Monday, 28 February 2011

Which Blade?

A while ago I got a large compendium of Witchblade, seeing good value for money (and an extremely heavy weight to hold while reading!). However, I had a hard time following the story, and a harder time telling two significant characters apart (one a cop, the other a bad guy, drawn the same). [And vol 2 now ordered!]

I was also aware of, and watched to catch up with some time, the Witchblade TV Series, and have now just finished season one (of two). I don't know how much of the story was dumbed down for the viewing American audience, but I certainly appreciated the easier bite-sized plot chunks.

However, it is, in many ways, still just as confusing. Deliberately confusing too, it seems, like the comic. The Witchblade is a mystical artifact that ends up on the arm of Sara Pezzini through a monumentally stupid coincidence, and proceeds to screw up her life. At many moments, Sara can tap into the Witchblade to see beyond the natural and to call upon the blade to help defend and/or kill people. There are lots of (extremely badly composed) shots swapping between normal Pez and Pez in armour, showing that she's a knight, and she's reincarnated through the ages and... lots of other surreal directorial techniques to demonstrate weirdness that just confuses the audience. (Just look at the episode titles to see how pretentious the series is.)

[Interestingly, the series was broadcast mid-2001, and the pilot/first episode is dated '10th September, 2001'. And some of the later establishing shots feature the twin towers. I'm sure the producers were later doing the 'nervous collar tug'...]

There are two sets of bad guys, dirty cops (the mundane threat) and Kenneth Irons, who wants to Witchblade for himself, although the Witchblade can only be possessed by women. The show actually kills people, but then in the last episode... bah! Every episode we get a little bit more of the puzzle, and have to say that the arc over the first season is paced well.

The lead is Yancy Butler, who was... (sod it, insert your own 'drug use' euphemism here), which might explain why every shot of her is with her looking as if she's about to break out sobbing. Yes, the character had problems, but the one expression was all she gave in any situation! (Recently, she was on The Mentalist, and... bam! there's that expression again!) It's rather off-putting to wonder if crying is the response we should expect in every scene.

Anthony Cistaro nearly steals every scene, but he gets given all the "I know everything, you know nothing" moments so the script is on his side there. The rest of the main cast were distinctly cast, so I had a lot easier time tracking who was who.

Aside from the 'spooky' moments, this series is moderately watchable. Onto season two, and I might try to dig out vol 1 of the comic again...


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Sunday, 27 February 2011


Do you remember Hong Kong Phooey, number one super guy? For a show that was only 16 episodes (31 shorts), it made a very large impact, and there have been a lot of references to it in later tv shows and movies.

And there's one aspect of it I quite like. Check out the trailer:

Pretty much everything you need to know about the show is right there in the trailer. It's a cartoon that is 'cops vs robbers' where the main lead is a super hero kung fu master. It has the Sarge, Rosemary and Penry, who becomes HKPh, and Spot (unnamed in the opening) the cat. Penry transforms into HKPh, but is rather incompetent at it, and only succeeds thanks to Spot. Especially when it comes to capturing criminals, they completely outclass him, but due to fortunate bungling and Spot, they are indeed captured. And there's the Phooeymobile, which can transform into other things (however, unlike in the opening, it doesn't screw up).

And that's by and large every episode in a nut shell. There are some additional amusing points as well. Everyone knows HKPh and is honoured to have their lives ruined by him. HKPh can pause any situation to consult his guide to kung fu. And, very responsibly, it shows HKPh and Spot buckling into the Phooeycar whenever they drive around in it.

Such a simple show, and so much joy.


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Saturday, 26 February 2011


As part of my occasional dealings with Lovecraft, I've been listening to the HP Literary Podcast, which discuss Lovecraft's stories. About twenty or so episodes in, and they're coming up to discussing Herbert West - Reanimator. I haven't read the story, but I did have the movie on DVD, so decided to watch that instead.

