Monday, 30 April 2012

Top Gear Hilarity

Yes, I admit it, I watch a car show. Not just any car show, mind you the car show: Top Gear. And I'll tell you why.

It's not for the cars. When the presenters get into a car and race around and spout off statistics... I don't care. And then they get into the next model up and say 'this goes a little bit faster and thus is the best thing ever', it means nothing to me.

Similarly, their 'Star in a Reasonably Priced Car' bores me. I don't care who they get in, Matt Smith for example, tell us about the cars they had when younger, who cares? Seeing how fast they go around the track, whatever, next!

No, what I like, and what gets me watching, is when they go on a road trip or just go for straight out challenges. When the presenters have to do a task, and set about it... and completely arse it up. That's really why people watch, why it's so popular, why it's lasted so many seasons (having short seasons helps up the season counter too admittedly). Just check out this clip of the presenters trying to come up with a new take on the caravan and see if you're not laughing!


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Sunday, 29 April 2012

Of Steam, Steal and Murder

We're back on the ground, and running around trying to find the German scientists. We have a great lead, and will chase them down to where they are hiding... but perhaps it is we who are in for a hiding...

Ah, the joys of the GM able to plot things out before we can. We couldn't really defend against this, and it doesn't help that none of us saw this coming... although several of us did predict it before it turned out to be true...

Unfortunately, there were quite a few Skype problems and thus assoicated recording problems. For this game, if you are still wanting to download, there is parts 1, 2 and 4. In the 3 we chase down some leads, but 4 is more exciting anyway. This was Game 55 [Bert will eventually have the full audio uploaded]. Rapidshare. Hotfile.


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Resident Not Evil

 I've watching my way through Resident Evil videogames, done 1-3 and on Code Veronica, and I have one major observation: this isn't horror.

The game consists of 'wander around, find you can't go through doors until you get a key, which will generally be on the other side of the map, behind plenty of other doors you will need to hunt keys down for'. And incidentally there are zombies around. But they aren't horrific, they're just plain annoying. There isn't anything in the game about the fact that they are reanimated humans. The characters aren't bothered by this fact, any mention of T-Virus is in the background material files you find, there is nothing directly in the game, no cut scene or anything, that really cares about it. Instead the cut scenes are people just trying to get away from the particular locations, or dealing with boss battles. Because there need to be boss battles, which are not zombies either, but other creations, like the game can't be bothered with them for big enemies either, because zombies just aren't interesting.

Instead, it's all about the keys. With some really annoying obscure keys to get to. And, due to these games being on older machines, the rooms are like five steps big, then you go through door animation #33453 while it loads the next level! Half the damn game is waiting for the door loading screens!

Why did this catch on enough for there to be billions of games and several movies and colouring books or whatever? Was it just that there was nothing else to play?

People keep citing RE4 as a great game. We'll see...


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Saturday, 28 April 2012


Finally finished playing the first game of the trilogy (ha!), Half-Life. It took me a while, and, I will admit this right now, up front: I cheated. I cheated like buggery, activing god mode in chapter... can't remember, but it was an early arena fight with the black ops team. And I in no way feel any shame in that, because of one basic thing:

I didn't enjoy this game. Well, okay, I liked it in one respect, otherwise I would have simply stopped playing. But I didn't enjoy the gameplay aspect of this game. When I died for the fifth, sixth... seventh? time in a row (even after a break), because the bad guys seemed to have health through the roof (and I was on easy mode), no, I wasn't having fun. And while the 'I over came it!' is a driving force, the joy I knew I would have felt versus the just getting over the immediate frustion... it wasn't enough. Not when I was so early in the game. I definitely wanted to know what happened next, so congratulations to Valve on the story (although I'll come back to that), I flicked on cheat mode and never looked back.

I do wonder how much of my enjoyment was the look of the game. Certainly there's a HUGE gap between HL and HL2 in terms of computer power and the rendering engine, and I enjoyed HL2... because it looked realer? I don't know. I can't deny that a part of me wasn't thrilled by the graphics. Oh, and the lack of a targetting reticule when not weilding a gun. So often I wasn't sure where the hell I was pointing. And trying to use a crowbar on the headcrabs... gah!

