Sunday, 31 August 2008

The World's Book

In one of his flash-in-the-pan blog posts, Lawrence Miles posted up his go at an episode of Doctor Who, named The Book of the World. It has several typical Milesian traits: a bad-ass group of bad guys that don't quite operate in normal ways, pseudo-companions of the Doctor that Lawrence clearly cares about more than the Doctor himself, and a Doctor that has been run ragged down until there's hardly anything left of him.

(Another way to express these concepts: he's put in Faction Paradox, Compassion and then had the Doctor chained up for a while. Yep, it's the television equivalent of Interference.)

And it takes a long time to get going. Aside from the Doctor turning up very late, he doesn't do much until very late in the piece. The first part is largely Lawrence showing off how wonderful he is by writing big set pieces and lots of characters he's given a lot more thought to than he has the Doctor. When things do get moving, they zip along, but by then he's way over time and over budget.

Not to say that some interesting things aren't set up. There are elements there that would definitely play out over the series, and would be more interesting that arcs we've had previously. Indeed, I would like to learn more about what he envisioned, but the odds of that are less than slim.

In fact, it's not like anyone else will see this current vision of his. Can't find it online anymore. I don't know why he does that. At best, here is what the Faction Paradox community thought about it.


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Saturday, 30 August 2008

Wanted... or not?

There's the big epic pic of the year, that features Angelina Jolie at least. Gun battles with a humourous loser in the lead (loser until he gets a GUN anyway!).

And, basically... it's good. Nice enough in it's way. Guy joins fraternity of assassins, leaves trail of dead bodies everywhere they go, no-one seems to mind... yeah, I can see that happening. The big revelations aren't that surprising, but it's all an excuse to show slow motion shots of bullets wanging through the air anyway. The plot doesn't reach huge depths, but then it doesn't need to.

(It started life as a comic. Same basic ideas...ish. No alternative reality and supervillains, and there are actually non-white people in the world. Wow. Can't complain about some of the simplification done for the movie, because the whole alien race bit is a bit... over-egging the pudding, as it might be put. Definitely should check out the comic book roots, but not entirely necessary.)

Of course big names in the lead, James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman... and I managed to recognise Marc Warren before seeing his name in the credits. At least one of those names will be a drawcard for decent acting, and it isn't the woman with the big... lips.

One of those movies that suffices without really being overly engaging. A rainy-day sort of movie. Something to check out if you're already at the cinema and don't fancy ABBA.


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Friday, 29 August 2008

Night to Fright!

As they say, as they are want to do, "As one door closes, another door opens". Well, yes, but the other door was already open, so it was more the choice of two doors than one closing to reveal the other...

What am I talking about? My Labour Weekend could have been spent up in Auckland, but that is no more. However, it's by no means bad news, as there is something else happening I am very much interested in.

Like last year, this Halloween (although earlier due to other commitments), there is, in Wellington, Fright Night II! A night of roleplaying at Turnbull House. I've seen a pamphlet and there are definitely games I'm interested in. I hoped they might get played elsewhere so I would have a chance, but now I have the opportunity to play on the night itself! Woo!

Only one game is listed on blog so far, but it is one I'm eager for. Just have to wait for more details to become available, the most important one being: when we can sign up!

Definitely something to get in on if you have the chance.


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Thursday, 28 August 2008

No Bat To See!

Armageddon finally got around to updating its website, and... NO ADAM WEST!!! WAAHHH!!!! Fine, there are other great actors going to be there, but Adam West was THE reason I was going to go up and spend time in Auckland. But no more! I've already brought my (cheap) plane tickets, but I won't be using them now. (Yes, I could go for a holiday, but given the lack of Adam West, I'd rather save my money.) This will be the closest we get to seeing Adam West dance...


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Wednesday, 27 August 2008

The Chronicles of Risan: Part the Fifth

A previous dangling plot hook... I mean, group of people what we interacted with before, contacted us to ask us to go and get a big crystal ball they wanted for their fire-burning device. A crystal that just so happens to be in a dimension maze and guarded by a big dragon, in a kobold cave...

What's in it for us? was our thoughts, and with promises of magic items dancing in our heads we set off. There was one item in particular I've been wanting, and have been expressing this time and again, is a Lifedrinker sword. It sounds nasty, and does indeed deal in necrotic damage, but since I am often taking many hits, being on the front line, this weapon would prove very useful as each death temporarily boosted me up to survive longer.

