Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Doctor Who: Season 5

At the end of this season, I'm struck by how very much like a fairy tale the overarching story of Amy Pond is...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Season Finales

A quick roundup of several shows I watch as they go on their summer breaks....

This will be spoilerish...

Mortal Kombat (PS3)

On Thursday I got invited to come to a friends house the next evening, because he'd just gotten Mortal Kombat. In anticipation, I pulled out my copy of Super Street Fighter IV. Never got to playing it much, being that I'm a more goal-driven person and SSFIV doesn't really feed into that.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions

I have a theory... I think that once you've made a great sandbox game (such as Spiderman 2 for PS2), trying to go back to linear seems like a step backwards to the audience. Which is a shame, because I think this game deserves just a little more love than it got.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Game of Thrones: Season 1, Episode 6

"There is only one thing we say to Death... 'Not today.'"

Tyrion steals the show again, confessing his crimes....

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dead Space: Downfall

What a load of crap.

If you've played the game, there's nothing here you didn't already know. Which is a shame. I was actually hoping to find out more about Isaac's girl, but I don't even remember her being in this feature.. though I gave up about 2/3 of the way in. Animation is weak, story is weak, bloated with scenes of gore for the sake of gore. And the 'f' word gets tossed out like the writers are middle school kids trying to prove themselves.

There is no redeeming value here whatsoever. It takes a lot to make me quit a movie in the middle. 1/5.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dead Space

Just finished Dead Space today, and I'm not sure how this game slipped under my radar until the horrible yourmomwillhatethis.com promotion for the sequel. A short time in, while i was still fiddling with the controls, i was staring at a door and saw what I think was a shadow from behind me. I spun around, carefully searched the hallway... waited a little longer just in case. The game had me already.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Randy "Macho Man" Savage

I've been a wrestling fan for twenty-five years, and my earliest memories were of Randy Savage, specifically his feud with George "The Animal" Steele. I'm going to share a few youtube videos of some of my favorite Randy Savage moments.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Game of Thrones: Season 1, Episode 5

Are we at the halfway point already? A nine-month wait between seasons will be cruel, but nowhere near as cruel as the six-year wait between the last book and the upcoming one.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stargate: Universe (and on endings in general)

When a young show gets cancelled, there's always that group of people who meant to watch it, might still watch it, but are worried that they'll be left hanging. When you have a show of this nature, there are four ways it can end:

Monday, May 16, 2011


When the first poster for this movie came out, I was a little worried:

V (2009) The Complete Series


I followed V from beginning to end. And if you did follow it up to the end, you were probably not disappointed at the end of this season. It was freaking awesome. I didn't even realize it was the final episode when i started watching it... about halfway through there was so much stuff happening so fast that i figured it out.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

PSN is back!

My first black ops game in, the score was 10,000 - 9,900.

My second game I hit level 50.

Survivor: Redemption Island

Spoilers, yo.

Tonight is the season finale of Survivor. I had watched the first seven seasons of Survivor... at that point, I was swamped in good tv shows, and convinced I'd seen everything there was to see in Survivor. But I picked up watching with a friend this season, and now I believe that if you only watch one season of Survivor, this is the one to watch. Here are the three characters that have made it great:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Smallville ends

Let me state up front that I quit Smallville after about season 4. After teasing that we were finally going to let Lana in on the secret after it became flat-out ridiculous that she didn't know already, they undid it and killed Jonathan Kent instead. I had no desire to keep playing the game from that point on.

I hear the show got better, and worse... and better again. Maybe they ran this cycle a couple of more times, it's hard to keep track. I had heard the last season was finishing strong, and I like what I've seen of Erica Durance... I think she might keep it watchable even through the bad times. So I was tempted to jump back in the pool this summer and see it through... but the reactions to the finale don't help my motivation when there are so many things I want to see. I think this quote seems to sum up best the reactions I'm seeing, courtesy of a gentleman named Bat-Fan Beyond in the toonzone forums:

"The last two hours of Smallville represents, to me, exactly how the series as a whole was all through the course of its entire ten season existence: A considerable amount of great moments sprinkled here and there throughout tons and tons of crap from beginning to end."
Yeah, I think I'll keep Smallville on the backburner for now. Probably until they make it super-easy for me by throwing the whole series on Netflix streaming.

