certainly the first 15 or so minutes are us getting to know the passengers, with a few plot details kicked in. It's engaging enough, but I'm not missing that when it really kicks off. (And where's the sapphire waterfall? I want to see a sapphire waterfall, dammit!)
The best part of course was the exposition scene. Or rather, the lack thereof. Nothing so scary as something that remains unexplained (which demonstrates the power of the Doctor. When he puts words to something, that diminishes the things power by making it something known, something prosaic. (I'm sure there was an Big Finish audio to that respect.) And thus when the Doctor can't explain something...). The nature of the beast does take one by surprise, especially as it came so close to actually beating the Doctor (and would have done so if not for those around him).
The basic one-set nature of the story doesn't diminish its power either. Some great acting, especially by Lesley Sharp (did she have to learn everyone's lines then?), but plaudits all around, really. Episode 10 is usually the cheap-o, but it doesn't slow anything down here.
Clearly I'm really impressed by this story, and if RTD could pull that off for the remaining stories...
Next Week: The Donna-arc comes to fruition... can't say I'm that worried about what happens to her because I've seen the trailers.
Sunday, 15 June 2008
Saturday, 14 June 2008
Friday, 13 June 2008
My recent post on Brad Scott drew some criticism as it was a personal attack on the man. Only... it wasn't. I was attacking ghost busters in general (nearly all comments were at that level), with Mr Scott as a local example. The worst line I can see "I got some problems with this chap." Let me revise that now as "I got some problems with this chap as a ghost buster."
I have no issue with the person in particular. The commentators all say that he is a nice guy and a sincere person. Let me agree: Brad Scott is a nice guy, a sincere person and doesn't charge for his services.
However, being nice or sincere does not make one above criticism. Just as not being nice nor sincere (and I'm suspecting people would put me in that category) would do likewise. It relates to how the message is taken, not the quality of the message (in general most people respond more positively to a nice and sincere person than to one who isn't).
As for "So all I am saying before you attack someone you know nothing about, think because the next person you have a go at won't be as forgiving." (Again, I'm attacking the role, not the person.) We live in a culture which has "the right of free speech". I'm exercising that right, just as the commentators are. I might be right, I might be wrong, but don't say I'm not allowed to say something.
Moreover, we are not living in a culture that has "the right not to be offended". That way lies extreme censorship, as I'm sure everyone would agree. If one is offended, either take the right to freely speech back or ignore it. Indeed, I am amazed anyone reads this blog, and surprised that I have any kind of reputation at all.
I'm sure this post will draw just as much criticism as the last one, but I'll try to be clear again: Brad Scott is a nice guy and a sincere person. It is the ghost buster role I have issues with, and ghost busters in general, not him in particular. I would have made those same general comments had I been talking about, for example, the TV show "Ghost Hunters".
Thursday, 12 June 2008
As Logan wasn't at work last Saturday (Friday for him), we managed to get two modules done. We also had a full house of four players via Skype again. I would say that it depends on the players involved as to how well it works.
The first was all about the music, of which one player in particular (not me) was quite knowledgeable. Also keep an eye out for the personnel changes. Suicide Girls: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.
Also, a Prestige mod, which can be Prestige either because it's hard, or because the links are very tenuous. Certainly there is a lot of information that only comes about because of a seemingly irrelevant question (which might have been carefully set up by the GM). Shop Till You Drop: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7.
Wednesday, 11 June 2008
Another Tuesday, another movie. This is that Vegas blockbuster (snort) 21!
The best thing about this movie isn't the plotline. To be honest, the trailer gives that away and all that's left to uncover are minor details and expected character touches of the two leads shagging as they must in any flick.
No, the best part are the two real leads of the picture: Kevin Spacey and Lawrence Fishburne. Yeah, sure Jim Sturgess (aka 'the guy who reminds you of Tobey Maguire') and Kate Bosworth are in it, but they're just there to fill up screen time until the big names come on. Kevin Spacey is a wonderful actor, and can exude a creepy menace without even trying (as he does in almost every scene he's in). As for Lawrence Fishburne... I think this wee scene sums up how we all feel.