With that firmly in mind, we set off into said cave, and took on the kobolds, who didn't stand up to be too hard a challenge. For once, I wasn't even hit! Underneath their entrance, we found a small passage to a larger room containing an even larger... DRAGON! Woo! Now that took some fighting, all of us piling on the hurting until we finally managed to defeat it. Now, somehow all these creatures managed to grab some loot before taking us on, and the loot this... a Lifedrinker longsword! (Honest, it really was!) I grabbed it, without even discussing it with the others (although, to be honest, only really I could use it effectively anyway), and while this did change some of my perspective on why we were here, we all continued on for the crystal and into the maze.

The maze consisted of large rooms that moved around, with the rooms being very regular and containing traps, but any similarities to one of them moving pictures was purely intentional. The first one featured such exciting creatures as a rat swarm, some marauders, and even a displacer beast! Battle went on long and hard, but fortunately while we missed the trap, the beasts didn't, which was probably the saving grace.

The next room was more creatures, with two rat rock scorpion swarm thingies which proved to be very nasty indeed. And the fire blasts didn't help either. The paladin actually dropped dead, but this was merely a transitory... er... transition. Those two things gave me the most trouble, but once again we eventually victoried. (Rather amusing that these battles only lasted about a minute, and yet that was us wiped out and taking eight hour rests...)

While we had yet to reach our goal, I feel a cast of Outoftown-eritis and so will not be around to see how they face the final challenges, nor find out what ultimately happens with the crystal.


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Tuesday, 26 August 2008

HC Again

Lots of HC'ing this weekend!

On the Friday was the continuation of a mod started the previous Saturday that didn't end (in many ways). I can't be bothered linking in the previous lot, as I didn't hear them until after I played, and this can be listened to separately. Check out how we face one of those fascinating situations we like to think about how we might handle... although we don't take nearly as much advantage of it as we could have. Time After Time: Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21.

While that was Friday, it doesn't end there. On Saturday, Logan posted there was room, and while I had plenty of other stuff to do... sod it! I sharked in! I caught the tail end of: Collegiate Conundrum: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

But then we got into a fuller adventure, full of... well, party infighting as it happened, and party swapping around as various players dropped off and dropped on. Still, we did eventually end up somewhere near an ending. Driveby: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10.


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I see... advertising!

Before I start attacking this vapid piece, let me say: no-one should be threatened. That said, when a psychic gets threatened, the usual thing to say is "didn't she see that coming?" Eh. Instead, let me say that since she's used to working with the police on undoubtedly many successful, yet undetailed, cases, she should be able to provide enough details of her threatener to get him arrested. Now that'll be news! (...that we won't see any time soon...)

Fortunately, the article moves on to a supernatural episode in which Sue Nicholson was taken to the hospital with an ailment similar to a case she was investigating. But "Sue said she couldn't explain her condition to doctors, as she had signed a confidentiality agreement with Sensing Murder." ...WHAT???... Really? The producers are so callous as to let their star attraction die rather than reveal what old case they are looking into? Can we get some investigating of health and safety practices going on?

But, never fear, be sure that she's back on track and giving 100%, as can be seen in the new series of Sensing Murder, starting next week. Phew. Although this is a terrible thing, it's just as well something happened in time for them to promote the new Sensing Murder series, or someone might have had to come up with some vapid article about how someone did something that is completely unverifiable and purports to be the truth... just as well we were saved from that! That was a close call!

(Tip of the third eye to Foo for first drawing my attention to this piece.)


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Monday, 25 August 2008

On-line Doctor Who Reading... and off!

There are many books in the world of Doctor Who, particularly novelisations of TV episodes. However, not all the episodes got novelised, with just five stories not making it... NZDWFC members decided to take matters into their own hand, and novelise the missing ones, and now the last missing novelisation is online! City of Death, by David Lawrence, is up and running. I remember reading "The Original Fish" (geddit? COD?) and thinking that Paul's suggestions of what to focus on wasn't that far off... (that said, I would love to see David finish off his version of Power of the Daleks). This is yet another version, so something else to check out even if you have the book.

Also, there are more than just Target novelisations, there are new adventures. For example, Jim Mortimore's Campaign (hey, there are actually posts on the discussion board!). Now, I have mentioned it before, but I now have a copy of the physical book. This is a fantastic item to actually have to hold, available from Pyrrhic Pressure (which I can't find online). However, rather than me discuss it, I'll just recommend you to Paul Scoones' comments.


