I was down in Christchurch yesterday, for business reasons. So I took the video below... because I could. Coming back on the plane, I would have loved to shoot what was out the window... unfortunately, we were above the clouds for most of the trip and when we were below and looking at great scenery 'please switch off all electronic equipment'. Sigh. And no, no earthquakes.
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
I was down in Christchurch yesterday, for business reasons. So I took the video below... because I could. Coming back on the plane, I would have loved to shoot what was out the window... unfortunately, we were above the clouds for most of the trip and when we were below and looking at great scenery 'please switch off all electronic equipment'. Sigh. And no, no earthquakes.
Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Remember how we all used to eat a lot of chocolate? Then one guy pointed out how the cocoa plantations were using child labour and so hardly any chocolate was produced any more? No?
Well, that's what the documentary The Dark Side of Chocolate should have achieved. Chocolate manufacturers claim there is no child trafficking and child labour at cocoa plantations. The big exporters in the Ivory Coast claim there is no child trafficking or child labour. Meanwhile, this documentary, with hardly any real effort, shows that there is both blatant child trafficking and child labour used in plantations. And of course there was the expected reaction.
This was in 2010, when the documentary came out, and what changes have we seen? Cadbury seems to have stopped using places, but that was in 2009, and who knows if that's really still true... hell, there was more ruckus made when they changed ingredients and lost people due to taste, not due to where or how the ingredients were produced! And Nestle is, basically, getting around to looking into it. What? Whittaker's don't look to be that much better.
What's the bet the next documentary will show that Fair Trade isn't either of those things?
Monday, 27 February 2012
Yeah, I did that. Walked Round the Bays! 7km in... 68 minutes! Woo! (Not quite a month ago, I walked around, taking photos. Weather wasn't as nice then, but I preferred that over the baking sun!)
While the walk was nice, there were a lot a logistical problems before and after. I gave myself an hour to catch a bus. The two buses that were due were a) late and b) full. I went down to another stop that was more of a hub and fortunately grabbed a (specially instigated?) empty(!) bus to the event. No toilets readily available, not that I had time, as I got there as the runners started, with us to start a few minutes later. But the time I positioned myself, we were ready to go.
As said, the walk was nice. A fair few people (see video) walked, and while we spread out, I doubt any of our times were that much varied from mine. And at the other end... we had timer tags we had to hand back, but no readily apparent place to give them back to. That should have been clearer.
Here is an edited video... edited in the sense that I didn't record the entire walk, just bits of it:
(Apparently this video contains music copyright EMI... how about 'no'? Not an option? How about 'f off!'?)
And afterwards... I walked home.
Sunday, 26 February 2012
Far above the city, in another city... that is above the city... the investigators investigate an investigation. And they find out they may be up against their worst threat ever... someone competant!
Okay, overly melodramatic, but fun. Anyway, we are in the airship above the city, and otherwise running an investigation where we don't have our usual resources to call upon. We adapt, find things out, and Gavin has his way with technology. Yay!
Listen to Game 52. Rapidshare. Hotfile.
As you have predicted, I've finished watching... Underworld! When I grabbed the Myths and Legends box to watch, I knew what Time Monster featured, I know what the other one had, but I forgotten what Underworld referred to. Which is impressive considering how subtle it is about it!
Sometimes I watch the story plain, sometimes I turn on the production notes. The production notes here demonstrate quite admirably (and frequently!) that this story is padded. And is it ever! Now, I can understand that the producer didn't want to cancel this story because of his career, but... maybe it could have been cut down to three episodes? It would have been very snappy! It's also overcast. Tell me, aside from the first episode, what's the point of Orfe and Tala? They just follow Jackson around, and don't contribute anything to the episodes.
To be honest, the CGI backgrounds aren't that bad. Certainly other shows are still doing it, and aside from a few clipping issues, it does help save sets. Surprised more stories didn't do this, but it does take a while to set up.
On the discs there is the talking heads bit, but the more interesting piece is the studio footage. And Tom swears a lot. It gives a nice raw behinds the scenes look at the process.
It's a middling story not overly remembered with fondness, but it's not terrible either.
Saturday, 25 February 2012
I knew this movie was bad, but it's so bad that IMDB doesn't even list it!
