Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Da-dum... da-dum...


But to fill out the post more, here's a random video I found about some other Doctor Who RPG.


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Monday, 29 June 2009

HC Again

Yep, once more... blah blah blah.

We actually do building stuff! Amazing! We never do building stuff! And we do it better than the Saturday crew! Top of the World.

After that, we even had time for a case! A rather straight forward case, in which we know something bad will happen at midnight, so that's what time I aimed for. But not what we expected. System Error Redoux.

Then, surprise! I turn up on the next day! At the end of TARO, I then get in on a more standard mod, in which we lose two players, and have no freaking clue what the hell is going on. And avoid the obvious as much as possible. Judge.


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The Transformers have Fallen

Going to see a movie at 10am on a Sunday morning? Madness! And a non-packed theatre, even on the first week of release, so yay for that.

As for the movie itself. Let's be upfront, this picture is not going back win any awards for Best Movie or even 100 Movies You Must See. However, that's not really the point. It's a picture about a bunch of robots that beat up on each other while some humans wander around trying to be in the same league.

Unfortunately to watch this movie, we have to deal with Michael Bay's Paint-Tin-Shaking Cam. What is his problem that he doesn't want us to understand what's going on? There were some moments where I was simply giving up on following and trusted Bay that it didn't really matter and could simply come back in when he calmed down a bit.

Back to the plot, where we find out that the history of the Transformers on earth was more than we thought and our planet is super important! (Really? This backwater dump a spiral arm?) And, of course, Sam is at the centre of it all (I agree that Megan Fox is way too hot for that relationship). The first half is "run away" and the second half is "run towards". Eh, just relax and watch the robots.

Which are annoying because of the combination of them moving around too much and the camera also. I'm not bothered by the duo as they are more like rednecks that wanna be jive talkers. The pirate-robot-thingy did annoy me (what the ____ where they thinking?), but Destructor was cool if underused.

Ultimately, do not go see this with high expectations and it should be entertaining enough.


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Friday, 26 June 2009

All the hits

With the news splashing all over the webs and elsewhere (just how many documentaries are currently being prepped?) of Michael Jackson's death, I shall help out by posting the number one hits he's had. But which ones to select? Because I'm lazy, here are the number one hits he has (has had?) selected for DVD release.

"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"
"Rock with You"
"Billie Jean"
"Beat It"
"The Way You Make Me Feel"
"Man in the Mirror"
"Smooth Criminal"
"Dirty Diana"
"Black or White"
"You Are Not Alone"
"Earth Song"
"Blood on the Dance Floor"
"You Rock My World"

(And yet, no "Remember the Time")


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Thursday, 25 June 2009

One way to deal with obesity

Fine, we are in a recession. Fine, we need to get people into work as the numbers of people on benefits are rapidly increasing. However... is putting people into McDonalds really the best idea?

My main immediate thought is: would these people pass the requirements to be hired by McDonalds in the first place? I hope there is some prelimary screening, but I can also easily see circumstances that lead to McDonalds going "we want government money so we will hire whoever you send us, regardless of ability."

Which leads me to wonder if I would even want to consider eating a burger made by someone who isn't there because they can actually successfully put a pattie on a bun (they made be able to, but might not have been tested on that ability, so no guarantee), possibly served to me by someone who doesn't give a rat's arse about smiling or making sure that the packing actually contains the burger as it is passed to me (not that this is necessarily happening competantly at the moment...).

So, this could be a cunning plan to make sure people stay away from McDs, leading to healthier food options. Now that's an interesting health plan! Although if that did happen, I suspect that all that would happen is that other fast food joints would see an increase in their profits...


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Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The Chronicles of a DM: Part IX

After a rest, and picking up Velduur, they head back to the battlements to encounter a main boss fight in the form of the arrival of Magrathar the larva mage. He asks them politely to stop inconveniencing him and to throw themselves over the battlements. The PCs decide not to take him up on his offer. [Again Alrick busts out Evard's Tentacles before too long, and once again that pins down a lot of the enemies. Really a way of completely undercutting the battle. The larva mage does manage to keep out of them for most of the fight and beat up the paladin for a while, but that's completely irrelevant as the tentacles are the only important factor. Boom, bang, and they're all dead.]