21 isn't going to rate the best movie ever, but it's a decent flick and worth checking out if you like that genre.
Monday, 9 June 2008
Um... to be honest... kinda disappointed... it was largely as predicted...
Oh look, the little girl was the computer... what a sur-completely predicted event! Did we see the Doctor Moon link? Not really, but never entirely had a chance to. And the key factor linking on 'saved' vs 'safe'... eh, I'm not entirely buying. I agree that a computer would used 'saved', but then so might someone else, as it's referring to a past event, not their current condition. A forced stretch, sir.
Everybody lives... again... Have to say that it's losing it's dramatic impact. I would compare this episode with The Doctor Dances (someone else does the dramatic rescue instead of the Doctor, everybody lives, the use of the blue special effect gun), but I'll leave that to someone else. Suffice to say that if everyone always lives, then that's not an exceptional happy ending any more. (And I'll just point out a continuity cheat. I was watching Anita's helmet, and it was fully green until the dramatic close up. Not fair, I say, not fair!)
And as for River Song... looks like people are thinking 'wife'. Can't really disagree. Certainly the whole 'there's only one situation in which I could tell my name' is an interesting point... but, unless Steven Moffat is planning on revealing this when he's in charge, I'm going to chalk this to 'mysterious event which would only annoy if considered' and not consider it further.
Of more interest is the fact that the Doctor hears thousands of voices in his head. General telepathy? His other selves getting rowdy? Or has he the ghosts of Gallifrey talking to him? (Shades of the EDAs there.)
So, an episode that is mediocre, especially from Moffat. Still better than other episodes, but on the whole... eh.
Next week: Oh, drama set in one room! But it does look intriguing...
Sunday, 8 June 2008
Well, the fourth edition is out, and it looks like another round of books and other supplements are well set up, not to mention all the online content, to create one big huge cash cow for Wizards of the Coast.
But what if you want to check it out? People are already out there, playing the game, and podcasting it for all to hear. RPGMP3 has some character creation (a shorter version of the longer one that didn't get recorded properly) and episode one of Keep on the Shadowfell.
Also, from WotC themselves, are the guys behind Penny Arcade playing the game! Episode 1 and Episode 2 are out (very short files, cut up segments of longer play), but you can simply hook into the podcast to get the episodes as they come.
(If I remember, I might update this from time to time with links to more episodes... or not...)
Saturday, 7 June 2008
The latest Scarifyers is out, For King And Country. (A trailer is available.) There is also a behind the scenes segment, but this isn't available via Lovecraftiana, so you'll need to go directly to Cosmic Hobo.
Yeah, it's still cool to hear Terry Molloy and Nicholas Courtney on audio, and in this adventure they are joined with Gabriel Woolf! Character-wise, this story features the classic ghost hunter Harry Price, and even starts at Borley Rectory. Amazing that people are still referring to this. [There's even a new Borley book coming out, but I'll discuss that later after getting it.] The story is... rather dubious at points, and Professor Dunning seems to be getting dumber, but still incredibly enjoyable.
Also on Lovecraftiana(*) are audio lessons on how to produce various accents: Irish, Scottish, Cockney, and Standard British English. Lots of examples as Paul Meier expresses himself, and there are also lessons about how these sounds came about. Interesting information for role-players.
(*)No, I'm not getting paid for this.
Friday, 6 June 2008
Looks like it's finally available over here. Wii Fit, the next step which everyone said they were close too, and they actually too that step.
There is a basic point about exercising that the article mentions: you have to want to exercise. Once you get past that hurdle, the type of exercise you do is up to personal taste.
Me, I'd like to the exercycle in front of the TV (sitting on my arse I can do), but I keep breaking the damn things.(*) The new Wii Fit has a range of exercises, together with a "balance board" (which has weight limits of course). Those exercises include yoga (why does everyone see yoga as the ultimate exercise... exercise? See previous note about meditation and getting a good nap), but presumedly there are more strenuous efforts in there too.