A druggie kid gets his hands on a freebie new drug and, at a drug party, kills himself. The others freak out, and decide to quit drugs... and to celebrate, go off to an isolated house and have one last drug party. At which they have more of this drug. Which slowly turns them all insane and killery. And the drug is some corporate new drug and the lead maker is killing off people who took it to cover up for some senator... What, you think this is a good movie?
I wouldn't even say this is a bad attempt at a 'drugs are bad' movie, but it's not even coherent enough for that. This movie is pretending to hard to be edgy, with sex, drugs and violence, but it's just so poorly done that you're too busy reacting to how awful the movie is to acknowledge any message it pretends to have. It's not even a 'big pharma' movie, because it hamfists that subplot (as much as the word 'plot' can be associated with this) as well.
One question: are we supposed to care about these druggies? Either they are out of their head on drugs, or whining about how the drugs are making them bad. You are not so much hoping for the main killer to kill them all as just for the movie to be over one way or another.
In case you haven't worked it out: don't watch this.
Friday, 24 February 2012
Yes, another Doctor Who book, Step Back in Time.
First one is Extra Time by Richard Dungworth. [This was paired with an earlier story, but it got swapped, most likely when they realised they could theme the two stories.] You really like English soccer, don't you? In fact, don't you have really fond memories of the World Cup in 1966? And don't you want to have an excessively tense soccer match described, when the story is constantly telling you how everything will turn out? Yes? Then this is the story for you! And only you. For the rest of us, the whole soccer thing is a complete non-event. On the other hand, we get the obligatory alien invasion, which involves running around (as you do) and that is far more interesting. However, it's all very basic and very middle of the road.
The other one is The Water Thief by Jacqueline Rayner. This has the problem of being children in some writing segments, but once action switches to ancient times (or, at least, a highly sanitised version, suitable for children's television) it gets a lot better. There's strangeness going on, and while there's a lot of wandering around, it's where the decent action is. The ending is a little rushed, where it becomes "aha, I have a solution, and quickly implement it in largely off screen actions that I refer to in dialogue!" Jac's done better than this.
A middling book all round.
Thursday, 23 February 2012
I like my computer documentaries, so when I came across one about the text adventure/interactive fiction genre, of course I was going to watch it. And you can too!
This follows the basic start from Adventure, hits on Zork, and discusses the state of interactive fiction today. But wait, there's more! This video also have the Q&A session, because this is a Google Tech Talk (yes, this is the full movie):
Yes, that's the full video. I want the DVD, and the previous DVD about the BBS documentary too!
Wednesday, 22 February 2012
I had a dream. And not one of those good kinds. And in it... my daughter has become Death, destroyer of worlds. Yeah, that's not a good thing.
It took me a few days, but I finally tracked down the beggar. He recognised me as The Father, and claims I am one of the 318, who will side with the Demi-Urge against Apophis. Apophis the snake deity thing, who has the image of a snake eating itself. An image that was on the forehead of Phyllis... who has, as stated, become Death. Not that the beggar knew anything about that, he just burbled about the demi-urge and other rubbish. I might need Robert's help on this one.
Meanwhile he and Jane looked into the case of Maxine Gordan [possibly not the right name, but too lazy to check it]. However, they weren't able to uncover anything before she was executed for the murder of her family. I'm sure that won't turn out to be anything we should have paid more attention too. Robert also met up with a lawyer that works for Sarah Haversham (the person who arranged for the original piece of jewelry that was stolen to come to Philadelphia), and has arranged an information swap with him. Not sure if that's going anywhere either.
Instead we, as led by Jack and J.B., decide to go after another vampire that was preying on two women. We set up an ambush in one woman's apartment, and when the vampire turned up, we jumped him... only for him to turn into mist and rush off. I trapped a portion of the mist, but the rest of him/it got away. And the portion later turned into blood. Huh, at least that was something against him.
Are we doing anything good here? And who the hell are the other 317 I'm supposed to be fighting with? I'm certainly not going to fight my daughter, but if Apophis has done anything to her, he'll certainly pay...
Tuesday, 21 February 2012
I hadn't heard of this thing before. And frankly, it sounds like it could easily have been a spoof documentary. (Why this topic? Why any topics for spoof documentaries?) Around Philadelphia, then other cities, tiles turned up on the road, in the asphalt, tiles that became known as Toynbee tiles.
This movie documents a group of people trying to uncover who put them there, what do they mean, and why did this person do it? It's a very interesting documentary, more about the people than the topic, and yet, despite the seemingly unconclusive ending, we do find out all we need to know about the tiles and the tiler. And an interesting history it is unfolded too.