However, we have the story. So much in HL2 referred back to events in HL that I just had to find out all the gory details... but it is so spread out. So often I'm walking through virtual miles of corridor wondering if there's another story element around I could be interacting with instead... And the last section which was basically jumping puzzles was not fun, leading up to the big baby that... that was just annoying (flicked on notarget just to stop getting teleported). And if there was some big secret, I have no idea what it was.

It was fun in a way, and I still have the expansion packs to play some time... but I don't see me replaying HL in the same way I like to replay HL2 any time soon...


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Friday, 27 April 2012

The Terrible Experiment

While definitely an amateur level movie, I will give that this is at the high end of said movies, with some actual decent production behind it. But not so much in front of it.

The idea:  a soldier somehow manages to find out about some secret experiment going on, and manages to get some high level access to that experiment, and uses it to infect the building it's housed in. The experiment is a gas that... well, basically turns people into The Infected. And then there are the requisite group of survivors that are trying to get out of the building. Yes, it's a zombie movie. Hooray... sigh. And the survivors are as exciting a bunch of nobodies to grace the screen.

And yet, as I said, the production is good. There are some decent effects that a more than just bad CGI overlaid onto the screen (although there is that too), and the infected make up is well done. The movie ranges over a few locations, instead of just one level of the building masquerading as everything (although going up and down the stairwell gets more use than the floor numbering would suggest). And helicopter sequence nearly succeeds at not going over the top (...nearly...).

But the problem is the people. The main group are no-one interesting, and the cops outside are all generic, and there are even kids to care about. And then the big end... just dribbles everything away, spoilers: no big mass zombie run. What? What's the point of not having that? Big let down by no big build up.

So, this could have been something good, and does rise above others. If we must have bad movies, there is a lot worse than this.


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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Twitter Observation

So been with Twitter for a little while now, but there are some trends already emerging.

The majority of the people I follow like to tweet about... no, wait. Actually the majority of the people I follow don't tweet that much, so that's fine. I can deal with low content tweeters.

Of those that do tweet a lot, about half the time it is 'here's this neat thing I came across' or 'here's an amusing comment' style of thing. That's about what I expect, so that's all right too. That seems to be what you would get when you only have 140 characters in this social spreading machine.

However, the rest of the time... I follow a few celebrities (where 'celebrities' has a very low criteria of 'actor who appeared in some niche things' or 'is known for some very specific thing'), and they like to tweet about 'here's this thing I'm involved with'. Which is fine... the first time. But then you get the 'hey, this person is doing this thing' retweet. And then they tweet again because we might have missed it the first time. And if they are involved with some company, either the company or other buddies tweet, and then there's more retweeting...

Is that what Twitter is? Spam in 140 characters or less? Or more, considering all the urls get shortened nowadays so you can fit more descriptional spam in. Fine, they still need to make money, and want to point people at stuff they are doing so they can get the monies or publicity or whathaveyou... but so much? I'm still wanting to follow them, because their non-spam stuff is interesting enough, but... I'm having a low threshold of tolerance and it gets pinged often.

All we need is cats and porn for Twitter to be the internet in miniature...


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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Can't see the Cabin for the Woods

Okay, so here's a challenge. Can I review The Latest Joss Movie Aside From Avengers without giving away spoilers? Of course!

A group of people go to an isolated cabin in the woods. Have you seen this before? Of course, you have! Therefore I don't need to say anything else about the plot. It's Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard! These people know what they are doing. Certainly, you'll never look at a Red Riding Hood metaphor again with the same innocence...

It's got a few actors from the Joss School of Entertainment too. Fran "Dollhouse" Kranz. Amy "Dollhouse", "Angel" Acker. Tom "Buffy" Lenk. ...okay, so three big names (there may be others). Chris "Thor" Hemsworth gets a range to play, and Jesse "What's he been in?" Williams doesn't get to do much at all. Kristen "...don't recognise any of her other movies..." Connolly is... on screen, and gets to make the important decisions, and Anna "Panic At Rock Island - oooh!" Hutchison looks good in shorts.