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Saturday, 23 August 2008

Oh noes! Metal Rainbows!


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Friday, 22 August 2008

Bank Jobby

Based on a true story, apparently. That sort of thing should always be treated with caution, but what happens is pretty messy which is the sort of thing that happens in real life. Jason Stratham seems to be in a few movies at the moment, and the one I saw was The Bank Job.

I like a good heist movie, but this movie is all over the place and has trouble telling the story straight. We flip around quite a few characters and I got lost as to who was having what motivation to do whatever it was they did. Since this is based on real life, it's hard to say that there was a particular moral that came through, and the most this movie can aim for is simply someone getting out with some sense of justice occurring (barely, but it does happen).

Jason Stratham is a good actor, at least for this genre of action movie (don't quite see him doing Shakespeare). Saffron Burrows is a name I know I should know, but can't quite place. And Stephen Campbell Moore took me a bit to recognise (Evan White from Ashes to Ashes). But I am annoyed I didn't recognise David Suchet, now there's a terrific actor!

It's a... decent enough movie, but... there's just something missing...


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Thursday, 21 August 2008

The Chronicles of Risan: Part the Fourth

Venturing deeper into the volcano caves, we encountered two rock lobsters which liked the molten hot magma. After we dealt with them, we found there were other things that liked the magma. In fact, they were made of magna, using their internal heat to melt into the rock and extract ores, and chuck them into a rift into the fire plane...

We did try some negotiation, but the lack of speaking magmaese stopped us from coming to an understanding, and then the warlock got bored and attacked (an impetuous streak that another party member would suffer from). In the battle, the party's fire-based abilities proved... less than useful, and I (the damage magnet) reached a new nadir and momentarily passed out. However, we eventually proved ourselves victorious, and scored a magma blade (fire based weapon that literally drips magma)!

The locals were suitably impressed, and the priest told our tales (as he had accompanied us with the warlord out for the adventure). We set up a new colony and spent the time training up the savages to fight off the pirates and got our hands on some more shiny magical items (including a neat amulet I got).

We decided that the pirates would be good to deal with, and thought a good way to do this would be to get our own pirate ship then infiltrate the pirate ship flotilla. While searching, we investigated rumour of a large whale which we did find and proved less whaley and more woodeny. It was a large (extremely large) upturned ship with clockwork missiles and a form of a steam engine. And clockwork golems, but we managed to bash them without too many problems...

And lizard creatures. Or something like them. Rather than try to get them to help us ransack the ship, the other ranger thought that attacking was more interesting, and we got into another fight. I held an entire flank by myself, and even went into underwater fighting. The main chaps were defeated, but some little guys got away. We decided to leave the ship to them for now, and simply move on with our adventures.


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Wednesday, 20 August 2008

What's a mere 14 years?

I could do a post about Madonna's 50th... but it turns out, she's only 36! (About the age she was when she made Evita.) 36? Huh, that's not so exciting in a nice-round-number way...

(Wow, you mean the spiritual religion she's promoting claims she's younger than her physical age? Who'da thought flattery would work out like that? I mean, the universe...)


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TSV the 59th

Yep, another helping of TSV is on the net, this one being TSV #59. One of the more interesting pieces is the first part of an interview with Andrew Pixley. He always has interesting stuff to say, and this example is no exception. There are also two good pieces by Peter Adamson, A Carnival of Metaphors and The Machinery of Survival (in which I am credited with helping. Not sure why. Maybe I lent him a copy of Iceburg?)

There is also stuff by me in there. I have a very detailed piece on what happens during the Millennium in the DW universe. I'm sure it's useful to someone. I also contribute to the reviewing, clocking in review of The Curse of Fatal Death (which reads like I thought people had watched it before reading my review) and The Face of Evil (a very bad review, as in the review was bad, not the story. A few saving graces, but there is a far better review in the next issue). Not my best work to be honest.

As ever, check out Paul Scoones and Alden Bates.


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Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Not bored games

At the last WARGS, I decided I didn't want to do the usual Shadowrun mission. Sure, they are fun, but... yeah, I wanted to try something else. (That said, I did buy the rule book, so I can finally potentially create a character that I have in mind...)