This is a good movie for showing how to solve a mystery (and I think it's that aspect that makes the movie seem a little fake - the coincidences needed for them for get to the right answers - but while there are coincidences, another part is needing to take advantage of the coincidence when it happens and to follow up on it, chase down what it means, that they do plenty of leg work as well), sort out leads, follow them up, go for the odd comment... and they are successful. And the key lesson is perseverance. And money. And time. But mainly perseverance.
The Toynbee tiles are now a 'thing' beyond the original intent, and so in future their original will become lost, so it's good to have this documentary now when we can see where it all starts. The basic description of it sounds dubious, but it is a good movie to watch.
Monday, 20 February 2012
Don't push that button. I know you want to, but you'll regret what happens...
I used the Xtranormal Desktop software to create this. As you can tell, watermarks everywhere! I can't do anything about that. The benefit of that software is that I can use characters from other packs, which enabled me to do 'surprising' things. I do like some features of the new software (more characters, titles), but there are drawbacks (one location, damn watermarks!).
Sunday, 19 February 2012
In the town of Five Lanterns, fear is spreading. Five people come together to investigate odd goings on, where men eat hands and people walk in bizarre patterns. Will Halloween come... will people survive?
Continuing Bert's holiday, we are playing Midnight Harvest (an actual mod for Call of Cthulhu, so if you want to not be spoiled about that, don't listen). A little slow going, with the PCs more than savvy of the genre and thus more clued about what to do we get things underway.
This is Part 1, with possibly Part 2 coming in a few weeks or so. Rapidshare. Hotfile.
Since Terror of the Autons isn't on DVD yet, I went for The Time Monster (so you might be able to guess what else I'm about to watch).
While I remembered the Master, TOMTIT, Atlantis and Kronos, I didn't remember that it was six parts instead of four. And it easily could have been a four-parter, two in the present, two in the past. While this could lead to a lot of padding, we do get a lot of character moments, and any character moments with Roger Delago's Master are moments to treasure, and him vs the Doctor and Jo makes for great tv. ...however, there is still a lot of padding, episode one for example, episode three, episode five... yeah, it could have been snappier.
I don't know if this is due to running out of steam, but the commentaries weren't great. John Levene's episodes are not making me want to go see him at Armageddon. And they just rope in some new series writers to do an episode. What's up with that? I remember how on Red Dwarf they got some fan competition winners to commentate, and that was a bonus track!
And the other thing on the disc is a behind the scenes talk, including a scientist saying 'this is possible, this just isn't'. We know it's not that possible, this is science fiction. Were they trying something different again? Some times that works, this time not really.
A lot happens in this, but also a lot of nothing. There are quite a few scenes where the characters admit they are just waiting for the next thing to happen, and that's not a good sign. Like them, then, skip to the good bits.
Saturday, 18 February 2012
In Hong Kong, just breathing the air can kill you. And for five atheletes, at the top of their game, it did just that. Enter a group of people, to find out why did they die, was it drugs? Was it their cyberware? Or is there a more sinister motive at work? The real problem they face: can they even work with each other?
With Bert on vacation, he kicks off with running a game of Technoir, cyberpunk noir. We spend some time on character creation, then more time on failing to connect with each other (at a character level). We even, although this may surprise you, actually get to some of the plot Bert came up with. We may pick this up again in a week or three.
Listen to: A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall... Rapidshare. Hotfile.
Another Superhero movie. And you know what, I'm going to jump to the end say: this was good. Now, I have been watching rubbish, and this isn't perfect, but damn it does some things really well.
So, some young adult get superpowers, namely telekinesis, and being young adults, are idiots. One in particular goes psycho, and there's a big fight. I really like the fight, but I was expecting there to be sudden shouting of "Kanada!" "Tetsuo!". On the way, there are some great character moments, and while watching them I realised I was enjoying these scenes. Thumbs up for that.
There is the conceit of cameras, and it seems to be that "this footage was filmed" more than found footage per se, although there is a potential excuse as to how it was eventually found. There were some moments when I doubted that the cameras were recording what we saw, but mostly they worked.
Dane DeHaan gives a good turn as Andrew, while Alex Russel and Michael B. Jordan don't quite have as well fleshed out characters to portray. The special effects are mostly subtle (and mostly things like wire removal), but don't think this is any kind of amateur film. When you watch the end fight scene, it's big guns all the way.