I heard they killed Jimmy Olsen in the course of the show, but then went back and said it wasn't THE Jimmy Olsen, that THE Jimmy was actually inspired to follow in his older brothers footsteps. My first reaction was "What a ridiculous copout." But actually, that's a brilliant idea. If I were writing the show, I'd kill Jimmy Olsen every week, with another "Cousin Jimmy" replacing him the next week.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Doctor Who (revived) Seasons 1-4

So I'm a johny-come-lately to this one... didn't really discover it until it hit Netflix about a year ago, got through a couple seasons of it and a season of Torchwood, and even though i loved it i got dragged away and it took me forever to follow up.

It didn't impress me at first... and a two-parter involving farting aliens about four episodes in almost killed it for me entirely. But I decided to give it a little more... and suddenly, it delivered. The episode "Dalek" was a great story that gave me a little background on the Doctor, being new to this and all, and had Christopher Eccleston going back-and-forth between manic and deadly serious. I'm not sure at what point it happened, but at somewhere between the first and second season I decided that this was the BEST SCI-FI PROGRAM OF ALL TIME. No exaggeration... sorry Star Trek TNG, Firefly, Farscape....

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Human Target cancelled

It was the second episode of Human Target that hooked me, wherein a good portion of the show took place in a commercial airplane flying upside down. If that doesn't sound awesome to you, you may be reading the wrong blog.

The first season was a five-star piece of brilliance. Every episode was a first-rate mini action-movie. In the second season, they messed with the formula, and the show dropped to a miserable four stars.

Majorly disappointed it's been cancelled, and I would recommend the entire 26-episode series to anyone looking to kill a summer dry spell.

Game of Thrones: Season 1, Episodes 3 and 4

I'll try to be a little more spoiler-careful going forward!

Not a whole lot to say about episode 3, there weren't any major events here. We met some of the characters in King's Landing. "Littlefinger" Baelish is pretty great... Varys is probably the most underwhelming casting, as there's nothing about him that screams "the Spider".

And as pictured above, Syrio begins training Arya... she's going to be a scene stealer. I take that back... she already is, since I believe that scene was probably the most satisfying bit in the episode.

Onto episode 4.

Ghost made an appearance! The wolves need better agents.

"I've a tender spot in my heart for cripples, bastards, and broken things." I loved that line from Tyrion. Apparently the producers of the show did as well, since they made it the title of this episode.

Lots more characters are introduced: Theon Greyjoy... who's actually been in the background since the first episode. Samwell Tarly... coming across as even more pathetic than I had imagined him. And Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane. Gregor's character is defined through his brutality in the joust, and a story of cruelty to his brother, Sandor "The Hound"... and while the Hound has been a little more prominent than Theon, it's the first bit of attention he's given in the show as well. At this point, I don't feel like I have enough of these characters form an opinion on the casting. And as I don't recall Theon or the Mountain having a lot to do in the first book, I doubt I'll be able to anytime soon.

Cersei's confrontation with Ned Stark reminded me that I really haven't gotten enough Cersei these last couple of episodes.

The episode ends with a scene featuring Tyrion that was in the original teaser for this show... It was one of two easily recognizable scenes from the book in that trailer, and I'd been looking forward to seeing it in it's entirety. Another brilliant cliffhanger to end the show.

There hasn't been a whole lot of movement with the Targaryens in these last two episodes, but I just have to throw out there that Viserys is another great bit of casting. So many amazing casting choices, I may make up my own ranking once the season is over.

Pepsi Max

I'm a soda junkie. I've tried to quit, but I just can't. So I decided years back that at the very least I would try drinking diet soda. But of course, I hated regular diet Pepsi and diet Coke.

Other diet drinks came and went over the years that were actually bearable to me... diet pepsi vanilla, pepsi jazz. I suppose diet dr pepper was pretty good, relatively speaking, if you like regular dr pepper. I don't.

