Thursday, 31 July 2008

The Chronicles of Risan: Part the First

So there I was, your everyday, ordinary Human Ranger hero, walking down the street of the port city, chatting with my two new comrades Reed (Halfling Paladin) and Hylan (Gnome Wizard), when this woman grabs my leg and tells me that slavers have half-inched her husband! Well, we can't be having with that, so we wents with her down to the dock where she picked out a ship in the bay waving a quarantine sign yet still managed to have quite a bit of interaction with the dock, people going to and from and the like.

Deciding discretion was the better of charging ahead and hitting people with billy clubs (Reed was fond of that plan), we instead decided to go in under cover of darkness and see what we see. We got our hands on an old boat, which Hylan did up a treat with a bit of magic. With the aid of an understanding ship's captain (who, for some unfathomable reason, spoke with an Irish accent) towing us out in the wee hours of the morning, we got our longboat within striking distance of the ship.

On board we spied six guards and an officer pacing the top deck. Reed and myself slipped up the side of the boat to take on the officer, while Hylan faked up someone falling into the bay on the other side of the ship, which very nearly worked. The officer saw us coming and got in a decent smack to Reed before I pushed him through the rails and onto the deck below. Hylan put most of the guards to sleep, but one got in and had a go at me, although he didn't have the chance for a second. The officer nearly got away (and alerted others), but Reed and myself put paid to him.

However, the ship's medic came looking and saw the bodies on the deck. Whoops. (And speaking of whoops, we should have remembered to tie the longboat to the ship...) Still, a quick slash later and he saw the wisdom of surrendering to us. The Captain proved a greater challenge, and he very nearly got away before collapsing under Reed's influence.

Below deck, we locked the sailors in their bunk room, and managed to subdue the Captain of the Guard, but the ship's mage got away while we were busy. This meant we had to deal with the rest of the guards, but we proved up for the challenge. Collecting up with ship's Wright, we freed the slaves and took the ship into port to hand everything over the authorities.

Good job for us, but since the Emir (in charge of the city) does consider slavery illegal, considering he gets a backhander from them and thus doesn't mind too much, we'll see how he feels about having successful anti-slavers in his midst... is that the open sea I hear calling?


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Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Clearing the Confusion

What: A one day convention for roleplaying and boardgames, with three separate rounds spread over the day.

When: Staurday 2 August 2008, 9:00am start time

Where: Turnbull House, 11 Bowen Street

Cost: $15.00 Player entrant, $10.00 GM, $5.00 WARGS member. Also, if you only want to come for part of the day, it's $5 per round.

For further information visit

I have no idea what I'll be playing in, but I'll certainly be there. (So no Heroic Cthulhu for me that day.)


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Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Video Roundup

Dexter Season Three
What thin premise can they stretch over too many episodes this time? (Yeah, it's a great series, but very basic ideas.)

Steamboat Willie
80 years ago today. Wow!

The Music of the Spheres
More brilliant for those in Albert Hall, I suppose, but good to see the tradition of the Doctor Who actors in panto is staying alive.

Cell Phone and Brain Cancer
What aren't they telling you they should be? More importantly: what are they telling you they shouldn't?


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Monday, 28 July 2008


Caught up with the web-series Sanctuary yesterday. Sanctuary is a series of 15 or so minute episodes, of which they got up to eight. The series has been picked up by the Sci Fi Channel and will start screening in October.

The basic premise is... monsters are real. (Although the term in this series is "abnormal"). Not exactly stunningly original. The first four episodes are essentially the pilot, and the second four make up episode two, although since this would make each episode around an hour I doubt the full episodes will be all that content. (I gather that the first two episodes might be reshot as they are very dark.) The style is via CGI-screens to create sets (a formula used by one or two movies in the past), and is more noticeable in some scenes than others.

To be honest, the main pulling element it has at the moment is that it has Amanda "Stargate SG-1" Tapping in it (this being the project she went on to after Stargate finished, which is why she was only in one season of Stargate Atlantis). It's hard to say yet if there will be an ongoing plot-line or if it will devolve into "Abnormal of the Week". It certainly has some promising points built-up, and there's no doubt of high production value in this, but that does not a guaranteed series make...