If you have any interest in this, check it out. At 90 minutes, it's a good length and well worth it.
Friday, 17 February 2012
Another compilation I got a hold on (on sale, so a lot cheaper than you'll find at the moment) is Best Crime Comics. A collection of crime comics (no, really) from Dashiell Hammett, Will Eisner, Mickey Spillane, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman... I could list more. Paul Gavertt is the editor, so I suppose these are the best according to him at least.
Me... this is a compilation volume, so like any compilation, some work, some don't. I generally prefer crime when mixed with another genre, so I wasn't as overwhelmed (or simply whelmed) by them all as certain editors might hope. Some of this is to do with the comic presentation, a few pieces being newspaper comics that were collated and the like. In some cases, the story just failed to engage. In other cases, the story reads as bad to my eyes and sensibilities. (Eg Will Eisner's Spirit comic just came across as misogynist. Is that accurate, or is this is simply a poor choice?)
Some worked quite well, the opening beat poem by Alan Moore, the Ms. Tree story (why isn't this a series starring Lucy Lawless, the character looks exactly like her!), the 87th Precinct story (as a good example of the reliabilities of witnesses), "The Sewer" for a taste of horror... those are just the ones that spring to mind.
As someone who doesn't regularly read crime stories / comics, but have heard about this, this helps to get a sampler. But... I think I'm done with them. Unless someone says 'this is the best crime series ever' (and gives me a copy), I'm good for now.
Thursday, 16 February 2012
I've started listening to the Saga of the Seven Suns. I'm one book in, and I can't say I'm impressed. I'm still listening, but so far the basic situation is: some people with cunning and guile are in charge, and everyone else is completely STUPID! Or naive. Or naively stupid. Or stupidly naive. I can't tell because they are all so stupid and naive.
Okay, I'm about to spoil several major plot points, so while I can hide it on my main page, you'll see it on the entry proper. And so:
A rememberer (historian) finds out that an important part of their empires history is not what he thought it was, but a deliberate cover-up. Prediction: The high-ups know this already and he will be killed. Revelation: The high-ups know this already, and he is killed.
Raymond is saved after his home and family are destroyed by fire (he was out at the time) and groomed to be the new prince and next king. Prediction: The fire was staged, and it was set-up as cover for grabbed Raymond. Revelation: The fire was staged, and it was set-up as cover for grabbing Raymond.
Robots of a gone civilisation are still around, can't remember their history, and help people to find out what happened. Prediction: The robots do remember, and instead are there to stop people from finding out the history. Revelation: The robots do remember, and instead are there to stop people from finding out the history.
Naira and Prime (first son of Mage Imperator, head of alien empire) fall in love, and have at it. Prediction: Naira doesn't tell anyone she's pregnant and is taken away for experiments (with bonus of Prime not realising either part). Revelation: Naira doesn't tell anyone she's pregnant and is taken away for experiments (with bonus of Prime not realising either part).
(Predictions that haven't occurred... yet. Ros will turn out to be alive, because his fiance and his brother are hooking up. Naira will get her daughter back, who will be a significant plot point, because of love. Prime gets some real balls and stands up to dad [sigh, that's more fond hope than expectation].)
The main problem is I'm not sure if this obviousness is intentional or not. Did Kevin Anderson mean the audience to be ahead of the characters? If so, that's just frustrating as the characters are behind and we get really annoying as they fail to see what is basic to us. Or did Anderson really think these are amazing revelations and no-one saw them coming? In which case, he is stupid and naive, because they are FREAKING OBVIOUS!!!
Gah! This could be so much better if the characters just had a touch of reality...
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
So, on the advice of a monkey [who also blogged about this topic today, go look!], I watched that Tom Hanks classic movie. And I learnt something.
Kids that come from screwed up families are screwed up. Bickering drunk parents, divorced parents, it's a wonder they made it that far without going completely emo.
But what I didn't see is what a role-playing game had to do with anything. The movie would have been the same had the kids... been listening to Iron Maiden or reading King Arthur or something! As I say, they were screwed up anyway, so anything would have focused them towards acting stupid.
Besides, saying that role-playing games lead them to Satanism is like saying acting Shakespeare will lead people to think they are in the 17th century. I bet the civil reenactment groups never had people saying that their Christian moralities were being undermined by firing blanks at each other.
