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Friday, 28 November 2008
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Thursday, 27 November 2008
And, lo, in the garden at Gethsemene, did the temptation of the saviour of us all begin... well, something like that. Only more confusing.
The first episode: really well done. Things are built up nicely, yes it was an obvious trap, but it was just as obvious that there was no way Sarah Jane wasn't going to go through. And, of course, she had to try to save her parents. Who wouldn't? Of course, everything goes wrong... (BTW, was I the only one thinking "Don't touch the baby!"?)
And then the second episode happens. Er... what? Just a straight out "do this", no consideration, linear plot. Just like the ending to Father's Day really. And everything hinged on two people driving off in a car...
It would have been better if they had used the car to drive over the Trickster, at least that would have tied that moment into the story, but nope, they just get in the car and drive off... hardly the most exciting of moments... And where did the Touch of Death(tm) come from? One moment they are killing things left and right, the next they are touching and hugging with no problems. Wah?
Rosanna Lavelle is fine enough casting for Barbara Smith, but Christopher Pizzey is rather uneven as Eddie Smith. This isn't help by the script laying on the "we love Sarah Jane" meme thick and sickly. Gareth Roberts seems to have lost any sense of subtly.
A nice opener, but fail on the follow-up.
Next time: One-eyed squid things?... KEWL!!!
Wednesday, 26 November 2008
The latest Ricky Gervais vehicle is out... no, that's not fair. Most of his previous appearances, when he's been in control, has been all about what I call embarrassment comedy, the comedy of humiliation. Not so here (because he's not in control), and Ricky Gervais turns in a pretty good performance.
The very basic script "weird guy gets girl" is straight forward enough, but the whole ghost angle, while falling in some very predictable tropes, in nicely layered in. One take they make is that the ghost thing is flipped around... which I picked up on before they hammered it home. Which is one problem this movie has: every now and then one character will just pop out this little speech that delivers a wee life lesson... but it is so obviously there to instruct the audience on what they are supposed to be getting from this. Oi.
Ricky Gervais plays a very grouchy character, but don't so without being too obnoxious. He's rude, but the kind of rudeness that comes from having no social skills, not malevolence. Greg Kinnear plays a smarmy bastard, so he's not straying far from type either. Tea Leoni is a more toned version of her usual characters, and still comes across as very hot.
A decent comedy picture, one that doesn't have Ricky Gervais be as abrasive as usual. Better than I thought it was going to be.
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
Today I found myself in a very unusual situation... but before I get to that: we set sail for a month to get to the islands where the artificiers came from that are using the blue prints to create devices intended for endless energy that in fact open rifts to the demon dimensions and let the foul spawn through... (draw breath) ...as you do.
We encounter an island where there are no birds, no fish, nada. Well, except for a ruined city, piles of bones, and ghosts. Not that the ghosts are the problems. Nope, that would be the two flesh golums traipsing around the city sucking marrow from the bones as well as the very ghost forms of the departed people. Really, really big flesh golums...
I spend most of the fight dazed and unable to do anything really exciting except fire the occasional arrow. I do hit, and get some damage going on, but can't really bring to bear the full force of my training. However, the rest of the peoples do manage to do some damages as these things go stomping around that they are finally brought down. Huzzah!
That's when the ghosts tell us that there is something much nastier up in the hills. And that there are lots of islands where this has probably happened as the big empire split into little dominions. Oh joy...
The big hilly thing is a large black blobby thing that flies around dripping ichor and keeps out of range, so once again I'm having problems do anything decent to it. Other party members bring it down, and then proceed to stomp on it a lot, with more potshots from me. I do get the final blow in, at least as far as I can tell, so I'm saying I did.
But the unusual thing was... not once did I get my swords out and attack with them. Huh. Not my style at all, and yet I was still fairly effective...
Monday, 24 November 2008
It's that crazy time again! 20 odd hours of Heroic Cthulhu (and that is 20 'odd hours', not '20 odd' hours...).
First up, some minor matters to clear up with our own internal inn, and also we visit the small cubical with many, many chimp. In short, we take care of... Monkey Business: Part 1, Part 2.
Then we go on a nice, easy CSI case... yeah, right! Death and mayhem and the resurgence of an old enemy (not mine, but close enough). Gates of Delirium: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7.
Then I get up far too early (see previous post) to get in on the next day's gaming from right at the beginning, mainly because of the chance to goof around with the craziest one of all, Matt Lung (who plays Hugo Harrington). This time it is an easy CSI case, although not too easy. Statue: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.