Not everyone will enjoy this movie, but I'm sure those of you reading this will. I look forward to seeing it on the big screen.


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Tuesday, 24 April 2012


So, the new game by Amanita Design, yay!

First, the annoying: they released the game through Good Old Games, and I preordered it. And then, on the day of release, it was also released via Humble Bumble, where you can pay what you want, and get the previous two games Machinarium and Samorost 2 (if you played the demo of the latter, you've played half the game!). Pay what you want... that irks... GOG came to the party with a few extras (for example giving us the games Machinarium and The Witcher... which I already got...).

Never the less, onto the game. It's classic (for them) point and click style, with some lovely animations, and some really challenging puzzles. There are some moments that bring a smile to the face, and they've also got some moments that make you wonder just what is going to happen next. (And they've even snuck in references to Machinarium and Samorost).

Not to say it's all perfect. I played for about three... four... five hours. Had to look a few things up as some things didn't quite work as I was expecting. And a few puzzles I have no idea what I did to solve it, I just clicked a lot and it eventually worked... And the last set of puzzles resolves a few times to 'click quickly', not so much puzzle as reflexes.

Still, a great game. Get it on the cheap (with the other games) while you can.


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Monday, 23 April 2012

The Dead Pool

Now this is a far better movie! And not just because Jim Carrey dies! It doesn't try for deep, it just goes for getting on with the action, and it works better than the previous two movies. And the humour is appreciated too! That said, I will ding it for having the token Asian guy know martial-fu... but the actor knew it, and I'm sure the director was happy to have that in his movie.

And finally, after four movies of being in San Francisco, they finally race cars over *that* street! And what a car chase, eh? About as believe as (insert witty comment here disparaging some famous celebrity for something they did that no-one believes they actually can do). But... what the hell! It's fun, and so I'll give it a pass.

And, of course, Liam Neeson is in this. Already showing here (his first American film) his fine acting chops. Also keep an eye out for Marc Alaimo. And although this kicked off the career of Patricia Clarkson, I can't say I've ever seen her in anything else...

Let's skip the previous two, and say this is the third, and last, Dirty Harry movie to watch.


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Sunday, 22 April 2012

Sudden Impact

On the other hand, if you were trying to kill the Dirty Harry franchise, this movie would do it. Oh ye gods, what a horrible movie. There were actively times when I was thinking 'The only reason I am still watching this, is because I'm forcing myself, because it's a Dirty Harry movie. It's definitely not because I'm enjoying it.'

It's like there are two different movies going on, with Harry doing his thing, and whatshername (I can never remember it) doing hers. Occasionally the storylines intersect, but even then tedium abounds. Most of the scenes are repetitive (either hers 'go to place, relive trauma, kill a guy' or his 'people try to kill him again and again and again'), and the overall progression is just so damn slow. It was only in the final minutes that I bothered to engage with it. (And that opening 80s synth track didn't help any.)

The cast didn't excite much either. Yes, we have Albert Popwell back (for his last appearance), but he doesn't do much. Meathead... disappears half-way through the movie, what's up with that? And as for Sondra Locke... Clint may have liked her eyes, but she did nothing for me on any level. Nice to see a young Carmen Argenziano, back when he had hair, but his appearance is too brief.

I hope I can blame the script rather than the director, but it's not a movie that'll ever crop up for rewatching by me again.


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Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Enforcer

Clint Eastwood has said that now he's done him versus external threat (Scorpio) and him versus internal threat (dirty cops), he's done it all. But the money machine was still there to crank out more Dirty Harry movies, and so we get this one. It's not a bad movie... but it's simply not a good movie either. Just average...

No, wait, I lie. There are two fabulous things in this movie: Tyne Daly and Albert Popwell. Certainly the bad guys are a bunch of nothings, and the good guys aren't much better. But Tyne Daly as wannabe inspector is great, and there are some much needed humourous moments injected courtesy of her character. And Mustapha could have been one dimensional with Albert Popwell's performance.