Anyway, the point of this movie is that if you use your imagination you will imagine things. And if you are a dumbass, then going into a cave by yourself is a great idea. And when at university, don't do drugs. I mean role-playing games. Drugs are fine, no problem at all, role-playing games are where the evil is at. And don't, whatever you do, have some kind of psychotic break over a missing brother.
Which is what it all comes down to. If it hadn't been for role-playing games then Tom Hanks wouldn't have had a framing device for his psychotic break and his friends would never have been able to talk him down, so he would have killed himself... oh, hang on, role-playing games saved him! Hurrah!
So who, in the end, was the real maze?
[Note: this is admittedly a bit of a mess I wrote as I watched the movie. I am working on a far better write-up of how pro-role playing this movie is, and hope to see that somewhere exciting in the days to come...]
Tuesday, 14 February 2012
It's an Asylum movie, so you know it's quality! We're back to sea monster movies, and this time it's a... wait for it... wait for it... 2-HEADED SHARK ATTACK!!!
Because it's the sea, we have men and women in not a lot of clothing. In particular, we get Brooke Hogen in a bikini, Carmen Electra in a tank top (and posing whenever she's on camera for no in-movie reason)... and a bunch of other people who show off their bodies. Oh, and there's a two-headed shark killing them. As ever, not quickly enough, but kill them it does. See if you can guess who survives through the ending!
To be honest, there's not much more to say about it... so here's the trailer!
Monday, 13 February 2012
Off the bat I will grant that this movie does try to do something different with the horror genre and 'through the camera' movies, in that the through the camera aspect is a part of how the horror is perpetrated.
The movie supposes that the devil can make a movie of you and steal your soul, and eventually takes over an emo AV dude, who then recreates(ish) a recent tragedy and there's a shocking (ie predictable) revelation about a baby. Although, there is a completely surprising and shocking moment at 20 minutes into the movie when... Christian Slater turns up. What? The Hell? Why? Seriously, why is he in this movie? There is no reason for his character (other than for one plot point that doesn't even really matter), and his whole raison d'etre is to be a perv... which maybe Christian took to show off range? Whatever, he could have missed this from his CV and I don't think anyone would have minded.
Anyway, aside from him, this movie also features... a bunch of young adults that have probably been in stuff pretending to be teens that teens care about. Aside from the one gimmick (which seems to work quickly with most characters, except the one that is important to the plot), this is a basic teen high school killer flick. Yes, we know who it is (so not some guy in the mask), but since he isn't someone we want to see, that doesn't matter either.
A lot of a mess if you try to think about it too hard, so a better option is just not to watch it at all.
Sunday, 12 February 2012
After talking with Telsa/Beta/Joe, we get distracted for a while before getting to the meat of the episode. Then we argue. A lot.
Woo! Actual role-playing! A very divisive situation turns up, so we split the party because some people (eg me) refuse to deal with certain people. Although that don't stop me being involved in some ways.
My main headset stopped working (battery might be screwed) so I needed to cobble a set together. Argh! Also, for some reason, the prefered recorder didn't record the hour, and the backup didn't record the first half-hour.
So, we join the story already in progress (although not a lot). Marlow turned up with a ring found with Tesla's body. We showed it to Beta, and he went into a trance/shock. Now, continue with Game 51 [where you can find the complete part 1]. Rapidshare. Hotfile.
This is very nearly a decent horror movie. Which, considering what I'm watching, is high praise.
Here we have a woman whose husband (I think, not clear, but I assume so) went missing seven years ago. Her sister turns up just as she finalises the paperwork to have him declared dead. Then the husband turns up, saying he has been "underneath". And the movie ends with everyone going in absentia.
This is another movie that starts with trying to get the audience interested in the character. Credit points: the woman is pregnant (due to her new cop boyfriend, but we don't find out he's the cause until an hour into the movie - bad point), yet this does not turn into a demon baby. Her sister is a Christian, who hangs up a cross over her bed, yet it fails to fall off due to Teh Evil(tm). And they introduce horror moments early on and don't forget to keep doing so like so many other movies. Wow, it's like someone actually tried not to include every trope there was. Amazing.
I can't say I've heard of the cast before. Well, except for one exception: Doug Jones. Yeah, they got Doug in, for a minor role. And the effects were... hidden. Really hidden. Dark moving shapes, hidden. If I didn't slow the movie down as the scare was about to happen, I wouldn't have been able to see the suggestive formless mask they used.