Definitely a series to keep an eye out for, although I have to say that Amanda's attempted British accent (and "attempted" is the polite word) is not working in the series favour... (at least they didn't have David Boreanaz try to keep up an Irish accent, thankfully).


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Sunday, 27 July 2008

HC Again

Yep, it's out already. Mainly because we had a shorter time and called it quits early (mainly due to not having a short second mod and half the players leaving...).

Anyway, with one usual player (Pete) away, Logan was looking at rerunning some older mods that some of the players hadn't done or listened to before. I wasn't sure which ones I have heard, so I decided to take a pragmatic approach to the matter...

Thus, this is a mod in which I GM! (Took Logan by surprise, ha! (In a good way.)) Set in Trinity again, this was making a point which I don't know if anyone picked up on (it wasn't a subtle point, but not one I explicitly state). But it did end in a way I wasn't expecting, and now I have to deal with that. Note that this is dealing with adult subject matter. Trinity: Fire Inside: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.


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I've been rewatching Series 3 of Doctor Who, and one thing that affords is being able to make more connections. And I've noticed a few things:

* In Smith and Jones, the Doctor transfers genetic material via a kiss.

* In The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords, the Master is kissing Lucy Saxon a lot.

* (And just what other genetic transfer has happened between him and his wife?)

* A red fingernailed hand (admittedly that of the production manager and not the actress) picks up the ring at the end...

So has Lucy being contaminated and now thinks she is the Master? And was subdued while the original Master was around? Could this be not only why she shot him, but also chanted the Doctor's name? To whit, "get this guy out of the way, so I can be the Master proper".

While most of us picked Lucy as the hand at the end, it's only when one recalls the first episode of the series that the mechanism comes out.

(Although whether or not RTD was thinking any of that is anyone's guess... and maybe we'll see the Master (Mastrix?) return in one of the specials??)


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Saturday, 26 July 2008

Chickens without Heads

Brilliant news, the Headless Chickens are one again reforming (although probably just as a one off). I've been relistening to their albums a lot recently, they've done some great songs... and thanks to the internet, we can see those videos of yesteryear...

Either via their own MySpace page, or on YouTube. Check out Juice, Cruise Control, Mr Moon, Supertrouper, Gasfrankenstation, Choppers, Donda Esta La Pollo, Second-time Virgin, even an interview and of course George:


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Friday, 25 July 2008

The Mole Inside...

The fifth season of the US version of The Mole is currently playing. I have to admit, this is one of the two "reality" TV shows I actually do watch (the other being Treasure Island), as I like the puzzle side of it as well as the social psychological collapse generated by the producers.

Of course, the point of The Mole is to guess... who is the Mole? (Well, preferably not guess, but work it out.) With seven weeks down, there are only two episodes of game left (with one episode of "let's all get together and see how the Mole worked") so it must be obvious by now who the Mole is...

(Rest is hidden from the main page as spoilers for those who want to see the series without giving anything away, although at the time of this post, there are still episodes to go, so I can't reveal who the winner is, as I don't know!)

So far, I'm not doing too well. My first pick (Kristen) got executed a few weeks ago, and my new choice (Clay) went in the latest episode. Sigh. The most obvious Mole is Nicole, but if so, she is playing a very obvious game. Double bluff? Yeah, to be honest, I am largely just guessing here, and I'm not the one stuck in the stressful situation trying to work out what's going on!(*)

A few weeks ago, there was an execution... and a bribe! I have to admit, if I had been there, I would have hesitated the first round... but then taken the (more) money the second time. Well played Ali!

It's all very intriguing, and I'm enjoying it a lot. Still, never get me watching Survivor or Great Race though...

(*) A point some times made towards RPG podcasts with "backseat" players having a far easier experience that the actual players at the time...