About a year ago, i noticed that Pepsi had TWO diet products out aside from standard diet... Pepsi One and Pepsi Max. Comparing the ingredient labels, I saw that Max was sweetened with aspartame, while One was sweetened with Splenda. Aspartame is bad, so I went with Pepsi One. Of course, you had to expect that Pepsi wouldn't maintain two alternate diet products forever... and you also have to expect that the one I LIKED would not be the one to survive. But Pepsi Max is fine, too, and oddly enough I found one last Pepsi One in the back of the fridge when doing a little cleaning, and discovered it didn't taste quite as good as Max.

So anyway, my goal has been to stay away from full-sugared sodas. So I would drink Pepsi Max at home, and when I would eat out, stick to diet pepsi as horrible as it is. But a weird think happened... it turns out Pepsi Max was a gateway to diet Pepsi, because I don't dislike the taste anymore. I used to think Diet Pepsi was pretty vile liquid... now if you switched diet for regular on me, I'm not entirely sure I'd notice the difference.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What I'm Playing

So my tv went out, and going back to playing my PS3 on something small just depressed me. Decided to do a couple other things in the meantime.

I went out and bought a copy of Civilization V. Had to hook up through Steam Network to do so, and ended up grabbing Magicka and Mass Effect in the last month. Review of Civ 5 probably coming soon, have only dabbled in the other two.

I also borrowed my roommates neglected DS because I thought it would finally be fun to play a Pokemon game. I started with Leafgreen, blew through it, and I'm now playing Pokemon Emerald.

This last week, I finally got my tv fixed... I had just started Dead Space, so I jumped back into that. I was also playing Fallout: New Vegas... but I'm going to hold off on playing that again because I believe a new patch is around the corner. New Vegas may be the buggiest game I've ever played, but I love it so I endure the bugs.

New to Blogging

Just getting started here, thought this might be a fun way to share some of my thoughts... I grabbed a few recent opinions I'd posted on forums I hang out at to get this rolling. :)

Game of Thrones: Season 1, Episode 2

When I saw in the preview that this would be the episode where Lady was killed, I was kind of apprehensive.

I'd mentioned before that the wolves didn't get a lot of screentime in the first episode relative to what they got in the book. What was lost in that is not only the connection that the reader/viewer has with the wolves, but an understanding of the connection that the Stark children have with the wolves. They felt very key to the story.

And so when Lady's death came... I, as a reader, not only felt the pain of that loss, but also a sense that something had gone horribly wrong here. This wolf had a purpose, and now it's gone. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? It was the single, most significant moment in the book for me, because it shattered all my expectations and left me wondering what would happen next.

I already knew going into this episode was not going to be able to recreate this moment for me, but I feel they did things right building this scene:

Firstly, they managed to squeeze in a scene of Sansa walking Lady early on. Really, I'm glad they managed to squeeze in some kind of connection.

Secondly, Nymeria protecting Arya, and Summer defending Bran.... without these moments, we would have had no reason to care about Lady at the end. I feel like they could have gone just a little farther, and it only would have taken seconds... 1) either giving mention to the fact or showing that after the assassination attempt, Summer stayed by Bran's side, and that's why Catelyn felt safe leaving her son. And 2) showing Ghost's distrust of Tyrion during the scene with Jon... it also would've had the added effect of giving the viewer just a little bit more to chew on in regards to their opinion of Tyrion.

Thirdly... Bran waking up at the moment Lady was killed... I don't recall if Bran woke up at the same time as the book. If he did, the connection was not made as strongly as it was here. But it did establish that there may be a special connection between the Starks and their wolves, and it was a pretty great way to end the show. Bravo.

The other things that stick out in my mind from this episode... enjoyed watching Daenerys gaining confidence over the course of this episode, and Joffrey swinging the sword at Arya caused me to catch my breath. It's rare that they nail a scene just right like that for me.... it's like the scene in Point Break where the guy is trying to shove Keanu's head into spinning lawnmower blades.... I've seen it dozens of times, but each viewing still causes my blood to race.