So, instead I went for option B. It could have been another role-playing game, but people wanted to play board games. Thus, board games it was.

Pandemic was first, in which we are a group fighting disease outbreaks. We had two games because in the first game, on the very first player's turn, we lost. (Well, we had one last spot before we officially lost, but basically, we were done.) In the second game, we very nearly won. It's a cooperative game, and I like that. Makes it easier to work out what's going on if the other players are helping you strategise. But we got close... just ran out of time/turns. Fun, but I think hard to beat.

Second game was Zooloretto, with the Aquaretto add-on. In this, each player tried to make the best zoo possible (either normal land-based zoo or water-based animal zoo). There's a lot of strategy involved, in which I'm not that great, so no surprise I didn't win. But I did come third out of five with a nice 42 points. Woo!

I did spot Thud, which I do want... but at $100, not just yet...


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Monday, 18 August 2008

HC Again

Surprise! Inspired by what I did in a previous mod (at least, I shall assume so, even against any evidence), Pete jumped in and surprised us all by GMing a mod!

Based on a film he saw at his recent film festival, which I correctly guessed (note: guessed) as Russian in origin, it saw us dealing with a time line up against the worst horror of all: Timmy (Logan's character) as team lead. Frankly, death was a more attractive alternative... Dead Daughters: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7.

There was also chatting afterwards, and it was just chatting. It really didn't deserve the title of Gamer Talk 36.


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Do you remember the Tomorrow People? That guy walking his turtle? The cereal maker trying to control the world? Danny John-Jules overacting?

What? No, not John and Mike and Stephen, but Adam and Megabyte and Ami. Yep, I'm talking about the Tomorrow People: The New Generation, which ran in the 1990s.

Oh, dear, gods, but it was bad. I'm surprised it managed to last three seasons (five stories of five episodes each)! It lost a lot of the maturity of the previous series, and became more "kids solve mysteries by convenient plot twists", with the main power used being teleportation (which was used a lot). The stories were weak (a couple of mad scientist stories and a Pod People rip off), and the main stars weren't much.

This was covered up to some degree by the guest stars: Jean Marsh, Connie Booth, Christopher Benjamin, Christopher Lee and Danny John-Jules to name some big names that turned up in this series for no reason that can be a boost for their career.

I like the 1970s series, and so wanted to like this when I first saw it 10ish years ago. Never quite lived up to it, and the quality of the series doesn't really improve with rewatching.

If you feel like you must watch it, it is available on DVD, and quite cheaply too.


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Sunday, 17 August 2008


I've been reading the Chronicles of Narnia books, as the movies only tell part of the stories, and these are great works of literature.

Well, maybe 'great' is too strong a word. As might be 'literature'.

These are certainly children's books, and CS writes to his audience, without talking down to his audience. Let me be clear that he gets to the level of 'buddy' very successfully, without becoming condescending.

However, there are some very badly written passages (The Horse and His Boy springs to mind), and of course they were written fifty years ago now, and times have changed. And there's the Christian imagery (and it is Christian "influenced" as opposed to retelling Christian tales). Some parts are more heavy handed than the others, with the heaviest being The Last Battle, with the ending where the kids are glad that real world events happened. Um, yeah, I'm not seeing lots of children wanting to replicate that idea. And there are other moments scattered around...

But, to be honest, most of the time these are simply adventure stories that are more fantasy than religious indoctrination. They work as the former a lot better than the latter, and in that regard these should be read (especially if you've only seen the movie). They're a nice enough read to pass the time, and contain lots of fun ideas. Ignoring the religious overtones (which is pretty easy to do), these are a decent enough set of fantasy books, if not the greatest works of all time.


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Saturday, 16 August 2008

Voodoo on you

Bit of a tizzy over Massey offering a paper on witchcraft and stuff. This is just one paper being offered, entirely as an elective, for students who are interested to take. No-one is being forced, and it's presented as just a topic...

But read the comments to that article. Apparently this one paper will bring about the downfall of civilisation, and is a concerted attack on that minority of all religions: Christianity. Yeah. Like there are no Christian related papers. How dare people be exposed to this anti-religious indoctrination, when there is perfectly good religious indoctrination to be had!