But, yeah, what was the point of the rest of the movie again? Bunch of yahoos decide to do stupid things (that they get killed off whenever they attempt something shows how stupid they are), then end up at Alcatraz with the waste of a mayor. Nice to know that the shooting of all moments were real, the water boat was there, and the stunt man was hit with the water, good stuff. But the plot reasons for it all? Pointless waste of time. And of course the rocket launcher was going to be used, as expected by Chekhov.

If this movie hadn't happened, just think how much better the Dirty Harry franchise would be?


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Friday, 20 April 2012

Magnum Force

In many ways, this is just as classic as the first one! You can see why the traffic cops thought that Harry would join them, they are doing exactly what he did in the first movie (ignoring the law to take down the bad guys), so why wouldn't he side with them? Well, he does agree with them, but also brings up a point that isn't really explored, and I would have liked it to: namely, where's the line? As the cops say 'we start with the obvious bad guys so that people will understand what we do', but then Harry counters 'soon you'll shoot someone because their dog pooped on the lawn' (paraphrasing from memory here). This is the problem with totalitarian states that the cops were heading towards... but we don't find out what the big game plan was. All the bad apples are dealt with before we can hear the full ideas. Yes, the ideas were probably crazy and/or limiting and generous only to the few in power (who would naturally become corrupt if they didn't start that way), but we will never know.

On the other hand, lots of sequences of fights and would be car chases, and when you see Harry coming to the conclusion that cops are to blame, it's not a pleasant time for him. The moment in the gun competition is just a perfect summation of what the rest of the movie will be, Harry will make sure he does what needs to be done, even if others don't necessarily agree with him (which again is like the cops in many ways). And the bomb in the mail box sequence is hilarious.

I'm talking about these movies now, because I got the set, and had only ever seen the first two. Loved them both, so now there are three new ones to enjoy!


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Thursday, 19 April 2012

Dirty Harry

This was the start of a whole thing, wasn't it? Who doesn't recognise the line 'Do you feel lucky, punk?' (Although I always think there is the line 'what about the rights of the little girl?'... but there isn't.)

Even today, you wonder how far would Scorpio get, citing his rights? PCism is cited as being rampant, so I'm not thinking he'd have that any more difficulty wriggling out of things than he does in the movie. (Although, as they point out in the commentary, he would likely be held under suspicion for something!) And we are definitely saying 'Go Harry!' when it comes to the finale when he casually guns Scorpio down, laws or no. Definitely an iconic figure there.

Even the production is great! Yes, there are some scenes that do take a fair bit of time, but you don't care! For this movie, I was more than happy to go along for the ride. Harry Callaghan running the money across town, I'm watching. Harry peeking in on a guy carrying a suitcase, I'm snickering along. Scorpio getting beat up... well, less interested, but definitely an interesting moment given Scorpio's prejudices.

While police procedurals were not new, this definitely created a niche that would be flogged for years to come.


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Wednesday, 18 April 2012

DVD extras

When it comes to DVDs more is better (although this is what Joss was complaining about [although he says that the old classical stories weren't explained, how do we know that? Homer might well have read bits out, then revealed it all. And considering there are a number of authors who complain that unless you get their exact meaning, you are wrong. Personal interpretation can take a running jump...]).

Anyway, yes, I like extras, especially commentaries. [And going back to Heart Broken, I suspect a major problem is that people are... acquiring the episodes for keeping via other means, therefore without extras on the DVDs, they wouldn't buy them. Yep, another 'win' for piracy.]

Anyway, again, I have quite a few stacks of DVDs to watch, and I slowly am working my want through them. I am now getting new DVDs at a far slower rate (aside from Doctor Who, I'm now quite picky about getting a DVD, although cheapness will tempt me). Still, I have enough to last me for a few months, and that's not to consider the DVDs I want to rewatch.