With Magrathar's ring, they are able to cross the catwalk [skipping an encounter], and head into the Spire itself, finding a group of people including a Medusa at an altar. [Because Alrick is now EPIC level he is severly broken, which means that he can cast Evard's twice a day, and get it back if he spends an action point. Which adds up to TWO tentacle areas to completely gut the enemies. Sigh. It just makes everything so fricking pointless!!! It doesn't take many rounds before they're all dead.]

Without even a break for a little rest, the second wave attacks! [The text reads "if they have no problem with the first wave, throw the second wave at them immediately" and so I did. This fight does go on a lot longer, partly because I manage to stun the paladin for most of the fight. However, because they got another action point for the milestone, then BAM another set of tentacles. I highly doubt that WotC thought of this set up when they were designing powers. Hardly surprising but the PCs win again.]

Onwards, to the final controntation with Urishtar herself...


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Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Go, Joss! Go, Joss!

It's your birthday! It's your birthday!

So, dance, man, dance! Remember: dignity in all things.

(And if you didn't already know, Numfar is played by some guy called Joss Whedon, who was born 45 years ago.)


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Monday, 22 June 2009

HC Again

Up first, we have a guest GM in the form of Marcus, and a raid on a gun shop. Could the KBC be involved in more than just investigating it? CBK All The Way.

Next up, we head in past the Cubical Jungle and into the city of Urdon on the planet of Gor. Terry is a builder, and has the medal to prove it! Rubbing the Stones.


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Sunday, 21 June 2009

DW: Prisoner of the Daleks

Will the third highly mysterious evil guest villains please sign in? Who could it be, in Prisoner of the Daleks, by Trevor Baxendale.

Okay, I have been a fan of Trevor Baxendale, but this does not rate as one of his better novels. Or a good novel in general. Somehow the Doctor is in pre-Time War time (really? that can happen?) and encounters the Daleks in a year that we never find out, but I kept thinking of this as happening during the Big Finish Dalek Empire series. He encounters a group of Dalek bounty hunters (although none are called even a slight variant of Tannant), but soon uncover a Dalek plot that probably means the end of everything, but if the entirety of reality isn't at stake apparently we aren't in a proper Doctor Who story.

As for being a Prisoner of the Daleks, that's a lot of a wet noodle. May as well have called the story Dalek instead Prisoner of van Statten for all the Prisoner-ering there is.

The bounty hunters themselves are extremely generic: the aggressive one, the grizzled captain, the engineer, the one that dies at the beginning... not a lot of originality here. The Doctor doesn't get huge reams of character development either. He doesn't like Daleks. Ooh, now there's deep insight.

Even with the Daleks, even with Baxendale writing, I still can't recommend this.

Order: Whatever.


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Saturday, 20 June 2009

It is news after all!

I was thinking about maybe discussing the exciting story of Obama kills a fly! Really? This was news? How slow does the news day have to be before this makes headlines?

On the other hand, it was posted in OddStuff, and we are talking the Pres of the US here, so it's not like this was considered the most important current events situation of the world today, but instead an easy piece that coudl easily be overlooked unless you really cared.

Someone did. Who? PETA of course. Although, to be fair, to was started by the media wanting to know PETA's reaction... not that PETA have been known to have overdone views on treatment of animals and other creatures that make for amusing media fodder or anything... Their reaction? He's just a guy being bothered by a fly... but he should have used a bug catcher to deal with it without killing it...

Do they use medication to kill bateria and viruses in their own bodies then?


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Friday, 19 June 2009

Skeptics Mix Tape

Here's the brilliant George Hrab, singing what could be the skeptic's anthem. If you want to hear a proper version of this, and other songs by skeptics or at least on skeptical issues, check out the Skeptics Mix Tape.


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Thursday, 18 June 2009

HC Again

Because of people being crazy, we do a simple CSI-style case, where CSI-style means ripped from Castle. Mildly interesting, but irritating in a way because we could easily slip to a vital clue without wasting the the time we did.

We have a new special day player with us, and watch out for one character's near career ending move. Never trust the GM.

Frozen Redoux.