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Thursday, 24 July 2008

HC Again

Last time we continued a game that had started the previous weekend, and now there were all bar one new players! Actually, not entirely true, as we later had a shark come in that had also been there, but it didn't look good to start with. While we waited to see if TJ could make it, we prevaricated, so feel free to skip the first fifteen minutes. And I'm not linking to the earlier set of podcasts, just go over to the HC podcast board and grab it yourselves.

Also, from what other people have said, the audio cuts off rather abruptly. I haven't listened to the 'casts myself, but if we get to end of mission card-play, then we don't do much else exciting. Eh. Take your chances... Frenzy Three part 2: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7.

And then there was more chatting. I had two topics to bring up, one being using NPC rolls on PCs (eg fast talk), but don't really think that was properly addressed, but I suspect the answer would have been the same. Secondly, running HC system at a convention. If I can create some cards, I just might run a game at an RPG convention in the future... Gamer Talk Twenty-Eight: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.


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Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Got Smart

Yep, yet another TV series remade into a movie, but everyone loved Get Smart, so this one had a lot to live up to, not to mention the inevitable "updating".

Fortunately, Steve Carell makes for an excellent Maxwell Smart. Anne Hathaway as Agent 99... eh, I'm less enamored of. And lots of other great casting, including the original Siefried, huzzah! Oh, but the fond memories all this dredges of Don Adams and Edward Platt... (are the original episodes out on DVD?)

Plot-wise, it's not that complex. Certainly, I picked the main bad guy out pretty quickly although I did occasionally lose track of why they went to certain places for their set pieces. And pretty much 'set pieces' they were. Moments of comedy abound, without much subtly, so in keeping with the original series there. Lots of references to the original, with, as they had to have, the shoe phone and several catch phrases. The new Hymie though... I'm sure they tried, but I am wondering if Patrick Warburton was quite in shape enough for it... Still, Max is not a pratt, and is actually capable, thankfully avoiding the direction they could so easily have gone in.

Great movie to catch, especially if you know the original. And, of course, it bookends with the door gags to just cap everything off.


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Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Monster Mash (4e style)

I'm looking at maybe getting in on a D&D 4e game, so need to make decisions about what race, class, etc... Fortunately, Wizards of the Coast have interviewed a few of the monsters so I can get to know them better. First up, the Tiefling and the Gnome:

Also, there's the beholder and the mind flayer.


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Monday, 21 July 2008

Running from shadows

More Shadowrunning, this time I played a Dwarf melee fighter. We were informed that the modo would be combat heavy, so that sound appropriate. Pity we face an investigation mod instead, which was interesting, but none of us really had a suitable character (eg a hacker) for that.

Still, we managed to get to the source of the problems. However, this was after we possibly got someone killed for an eye. Organ harvesting can lead to so many problems.

Managed to have a decent scene as the fighter though. Got hit for 7 points by the enemy, putting me 2 dice down, but then I got three goes in the round (Wired Reflexes rock!), and while my dice sucked for soaking up the damage, in my three goes, I killed with one punch one enemy per go (7 or 8 successes each time)! Now that proved to be hot dice! However, that was pretty much the only rolling I did in the game... which really was because I didn't have a character that had skills suitable...

At some point, I should pick up a Shadowrun manual and maybe design my own character, but for now it's fun playing different pre-gens each time.


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Sunday, 20 July 2008

Sensing Money

Ooh, there's an expose that'll blow the psychic scammers out of the water! An article asks if Sensing Murder is full of sleuths or scammers?

Interesting points are raised. The Sensing Murder Psychic Challenge is raised, although of course it's no surprise it hasn't been taken up. ($20,000? I'm sure those psychics make far more than that chump change... and I'm sure they have very good reasons for avoiding it, even ignoring the "circus" aspect of it.) (No mention is made of the $100,000 more general challenge.)

Vicki Hyde talks about the basics of sounding like you know what you are doing: be flattering to your customer, and use cold reading techniques if you can't get hot ones (and I'm sure there are hot reading psychics and mediums out there...).