The story is about... well, Herbert West and his Re-animating. Of people, as it happens. And, well, wacky hi-jinks ensue! It's dead people coming back to life and running around, yeah, it's not an indepth serious epic about the nature of good and evil... and, indeed, what is evil varies throughout the movie. It's Science! Gone Mad! Maaaaddd!!!

And it seems like a student film. Well, it was Stuart Gordon's first directorial movie, and it was mid eighties and... it shows. That said, while it is of the time, they clearly had a lot of fun making it, and it also shows. The actors were willing to give anything a go, the effects aren't terrible, and the story is strong enough to carry.

And, of all the names associated with this (although he wasn't a name at the time), Herbert West is played by Jeffrey Combs. He's just quiet and creepy and sure of himself and damn fine casting for the role.

Lovecraft wasn't a zombie writer, and this isn't a zombie movie. In fact, this is about the part before the zombies happen. Most movies would use this as a jumping off point to do a zombie attack. Yay for not doing that.

The DVD has a range of extra material, including a 'making of' feature that is about as long as the movie itself. While that is nice, it also says a lot that they spend more time on not the movie than the movie (and there are many movies like that). "We'd rather talk about the movie than actually produce more/better movie." Huh.

Anyway, this is a twenty year old movie based on a ninety year old story... and it holds up! Go watch!


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Friday, 25 February 2011

Christchurch Quake in Graphical Form

Most of you have probably heard of the Christchurch earthquake. No, not the Sept 4 one, the Feb 22 one. I felt it up here in Wellington, the building shook for a long time, but that's nothing compared to down south.

As well as checking out GeoNet, there's another site that has compiled the statistics into easier presentation form, Crowe's Canterbury Quake Live. It's got daily magnitude graphs, weekly, and since Sept 4, and Tuesday's quake is very evident.

And there could easily be another major aftershock still to come.

You want to do something, but not even in New Zealand? Why not buy some RPGs then? RPGNow has a Christchurch relief RPG bundle, with a few big RPG books in there, and many NZ based, as well as add ons for other games. Take a look, or better still, buy it. It's only US$20.


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Thursday, 24 February 2011

O Superman

It's one of those songs that, if you hear, you go "the hell...?" And, for comic geeks, of course, "Superman" has certain other resonances... But tracking down this song wasn't easy for a while. Until recently when I added a significant keyword to the search (hint: lyrics).

And then when you watch the full thing, you realise just how weirder it is than you thought. What exactly is she singing about? And yes, although this was written thirty years ago, certain events ten years ago come to mind...

Welcome to the electronic arms of "O Superman" by Laurie Anderson:


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Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Tombe of Horrors! Death III

With feeding a ring into the slot, they continue on to a corridor, to a stair way... to a door! Dum dum dummmm!

They open the door, eventually, and fall in the trap. But there's another door! They open that, fail to disable the trap and fall into it. But then there's the next door! Beyond that... they jump over the trap. Huh.

Continuing on, they find another door, with a party going on beyond it. Smash the door! Smash the door! No party there... they go down... and start sliding down the suddenly steep corridor! They try to climb up, but slide down! Oh noes! Death Count: +2!

...and then the players had had enough...

In the end: Fun 1, ToH 2. Humm...

Afterward, we played Betrayal at House on the Hill. I died. I wasn't the only one. But fun was had!


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Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Wanna be a priest?

So, how easy is it to become a priest these days? Various comedy shows have an episode where someone becomes a priest just to get an amusing storyline for that episode, and it's never mentioned again...

Is it really easy? Let's take a look.

Spiritual Humanism, right out of the gate, first page: "Online Ordination". Just fill out a form and wait by your mailbox.

The Universal Life Church Monastry once again simply says fill out a form.

Then there is Open Ordination...

Now, these churches all have a common thread of being very open and liberal and, well, humanistic. Becoming something like... a Catholic Priest is a bit trickier.

If you want to be a generic priest, go for it, it is easy! (Indeed, I'm almost tempted to be ordained more than once!) It's not like you're trying to get an actual degree or anything... (that'll be a different post!)