Oh, and then there are the comments about how this isn't real witchcraft, and how one shouldn't do this or they will unleash dark forces... what? Seriously? Unfortunately, I can't say I'm surprised. Of course people are witches and warlocks. They really are out there, and do not approve of this analysis of their ideas. How dare people be exposed to this kind of power without proper indoctrination into the truth about witchcraft!

Just as well there is no actual curse power here. Yes, words have power, and making people believe they've been cursed can be just as if they really were. But, let's just try and for a moment face reality: MAGIC ISN'T REAL!!! Witchcraft and curses and spells and... it's all rubbish! It makes for popular series of books, but one important difference: fiction! Not fact!

I'm interested in that paper myself. Learn about a not well viewed piece of history, and pick up on some interesting psychology about how people view this supposed "power". But as for the worry about learning actual spells and access dark powers? As Tui has it: Yeah, right.


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Friday, 15 August 2008

Near miss

I don't read the RottenTomatoes, but I don't need to when they put out a press release that is picked up as an easy news item. In particular, they've put out their Worst Films list for the past decade (what? they don't think they'll be around another three years that we need to acknowledge this particular decade of films? [yes, yes, it was because they had reached ten years...]).

Of their list, I can only admit to seeing two of their Bad Pics, one of which I knew was terrible before I saw it (say 'hello' Battlefield Earth), but the other one I saw just looking for a movie to pass the time, and, to be honest, Jawbreaker wasn't that bad. Godzilla came out then, and how many people hold that movie up as an abomination?

But of the others, never seen 'em. Never heard of some of them. How about you? What's your Worse Films score?


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Thursday, 14 August 2008

Go, go, kissing!

Some ploys are obvious. For example, when Katy Perry starts singing about I Kissed A Girl, watching the video is enough to tell anyone that she is either trying to create or enlargen her heterosexual male fanbase. There are a lot of women dressed provocatively, moving hands around their bodies in suggestive ways... although there is a complete lack of kissing(*). (That it also became a popular song amoung lesbians should have been a predictable response as well... although it isn't that great a song.)

The idea of women kissing women is rather popular amoung the male dominated society we live in, but I would like to see the reverse. Where is the hot male singer singing I Kissed A Boy? The closest we get is Jimmy Kimmel F'ing Ben Affleck (although still no kissing).

Where's the call for equality? Where's the call for fairness? Where's the call for Katy's boyfriend to kiss other guys? Eh? Eh? Who's with me?

(*) Tatu still holds the record for going far enough in that direction...


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Wednesday, 13 August 2008

The Chronicles of Risan: Part the Third

Interesting day today. Got attacked by pirates. Yeah. That was fun. I was once again the damage magnet as most of the blaggards were on the main deck, as was I, as was not my allies. (Speaking of which, our valiant paladin was out of action for the meanwhile, but we did have our Elven archer, Feydan, at hand.) While we finally managed to put paid to the brutes, and their ship was sinking, we suddenly faced a dilemma as screams from the bowels of the pirate ship was heard.

Myself and Lia dived for the prisoners, while the rest of the team raided the Captain's quarters. (It's good to know that if push came to shove, my teammates would rather grab the treasure chest than save the hostages...) We rescued some recently captured slaves, and were presented with a number of options: return the slaves to their primitive isle, go to a nearby trading port, or try to find the floating pirate base.

Finally, sanity prevailed and several days later we returned the freed ones to their village. Their island looked very interesting, with resources for the taking, and while we considered cutting them down and taking everything, we eventually pumped for finding out about the big teeth monsters they were having trouble with. While heading into the bush, we passed a temple erected by previous travelers to this land, and there is definitely something to followup on, but not right now.

Getting into a cave, we came across Drakes (overgrown lizards). Battle was joined, and we came very, VERY close to many of us dying (myself was this close to the point of death). Eventually we overcame the odds, and found the remainders of the lizards cowering from us and something else deeper in the caves.

Pausing for a rest, we resolved to investigate further...


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Tuesday, 12 August 2008

The Gamers

This is one of those defining movies for the genre, available via YouTube for whatever dubiousness quality that affords. Part 1:

Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.


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Monday, 11 August 2008

HC Again

Not a CSI mission for a change! And a nice change it is! But I can see why everyone insists on doing easy CSI missions afterwards. Definitely hard on the poz.

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


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Saturday, 9 August 2008

Scriptin' fools!

There are two great sources for movie scripts.