Finally we get to take care of the KBC calendar and earn us some money. Quite nice amounts of money as it turns out. Then we are thrown into a situation where it is the end of the world. Gee, how nice. But, to be very modest, I do basically provide the answers to this mod. The Lesser of Three Evils: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.
Once that's over, we have Christmas... and go into space... the usual sort of thing. (And, so very, very, very stupidly, I throw away a lot of poz. Stupid, stupid, stupid...) Christmas Wrap: Part 1, Part 2.
Sunday, 23 November 2008
There's a five o'clock in the morning apparently! What's up with that?
Although, more interestingly, why are there two five o'clocks? Why did we decide to start counting again from the middle of the day (or alternatively the middle of the night)? It's all about the meridian, but we don't count to the meridian, it's hours after the post or the ante... but surely it would make sense to just start counting from one point and keep going until you hit that point again (hence all those hundred of hours the military keep going on about).
There is an answer to all this. The Discoverers is a book I've been told about that explains the history of various things, including the origin of why time is split up the way it is. I even have a copy. However... over 700 pages! In a hardcover! That's a lot of reading!
One day, I will read it... one day... perhaps when I'm up at five in the morning again and wondering why...
Saturday, 22 November 2008
At which point does flash in the sake of science mean throwing out the science? As in the following clip:
Pretty cool? Yep! But accurate...? The Mythbusters tested it, and the results weren't quite as spectacular... so this means that the Brianiac crew didn't quite follow the science... or did they? This discussion is interesting, but does raise the point: to make science fun, does science have to be sacrificed?
Friday, 21 November 2008
Caught the first of what appears to be a trilogy. Aside from one particular plot thread, this is good Guy Ritchie stuff (clearly getting away from Madonna was a good thing, although I seemed to be one of the few people that liked Revolver).
As ever, there are a few subplots going on, involving gangsters trying to get money, and a painting that gets stolen and/or moved around a lot, that cross back and forth in amusing ways. The ending is a lot more coherent than his previous films, and I was surprised by just how... it worked out. (And then the end title card says "they will return...".) The only real dull (if that is the best term) moments are those involving Johnny Quid.
Can't say that I overly recognise the cast members from other places (I know some of the titles from IMDB, but not exactly ringing a lot of bells). That doesn't mean they aren't strong presences, and do indeed stand out.
Definitely a film to see if you like these films, and it looks to be a good start to the next batch of Guy Ritchie movies.
Thursday, 20 November 2008
For some reason I ventured into the GMing ring again. I start by presenting them with about four plot hooks and then seeing what they did.
The first thing was the rather urgent matter of Janet. I knew what might happen, but it all depended on what they wanted to do (what with all the idea of free will and all). Not the most happiest of outcomes, but an obvious one. Fire Angel: Part 1, Part 2.
Then they decide to go to Trinity. Not a hard matter. Just need to drive and have appropriate directions. I had something in mind before which I was thinking of linking in more, but my first plan for introducing this came to fruition. SPF1000: Part 1, Part 2.
Never fear, they get to Trinity. I didn't want to do an exorbitant plot with lots of intricate details, so I went with this nice, easy straight forward story. More plot points are laid down for those that notice. Propers Gold: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
I get in on the next day, in the middle of the mod (part 7 to be exact). Unfortunately, I had already heard a previous crew go through this, so it was a 'no brainer' for me. Still, some nice driving moments for Terry. Odin: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12.
After that, I finally get some time to do things Terry wanted to sort out, although we are incredibly distracted. Unfortunately, there was something I forgot, so will have to attend to next time. (This episode is named for the fame of what one player continually does in these evenings... and this was doubly humourous due to one urgent question that needed to be asked.) Abel Fell Asleep: Part 1, Part 2.
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Big long title for this movie. Yeah, mainly because of Simon Pegg (come on, when's the next team up with him and Edgar Wright?).
This was based on a book, which I'm slightly interested in seeing now, as what this movie was translated into is by and large another typical "fish out of water meets woman who loves him" story. On that level, meh.
Fortunately, lots of Pegg pratfalls and screw ups to keep the audience amused in the meantime. The antics are not the most original, but nicely handled.
Jeff Bridges is great in the role of the head honcho, and Gillian Anderson gets to be totally different. Kirsten Dunst tries out a new accent, and Megan Fox looks like just another pretty face (as in: I didn't recognise her as Megan Fox, but as "oh, yes, I've seen her before, can't remember which as she's not that distinctive"). Also spotted the IT Crowd and Agatha Christie.
An enjoyable enough movie, although not one to hit the big box office...