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Monday, 21 February 2011

Waiting for Education

Just watched yet another documentary, this one on the state of American education. In particular, it attempts to put a face on all the kids that are going to fail in the system.

Because the system will fail them. In fact, the documentary makes the point quite solidly that for most people, you will go to somewhere crappy, onto some other crappy place, and then never get to higher education. Unless they apply to some semi-decent place and get in by winning a lottery pick. Which, given the odds, are highly unlikely.

But, anyway, the movie does try to be optimistic and show some ways schooling can work... unless the system is also set up to block any attempt at creating a decent education system, which it is.

A wanna-be hopeful, but ultimately discouraging film. It does make me want to look at how New Zealand is doing...

Or we just send all the kids here:


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Sunday, 20 February 2011

Team Xero #005

Zombies. Yay... never really got excited (in any way) by zombies. So here's an amusing, but admittedly not brilliant, zombie based issue. (And this is the software for droning voices!)

Meet our Zombie Overlords!


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Saturday, 19 February 2011

101 Ways to Pad Out a Gameshow

So I saw a new gameshow out, looked mildly amusing, thought I'd give it a go.

The idea is: you've got a panel of people trying to answer a question. With the question, there are a number of right answers, but one wrong answer. The person who has the wrong answer leaves the gameshow... through some overdone manner, usually dropping into a pool from a height.

So far, slightly different. However, the problem is... Take the first round, once everyone has a (distinct) answer, the host eliminates them (from being wrong) one by one. "The first right answer... is... Bobby Joe..." Reaction shot from person who had that answer, then a headshot comment, and on to the next person. Repeat. Again. And again. And - GET FRICKING ON WITH IT! And when down to two people "I'm now going to reveal the wrong answer... in 5... 4.... 3..... 2....... 1....... the wrong answer is... Tutti-Fruiti!" Person is then "hilariously" thrown into the pool, or whatever.

And it just takes far too long. There are only six rounds, and I'm surprised they can manage to get through them all in an hour given the overly drawn out antics of them all (and I mean a full hour, this is a British show, not an American 'hour' of 45 minutes plus too many ads). Indeed, that may be an issue, in that it's stretched to an hour, but there isn't an hour of material.

Frankly, you get the whole idea after one episode. I've seen four... I'm done now.


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Thursday, 17 February 2011

Bus Rage

There any many things that annoy me about catching the bus. One of the really annoying ones is that the bus you would have arrived on time for was early, but the next one is late!

More annoying that that is when people rush up to the bus as it's about to pull away, and the bus driver lets them on. I'm already on! Sod them, come on, get on with it! Unless I'm the one running late, in which case that's totally cool.

But what's really annoying is: people are waiting for the bus. They are at the stop, they've got time, and then they can see the bus coming. It arrives, you queue, and eventually it's your turn with the driver... and then... AND THEN!!! THEN you start looking for your wallet or card or whatever, and you have to dig through your pockets or bag or purse or whatever... WHAT THE HELL were you doing while you were waiting!?!? You knew you were going to get on the bus, you knew you were going to have to pay, you knew you were going to have to get some payment method out... what the hell??? Are you some kind of moron that can't plan for more than five seconds ahead????? Fuck you, man. Fuck. You. I use a card, I have it ready, I'm able to prepare for actually stepping onto a bus. You, bugger off.

And then there's the time when the bus drivers are changing, and you're sitting there waiting, and another bus you could have caught instead if you knew that the drivers were going to chat for five minutes and not actually drive anyone anywhere. What's up with that?

What gives you Bus Rage?


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Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Tombe of Horrors! Death II

[Fun is fun, but here they come up against the necessity of the plot.]

In the chapel they find another PC, tied up on a pew (they'd completely failed to notice him before). This leads them to investigating the pews and activating more traps. And then the male-female Tiefling goes through the arch again, becoming male but now nude and back at the entrance.