And Jaime and Cersei are making for an interesting viewing experience, in that they're hard to hate even though they're clearly evil. Cersei, because she's played by the beautiful Lena Headley... her distressed look at the end of the first episode makes me think that if she were my girlfriend and ended up on death row for murdering my own parents, I'd still be there to comfort her. And then Jamie has kind of an evil Han Solo thing going on. I love the weird diversity of the three Lannister siblings.

Game of Thrones: Season 1, Episode 1

Game of Thrones is my favorite book series by far, and so my hopes have been high since I first heard about this show long ago. I gotta say, it hasn't disappointed.

Like many other fans, I found Tyrion to be the most interesting character in the book; I'm glad that there was an actor with the chops of Peter Dinklage to pull off the part.

Arya was another favorite character of mine... it's hard to imagine a girl that young and that small involved in what's to come for her character. Of course, even in the book she seemed too young... but the reading mind matures the character in a way that will be hard to escape when you see her on the screen. I'm sure she'll grow quickly, and taking the long view, it's probably better that we don't have an Arya that looks like she's in her twenties at the end if the show is successful. 

It's interesting that exiled Targaryens had some of the most compelling scenes in this first episode, since the first time I'd read the book I actually considered them a distraction in the early chapters.... I wanted to get back to what was going on in Winterfell. 

And a big part of what made Winterfell interesting in the book was the direwolves, but they barely got any screentime in the first episode. I was confused by this at first, but after thinking about it, it made sense to me.. the wolves didn't really advance the story, and a lot of that character-building stuff had to be sacrificed.

I don't even remember seeing Rickon Stark, and there are still other key players in Winterfell that they haven't had time to "properly introduce" to the audiences yet. So much to tell, so little time. I bet there were a lot of scenes that were filmed and cut, and in the age of Internet, HBO should be throwing those scenes on youtube to connect with fans.

I've always said "watch the movie first, read the book later" when it comes to stuff like this, because otherwise it's hard not to be stung by what got altered or didn't make it to the screen, but thus far i'm very satisfied with what's made it to the screen.

Black Ops

So before PSN went down I was playing black ops... I like playing the 12-18 man games (domination and ground war) primarily because if I suck, i'm less likely to get singled out. On the other hand, I'm actually doing better, surprising finding myself not infrequently in the top three and even in the number one position a couple of times. I finally got my own copy yesterday, and my roommate really likes headquarters games, so he's dragging me out of my safety zone. biggrin.gif

For ground wars, I've been going with the ak47u setup pretty similar to drummer described. For domination games, I've actually ended up going with the M16 with the blue heat scope. It works out good for me both for defending from a safe distance, and is also reasonably fast if I need to fire off shot when running around the map. I also use second chance with my m16 build, because those extra few seconds clinging to life may be all I need to capture the objective.

I'm way more into this then I ever got with CoD4.

What is really killing me is that before the network went down.... I was at 49 1/2 to my first prestige. This outage is really making me insane.

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

So I played Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for about a week. I went with a sword/shield/light armor warrior with restoration magic, basically was going for someone who could do a little of everything. At level seven, I was getting killed. My restoration was all but useless. And then I took a quest were I was warped into a painting where the only way out was to complete the quest, but I was too weak to do so.

Turns out I "levelled wrong", according to some websites I checked out. I could either go back to a much earlier save and try to get back on track, or start a whole new character. Or trade it in towards Fallout New Vegas. I'll be anxiously watching the mail.

Oblivion was another case where, because it's built on the same engine as Fallout 3, it kinda suffered in comparison. It just made me want to play Fallout instead. And incidentally, I was just reading that the next Elder Scrolls game is going to steal a lot of the whole levelling system from the Fallout games. So I'll be looking forward to that, too, at the end of the year.

For Oblivion, I'm very critical of the fact that I could make what should be a perfectly viable build and have it crash and burn. Even if it was a weak choice, a weak build should be playable, IMO.... I should have to go out of my way to make an unplayable character. I'll call this one 2 1/2 stars.