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This is a great bit

Ever heard Jose Jimenez - The Astronaut? If not, check it out!


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Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The Chronicles of a DM: Part VIII

Alrick and Reed fight on, round the corner, and find a many-headed beast. A Hydra! RAWR!!! There are a bunch of ogres and flamespewers as well, and the most intelligent around are the ogres. Oh yeah, this will be the fight of the intellects... [And stupid fight it is. The ogres are minions, so are easily dealt with, leaving the huge hit point Hydras and the flamespewing lizard things. I need to look into the Paladin powers, as whenever the Hydra attacked Alrick, the latter healed, and since I didn't always hit (in fact I rolled terribly!), it meant that Alrick was really hurt. I mean rarely hurt. If it weren't for doing non-AC attacks (against Reflex in this fight) I wouldn't hit at all. Since the Hydra was a slog, I ruled that if they got the Hyrda bloodied, and got down to one flamespewers, I'd charge them a healing surge and end the fight. The PCs were going to win, and slogging it out was boring, so let's roll on.]

They make their way through the fortress and up on to the battlements, in sight of the way to the Spire. However, they encounter a group of Slaads. Alrick tries diplomacy ("Give in to us, or die.") but since the Slaads only speak Primordial, we'll just move on to the battle. [Alrick threw down an Evard's Black Tentacles, but didn't know the Slaads could teleport... although once they teleported out of the area, they were will immobilised... huh. Still, it did break the fight up, and the range of vs Reflex, vs Will and vs Fortitude attacks meant I actually did some damage! But not a lot. And to the damage-soaking person. Sigh. Still, it did take time, and I still failed to hit many times. Eh.]

With that, they scored the fourth soul ring. As they found out last time, the rings together unite to combine... a way to summon the next fight! Next time...


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Tuesday, 16 June 2009

DW: The Slitheen Excursion

The amazingly well-hidden monsters continue in The Slitheen Excursion by Simon Guerrier.

The Doctor conveniently meets June, from present day, and decides to take her back to ancient Athens because... he can. Then he encounters a distress signal and goes back even further to find alien interference in history. Really? That almost never happens, except all the time in the new series. And guess which alien race are behind it all? Go on, just guess.

I will reveal something that is wrong on the cover. Yes, very pretty, but they are all wearing neck-thingees which they use to get in and out of flesh suits. However, that never happens in this book. They have control unit things, but around their wrists! The reason I bring this up is that you spend a lot of time expecting, surprise!, Bob the ancient person is instead a Slitheen!! Complete mislead.

But on the whole alien interference aspect, it's not really that exciting. Aliens gather humans together to fight, fight, fight, and yet... it's mainly everyone standing around talking! There's very little action going on in this book with primitive humans gathered for fighting and the Slitheen hunters. The story just isn't impressive.

The characters aren't much better, in that not really developed. June, the new companion (and we'll see what the next book brings before we can confirm that title) is fairly generic. More character is given to the Slitheen, who are accurately captured, I think. As for the rest... meh.

Can currently only recommend for collect-a-holics.

Order: Again, take your pick.


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Monday, 15 June 2009

Warning: Income Dissonance Alert!

Just had to add this post.

Yesterday, saw an article Family fury as 8-year-old finds porn on hotel TV, about how an 8-year-old went into a hotel room, grabbed the TV remote and was exposed to 10 seconds (according to the mother) of hardcore pornography on the screen (the child "lost part of his innocence". The mother immediately "overreacts", as pointed out in the comments. Which also point out some very interesting facts about the family. But the main thrust of the comments are "the mother overreacted, 10 seconds won't harm the kid, he's going to find out about sex anyway, why not have a chat with him instead of hysterically trying to protect him". Also pointed out they see worse things on TV.

Now, compare that with another article, published today Nine-year-olds to be taught about sex, which is about new school instruction about teaching young kids about sex. (So far, no-one in the comments yet is demanding abstinence only education.) Comments are already flying about "how dare you teach this to my children", with others pointing out they see worse things on TV.

It's early minutes, so haven't see any cross-comments linking these two articles together, but I entirely expect someone to "yay" in one thread and "boo" in another...