But, overall, it's still an amateur piece, and it slows with the direction and the writing. [And I should try writing my own some day, just to slow I can't do it either.] Nearly decent, but not quite.
As I said, considering the stuff I normally watch, this is approaching watchable.
Saturday, 11 February 2012
Friday, 10 February 2012
Fancy a quicky with Jacqueline Rayner? Then try Magic of the Angels.
The plot: some guy is using an Angel to help him pull off a magic trick, and the Doctor tries to stop him. Spun out to 128 pages. Really, it's just that. Frankly, this would be a thin plot for Sarah Jane Adventures. The only complicated part are the bits with the old women, and they were basically retreads of parts of Blink.
(And one bit point that is entirely skipped over is how the magician knew what the Angel was. All he says is "I knew what to do to use it." Not exactly covering all the plot points there.)
You might be able to tell I wasn't very impressed with this, but this is supposed to be a Quick Read, and they are never deep. Which is a pretty poor excuse, given I have read Hell Island.
Pick this up if you are completest, or really missing some Who, but otherwise can skip this.
Thursday, 9 February 2012
You know the one. Lives on Baker Street. Name begins with an S. Has a male companion. And a dog.
That's right, Sexton Blake is who I'm referring to, with companion/servant Tinker and dog Pedro. He might be known as "the lesser Sherlock Holmes", but he does have quite the expansive literary career. Written by multiple authors, he started in 1893 and had his own library of stories from 1915 to 1968. Take that Sherlock! Even had multiple comics, a tv series, and film and radio adaptations.
However, like most series by multiple authors, his stories can vary wildly. Although he is a detective in the London mould, his stories have more action and hint more of 'Boys Own' than Sherlock. I read a collection of his works, containing seven stories. One I liked a lot (The Man From Scotland Yard), others I tolerated. Some I scanned... and some I simply skimmed. (See, I know the difference! Not that it matters any more.)
And yet, clearly, he's not as popular as Sherlock. Perhaps the slightly more cerebral approach? Perhaps Sherlock caught on earlier, making Blake look like even more of a knock off? Maybe Blake didn't get the wide circulation quickly enough? Maybe the one author gave Sherlock the consistent character boost that helps established him?
I have a few other collections of other detectives (they are very cheap considering the amount of content!), so we'll see how they stack up.
Wednesday, 8 February 2012
A lot of general investigating going on.
I asked Robert about the 'red horse' from my dreams. Nothing he could find seems helpful, unless you think Phyllis was taken by the Chinese and punished for something. Not my daughter.
Robert also decided to investigate a woman on death row. Her husband and kids died, she's the one picked as the perpetrator. If that's the case, then she deserves to die. She had a family, and threw it away. Mine was taken from me. [Actually feeding off Vernon's Envy - woo, role-playing!] Robert talked to her, there were a few minor items odd in the evidence, and no reason for why she would kill them. (Frankly, a better story would be that the husband's a dick, and killed the kids and himself out of spite.) Robert thinks there might be something there, but she's going to be killed in a few days, so not a lot of hope.
Jack (the doctor) found two patients with what is clearly cases of extreme porphyria and odd form of coeliac disease. And they both have the same boyfriend who comes over and sees them at night, who doesn't turn up in photos, and started seeing them around the time their symptoms onset, but that doesn't mean anything.
At least I managed to catch up with my buddies from the military (Flip, Slide, Pillow, Random and Freddie). Sure, they said they had heard the cops say that they were aware the knife murders we knew about were connected, but the cops didn't want anyone to know that. Again, I'm sure that means nothing. Time for the game!
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Thanks to Kevin comment spamming, I've moved up to "Comment with Moderation", so only I will see the spam. (I'm not switching on captcha yet*) As yet, Blogger doesn't have the ability to block spammers from commenting, and Kevin has already demonstrated the ability to create more than one account.
(* This may change within the day...)
Ultimate stage will be disallowing comments, which won't change much anyway.
EDIT: It looks like Blogger had to learn, but it does have facility to train up spam detection and Kevin is now being picked up. In that case... moderation off. For now.
[I'm not going to have a video here. Just go to YouTube and look for "Madonna Half Time Show" and you'll get plenty turn up. But I won't be surprised if they aren't the ones I'm looking at... and the Madonna channel might have an official one later.]