So is this the way to go? Certainly the privacy of the home is a plus, as is the "fun" of playing with the computer, and I have to say I am tempted... however, I don't have a Wii yet, so would be facing rather high costs. Then again, trying to get a decent exercycle isn't cheap either. One more then again: just how much is getting exercise really worth?, and costs now would be more than offset by future savings...
(*)I also hold that "to get fit, you have to be fit". In that, if you aren't fit, you're probably too out of shape to use the "getting fitter" machines, e.g. being overweight and outside the specs of the machines, as well as not being able to cope with an exercise regime that would actually get you fit.
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Yesterday, I mentioned that I reinstalled Firefox and thus needed to reload all my Add-ons... so what do I recommend then?
Adblock Plus - Essential for blocking all those adds that we can't stand in the slightest.
DownThemAll - Vital for downloading anything at an accelerated rate! Basically, it establishes 5 (or however many you set) connections to the server where the file is and downloads it in pieces. Or rather, it used to then it upgraded and didn't work. (It might now, I haven't trusted it enough to try recently.) Thus, although 1.0 is out, I recommend version 0.9.9.10.
IE Tab - For those sites that are "optimised" for IE (why??), Firefox sometimes has problems, but with this handy add on, Firefox can emulate IE and make the site work. Not 100% effective, but close. However, the latest version is for Firefox v3.0, which is only out in Beta.
Long Titles - Firefox has a wee bug in that when viewing pictures with long alt-texts, the long string won't display properly. This is a severe problem when reading XKCD. This fixes that.
Video DownloaderHelper - Useful for grabbing those YouTube-like videos from those sites. Yes, you can go with Orbit, but I prefer a program that isn't as aggressive. Not perfect, but gets the job done without going over the top like some programs.
Download Statusbar - Converts the very uninformative normal downloader to something far more useful. And yes, this is still a good thing to have even with DownThemAll. Sometimes that latter isn't appropriate, and this is a better way to keep track of how things are going when downloading normally.
Wednesday, 4 June 2008
I've been having a problem the last few weeks with Firefox on my laptop. For some reason, it would want to reload a page when I tabbed to it, and don't even consider looking at a picture (eternal reload!).
[...okay, this was my fault for going to a website which was corrupted itself (previously fine)...]
Anyway, I was searching at times for something like "Firefox corrupted picture problem" and the like... nothing! Finally, I thought to try something simple like "Firefox corrupted"... and got an answer. Here's how to Repair Firefox.
I have done all this, and indeed, everything is working fine now! Yay! The downside... I need to reinstall all my add-ons, and it's forgotten all my passwords, and I need to re-AdBlock stuff... Still, it's a small annoyance compared to the far greater one of getting annoyed by corrupted Firefox, which had been getting worse.
Anyways, should you ever have any problems with the browser, allow me to offer this bit of help and link to somewhere useful.
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
Oy vey... the Wild Hunt continued, although there wasn't much plot movement. Between catching various players up and the many, many, MANY diversions everyone got into, we barely got anything done! But, I managed to uncover a plot point or two despite this. The Wild Hunt: Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16.
(There was also a Gamer Talk afterwards, but I was brain fried so am only there for a short while.)
However, this didn't end the module! (Hardly surprising, really, given how off-plot we got.) Others continued it the next day, if you want the rest of the story: Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25, Part 26.
Another movie checked off the list: Untraceable. Similar to a certain Millennium episode? You bet! (That said, this isn't the most original idea by now.)
The movie has a set-up: someone gets trapped and their death is put out on the web, and the more people tune in, the quicker the person dies. The movie gets this idea up and running, then does it again and again and again... okay, we get it! Saw, this isn't, but it certainly thinks the audience wants one death after another. (Fine, some audiences do want this, but this isn't really the movie to draw that audience.)
Still the ending stands out for many points, even aside from the interesting denouement. The exact ending of the movie is... unusual. I won't go into details, but this isn't any standard Hollywood ending. I almost wanted the Hollywood ending, but plaudits for them for going for something different.
Not bad, at the end of the day, but not that great either...
Monday, 2 June 2008
Steven Moffat certainly knows how to write a proper episode, although I do see definite similarities with previous scripts... and who knew they'd insert that character from the books?