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Knowing Me, Knowing This

Bah-ha! Nicholas Cage hits the screen in a... mess of a movie that tries to make the point that... I'm not exactly sure. Knowing is about knowing, knowing the future, knowing that there is more to this life, knowing that lying to people is the only way to go... pick any, all, or something else entirely.

The plot revolves around a ridiculous set of coincidences that makes Signs seem like nothing more than a set of fluke circumstances, and add up to a message that aliens don't like humanity and want it to suffer as much as possible. They apparently know the future, but only want one going-crazed astrophysicist to discover this.

Does this mean that the story is really about the characters, about how they relate to each other? Doubt it, as aside from a very minor arc about Nicolas' family there isn't any character development to notice let alone speak about. I'm not even sure the filmmakers wanted to care about any of the characters. Well, probably the kid, but then we are always supposed to care about the kid.

Nicholas Cage heads up a cast of... people who I think I vaguely recognise but browsing the list on IMDB brings no lightbulbs of memories. Given that this script is a random mash, there isn't much the actors can do with it, and proceed to give performances that are indeed filmed and then projected before our eyes. Huh.

Not a brilliant movie, which I knew going in. Something to go see if you have some time on your hands.


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Sunday, 14 June 2009

Wilhelm Screamed

You've all heard it. Usually I miss it until I read the trivia on IMDB. There are other compilations available, but I like this one as it features the actual death of Wilhelm.

A History of the Wilhelm Scream is also available.

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Saturday, 13 June 2009

How do you rate compared to everything?

This is a really cool video, and since I don't have anything else to post right this second:


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Friday, 12 June 2009

Panic! ... I mean, Pandemic!

Here it is, the start of the end. For the first time in my lifetime, we have a world-wide actual pandemic announced! There is a full announcement by WHO.

The important thing to do is: do not buy any amazing "swine flu" protection product. We have not yet had the time to appropriately develop a targetted cure, so anything that claims to be able to conquer Swine Flu directly is... mislead at best. And anything that claims to protect against Swine Flu and everything else under the sun is severe quackery at its best.

A quick serach of the web shows this is already up and running at the moment, check out Swine Flu Quackery, or maybe it's a Weaponized Virus, Disgusting quacks cashing in on swine flu (concerning homeopathy, that will be a big source of these things), Swine flu scammers selling fake remedies online...

This is the real pandemic to guard against.


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Thursday, 11 June 2009

DW: Judgement of the Judoon

Colin Brake starts off the next trilogy of books. See if you can guess who the returning "monsters" are in Judgement of the Judoon.

Something strange is going on, something lost must be found, and the Judoon are on the case! And so is the Doctor! Who teams up with the Judoon commander! And a plucky young girl! For danger and excitement!

Or a really boring chase around the city, involving two crime syndicates, and... not much else. I think there were supposed to be amazing character twists and revelations, but I spotted the truth as soon as their characters were introduced. I've just finished it, but even so can't think of it as another other than a boring detective run-around. Yay.

Character-wise, the Doctor is base level frenetic energy, throwing out catch-phrases, and being "sorry, so very sorry". The Judoon (who has a name, Rok Ma, but is only ever referred to as the Judoon) isn't really a Judoon. A large point of the book is about presenting the Judoon as more than just Rhino-Monsters, but though, yes, we should read below the surface, I'm not sure that turning the Judoon into just another brawn not-stupid actually counts as characterisation. As for Nikki... "Nikki Jupiter, at just seventeen, was a very accomplished private detective." Now, I've never seen the series, but I think that maybe, just maybe, she is a take off of Veronica Mars. Meh.

An... adequate book, but not thrilling.

ORDER: Could before or after Planet of the Dead.


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Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The Chronicles of a DM: Part VII

The paladin Reed returned, and along with Valdour and Alrick, entered into the next part of the fray. They begin with a quick loot of the room they were in, scoring some minor junk... before finding the really big items! Woo!