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
In a strange tower in the middle of the sea, surrounded by demons, with a sword demanding to alternatively get them or get ourselves out. Must be a Thursday.
After a brief discussion with the sword (which I am now holding as the Dwarf got away), we decide to try for a more subtle approach (amazing for us) of not racing for the top and instead try to find another way up. First room a meeting room, second room a bedroom with fire immoliths, third room a lecture room, and... wait a minute!
The immoliths are frakking annoying creatures to fight. Even though the universe had shifted to only make them half as healthy, they were still a bitch to hit and had this annoying ability to reach out and grab us, and well as curse us as just generally tick us off. When we finally put them down, we find out our minions were fighting off a Vrok (which I didn't managed to get to and hit...).
Pausing a moment, we got some more information out of the sword and found out the demons had broken through a century ago... this was all due to them wanting a perpetual powersource which they created by tapping into a hell dimension which slowly opened up and tada! Fortunately this was only the experiment area and not the full power source which they sent back... (d'oh!).
After looking around a little more (and getting an imp for our Warlock), we forgo the subtle approach and go back to our usual "charge" tactic, which gets us slammed against half-a-dozen demons in the stairwell. I was trapped up the stairs, the rest at the entrance, so I wasn't able to help, but still managed to put a few down by myself.
At this point we realised we were all drained of internal healing ability. Oops. No chance to rest either, or the tower would respawn.
Up to the control room, and trying to occupy a many (6) tentacled thing while the Warlord tried to shut it off the main controls and close the portal. And more demons coming out while we did so. Two of which were some chaos beasties that liked to go after the weak amoungst us. Such as the Gnome... the crazy little guy who gave his life (not entirely willingly) while we saved the tower... First death in our party (which I was sure was going to be me, to be honest)...
With heavy hearts (and sacks of loot), we set our sights for the land of the artificers to save them from themselves...
Saturday, 15 November 2008
I'm in the news! I am the news!
Well, in that my face and (one-liner style) opinion is printed for the movie Mirrors, which I'm sure no-one would be able to guess at (in fact, if you want to know, go pick up the DomPost Weekender, page B7).
Irritatingly, I had to go buy one as well. I say that because this week we have been getting complimentary copies of the DomPost each morning. I have no idea why, no idea how far widespread (my street? my block?? Newtown???), but there it was.
I did wonder if these free papers would be a hit on the local paper distributors, but the one guy I asked when I picked up today's paper had no idea what I was talking about, so I'm sure no-one is poorer off because one big companies decided that dairies and co shouldn't sell papers...
Anyway, we live in modern fleeting times, so I'm now with my face in the limelight (or flashlight, it got pretty whitened out...).
Friday, 14 November 2008
Mostly spur of the moment, I caught another movie last night... and it was brilliant!
I've complained before about American horror movies, but Mirrors was a fantastic piece of cinema... so it didn't entirely shock me when I found out it was based on a Korean picture. Still, this movie was remade right. The most important point in this sort of movie is to build atmosphere, and this movie piles it on in spades (there are several "surprise!" moments, and they got me. If anyone had done the "hand on the shoulder" gag...).
The concept is quite easily, a variant on the haunted house, this time a department store with mirrors. Lots and lots of mirrors. Always thought that mirrors were a great source of supernatural weirdness, so this movie was a grand moment for me. The climax moment was a bit "we need something here" that didn't entirely fit the build up, but then the final scene was very well done.
Kiefer Sutherland is always good at playing a tough guy and a guy going over the edge, so he well fit this role. Paula Patton gets some actual scenes to star in, and Amy Smart doesn't get enough screen time.
I really need to see the original, but in the mean time encourage people to go see this! (And also thought this would be a good HC mod... I need to stop doing that.)
Thursday, 13 November 2008
So I caught Transporter 3, in which the Transporter is sent to prison because he can drive a car... (okay, so it's not really the Transporter, but could fit so easily into that universe...) Anyway, the plot is about as thin as a politician's election promise, but it's not like people are watching this for the in-depth character portrayals.
Nope, it's about death. And racing. And combining them. Well, actually, about the stunt teams pulling off some really cool stuff and the model makers getting to have fun (not that this is in any way the first, nor the last, movie to do so). The death of Dreadnought was a particular favourite moment of mine (no, I'm not spoiling anything by saying that, as it was obviously going to happen some how).
Jason Stratham puts in his usual performance and you really believe he's behind the wheel of a car that is likely not on a sound stage nor being towed, but is CGI'd into someone else's driving effort. Ian McShane steals the scenes he is in (and deservedly so), Joan Allen could be more of a bitch, and Natalie Martinez is there to look pretty.