They realise (ie are prodded heavily) they need a ring, so go back and investigate more, finding another crawlway to another room of traps... I mean, chests. Not traps at all. And then when they activate a trap... I mean, open a chest, the thing inside manages to activate the other traps and what would have been easy is now nearly impossible. Especially as the Tiefling can't use any powers without an implement due to bad wording. They do put up a valiant stand, and manage some amazing death saves, but...

Death count: 5.

They poke around the rest of the hall of spheres, and go through another arch (losing clothes again), then back to the chests (and I haven't reset hit points or anything) and the big bad gets to play whack-a-mole with more amazing death saves, however...

Death count: 8.

This time, they act intelligently and get one of the bad guys to activate a trap so it targets the bad guys. They sit back, take pot shots, and finally...

Their big prize? A magic ring they need to continue this tomb. And it truly is beginning to be horrible. (At least another couple of sessions to go yet.)


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Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Face Up to Face Off

I don't watch a lot of reality TV shows, but there are a couple... and now there's another one on my list. This one is a search for the greatest... Special Effects Make-Up Artist Evah!!!

Yes, that's right, make up artists... but when the judges are people like Patrick Tatopoulos, you know the game is on. And this is some impressive effect works!

The basic format is: intro guff for five minutes. Then ten minutes of the Foundation Challenge, which is two hours to do something interesting and the winner gets an advantage in the Spotlight Challenge. Then twenty minutes for the full on Spotlight Challenge. Lastly two minutes of judging stretched out to ten minutes...

So, typical reality show style there, but this is, as I said, very impressive stuff. This way you can see what goes on behind the scenes and how effects are built up and how models are treated (not good for some artists). There is, as you would expect, one really annoying guy who needs to be booted off, but probably won't be as he is good ratings, although there are other crazy people. There are shy ones, confident ones, and everyone else.

Who will win? At this point, the audience is doing rather well. So check out Face Off.


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Monday, 14 February 2011

Movie Roundup

Random recent movies.

Faster (2010): This movie gets to the point of the Rock shooting people, and driving around fast. And being faster. There isn't a lot of subtlety to this movie, it's easy to tell who the bad guy is, and you aren't so much rooting for the good guy as you are for them to get on to the next shooting. Dwayne Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton are the two big names you'll care about (and Oliver Jackson-Cohen trying to be the next Timothy Olyphant), and Maggie Grace is there to look beautiful (she succeeds). The sort of action movie to watch while waiting for your brain to engage.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005): This involves, as far as I can tell, a lot more of the video game continuity than the other previous movie. As such, there's a huge dumping of exposition at the beginning, and lots of "hi, I'm some character you'd know and care about if you played the video games" (which I haven't) turning up. Dark and moody first half, then lots of big fight as the second half. Meh.

Our Daily Bread (2005): German movie, presented without commentary (and basically without anyone talking!), about the food processing industry. We get to see animals (pigs, chickens, cattle, etc), agriculture and even salt produced with all the mechanical progression and human non-interactive interaction from start to finish. I'm sure all vegans/vegetarians would recommend this movie to turn people off meat, but I doubt it'll get a high success rate. Most interesting moment for me: a woman sitting there, chopping off pig's trotters, basically thinking "here I am, cutting off pig's trotters... sigh". An interesting look at the goings-on most people don't even want to think about.

The Last Remake of Beau Geste (1977): Classic, classic movie starring Marty Feldman, partly written by Marty Feldman and directed by Marty Feldman. Also starring Michael York, Ann-Margaret, Peter Ustinov, Roy Kinnear, Spike Milligan and others! Great movie, yet another take on the ol' Beau Geste story, with some brilliant moments of humour inserted by Marty Feldman. Bizarre and a must see.

Mega Python vs. Gatoroid (2011): The latest in the current schlock of giant monster films, with lots of giant (mega!) snakes and huge gaterades! I mean, gateroids! Starring (and co-directed by) Debbie Gibson and Tiffany! Yes, those Debbie Gibson and Tiffany! And yes, there is cat-fighting between them, and a song reference or two! (Behold the ! !) And starring A Martinez as the only person who can act! It's giant snakes and gaters and has-been pop-stars! What else could you want! (I mean ? !)