The article also points out that nothing has really come of these investigations. I'm not surprised families are contact creating company Ninox, if nothing else their cases are made more public and that might make someone else come forward with evidence, which is all for the good. But aside from that... [And note that I fully agree that the police should be the ones making the full investigations, from a legal point of view.]

One case is mentioned of when a psychic helped. I managed to find this post which relates the article. A few things I note: no specifics are given on how specific the psychic was, the police already knew the area and other Alzheimer's patient had been searched for there, and it took two searches to find the items (admittedly one was late Friday). The eventual location was "bank of the river". Hmmm... just how much detail was given? Did the psychic know the area was where one had been found before? Did the psychic merely trigger a thought?

And is this the only case that can be cited of a psychic helping???? Surely if psychics are all so powerful, they would be solving cases all over the place...

Psychics have been going on for over a hundred years, claiming all sorts of powers. None of which has been confirmed in proper lab tests (check out Uri Geller for many improper lab tests). And note: I don't care how nice these people are. Scientific proof is what matters, and that is definitely missing.


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Saturday, 19 July 2008

Periodically speaking

The Periodic Table is a weird and strange creation that no-one understands, and will forever be beyond the reach of mortal men....

Unless you like science, that is! And especially if you like music and videos!

George Hrab (artiste-extraodinair) had created a song for each of the periodic elements from Hydrogen to Ununoctium, and released it on his Geologic Podcast feed.

But that's not all. Music is cool, but if you really want to know more about each element, what scientists (in this case, British ones) talking about and playing with each element, all in their own videos.

(Independent ideas, but neat that they came out at the same time.)


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Friday, 18 July 2008

It's Horrible, Doctor!

What could be better than no new Joss Whedon product? How about new Joss Whedon product!

Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog

Neil Patrick Harris is Dr. Horrible, evil mastermind out to rule the world (as you do), and trying to get the girl (played by Felicia Day). Only problem, his nemesis, Captain Hammer, as played by Nathan Fillion...


And there's singing! (Hence the 'sing-a-long' part.) Three episodes, 13 minutes each, up for FREE on that blog, but only for a limited time... and then there'll be a release later on DVD with extra features and stuff as the producers try to get their money back...

But, who cares. Go, listen, enjoy!


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Thursday, 17 July 2008


It's the latest vehicle for Will Smith, it's a drama/comedy, it's a superhero movie that in many other movies would have ended half-way, it's an entertaining watch, it's... Hancock!

It has often been said that superhero fiction is the hardest to sell, although this is written fiction, not viewed fiction. Certainly Marvel are making their mint, but with using known characters. For Hancock, this is an entirely new superhero set-up, not based on any graphic novels or comics or books or TV series or... anything! Way-hey! An actual original superhero concept... what a scoop!

(Well, not that entirely original. He has flight and superstrength and invulnerability... fairly standard powers to be honest, but, hey, it's not Marvel or DC or anything, so that's good.)

The main point is, of course, that Hancock isn't liked. (I'm presuming you've seen trailers, so nothing is revealed here.) And the movie becomes about rehabilitating Hancock's image... only, there is more than just that, but that I won't discuss. The other aspect is something different (although still a steal from other sources), and it's nice to see something else being brought into play in this movie. Certainly made me wonder where the movie was going, and that was something good.

Will Smith is great in the main role (and Hancock didn't spout on about using e-meters to clean himself up), but I didn't recognise Charlize Theron until I saw the credits (and stay for those). Jason Bateman plays a good good guy, and there are moments where it could have gone terribly maudlin, but they stay away from that line.

Definitely a movie to check out, and one that doesn't entirely fall into the usual superhero cliches of the moment.


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Wednesday, 16 July 2008

HC Again

Logan was away weekend previous, so no games for me, but that also meant he wasn't as prepared for last weekend as he wanted to be, and so I volunteered to run a game.

This is the introduction to a new campaign setting, a place where I can have things happen without impacting on New York and Logan's stuff. Now, some people might find it a little bit familiar, but there's a reason for that... I ripped it off from the series! Check out Trinity Prologue: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6. (And this is what Ulman saw...)