And yet... despite having these DVDs because of the extras... and possibly because I have so many to watch now... I don't have the patience to actually watch the extras any more. If it doesn't have subtitles, I have to be really interested to sit through it at normal speed. And just recently I was running a rule with the commentaries of 'if they go for five generous seconds without saying anything, skip to the next chapter', which did allow me to get through commentaries for hour and a half movies in one thirty minute session...

So, on one hand, I can deal with DVDs quicker, and on the other... there's not much point having the DVD...


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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Spoilers in the Woods

The Cabin in the Woods is a great movie by all accounts. At least, by all accounts, which don't actually talk about the movie. It seems that this is one of those movies that you need to go see cold, as there are so many changes going on that to know something about the film is to spoil it.

So, great, I want to see this movie... however, there's no sign of it coming out over here any time soon. Indeed, Australia is listed as July, so I can't imagine we'll be any sooner. Which leads to a problem, especially for peoples like us on the internet. Peoples who are not American.

Americans will go see this movie, and while they are cagy about it now, odds are after, say a month or so, they'll be less so, and talking about it on the webpages (OverthinkingIt will probably do several pieces on it, LawandtheMultiverse might have something to say about the legality of it). And so the rest of us who haven't seen it will have it all over the place before we can.

And normally, fine, whatever. Either I don't care about the movie, or it's not that important to remain spoiler free. Most movies are some flavour of 'good guys win', with how being largely dictated by genre. But this movie, we are told, crosses genres! Damn you Joss Whedon!

So what I'm really complaining about is... why three months or more?? Why is this thing not being shipped out straight away??? Why is it likely I'll be able to get it on BluRay from America before I watch in the theatres here????

And this is why we have movie piracy...


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Monday, 16 April 2012

My House is a very, very, very big House

Because I had time, I thought I would go look around my House. My House of Parliament that is! Fine, I admit it is a bit odd to take time out to go an look at the building our government sits in (what makes it special is that government sits there, not anything else), but I hadn't been there for a decade or so, and it was free, I had the time... so why not?

Just to get into the place, you go through a scanner (like at an airport) to make sure you are not carrying anythings suspicious, and you have to check in your jacket, phone, cameras, etc., so don't look for any pictures. The tour takes an hour, and we wander all over the place, so while we get a look at different parts inside, be prepared for stairs (one elderly woman concerned the guide with how careful she was going up and down).

Being a part of a tour means that you don't really get a good chance to look around. There were some displays I would have liked to look more at, but we had to move on. On the other side, I hope you want to see earthquake protection, in the form of base isolation, because we spent 10 minutes on that (and it wasn't like that wasn't already covered in the preliminary DVD they played). Still, we did get to see key rooms, including where the parties actually sit, in the room with green carpet (which signifies that the place belongs to the people, so we can go whenever we want) and the Queen isn't allowed there (there's a lesser room with red carpet she can go to).

It is a very fine building, and there is a lot of history there... check it out if you are in the area.


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Sunday, 15 April 2012

Breaking Down

Have I talked about Breaking In? I can't recall, and given I don't always use the name properly, I can't find it by searching. Anyway, I'm going to talk about it now.

In Season One, this was a series about a guy who is a hacker, and he joins a team that breaks into places, to test their security. It was a great show, about four core people, starring Christian Slater, really funny. Fox cancelled it, it had six episodes, and that was it... except it got brought back for a second season.

In Season Two... the firm got brought out by another company, and we got the character of the bitchy boss lady, and her uptight harassed assistant. The sexy girl (Odette Annable) left (because of her appearing on House, I presume), although Molly (Erin Richards) is a very attractive replacement. And, they drop the break ins, and it became an office comedy...

Guess what, it just got cancelled again. Supposedly brought back for 13 episodes, they've shown 5 then the plug got pulled. The rest of the episodes might get screened, or maybe not. Uncancelled again? Not likely.

The problem being that it did become an office comedy, and there's just too many! For example... The Office! Or Better Off Ted (another cancelled series). Thanks Fox for ruining another series...