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Sunday, 13 February 2011

I've Been Watching...

While I try to find something interesting to say about all the DW stories I watch, I had a little harder time with The Masque of Mandragora. I remembered parts of it, and certainly the main plot of the Mandragora Helix energy entering the TARDIS and going to Earth, and there was the guy in the purple robe, and the big Masque at the end...

And yet, when watching it, there is a lot of running around, escaping, running around again, and the first three episodes don't really advance the plot very much, what with Count Federico getting in everyone's way so nothing can progress until he's cleared out at the end of episode three. (Seriously, if you excised his entire role, and let Hieronymous be someone who is just hanging around (he isn't an actual threat until he becomes powered up), you could so easily compact the first three episodes into at most one without compromising anything.)

Still, very nice location shooting, Portmerion providing great vertical spaces to run up and down. And the sets inside being carefully dressed. (Although the temple is a bit of a let down.) Then we have the new TARDIS console room providing a nice change. It may have cost a bit at the time, but it was worth it.

The extras are rather varied. Good talking heads about Masque, nice feature on the TARDIS. But... Beneath the Masque? Really? And the commentary was more of them watching the episode than any real commentary worth listening to.

Overall, some great elements, but ultimately an average story and an average DVD.


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Saturday, 12 February 2011

Damn you, Warner Bros!

I've professed my liking of Green Lantern before, and am still waiting for the damn movie to come out... and one thing we all expected to happen is of course happening (and was announced long ago).

The Green Lantern video game: Green Lantern: Rise of the the Manhunters.

Now, video game adaptations can be hit or miss (as evidenced by, for example, the Harry Potter video games, or the Star Wars Prequel video games which weren't so much adaptions as where they got the footage for the movie from.) So what exactly we'll end up with is anyone's guess, especially when considering that the ring is supposed to take any imaginable form, and that it can so easily become "here's the next bad guy (read: Manhunter) to thump". (The Manhunters, for those who don't know, were robot predecessors to the Green Lantern Corp, created by the Oans, but who went rogue, and form a core part of the Millennium story line.)

But there is a vital component that really ticks me off far more than the possibility of what the game might be... and that is accessing the game in the first place. It's multi-platform, meaning PS3, X-Box, Wii, DS...

Wait a minute, I see something missing there. A platform that I use, and so do a lot of other people... where's the PC, dammit? Is porting it over too hard, especially given that they already did that for the DC Universe Online, never mind the crapness of that decision?

I want to play this game... but I don't want to pay $500-600 bucks just for a large hunk of plastic and electronics just to do so! I already have a lot of excuses for not playing, don't make 'not available in my format' be the easy option to take!


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Friday, 11 February 2011

USA supports North Korea

I consume a lot of media, watched a fair few documentaries, and am cynical about how people and governments act in this world. And one common thread that comes up is that America (in this case, the government, or the shadowy people that control the government) has its fingers in many, many pies.

There are a lot of dictatorships and countries that only operate with American approval. And if America doesn't approve, then 'bye bye' to that ruler one way or another. The Zeitgeist movie says that the progression is "buy them, if can't do that then kill them, if can't do that then send in the troop", hence Iraq and other places.

But what no-one has done (that I could find) is take the next logical step. If there's some country out there, wherever, whatever, if it's behaving in a way that you or I might interpret as 'bad' in some way, and in which there might be a simple, albeit also 'bad', way to solve that problem, and yet... that country is still there...

Take as a random example, oh, let's pick out of a hat... North Korea. Pretty much all documentaries I've seen about it paint it as a scary place that's so far under the thumb of Their Glorious Leader that "extreme sanction" could be seen as an entirely forgivable act. And there's threats of bombs and other wackiness, now is as good a time as any...