A high octane (boo!) movie that's exactly the sort of picture you want to go see if you want something fast and explody to watch.
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Dark weighty material for a kid's show. Once again we see into the dark mind of the Joseph Lidster.
Wow, Dad ran away with Mum's sister! Not the usual storyline, but nice to see them doing something different. The "Bad Dad is a Monster" does become very blunt at the end, and the "remember the beginning of the episode" is a rather dated device.
The whole pendant angle was almost incidental to the main focus, which did surprise me, and I like it!. The reappearance of Sarah Jane after missing for the episodes (the Wiki entry explains why that was) was more than slightly corny.
Still, nice to see Maria back, if only for a plot point. I reckon she'll be back in the last episode (although it does depend on how much schooling she was trying to get.)
Gary Beadle comes into the series and gets right into the role. He has a definite screen presence, although that pink shirt in the cloudy last scene doesn't work at all well.
A definite "nice try" episode, somewhat suffering from the lack of Sarah Jane (who's series it is), but Joseph Lidster just can't write happy. (And I wondered why the picture of the parents were so specific. The 'next time' explains that.)
Next Time: Oh, the return of Mr. Ineffectual...
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
After saying goodbye to the Amazonians (we'll be back to sort them out later), we return to a mission of old whereby we head to the island of Mufu to deal with some slavers (after having previously destroyed the necromancer based economy, we turn our sights to another island infrastructure.)
Once there, we present the necromancer's head, are declared heroes, then search for the altar that turns the populace into slaves. After giving various guards the slip, we enter to find Fey guarding the place, just waiting for someone stupid enough to attack the place. And yes, we are more than stupid enough to do that. It's a heck of a fight, as one guy just refused to take damage (he just passed it on to the others around him). Very much a whittling process, but finally take him down.
With the altar destroyed the slaves are no longer compelled. And then we go free the elders. Who immediately start a slave revolt, with killings in the street. We intervene as best we can, but can't stop the corrupt leaders from being put to the death (although, to be honest, we didn't really try all that hard to protect them...).
One place the necromancer wanted to go was to a tower, so we head out there, which turns out to be a light-house like structure that just floats on the water... odd. Once there, we find some interesting fire damage and a room of demons. Fight, fight, fight, with me nearly dying. Short and sweet, (but punishing when they hit), we send the demons back to their hell. Which, as it happens, isn't that strange a trip for them.
We "rescue" an intelligent sword that tells us there is a portal we need to close that the demons are coming through. This sword is, somehow, one of the artificers that create not very interesting weapons, and while the personality is annoying, the Dwarf puts up with it (the sword becomes a Kopesh so it's axe-like enough for her to use it). Getting to the portal is the next step...
Monday, 10 November 2008
Two CSI mods this time. We nearly get into something more interesting, but can't think of some way to come up with a measurable goal, so instead end up with cracking more normal cases.
First up, one that seemed familiar, but was a show I didn't watch. But tune in to see two of the PCs pick a suspect straight off. Gay Bar: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.
Next, I shark in after they do some crazy stuff, so back to san restoring simple cases. This time, there is more of a mess to get around, and we get the fun of a remote controlled case (which we try to skip). From Father To Son Redux: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.
So, on Stuff (Dominion Post in this case), there's a Most Viewed Category. One seems to be there pretty often, falling off and then getting back on again...
Really. Let's take a look at when that article hit the paper:
Let me repeat: June! And yet, it's still on there! Two possible reasons: it is the best article ever and should win a Pulitzer... or something else is linking in.
Purely for scientific interest, I thought I might see how hard it is to hit that article with obvious Google searches. "Girl sex photos" ranks it number eight (when I ran the search). Adding "12" makes it number one, but I doubt that's really what people are going for. Adding "Computer" to original three words also comes out on top. Restricting the first search to NZ pages also makes it number one.
Nice to see that Google pron searching is keeping the news alive...
(Looks like "beach nudity" is heading the same way...)
Sunday, 9 November 2008
Saturday, 8 November 2008
Friday, 7 November 2008
The title above may be the obvious take, but it's a true one. Cutting to the chase: this is a bad movie. I'm not sure if those who played the game love it, but since I haven't, all I can say is: crap!
I'm guessing the script writing went something like: play the game for many, many hours, then write the script from what was remembered. Possibly with an intention to go back and re-edit to ensure it made sense, but if so, that never happened. The disjointed script is what makes it on screen, and we get a very disjointed movie.