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Saturday, 14 April 2012

Time out of Shadows

Have you read H P Lovecraft's Shadow Out Of Time? Why not? Well, never fear, (...okay, it's Lovecraft, there is fear there...), here's a 15 minute movie version of it. Being about the fourth time I've encountered this recently, I paid more attention to the (obvious green screen) effects, but it's still a good abridged version of the tale.


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Friday, 13 April 2012

Crime after Crime

This movie is a rather disheartening look at the justice system of America, as it pertains to the case of Debbie Peagler. In Crime after Crime, we get her story, and the story of her lawyers trying to free her while been constrained by the system.

When young, Debbie was captivated by a charismatic man, Oliver, but was soon working for him, suffering abuse and even producing a daughter that was also abused. Using the local gang members, she led Oliver to be killed by them. So, she was definitely involved with his murder.

However, in the trail against her, the DA said she conspired to kill him for the life insurance money. And convinced her to plead guilty so they wouldn't go for the death penalty, which she did. She went to prison for 25 years. That she had been abused didn't come up.

Then about ten years ago a law passed in California that abused women in prison could get their cases re-examined if the abuse was related to the reason they were there. Like in Debbie's case. Which, if it was taken into account, would mean that she should only have been incarcerated for six years. By the time the two people take on her case, she had been in prison for over 20 years.

And what the lawyers find is that the DA knew about the abuse, weren't intending to go for the death penalty anyway, and led the one witness they had against her. And covered up their own actions, and continued to deny her parole (which it seems the justice system does anyway, even despite the other considerations of her case).

The film follows her case for a number of years, culminating in her... to be honest, I'm not sure how much the lawyers really managed to do, versus the fact that by the time of the last hearing she had pneumonia and only had days/months to live. But to spoil it, yes she finally gets out. By this time, we've seen more than a few injustices, and she is only indicative of worse things happening in the system.

So, a bleak film to see, and, in my cynical view, demonstrates typical actions of the political justice system. So, joy there.


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Thursday, 12 April 2012

Keeping up with the Updates

Just spent some time installing more exciting updates from Microsoft. At least this time I noticed they were there rather than being surprised when I go to shut the computer down. Nothing worse than switching off the computer before bed, and then finding out that there's a collection of random patches to install!

But while my laptop can normally handle it, I need to be more careful with my desktop. Usually when I say 'install and switch off', the computer tries to install them, fails, and undoes them when it restarts (because, if you recall, it doesn't power down properly). So I usually install them a few at a time, needing to reboot between the fractional updates, so you might understand that that takes time. Or just install them in one go and hope for the best, as it seems to be getting better at handling them... although neither computer really wants to install Internet Explorer properly.

And since I don't use my notebook that often, that often demands a multitude of updates and reboots as well before I can use it!

And then there's the exciting moment of when the computers restart... has Microsoft finally screwed it up? Will it never restart again?? Why's it taking so damn long???

(I really should move to Windows 7 some time, maybe even before Windows 8 comes out. But, ugh, the amount of software I need to reinstall... if it reinstalls... and software keys, and redownloading Steam, and... argh!)

Conversely, my tablet doesn't ask to update, and the last time it updated without any complaints. So I guess the moral of the story is... go Android!


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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

How to Snack

Under pretensions of eating properly, for my dinners I have a bowl of vegetables and a 'snack' meal. From the calorie level, this is the right sized meal for me. However, the annoying thing is, they all have different preperations.

Watties Frozen Meal: Zap for six minutes, rest for 1-2 minutes.

Irvine's Super Snack: For this, you zap it for 4 minutes, let it rest for a minute, then zap again for one minute, and rest again for 1-2 minutes.

Sandhu Frozen Meals: Zap for four minutes, stir then zap for 1-2 minutes more, then rest for a minute.

Mccain Attack a Snack: Zap for three minutes, stir, then zap another minute and a half, then stir again, rest and then ready.

Do those latter meals really need to be baby sat during cooking? What's up with them that I can't just zap them for six minutes and be done with it? Or has Watties completely got it wrong? It's all quite annoying...


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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Boom! Squirrels!

That should be Boom! Monkeys! As in Squirrel Monkeys! New to the Wellington Zoo, so I popped along and grabbed some video of them. I do want to pop along at a slightly later point to record the talk, so I'm sure that will be exciting...