But, he's still in charge. Indeed, without any signs of acts upon his person, there are three logical conclusions, if one presumes the conspiracy route of 'one can only act with American approval' as to why:

a) He is being bribed. Certainly hasn't been killed or invaded, so if America is acting over there, then bribery is working. And everything he does is with American approval. (See below for why it's good for him to act like that.)

b) He isn't being bribed, but is not threatening America in any serious way. While he is trying out bombs etc., he's not making a move pointing crosshairs at America, and so he is making himself an extremely useful pawn in America's aim to control everyone else by using him as an excuse to pass more laws giving them control etc.

c) He can't be touched by America. Which is pretty amazing considering that America apparently controls everyone else in the world. It also seems unlikely that, should they want to, there are plenty of opportunities for America to do him harm if they really wanted to.

So if America is controlling the world, then North Korea is an interesting case study.

Or the conspiracy theorists are wrong... but what are the odds of that?


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Thursday, 10 February 2011

Because I Count...

This counts towards my Census service...


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Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Tombe of Horrors! Death I

[You know that classic Tomb of Horrors? I'm running the players through the 4e version of it. They win if they can survive with at least one person not dying (I'm treating death as "out for a while", and keep count of the number of times a character dies), I win if I can kill them all at least once.]

They start off at the beginning of the mosaic hall... and decide to follow the mosaic path. This is good and bad. They are bad at finding traps in that they can't make a Perception roll worth a damn. They are good at finding traps in that they keep falling into them. Hurrah! More fun for me! They find somethings, but not others, and slowly, slowly, slowly make their way down the hall.

Remember the Devourer? The classic "sphere of annihilation"? Fortunately, these players haven't heard of it, so I knew it was bad when one said "I roll my (very precious magic item) orb into the mouth", and then climbed in after it. And another character climbed in after him. It's not instant death, but it's death enough. Two down already!

Then they play with the misty archway. These are fun too. They experiment a little and get it working, and teleport themselves into a room with a statue. However, their rolling is so awesome, they get no clues whatsoever as to the nature of the puzzle, so leave without doing anything.

In the Hall of Coloured Spheres, they actually follow the clues they got and head for the correct sphere (correct in a limited sense, that is. They might need to back-track a little) and find themselves in a chapel of "goodness" (yeah, right). Then one character sets off the trap... twice! While something strange is found, another character enters another archway, and comes out a changed person. Then we get the first combat of the game... an inter-party fight! Woo!

Next week we'll see if they can find the next exciting trap to fall into...


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Tuesday, 8 February 2011


Zeitgeist is culture. It's also a set of movies that... well...

Zeitgeist: The Movie (2006) is a set of three mini-films, really. The first is about how Christianity is a rip-off of other religions (shock!), and how it's bunk. And also connected with astrology. Umm... some connections, I'd agree with. All of them...? It's always possible to cherry pick the bible to support any view, as is done here. And the second part is not even thinking enough to cherry pick: the US knew about 9/11 and let it happen. I'll go with that the US government took advantage of the crisis (and other wars) to run through laws that benefited themselves and powerful companies, but that 9/11 was planned, the building was detonated, several attacks were staged... fuck off. And the third part is how money is a system used to screw over everyone but the bankers who control how money flows.

Which is then the focus of Zeitgeist: Addendum (2008). Just outdoing the previous film's length (over two hours!), this is a rant about how "monetism" is what we have, and everything is controlled by the top bankers and everyone should reboot society and go with The Venus Project. I will grant that it's a slick movie and there are some valid points about how people are doing things to benefit themselves, you aren't going to change the world (that radically) by changing the world, you need to change the people, and that isn't happening.

And so we come to Zeitgeist: Moving Forward (2011). People are molded by genetics and the environment. Market economics is against making society better. Indeed, the market place is creating a bad environment and making people worse. What we need is a Resource-Based Economy. But since that's not going to happen, the global system is going to crash, taking everyone with it... In many ways, this is a politer, and better structured, version of Addendum, although even longer at 2 hours 40 minutes. However, I look forward to seeing the crash and what we do next, 'cos I don't see us changing before then.