And due to my complaining last time, we got stuck into another module afterwards, when I got to play Terry again. (Although, to be honest, we took too long and were all too weary at the end.) This was a repeat of one of the previous weekends games: Roller Derby Redoux: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.


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Sherlock Holmes and the Case of TSV #58

Yep, TSV time again. We're up to #58, and if we continue at the rate of one per month, we'll be right on the heels of the actual issues in a year...

But anyway, lots of stuff in this issue, Scott Gray talks about the DWM strip Happy Deathday, which was in one the recent DWM collections. Peter Adamson and Alistair Hughes begin their epic journey going Beyond the Sofa, which is of course classic reading (watch out for the cat's input!). And then there's the Doctor Who take on the Locked Room Mystery.

Of course, the most important piece in this issue was already online, namely Sherlock Holmes and the Case of Dr. Who, an examination of the Sherlock Holmes references in Andy Lane's All Consuming Fire. That piece took a while to put together, with lots of looking up references in books (I really wish I had a copy of The Encyclopaedia Sherlockiana) and trying to work out if Andy actually made an oblique reference or just put stuff from... that place... The only change I might make now is to be stronger on the Spontaneous Human Combustion angle, which while I'm still fond of, is complete rubbish. Eh. Anyway, I'm still quite proud of what I put together and hope others find it useful.

And here are Alden's and Paul's comments.


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Tuesday, 15 July 2008

That tune o' Fire and Ice

There is a new RPG out A Song of Fire and Ice, based on the George R. R. Martin books. Now, I haven't read the books, but I put my hand up for a recent go at using the quick-start rules and being a player in the sample adventure (Nicholas Rivers for those who care).

The rules are not standard. Roll a pool of dice, dropping dice depending on it you had bonus dice or penalty dice (generally we had bonus dice, so generally did well). Combat was very quick (which may be a good thing), but similar rules are put into social combat ("numbers around the role-playing" to a degree, but the role-playing is still significant)... It takes a moment to get your head around it, but in most cases it isn't a problem. (That said, we glossed over working out full damage and such which involves high level maths (like subtraction and stuff).)

All up, yep, it was fun. The rules, as such, aren't really specific to the system, in that (at least in the quick start rules) there's no special skills or anything that couldn't be any general medieval/fantasy setting. The setting is, of course, highly specific. Although we didn't get into it, there is the promise of a lot of political machinations, but I must confess that that doesn't really interest me. (As such, a brief one-off is interesting, but a more extended campaign isn't for me.)

From the players there, those who were fans of the books got far more out of it than I did. I'm sure there will be players who want to get into it for just the game potential, but knowing the books is going to be the default position of the players.


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Saturday, 12 July 2008

That's very specific

Just near where I live is a very intriguing sign. Not the sort of thing you'd expect to see as you walk about, and while minimalist, it gets the interest.

What? What is Red? What is this? Answer below the fold (assuming you're not seeing this on an RSS feed, in which case there is no fold).

Red is a shop that takes a theme and runs with it. Red clothing, red jewelry, red handbags, red necklaces, red... anything, really.

Can our economy support such a place? They're still there at the moment, so the answer is: currently, yes.

If you want to visit it, it's at the corner of Owen and Constable streets in Newtown, open Fridays and Saturdays.


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Friday, 11 July 2008

SNS: Remember Me

Episode 2 of Season 3 is Remember Me by John Dorney.

Steel: "Kiss me quick". How very droll.
Sapphire: I thought you might appreciate it.

After the reset button is pressed at the end of the previous audio (although... there is that voice... calling out "Can you hear me?"...), we're back with Sapphire and Steel investigating yet another strange happening. And while we all expect Sapphire and Steel to win, what if they can't remember where they are, what they're doing, and who they are fighting?