Below the fold are two photos, but...

Reflections make it difficult for a good image. And no animals want to face me when I try to photo them...


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Monday, 9 April 2012

Bonus Video


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He's a Big One

I've seen most of Micheal Moore's films, they are quite entertaining, eye opening, and possibly contains some truth. This is an older one relating to his first book tour.

The book was Downsize This, and when Random sent him on a tour, he went to the non-typical cities. He grabbed a film crew and while on the tour went to various companies and pulled his normal stunts of confronting them...

On one hand, this is a more expanded version of TV Nation, and more unrefined and mixed up his later movies, but certainly is typical of him. Companies seem to be afraid of talking to him, or have him talk to their employees. A few times he is thrown out or has to meet the employees outside of work because they would be in trouble otherwise. And that certainly says a lot about American company values... and this was 15 years ago. His more recent movies demonstrate that that hasn't changed a lot since then.

On the other hand... this is Micheal's movie, and 'skewed' is an understatement. It's no surprise to anyone that a film might be biased towards the director's point of view. And Moore has certainly had a few controversies, there are other documentaries that show that he doesn't give the full picture, and I have that in mind when watching this, wondering just what we aren't seeing. Which just makes this more come across as nothing more than a self-serving stunt.

This movie is a good example of Moore circa 97. Watch it with that in mind.


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Sunday, 8 April 2012

Of Steam, Steal and Murder

With a murder still to solver, we have our own deaths to think about. However, that doesn't solve cases, but smoking can! And with that one deed did the empire tumble...

An earlier start for me thanks to Daylight Savings around the world. This session involved us trying to remember what we did last time. After our general way of talking a lot, we finally get on with it, and actually start finding out who was responsible. Then we had a scene, where stopping was not on Gavin's find... finally, pulp action!

Race to hear Game 54. Rapidshare. Hotfile.


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I remember Lower Hutt

I went out to the mall in Lower Hutt to video it, to let you guys see it... but was told 'no videos' by the security people. Apparantly, they don't want you to know what's in there, so no free advertising for them! Instead, I wandered around Lower Hutt itself and remembered growing up there, so now you can listen to me reminisce.


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Saturday, 7 April 2012

Bonus Video


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The Noodle Significance

Like a lot of people, I like the Gorillaz. They have a lot of catchy songs with odd titles you'd never pick. The 'band' is four eccentric characters, and their antics in the videos are amusing.

And the videos are a whole other topic. While the songs are fairly stand alone, there is a definite story being told in the videos, and there's an order to them. El Manana follows on from Feel Good Inc, and Stylo explains some of On Melancholy Hill.

And one aspect that has changed over time is one particular character. 2-D remains the same, as does Murdoc. Russel changes a little, gets some facial hair, but is mostly the same. But Noodle... it's not clear that this isn't a replacement character entirely. Compare 19-2000 with Dare.

That's quite a change. And what's missing if you just casually enjoy Gorillaz is the huge backstory and plot the creators have given the characters. Fortunately, we do have a way of finding out all the details, from the font of all information, we can simply look up Noodle's entry.

Which is the point of this. No longer do we need to track down all the references and clues and put the pieces together ourselves. Someone has already done that, and we can simply sit back and take it in in one go.

Just another way we can casually consume content.


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Friday, 6 April 2012

Savage Man Savage Filmmaker

This film was a... documentary? back in 1975. The blurb on IMDB reads: A notorious mondo film depicting unbelievable and bizarre rituals, animal killing and cruelty, and people being killed and eaten, all by either animals or humans against each other or themselves.

Now, fine, I may be jaded, and this may or may not be society's fault, but... this didn't shock me at all. It might be because nature documentaries show stuff like this now. It may be that I can't tell reality any more, and this seemed about as real as an episode of Top Gear. I found a lot of the sequences with humans hard to accept as real when you take into account that there's a FILM CREW right there. They already admit they set up some nature shots, and I have no reason to believe they didn't wait and cherry pick moments like other shows do. Indeed, it wouldn't surprise me to find out that the 'tribal rituals' were carefully recreated... via paying the tribes money to enact some old ritual they'd heard about!