Ready for battle, they kick open the next doors and enter a large room, in which there are some fire beasties... and two strange purple motes that float in the air. [And they fail their dungeoneering checks. Heh.] The azer in charge says something [no-one speaks Giant, why would they?], and the battle is joined. [Two Huge beasts are effectively pinned by a simple use of Bigby's Grasping Hands, which occupy spaces, but can't be attacked or moved. This leaves the other three creatures which aren't that much of a problem. Indeed, only PC actually has a problem. Damn that Hospitalier Paladin. There are interesting hazards in the motes, which move around, but I couldn't make a decent attack roll with either of them. Or any of the monsters either, unless it's versus Reflex on the Paladin. Sigh.]

With nothing to loot, they look disappointed, then move on, espying a silver glimmer on the floor in the corner of the corridor. They find the VERY SECRET DOOR, and go through a short corridor to find a hidden library to find two floating ghost brother scholars. The brothers ask for their help, as they don't want to be here, but the PCs don't care as they aren't personally getting anything out of it. Eventually they strike up a bargin whereby they agree to help the brothers if the brothers give them information. [The negotiation part of the skill challenge was the only real challenge, as their skills are so high (the DCs are so low) they can't fail the 'dismantle the traps' portion.] I use this opportunity to pass on some interesting tidbits from the history of the Fortess, which while interesting isn't passed on to the players in any shape or form. Annoying.

[At this point, while discussing the oddness of the Fortress, they remember something they want to point the Paladin as, as he is the only good character. And he uses a holy symbol. He gets a previous item of bling the others missed.]

Now with party funds increased, they head into another battle, where there are souls trapped in pillars that they must give blessings to, as well as fight, fight, fight the fire creatures and two new horrific creatures. [First item of business, Alrick lays down Evard's Black Tentacles, which immobilises the enemies rending them pretty much pointless. The two Abyssal Hurlers are the only real threat, but it's not a hard fight. To be honest, if we had more time, I would have ended the fight early and gone on to the next. Meh.]

They pick up the third soul ring from the mini-bosses. One more to go...


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Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Karoshi made fun!

Another set of games that are quite fun to play are the Karoshi set. There are three games to download and play, and two more that are browser only.

The aim of the game is not to survive. In fact, it's the opposite. You play a Salaryman, and the way to the next level is to die. By spikes, by gun, by something falling on your head... the key point is death.

There are a range of levels, some a repeated between the games, but most are unique in one way or another. I did need to cheat a little to get past some levels, but got most of them myself.

One version of the game is playing with more than one character. If you like that, you might also want to check out Best Friends Forever, where you have three characters to control. Very much the same style of this and Shift.

Fun for all!


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Monday, 8 June 2009

HC Again

I don't tend to watch CSI style shows, but there's a good chance I would watch Castle. Not least of because the star is Nathan Fillion (okay, it is the least, and pretty much only, reason).

However, that ain't going to happen any time soon as Logan is mining the episodes for HC mods. In the first one, we come across someone who is replicating the murders that Castle wrote. Famous Redoux.

In the second mod of the night, is a short one, but amusing as we come across some helping hands, and ever spawning monsters. Touch of Death.


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Sunday, 7 June 2009

Torchwood: Rift War

In the Torchwood magazine there is a comic running. And the first collection of comics from the magazine were all one arc, and released under that name: Rift War.

The story is about a group of beings in another dimension (or some such place, I'm not sure) attacking Torchwood, as Torchwood will be destroying them. They come across one person, Vox, who sides with them as the other beings are against him as well. But all is not what it seems.

Well, of course it isn't. Why make things simple? On the other hand, why make things original? The twists of the characters is in no way new, and can be seen long before its made clear to the audience, and then we have to wait for the good guys to find out. In the mean time, there's a lot of confusing events, and a giant baby, and a really messed up ending and I have no idea what happened there.

The artwork is... I can't be nice here, as there were many, many times I wasn't sure if I was looking at Owen or Ianto, possibly Jack... or possibly Gwen. Certainly I could never tell Gwen from Tosh unless Tosh was wearing glasses or the speech explicitly said. Fine, I can't draw, and I know people who will say I shouldn't comment, but the art just isn't that good, from a character point of view.

(In contrast there is another story at the end of the collection, a one-off piece, that is also highly confusing on plot, but the character art is nearly photorealistic, to the point where I wonder if it was traced.)

Only to get if you are collecting everything you can.