This is a set of movies (I'm not going to say 'trilogy' 'cos there could be more) that is trying to change the way we interact with the world. Nice idea, but vision is out-stretching ability to make that change. If you have seven hours... well, I doubt you'd watch these... and, in fact, you're better off sticking to the last movie... but they are, if I may say, a slice of culture...


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Monday, 7 February 2011

It's like a video game you don't need to play

I would like to play video games some time, but since they take large chunks of time, I'm too busy lazing around doing stuff to have large chunks of time in which to play said games. And I have a few, thanks to Good Old Games that I've brought, even downloaded, but haven't installed...

Fortunately, I have found a way to find out what a video game is all about without all that tedious actual playing and being involved and, you know, interacting. Thanks to the Let's Play Archive. Which is, if you can't guess, an archive. Of people playing games.

Sometimes it is a video of someone playing. Possibly with voice over. Possibly with just text commentary on screen. Sometimes it's just images with added commentary. Some videos you can download (which is a useful option, considering you'll be effectively downloading it anyway through a video site). Fortunately, there're keys alongside each game so you can get a good idea.

A rather odd collection of games. Currently I'm watching Ghostbusters (am now thinking of buying it). Tried to read House MD, but that's not a good game. They've got a few different Prince of Persias. Silent Hill. Monkey Island 2. Halo. Commander Keen. And more!

While no Spoiler Warning, I'm sure you all need something else to take up your time...


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Sunday, 6 February 2011

Overthinking a Phrase

There's a phrase that often occurs to me. Although I like to twist it around. Why? Because that's the kind of person I am.

"Naked as the day you were born."

However, there are two problems with that.

One, it presumes I was around when you were born. Considering I'm under the median population age, that's a heck of an assumption.

Two, it presumes I was naked on the day you were born (yeah, I know, there's an image). But when you think of all the times I've had a shower/bath, there's a good chance that sometime, during the day on which you were born, I did meet the criteria. (Certainly the few days in which, for some reason or another, I wasn't, is a low enough probability I an ignore it.)

That all said, does that really get to the heart of the matter? Is being nude for merely, say, seconds, enough time to satisfy the requirement of the phrase? The problem here, however, is the other part of the phrase.

Consider the day one is born. Come out, get slapped, and then... wrapped up in a blanket and handed to the mother. (There are cases where this doesn't happen, but for the majority of people...) Thus, while the intention of the phrase "as naked as you were on the day you were born", on that day you weren't that naked either. Or rather, you spent more of the day not-naked than naked. (One could ask "is being wrapped in blanket enough to be not-naked?" A lot of babies are now wearing garments the parents bring in pretty quickly too. That aside, you're naked under your clothes, so the real question is about what constitute clothing, but I'm not addressing that.)

Given all that "you are as naked now as you were during one point right after your birth" doesn't really have that ring to it. And consider the extreme, there are nudists colonies out there in which people are more naked during the day than they were during their day of birth.

I'm not claiming that this phrase will be overturned or updated or anything. Just that it doesn't mean as much as most people will believe at first blush. [And I'll leave overthinking that phrase to some other time...]


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Saturday, 5 February 2011

A Question of Immersion

Following on from yesterday's post, I was asked a direct question "Did I actually enjoy it?" Fair point, I don't explicitly say... so I'll copy in what I replied:

"In a way, yes. Parts of it, thematically, went over my head. Certainly admire it on a performance/production level. One problem is that while we have the experience of going to Somes, the actual play was basically "a play in a building" which while set on Somes, didn't really connect with it (had to keep reminding myself of the distance).
Some great moments in the play, some not so. Overall... good memories."

There is a point here, and that (as you might be able to guess from the title) is being able to become immersed in the play. I have a problem with doing that. Some of it is whether or not the play engages my complete interest, but also I'm a squirmer. I move around a lot in my seat, and most plays I've been to have very uncomfortable seats, which really distracts me.