With only 13 minutes, Madonna has to get into it. I can see how she injured her ankle. After being pulled out by Roman Slaves, she kicks off with
Vogue. Most of the songs are abbreviated 2-3 minute versions, so after a verse, she kicks into the list. Poses some more and (with a costume change) she vogues to the
Music. She really loves this song. Me, I've been over-exposed to it. But she has remixed it up a bit and keeps everything pumping along. (And there's a guy on a low wire!) She's joined by LMFAO for a bit of Party Rock. Then cheerleaders join her so she can demand (after another costume change)
Give Me All Your Luvin'. Again highly abbreviated, but M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj get to sing their bits (I'm sure the cheerleader outfits appealed to a lot of people). A marching band comes out at the end, and the head turns up to be Cee Lo, who joins Madonna on the duet
Open Your Heart. Now, hang on a moment! That's not a duet! And it's my favourite song! Sod off Cee Lo! However, there's only a few bars for him to ruin the song before he and Madonna (with another costume change) head into
Like a Prayer. This was definitely a bit piece, with full chorus and heart-felt singing. The chorus is needed for this song, but the last line is Madonna's as she disappears into smoke, with a last image for "World Peace".
There's a lot of dancing and moving about. Not sure how her non-fans viewed it, but she turned up the spectacle aspect and dazzled. (Except for those sitting behind the stage, not a great view there.) She knew she had to go big, and definitely has done. And this is why, after nearly 30 years, she's still a big name!
Monday, 6 February 2012
According to the video, there is fame, richness, superstardom, but the thing you really need is 'luv' to become a player. [Despite wanting 'luv' not 'love', she wants to be a 'player' not a 'playa'.]
Now this video does have some very creepy moments in in. The doll mask things on the cheerleaders? The baby prop thrown about? The head knocking off? But it's all to make a point.
First up, it's all about Madonna. Aside from the two guest stars, M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj, name one other actual face you see... nope, you can't, 'cos there isn't one. If you can't see Madonna, you can't see anyone. (Indeed, even when M.I.A. is busting out the rhymes, she's dressed up, and with quick cuts, so is it her we see singing or Maddy?) Maddy wants your luvin' and you can't even see anyone else to give luvin' to.
Second, everything is a prop to be used. Look at the baby, she comes out with the pram to pretend to be motherly (about 15 years late for that), but that is quickly discarded. And later the baby prop turns up, she just using it for fun, and at the end throws it away. Everything around her is for her to use.
Third, the men. The faceless, mass horde of guys in football gear (because of the Superbowl... geddit?), throwing themselves in the way of danger, getting cars out of the way, doing everything they can, including piling up for her to easily climb, in order to make things easy for her. And then, they even have their vague manity removed as they become sparklers.
I'm not sure if this makes Maddy a 'player', but it doesn't leave anyone else on the field...
Next up: Superbowl, bitch!
Sunday, 5 February 2012
An anarchist group thinks that Metapol is a neat place to hang out and all that stands between them and the death of the leader is a few PCs... who seem to be agreeing with the anarchist ideas more than stopping them. Will the PCs be able to overcome politics to put people behind bars?
This was guest GM time (not me, I really need to finish off the next one): Nick! Who GMed many HC games. He's not allowed to complain about Bert's games anymore. We always have trouble against competent PCs. And the dice hated me tonight. I think the best first roll I had was a -2. Spent a fair few chips... gah!
Hear Game 50 and see us lose the 'day. Rapidshare. Hotfile.
With a new album, MDNA, coming out, there is of course the new single to highlight it. One "Give Me All Your Luvin'", also featuring M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj. And...
It's a real mish-mash of a song. Not too surprising when it's about her own career, and she hits several references to her past songs. At one moment 80s, then current poppiness, then cheerleaders, then...
Which does make it rather jarring, to be honest. Now, I already have the album pre-ordered, so the odd-ness of the song is not going to put me off.
Then there are the lyrics "Every record sounds the same / You've got to step into my world". Um, a little on the nose there, lady. And for the fans, there's always "I see you coming and I don't wanna know your name". I'm sure she doesn't. Still, she knows what she wants "Give me all your love and give me your love / Give me all your love today / Give me all your love and give me your love". But to really summarise the full intent of the song "Let's forget about time / And dance our lives away!"
I hope there are some deeper tracks than this coming up.