One is Drew's Script-O-Rama, for actual movie scripts, movie transcripts and scripts for unmade movies (and TV programs as well). I'm not sure about the legality of it all, but I do remember grabbing one of the Batman scripts (Batman Forever, I think), and... wow... the movie actually made sense from a character arc point of view! Amazing! Never thought it would be possible! Definitely the first place to go for finding these things.

However, far more entertainingly, is The Editing Room. This has "Abridged" scripts (you may recall the one for The Phantom Menace which circulated humour areas), but there are tons of them, and they all make for great reading. Note that he has no concern for spoilers, so if you want to avoid them, make sure you've seen the movies before reading these script versions. Check it out for brilliant takes on the big blockbusters!


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Friday, 8 August 2008

Creating (Hyper) Tension

The aim of most shows is to get you to continue watching through the ads. (Okay, so some shows have this potential idea of actually telling an interesting story, but ultimately it's all about the ad revenue... unless you're on cable, but even then... anyway...) This is why there are mini cliff-hangers, usually badly contrived, to make the viewer go "Sheppard got shot? I must keep watching!" or "Will Victor realise that Denise was behind it all? I must keep watching!" or "Timmy's down the well? I've never seen that before, I must keep watching!" And so on...

And then there's getting the viewer back every week to see the next installment. Some will have explicit cliffhangers (hello old Doctor Who), some will hope the overarcing story will keep people tuned, some hope there is still some sense of mystery of "who will be voted off next week?". Fine, whatever they need.

But to get to the end of The Mole episode 9 and find out that... they'll reveal next week!!! That's just incredibly annoying! I just sat through an entire episode, and there was no payoff! I could have skipped it and be exactly where I started it from! I was going to watch episode 10 anyway, when they reveal the behind the scenes stuff, but that's just getting petty. Do they really think the audience will just walk away after 9 episodes if they reveal the answer? (Okay, so some would, but enough to impact the ratings? I'm not so sure.)

So, yes, I will be watching next week, but they better reveal the answer quick or... I'll just keep watching through the ad breaks, I guess...


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HC Again

So while I didn't play on Saturday... I did shark in on Sunday! (Sharking being the term we use for those who are on Skype, waiting for a chance to get in when others fall off.)

And speaking of, you'll hear the start of an ugly sharking situation where someone gets treated in a way that lead to major disagreement. I wasn't aware of the full details of the situation, but I still had a hand in it.

As for the case itself, it was a standard CSI type, although not what the obvious conclusion was. Fortunately, one of our players was insisting on the non-obvious conclusion, and so we cracked it all (due in no small part to me, I say modestly). Jury: , Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.


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Thursday, 7 August 2008

I Don't Want To Believe

Oh. Dear. No.

What was Chris Carter thinking? I know the latest X-Files movie wasn't going to be a part of the huge mythology... but I was at least hoping for a decent movie in itself!

What do all episodes of the actual series have? Some major paranormal component (except for some episodes which just had lots of long shots that were meant to be meaningful but were just boring). The paranormal here? Billy Connelly. That's about it. And the big conspiracy... what a freaking waste of time! This isn't X-Files. It's barely even a cop show episode.

It is, however, whiny. As the entry's FAQ puts it, it's a Shipper episode. And how. This also makes it really boring. Does Chris Carter think we want to know about the in depth relationships of characters that haven't been on screen for six years? (And it really only makes sense to those that have been watching the series. I don't know if anyone who hasn't seen the show has seen this, but I doubt they would get a good impression of it.)

David's... aged a bit, the face is showing the pounds. Gillian's still looking good. There are many in-joke references scattered throughout, although the clumsiest is what they try to imply with the Presidents' pictures. We have to wait a long time for one character, and then it's only a cameo, bit of a waste. As as for "new boy" Billy... interesting character choice, but the movie can't be faulted for making the character story subtle.

I did get a laugh when watching the end credits, and I am nearly tempted to go back and rewatch the series... but this also reminds me that many episodes I don't want to rewatch. This movie should only be seen by die-hard shipper X-Files fans, and for the rest of us... eh, it's already fallen off the IMDB front page, and for understandable reasons.


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Wednesday, 6 August 2008

The Amazing Astronomer

Wow! That was some news I wasn't expecting...

James Randi has been the head of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) for a long time, and he isn't exactly a spring chicken, so thoughts have inevitably arisen around who will take control once he isn't.