There is an interesting take on memory in this story, raising questions around what is reality? vs what is remembered? Unfortunately, John Dorney doesn't answer them very well (the explanation and powers of the Big Bad is especially dubious), but then for him they are only just a reason to talk about his intended topic: forgotten comedians. Indeed, most of Part 3 is all about shining a light on what could be almost any comedian's dark real life (and the complete lack of humour that really was), but... well... John's a lot more interested in that than I am. Me, I prefer the more intriguing memory-stuff. Pity.

And speaking of Part 3, I'm not saying there was padding in this story, but given the framing memory narrative, the big scenes concerning his true idea do come across as indulgent, and could largely have been dropped without adversely impacting the story overall. (And I could say the same thing about Kate's character, who is basically a retread of Eric that we are supposed to root for because... she's young? she's a she? Not sure, to be honest.) The first two Parts pace fine, but the final two could either be compressed or rewritten entirely.

Not that any of this is a problem with the cast. Sam Kelly embodies the role of Eric as only Sam Kelly brilliantly can (and I've recently seen some of his earlier work watching the Porridge series), while Joannah Tincey as Kate has a hard line to walk between been worn down and being likable. I'm sure David Horovitch enjoyed his part, getting to stretch his actor chops by taking on so many different characters (no behind-the-scenes (yet) to reveal more on that). However, am I beginning to detect a certain... ennui in the main cast? David Warner's picture is of him looking grouchy, and Steel certainly was that in the audio, and even Susannah Harker's pictures looking "yep, here again". (Just as well they didn't do much in the first play, and there's one coming up with just Silver and Gold.)

A decent enough try, but the tricky questions are avoided in favour of telling a different story. Still, an enjoyable enough tale for two hours.


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Thursday, 10 July 2008

Security flaw: a working computer

Windows updates are great things. Where else can you get random "security patches" that fix things you have no idea were wrong and have no control over in any way shape or form.

Take KB951748 for example. Huh? Something about DNS problems... Can't say I ever noticed any problems, and everything's been working fine for me so far. (But I'm willing to cut them some slack, who knows how many times my computer's been hacked without my knowledge?)

So, fine, patch downloaded and installed...

Hang on... where'd my internet go? I can't connect to anything, not even my D-Link hub! (At least that test stopped me from thinking of hassling my ISP.) Both of my computers are down, and the last thing I did was install an update... perhaps there's a link?

Certainly, when I uninstalled it, I got the internet back (and thus, able to make this post). Fortunately, the power of the internet was able to come to my aid once more in finding out if it was just me. And nope, it wasn't.

The problem is around ZoneAlarm. I use ZoneAlarm. Good product. Free. But apparently when Microsoft decided to update some files, ZoneAlarm didn't realise and fell over.

There look to be some fixes, such as clean reinstall of ZA, setting ZA to medium security setting, or simply ignoring the latest patch... But have tried the clean install and not happening. Oh well, hopefully they'll get it all sorted out within some useful timeframe...

EDIT: A press release by ZoneAlarm contains links to working files.


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Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Skeptic pron!

The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe (podcast) is slowly getting it's A into G and producing videos. So far they've only compiled small vids but they do have bigger plans. This one is about an exciting, and of course real!, ghost photo:

Also, they discuss the alien video... Keep an eye on their channel.


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Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Time Shifting

Don't look here, go play Shift 3! (It's what I've been doing...)


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Monday, 7 July 2008

DW: Episode 4.13

You can easily see why it needed to be so long, what with all those endings...

The Daleks want to wipe out the entire universe... why again? What's the point? Seriously? (And did no-one hear The Apocalypse Element?) If they succeeded, yes they will be the only lifeforms in the universe, but, more importantly,... they will be the universe!! I don't know why they bothered with ships, because there would be nowhere to go. In fact, entropy would degrade their systems, and there would be no other material around to repair them, so they would just be hastening their own destruction. There's Pyrrhic victory, but that's going a bit far... (And why did we need Davros in particular? Except for being an easier mouthpiece, there really wasn't other reason, and if left alone the Daleks would have probably just exterminated the Doctor to begin with, and been a lot better for it...) Just as well it could all be fixed by simply flicking some switches!