There's one sequence that gets talked about, a guy getting mauled by lions... yes, it is possible that this did happen, no faking, and that it was filmed... but that it was then included in this movie without it being clear that it was real? Either done for money, meaning the family was thinking about that, or that it is indeed not as actual as portrayed.

Ultimately, yeah, I'm not even buying this as shocking for the time. People weren't stupid 30 odd years ago, so no reason to think they weren't aware of what was really going on out in the world. This movie does slap at some nature films, and does make a point about stupidity of people, but it's more crafted than random footage slapped together...


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Thursday, 5 April 2012

Weird Al Face

Because, as I said, there isn't enough to watch on the internet, here's something else!

So let me point you to Weird Al with his return to the Nerdist channel with his interview show. (There are older clips of these on youtube, the Eninem one is great.) If you look carefully, you might just spot how he is able to do this amazing interviews...


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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Geek and Sundry

Felicia Day has created a new Youtube channel, Geek and Sundry, a collection of varied geek style videos. At the moment, there is the Flog (Felicia's bLOG), Dark Horse comics (not really something I can get into), and Wil Wheton's show Table Top (see below). Upcoming is The Guild Season Five, and other shows.

Because, you know, there isn't enough stuff to watch on the internets.


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Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Not all the Rages

But at least some.

What's up with my laptop? I was merely browsing while watching a DVD and downloading a file... and my laptop shuts down for over heating!? What? In April? It wasn't that warm a day! And this isn't the first time, in fact it's pretty common! WHY? Why is my laptop such a fail? I have a cooling pad for it... although it doesn't fit properly because I have a decent size laptop so I don't have to squint but of course they don't make cooling pads that's large... I have to use a piece of wood to prop it up so it can cool down while running! That's stupid!

What's up with my desktop? When I shut down, it boots up again because something in the bios broke! I have no idea what, and no, don't say I have the network plugged in, because I tried that. When I look at the last shut down option the computer is supposed to know about, it knows nothing! I have to wait for it to shut down then actually switch it off at the back to keep it off! That's stupid! And, for some reason, Firefox acts weird too. About a minute after starting it, it gives up on loading anything from the internet, and I have to restart that and hope it works! That's stupid!

Technology fail!!! [And Blogger fail too!]


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Monday, 2 April 2012

Blue Penguin Score!

I've been to the zoo a few times, over the past few months, but I haven't ever seen anything in the pit near the entrance. There're otters, warthogs... and a sign saying the pit is supposed to contain Blue Penguins. But... nothing!

Until yesterday! Finally, I've seen some Blue Penguins. And now you can see them too! (Depending on how well the mic picked things up, you might also hear Madonna... just be glad you couldn't smell the pit, because it stank bad.)

You can also check out my latest batch of photos, including a great shot of a Red Panda.


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Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Dimmist Hour

Completely coincidentally with it being Earth Hour (yeah, that was highly advertised on the webs), I caught a movie about a time period of nonlight.

The plot: in an effort to make a cheap movie, four young men and women are in Moscow when an invasion happens in which the enemies are invisible. And they spend the movie running away from the creatures they can't see. More or less, they fairly quickly find some bullshit they can use to detect the creatures, and a 'last ditch' idea to hurt them, courtesy of one of the diverse number of characters (in the sense of 'oh, he's a character') they meet on the way. Fortunately, it turns out the aliens are afraid of water so... no, wait, that was another movie...

Anyway, don't think invisible enemies mean they really did save money, which they probably did with filming location. Instead there's a lot of CGI in pretty much every shot, especially with the people disintegration. And it says a lot about the movie (or maybe just me) that I cheered when the various lead characters met their untimely (as in, it would have been more timely if it happened earlier) end. I was surprised by some of them, as clearly the movie didn't agree with who I thought the main lead was...

For what it is, it isn't a bad movie, just doesn't stand out, despite the novel enemy design.


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