Don't blink... I mean, don't go in the shadows. There lurks something scary that you can't see by looking at it... and it glows green... hang on, that was an X-Files episode. No, it's a creature that lives in the darkness and feeds on the light... hang on, what's that a DW book? Or am I thinking of an audio?
Either way, Steven does a great take on it here, using one room really well to build up the story and create tension by the bucketfuls (and it wasn't until I realised that we were about to hit the end that I realised the episode just flew by). One might think he's just padding out backstory before everything kicks off next week (and certainly looks like there is a lot of action next week), but I don't mind because it's so well done. That all said, of course, Donna as the computer node was obvious and who doesn't think Cal will turn out to be the little girl?
So, River Stone, eh? An archaeologist, huh? Is Paul Cornell suing, I wonder? Riverstone... Summerfield... Yeah, I'm sure there's no connection there. I just hope that if that's what they are planning (could this be Steven's big show idea for when he takes over?) that they develop this properly instead of just tossing this out as "oh... ah... never gonna visit this again...".
It's a shame the actual Silence in the actual Library was COMPLETELY RUINED BY THE INCIDENTAL MUSIC! For that the Director should be shot. If the intent is to build atmosphere by pointing out how quiet everything is, don't not make things quiet! I've often said you don't need incidental music, and this is a great example of how it ruins a show. Still, for many other set-ups the Director should congratulated. Just not for that decision.
On the whole, great first parter, of course, and a shout out to Other Dave! (Although not the one in the program ;) )
Next week: Spoilers... and Revelations, I presume! Although some I can guess already.
Sunday, 1 June 2008
As it was Memorial Weekend last weekend in AmericaLand, Logan decided to run adventures over (his) Sunday and Monday. I managed to join in for a few hours.
On the Sunday, we did the Hungary mission... oh dear gods! Not a great exit, unfortunately. Return to the Monolith: Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9. (The first four parts were a different adventure, and I wasn't there anyway.)
Continuing on, I get to start again from the beginning. Interesting, but also highly frustrating. Anyway, the first adventure was Detect: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.
And on Monday... I tried to get in, but either my computer or my internet was complete bollocks, but I did finally get in after about four or five hours game-wise. This does mean the first four parts don't include me, but for other reasons I'm putting in the entire set because... well... it help makes the story go on. The Wild Hunt: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8.
Wellington has their own ghost buster! Lucky us. Only... I got some problems with this chap.
Brad Scott wants Wellingtonians to swing open the doors to their haunted homes and paranormal places in the name of science and "debunking" bumps in the night.
First one, proper investigators do not "debunk" anything. They investigate with an open mind, and try to find out the true nature of what is going on, whatever that is. To set out with "debunking" in mind is to approach with a bias, mind already set on the outcome, and thus the mind will automatically accept some evidence and dismiss other evidence. That's not how science is done.
He has spent thousands of dollars over the years on his ghost-detecting "tools of the trade", which include electromagnetic field (EMF) detectors, voice recorders, microphones and video recorders.
Erm, nifty toys do not a scientist make. Look at the many "Ghost Hunter" programs (including NZ's very sad effort). Recordings can lead one to making up strange sounds "oh listen to this!". EMF detectors can vary across many frequencies, need a base to work from, and can be effected by the other equipment that is in the area. Eg. "As he was being interviewed at a Johnsonville cemetery, he received an elevated reading from the EMF detector." Erm, perhaps because of the camera and other recorders around? And who knows what's there already?
As lead investigator and founder of NZ Paranormal, he said his background in building and engineering allowed him to "debunk 90 per cent" of ghost claims, but it was the remaining 10 per cent of "unknown" that kept him dead keen.
There will always be some noise in this area where not enough information can be gathered, so 10% unexplained (by him) does not surprise me, nor does not prove nor disprove anything. (And yes, there may be actual ghosts in there, but if so, it must happen by some physical process and thus be amenable to some scientific process, even if we don't know what yet... that said, if they are around, then they really are exhibiting some extremely strange properties that are completely undetectable in any other area of science.)
I wonder if NZ Skeptics have heard of NZ Paranormal?
[END] Read more!