But then we need something epic (destruction of the universe) to get together everyone, and their dog. Aside from tying together all the series and companions, did we really need them all? Yes, they all had a small part to play, but... they all had a small part to play. Some of them deserved better treatment that a mere 15 seconds of screentime (metaphorically speaking). Celebratory, yes, but not really respectful.

And then there's DoctorDonna. (I did, for some moments, think they might end up with Donna becoming a TARDIS...) I'm not sure what to say... yes, yes I did like it. Okay, I admit it. It was something new, even if Catherine Tate spouting technobabble was very disturbing, but it really was something we haven't seen before (...pause for Jon Preddle to point out several other similar situations...). And, oh your gods, how it gave something for the shippers out there. But we knew it had to end badly, not just because of what Kahn said. This is RTD, who not only needs to spend 10-15 minutes on wrapping things up after the episode ends, but loves to give us shocking, heart-rending endings (not that I was heart-rended, but then I'm a heartless bastard). Events happen to those who travel with the Doctor, and Donna was set up for tragedy from the start. An actual character arc! (Even if it ended with a huge reset button push. Meh. At least that meant we got to end with brilliant character actor Bernard Cribbens. Yay!)

This brings to close another season series of Doctor Who. No doubt there will be much writing done on this in fan magazines for some time to come, but it was a hell of a roller coaster to end four years of new Who on.

Next time: Cyber-tastic?


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Sunday, 6 July 2008

More Spore

Spore sounds like a great game. One that nearly makes me want to buy it (although my computer probably can't even slightly handle it).

A big step has been taken to promote Spore, and that is to release the Creature Creator. With this you can play around, create lots of creatures, with the scope merely limited by whether or not you get the free or full version from the Spore website.

However... and there is a however... one must ask: what price does one have to pay? No, not the actual price of the game, but the price of the EULA. One big issue about big games is what the users have to go through in order to actually merely play the game. And from the sounds of it, the security system for Spore will be a bitch. (I know I've be reluctant to install my Lego Star Wars because of SecuRom rumours...)

I can see that the piracy for this game will be strong, which of course is cited as the reason for the security system... but the ones who entangle with it aren't the ones who it's targeted against. (Reminds me of those copyright ads.)

Basic question: if there was minimal checking (eg. has to be a CD in the tray), would there be more or less people willing to buy the actual game? Just think about it...


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Saturday, 5 July 2008

Ain't she a beautiful sight?

We were cautioned with major delays to getting to work on Friday, because... there was a convoy on the roads! Truckers took to the road in a united effort to draw attention to increased road charges. (One joke I heard "since people were getting to work early, this would mean more productivity, so we should have more price increases"... yeah...)

Certainly there were some blockages this morning...

Me, I got to work fine, and didn't even hear them around until 9am (and continued to hear the occasional horn blast for the next hour). I didn't get photos myself, but did grab cam images.

While I wasn't bothered, I can't say the same for everyone.

Don't worry, there are better photos around. And while this looked to be a good idea, some people took it too far.

As for me, I know nothing about road charges, but certainly I'm willing to take their view that something is off. But not sure that ultimately anything good will come from this... yet.

(And, yes, I did have that song going through my head.)


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Friday, 4 July 2008

War Crimes are Fun!

A comment posted to my George Carlin post was a pointer to the site Fun With War Crimes. Now, while possibly spam, there was a link to a yourube video, so I knew that was safe to check out, so I was willing to give it a go...

Okay, yeah. This is not subtle political commentary, but it is fun! The basic set up is that the Bush administration is on trial for the Iraq situation, and... as I say, it's not subtle.

The first three episodes are up, "Heckuva Job!", "9/11 Changed Everything" and A Throbbing Surge, and the trailer is below. There will be eight episodes in all, so do check out Fun With War Crimes.