There is a plot surrounding drugs, but I'm wondering if the director was on any when he decided that cutting all over the place, never explaining anything, and, most importantly, never actually using any form of lighting was the best idea ever. (Which, for all I know, is an exact replication of what the game was like.)
Marky Mark, in the lead role, embraces his one defining quality: grimminessity. He goes for a dour expression, and lets nothing distract him from the mission of being obsessed and gloomy. The rest of the cast show more expression, although I'm not sure Beau Bridges (great actor that he is) was entirely suitable for his role.
Unfortunately, there can easily be a sequel, but we can only hope the negative reviews kill it dead. Don't bother with this.
Thursday, 6 November 2008
When did "fail" become a noun? It was a perfectly working verb, with a perfectly working noun form: failure. But now... (Okay, to be accurate, "fail" is already a noun, but specific to the stock market, not a general phenomena to be experience by all and sundry. Especially sundry, as they're usually the ones to failure... [Ha! Let's work it both ways!])
Is this the result of the txt gnrtn? Is this Lolcat's "I can has grammar?" Is this merely a symptom on the ever increasing laziness of the people around us (damn youths, and get off my lawn!)? Or merely just another internet meme? (Most likely originating with yet another bad Japanese translation.)
When did typing three extra letters prove to be such a chore? Or is this the start of a new language rule evolution? Will we have "a see to behold"? Is there an example of "manage in action"? Are you now reading a "publish post"?
Language changes over time, and with the internet and desperate attempts to wring out any sense of bizarre humour, this is hopefully just another flash in the pan, hopefully to end in the same bin as "All Your Base Are Belong To Us".
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
I obtained and finally read Time's Champion, the final magnum opus from the pen of Craig Hinton (as finalised by Chris McKeon).
It certainly fits in with his previous works, huge epic events, the universe in danger, higher dimensional beings at war, time and space crashing around us, dark side versus light side, dogs and cats living together...
On reflection, there are two plot threads here, the threat to Gallifrey and the threat in 1908... and although a connection is stated, I'm not really buying it. They really are two different events that are jammed together in the same book to give people stuff to do. (I'm not saying one has been added for padding, 'cos at the moment I'm not sure which that would be.)
Basically, the book is more complex that it needs to be, and does seem to rack up a large page count without entirely justifying the expanse of paper used.
Character-wise, there is plenty of evidence that Craig likes this team (certainly not the least of which is that this isn't the first time he's written this pairing), and he spends a lot of time delving into them and their motivations, and exploring a lot of what has been brought up in other people's books (which is the polite way to say there is a lot of continuity references here, and indeed if you haven't read his other works, you are going to miss out on a lot of what's going on here). I don't accept his Valeyard explanation (although it's better than Matrix), but can't deny that he tries to get in everything he can.
It is a heck of a book to bow out on, and should be gotten if you are getting the books, but not for the faint of heart.
Monday, 3 November 2008
A whole slew of podcasts as I made an effort and got up early enough to join in on all but about 30-45 minutes of "Saturday"'s game.
First up, a short mod... in which we did something... which I'm sure has no long-lasting significance or impact on Terry at all. Anyways, I present: Delivery: Part 1, Part 2.
Next we did an extensive CSI type mod that had been done before, but not by any of us. It call came down to a moment of brilliance... which wasn't me. Revelation: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.
More random chaos followed, and we prepare for the great excitement of actually finding out what happened to John Swift. Wow. That worked really well. In Search Of...: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.
Recently we'd been taking care of some big items in the KBC campaign, and this is no different. With John Swift back, and his son bugging us, we finally managed to have a heartfelt reunion... with swaths of blood all around... Father & Son: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
After that, we wanted a nice easy case of simply people going out and killing other people. Which apparently happens in New York. Whodathunk it? Anyway, speaking of a certain song... Addict: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.
Following on from events raised in the last mod, we deal with another long standing issue... Robert's son... and a piece of mail. In another moment of brilliance, this time mine, the case is cracked. Unfortunately... Extra Topping: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Saturday, 1 November 2008
Phil Plait does a great post about Black Holes, addressing 10 different points that might, but probably not, be generally known (I was area of a lot of them).
Black Holes are one of the ways we could die, as discussed in Phil Plait's Death From The Skies (his second book after Bad Astronomy). [Doh! Forgot to order a copy in my recent Amazon ordering.]
While black holes are neat, would like to know more about the possibilities of white holes. If they exist, incredibly interesting... although they don't (for example, they violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics), which makes me sad.
However, Phil Plait doesn't like The Black Hole. While, fine, not the most brilliant movie ever, how can you not like Maximillian?