And, in this case, I was hot and sweaty from walking up the hill, had my jacket in my lap, making sure it didn't fall, and was trying to be careful not to step on the props or the actress that was right next to me. Which meant I had other things on my mind than connecting with what I'm seeing.

If I'm home, I'm comfortable. At Reading Cinemas, moderately comfortable, but they have big nice chairs, and I can squirm a lot without it really being a problem. At other movie theatres, your milage may vary. At other play-style theatres, usually not so much. Being in a small building, on a basic chair, not a large chance of it.

As I said, I still predominantly enjoyed the play. But there were definite times when I was observing myself observing the play, and not that final step immersed...


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Friday, 4 February 2011

I was Quarantine'd!

You may have seen the odd article about it, including this one with the usual picture. The Fringe Festival kicked off early with a 'play' set out on Somes Island. We were quarantined patents, back in the day, and we were to be treated to the practices of back in the day.

I was there, opening night, "packed ferry" and all (not in great weather), transferred over to Somes Island and made to walk up to the Quarantine station. There, we encountered other patients who were incarcerated before us. They told us of their tales of woe... however, it did not go easy for them. Telling their stories, confronting our presence, they were soon stuck down afresh with new sickness. And none of them wanted the Doctor to arrive...

This is "experience" drama, from the director Paul Stephanus, who likes to do things differently. In this case, instead of just going to a theatre and hearing tales of woe, we were transported to the appropriate location, which added another dimension of alienness to the play. And the subject matter wasn't exactly a piece of cake either, being stricken with diseases, and the treatment of the Doctor...

It was certainly different, although I didn't quite get the link between the disease and consumerism that the writer intended. I don't see many plays, but then there aren't many plays like this! Bizarre... and yet intriguing...

And sold out. If you haven't got tickets, you're missing out.


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Thursday, 3 February 2011

You want to install WHAT???

I installed the latest version of Apple the other day, and got annoyed by it all over again. Yes, it is possible to be a bit more precise than the standard installer, but it brought up installation issues that really tick me off.

DLLs. Really? Do you really need to install those DLLs and, more importantly, why do you need them to run when I start up my computer? If you need all those DLLs, do you know what that tells me? It tells me you've written a really bad program and are relying on so many other packages that I'm surprised it doesn't crash while installing. Unless I really want the package, wanting to install DLLs makes me hit the "Cancel" button...

Unnecessary Functions. Do I need to link in with Outlook? Or a Photo Processor? Or weird services that refer to other things I don't have? More importantly, when I block those items with Online Armor from working, the package immediately crashes. What? I don't need them. Why are you so hung up on needing them? Is your software so fragile (read: buggy) that it can't work without bluetooth connectivity to my toaster??

Start Up. No, you do not need to start up with my computer. There are some packages that I am likely to use, but even for those I don't want you in my start up, hogging my resources. And even if I try to disable the start-up-i-ness, it just hides the start up options and starts up anyway! Is this software I want or a virus???

Get better installers guys. No wonder my computer has problems. It's not spyware or trojans or hacks... it's bad, buggy programs!


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Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Decoded... or Deluded?

I started watching a conspiracy theory series, Brad Meltzer's Decoded (named to distinguish from all those other Decodeds out there...).

I think I was expecting something a bit more fun... but this just takes itself far too seriously. Brad Meltzer is a writer who's used a fair few conspiracy theories in his books (yeah, 'cos that's never bad). So he's got his own show in which he stands in a blue screen room and espouses different ideas, while a team of people get to travel around America, talking to people and finding things out. (Which isn't a bad job in and of itself. Hell, I know I wouldn't mind that opportunity.)

But there is a lot of "what are you talking about?" moments. The Freemasons get into the first episode, so you know you're in sane territory. Now, while they do go off the deep end, they do manage to claw back into some pool of sanity for a final conclusion (the ending of the Statue of Liberty is amazingly rational given the stuff they are told, and supposedly believe, during the episode).

I thought I might get some interesting story ideas out of this, but frankly I'm not sure why I'm still watching it...


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