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Saturday, 6 June 2009

Angels vs Demons

What better way to spend time than to enjoy a great movie? Alternatively, you could go to watch the latest Dan Brown converted story instead.

I read the story a while ago, during the whole Da Vince fiasco, and what this movie does is present that book, in a rather abbreviated style. The story points can't be jumped (unlike, for example, having only one crypto-thingy instead of two), so we are on a whistle-stop tour around the architecture of Rome so each of the four pillars can be reached.

However, while this does make the movie quick moving, it also tends to skate lightly over actual plot motivations, and the "bad guy" doesn't really get to explain himself that well. In the book, there were some very good speeches about the points of science and religion, but that's glossed over for the movie. Kind of disappointing, and would make me want to re-read the story if I didn't already have a pile of books to get to.

Another point to the light touch is that the actors happen to be on screen than actually get to act. And I didn't even realise it was Ewen McGregor or Stellan Skarsgard, but yay again for Armin Mueller-Stahl! Oh, and some guy named Tom Hanks was in it to (although thanks to the Public Enemies trailer, I keep thinking of Hanks as Hanratty).

This is a pretty movie to look at, but not one that will draw you in to a deep story.

(There's an hour long presentation on the Science of Angels and Demons on Youtube.)


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Friday, 5 June 2009

Shift to the 4th!

Are we all playing Shift 4? And by playing, I mean completing. It is different play with controlling more than one character, still a lot of fun, although it did take me some thinking to get around a few of the levels. Can do quite the speed run now.

Some hard notes: the conclusion section was quite tricky, with my first time finally getting through had less than a second on the clock! Need to be almost perfect for that one. And in the player's packs, level 5 on the hard packs is very tricky with there being a very fine line to just miss the jagged points.

Then there's the end song. Classic, that!

Can you get all the medals?


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Thursday, 4 June 2009

HC Again

Again just the one adventure last weekend, but that's all they were going to get as I was GMing! Again, another module based on a Hunter: The Vigil mod, in which they encounter a serial killer. And more!

As I knew who was going to be in it, I was able to tailor certain elements to them specifically. And then one of the characters was changed at the last minute. Stuff 'em all!

The ending proved to be rather tough, with the solution simple enough, but getting to the point of actually doing it... and it was easier for them than for actual HtV characters as our lot are on the side of the law! And yet, it wasn't easy enough.

Misery Loves Company


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Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Complete Rec

Always interesting to compare originals to remakes, and thus when I got the chance, I picked up a copy of [*REC], which was remade into Quarantine.

And remade it was, shot for shot pretty much. There are some extra scenes in Quarantine, but it's the same base script. Although [*REC] was filmed in a more raw state, with some moments put on without the actors being aware it was going to happen (such as when the fireman falls). I find it hard to believe that American productions, with the need to overplan everything and make sure safety is ensured, could have gotten away with quite that with their actors.

That all said, even having seen Quarantine, the Spanish film still built up the atmosphere very well. There were moments I was looking for, some 'jump' scares, but it was still very unsettling.

If you like the remake, should definitely find the original. Now to find a copy of Geoul Sokeuro.


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Monday, 1 June 2009


Celebrae! (I never hear the 't' and it wouldn't rhyme then anyway.)

Surprise, it's a holiday today! I didn't realise this was a long weekend until last Tuesday when a work colleague mentioned it. Wha? Since when did I stop working holiday to holiday? That's right, unlike most workers out there, I wasn't counting down until the next time when I didn't have to go to work (outside of the weekend). (Of course, this is a bad time to realise this, as the next holiday isn't until October!)

Didn't hear about sales until recently too. Whitcoulls has 25% off DVDs... Must! Not! Go! I already have too many DVDs and am looking at off-site storage options to clear my flat.

Then there is Farmers, Briscoes, Dick Smiths, Mitre 10, Warehouse, Noel Leemings... you name the (big) store, they're having "specials" or "sales". (Which basically equates to "we make less than the large profit we already make, although we are undoubtly are making profit. If we were less interested in profit, we could keep these items at these prices (or possibly even lower) all the time, but we are a business, we want money, and excuses to have sales, such as holidays, make it seem like you get some sense of savings. Ha! Come to spend money here!")

But the real question it: anyone toasting the Queen today?


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