Just the other day an announcement has been made as to the new President of JREF. Randi is still around as Chairman, but he's moved over to give someone the reigns.

While there are many possible picks, I don't think I'm the only one who was surprised to hear that it was our(*) very own Bad Astronomer! Big ups to Phil for taking on this job, and it will be interesting to see how he manages the Fort Lauderdale, Florida place from his home Boulder, Colorado. That's one heck of a commute... Way to go, Phil!

(*)"Our" in the sense of "a blog I regularly read".


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Tuesday, 5 August 2008

The Chronicles of Risan: Part the Second

Well, I made the list of the Emir's "Most Heroic", and as a "reward" for my anti-slavery efforts was put in a ship with other heroes and told to go off and find stuff for the Emir. As well as Reed and Hamil, we were joined by Alrick (Human Warlord) and Lia (Half-Elf Warlock) as officers on the good ship Two-Fingered Salute, a warship. With us was the Threefingered Adversary, a supply vessel, and another warship, Neptune's Fury. I was the ship's navigator...

Somehow, we go piloted into a storm, and lost Neptune's Fury. However, we did find it on a nearby island we were heading towards, wrecked. Half the crew survived, but their makeshift huts had been attack by fire that seemed related to some big bright thing up on the hill. Being the heroes we were, we set out to investigate.

One day into the jungle, we were beset by LizardFolk. A pitched battle ensued, in which I once again became bloodied, but eventually our might proved mightier than their might, and we didn't even have to kill all of them! We set out for their village, another two days travel.

Once there, there was a river filled canyon across. The others went down the side, across the raging river and up the other side again. Why they didn't decide to cross the rickety bridge that barely bore my weight I don't know.

On the other side, we confronted the shaman leader and the ziggurats his people built, complete with large fire dealing orb. A deal was negotiated whereby we got some of the land and they didn't kill us. To cement good trade, we would need to locate a large crystal orb, but that's a quest for later. Having avoided another battle, we roleplayed ourselves to a premature end of the adventure. Huh.


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Sunday, 3 August 2008

A two-thirds trifecta

I spent the day yesterday playing roles. For some of the time, at least.

First up was a game in the Demon Hunters system, which is rather amusing take on the whole demon hunting (duh!) angle. I was Ned, and he was dead. A zombie that is. Special ability: taking damage. (Which I did. A LOT! Got quiet annoying that I had no actual offensive abilities.) Lots of fun was had, and we might meet that syphilitic ninja vampire (which is far deadly than a mere ninja vampire) again some day...

Second I didn't play, as the game I put my name in for was canceled due to lack of players. Instead, I played a board game, Pillars of the Earth. Interesting game, definitely some different tacks that could be taken. The aim is to get as many points as possible, which can be gotted either directly or through resources. I tried for the direct route, and while I was ahead for most of the game, ended up third.

Third was Murder Most Mysterious, which was basically Cluedo. We took on members or visitors to the household where the man (my character's father) was murdered and we tried to solve it. The murderer is random for every game, but in true classic style it did turn out that, yes, the butler did it.

On the future gaming front, there is Fright Night, played on October 25th. During Armageddon... DAMMIT! There are some great games being played then, but I'll probably be in Auckland seeing Adam West...


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Friday, 1 August 2008

The Knight o' Darkness

I caught up with what is the latest "Biggest Bestest Movie Evah!" (according to all the box office records that this movie broke, although with so many records around, movies will always find something to say they broke).

Have to say that this movie kicks off big, and doesn't stop. There are very little character scenes, with the movie rocking from one big moment to the next (and manages to fit in character moments in the action sequences, so there's a good step forward). The Joker is in there from the beginning, but they take a long time to set up Two Face. Still, they remain true to the characters, and the coin worked naturally.

Have to say the best part of the movie was the casting. Gary Oldman is brilliant as Gordon, Aaron Eckhart is perfect as Dent, and as for Heath Ledger... wow. Simply Wow. I don't envy the producers their decision as to who will step into those shoes for any return... He may have gone off the deep-end in terms of getting into the role, but it worked so well. And as for Christian Bale... er, well, someone has to wear the cowl. Just don't see him as a credible actor, and the gravely voice just sounds silly.

Big things have been said about this movie, and they are probably true. (I haven't actually read any of the reviews, so can't comment first-hand.) Definitely a movie to go see. And definitely not one for the kiddies.


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