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Thursday, 3 July 2008

Ultimate vapourware

The story of the current 15 seconds is... someone is selling their soul on TradeMe. As the article mentions, this was tried on eBay, but pulled as their contracts say that the item has to exist and a 'soul' was too tenuous a concept to be allowed. (Didn't stop a book being published called "I Soul My Soul on eBay", but that was about an atheist who was actually selling his time to go to churches in proportion to people bidding, and the money went to charity anyway.)

However, not such restriction applies to TradeMe that I can find. Certainly, my own views on the existence of a soul should be guessable by all, but failing that the winner will get a nice framed certificate.

The question and answer section is interesting and amusing. There are numerous references to that Simpsons episode, and references to religious implications (which Walter merely comments as 'interesting'. The very fact of him selling his soul either points to his own religious convictions, or a healthy sense of humour, or both!)

The idea of a soul, a nefariously ill-defined concept, is a tempting idea, the idea that something will live on when the body dies. There's certainly no scientific evidence towards it, and certainly not that it weighs 21 grams. That doesn't stop the idea from being captivating, and much has been made from convincing people that their soul is in jeopardy. All that taken into account... I think the best anyone will get out of that auction is the nice frame...

EDIT UPDATE: His soul went to Hell. ;)


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Wednesday, 2 July 2008

On St Caspians Day

The latest in that seven-movie franchise of money grabbing is Harry Potter and... I mean: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. It's big and glossy and... has a lot of battling.

I'm not sure how much is in the book, or if it's broken up more, but there seems to be a lot of battling present. Most of the second half is one group fighting another in some location or another (the first half of the movie is spent getting the two main plots to meet). I have the books to read, so that'll be interest to see. (Certainly I'm not sure of the Christian imagery being tried for here, but I couldn't read much religion into this one...)

Of course the main point of the Narnia series is that swathes of time passes in Narnia, and so aside from the main four leads, there aren't any characters in common (well, except for the lion, of course, and another one I have no idea is supposed to be there or not from the book, if so would make the uber-arc a lot more interesting). The new characters are mainly affecting Spanish or Italian accents, and for some reason, except Caspian, all of them have beards... why, I'm not sure, but it is amusing to watch the big "army march" when there is row upon row of only bearded men walking past. (Continuing to speak of battles, interesting that in most of the battles there are few women taking part, aside from Susan.)

Big and pretty to look at, it's a long movie so be sure to be ready for it, and for extended fight scenes...


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Tuesday, 1 July 2008

DW: Episode 4.12

Set up that last episode, RTD! And make sure as little as possible actually happens!

That may sound odd, but little actually happens that can't be summarised as "The Daleks attack, and the Doctor arrives". Sounds like the opening teaser really, and it is in many ways, as we head into Journey's End. The main point of the episode is to remind the viewers of who is who (in the new series Whoniverse), and position them for the final climatic... climax. (Now, I admit, I didn't see the Doctor's climax coming (oo-er missus), but the rest were predictable in that people must be put in jeopardy as the end tune hits, and who else to put in danger but companions?)

There were many beats hit in this episode, "Mr Smith, I need you", "Harriet Jones" (done three times, of course, with everyone knowing who she is), Captain Jack hits of everyone, Rose gets emotional... but one can hope that was a kind of "greatest hits" and that next time we can get on with it.

Many plot points were hit on as well, the Medusa Cascade, the bees, the missing planets... good to know that they were being set up for something (but we knew that anyway from last week's Confidential, as well as RTD's usual arc tactics). As for new plot points... well, we all know the Daleks and Davros were involved, but did we need Davros? Big Finish proved that the Daleks work fine without him (even if they caved and now we have tons of Davros stories...), and previous episodes were good. Still, sooner or later, one feels the need to give the Daleks more voice than their usual staccato utterances and Davros is a lot better than those Big Name Daleks...

Yes, I admit it was nice to see those old faces (but do we really need to beat on the Doctor/Rose relationship so much? Have the viewers not moved on, even if clearly RTD hasn't (or, at least, thinks the audience hasn't)? Bring on the last big episode, and Who ever is in it...

Next week: No idea. And not sure if a leaked trailer is a good or bad thing to watch...


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