Next up: The Video!
Saturday, 4 February 2012
Oh boy. Up now, a movie that was inspired partly by Paranormal Activity and partly by spending a night in a new house. Or possibly bad bit of cheese.
After the obligatory 'was that scary?' opening, we have a movie watching a couple roam around a yard and a house. After 50 minutes of this 85 minute movie, the woman has a 'creepy feeling' and so a psychic is called in and then they look up 'creepy feelings' on the internet and then spend the next 20 minutes reading out internet posts! Then the psychic turns up (15 minutes to go!), solves some bad acting with "The Power Of Christ Compels You!", there's a sudden revelation, then everyone disappears! Hoorah!
Yeesh, a few points here: one, why do these writers think we need to spend time caring about these people? 'Cos we don't need to, and we don't care. I don't care how much you plan to torture them with the ghosts, don't think we need to see them in their trivial lives for the entire movie before getting on with it! Because, point two, this does not a horror movie make! I've probably gone on about this before, but there is this slew of movies that think that as long as they put in one moment of something seemingly strange happening, that can justify them calling it a horror movie, and then wasting the audience's time with the extremely cheap movie making trick of just filming people doing nothing! Fuck off!
This movie is aggressively badly made. The biggest special effect? A knife moving. Not flying across the room or anything, just turning. There's there big revelation scene, and in the back ground... someone is wandering by with a torch! Was a second take too much for them? Not to mention the entire cast was four people. (And there seems to have been some 'ratings enhancement' on IMDB.)
It's times like this I'm glad I was able to do other things while playing this movie. Take the same tactic and do anything else rather than watch it.
Friday, 3 February 2012
I was looking out the window and thought "that's an interesting looking sky out there". And then I eventually went out and photographed it.
Nice cloud effects going on...
And on the other side of the hill it's already in darkness (the camera showed a brighter blue in the sky than what it photographed).
Other pictures can be seen in the Skyline album.
Thursday, 2 February 2012
Next up on the crappy movie viewing: The Entrance! No... The Opening! No, no... The Hole! That's it, it's a Hole.
The movie starts with us being introduced to a bunch of characters... no, hang on, I lie. The movie starts with a bunch of characters, who we are not introduced to, who go around discussing some thing like we are supposed to already know who they are and what they are talking about. Then the leads come across a painting of a giant fingerprint and due to it being so amazing, they start seeing scary ghost children. There's no hope for them then.
This movie really is a complete nothing. As in nothing happens that marks it out in any way as original piece of horror fiction. I was reminded of The Grudge and The Ring, in that even the American versions were much better than this, but the movie boils down to 'see bad thing and die'. Yeah, as I said, nothing original of note.
Actor wise we have Michael Madsen (why?) and Nicholas Brandon (briefly). Leading is Jenna Zablocki and Michael Muhney. Never heard of either of them, but it looks like he's got a big career. Not sure why he was in this either then, as he mainly seems to be hired due to his ability to stare in a slack-jaw manner. [Were they all friends of the director or something?]
Not a good movie, not even a watchable bad movie. A blah movie, and best forgotten.
Wednesday, 1 February 2012
And I'm a part of it!
I've a big fan of Order of the Stick. Being D&D-based comic, while self-aware character PCs, and more than a large dose of humour, with good story telling, it's a great read, and free on-line.
Not every comic in the main storyline is online, some you can only get if you get the collected books.
And then there are the stories you can only get in print-only form, being the PCs origin, the bad guys origin, and the collection of other OotS comics (including a fantastically funny take on the 3.5-ish OotS vs the new 4ed OotS).
Some of the books are no longer in print. They are just too popular. And so, Rich Burlew has started a Kickstart project to get monies to get them back into print. Well, just one, and if the money came in, more could be put into print.
Pledgers broke through the lower limits of the costs within... the first day, I think... no, wait, it took two days. And now, about 9 days into it... originally Rich asked for $57k... currently rocking (at time of writing)
$270k UPDATE: Over $300K!
This is the biggest comic-based Kickstarter project ever. And is in the top 10? 15? of all time.
And, as I said, I'm a part of it. Already have the books, but there is stuff there for those people as well. (And while I'm incredibly tempted to get a complete signed set, fortunately other people already took those options so I can't spend that large amount money.)
I'm Kickstarting Order of the Stick, won't you?
EDIT: Commenting disallowed due to spamming.