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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Black Hole Satellite "Mysteriously" Reappears

It's a grain of salt. Get it?

After a sudden disappearance Japan's Hitomi satellite is back in sporadic contact.. According to the US Air Force there was no sign of a collision causing the lack of communication. That it's possible a coolant leak or some other on board mechanical failure was responsible.





Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Have I ever mentioned how much I love SMBC?

Cuz I do. So much. Zachary Weinersmith is a like a comedy writer from a utopic future where philosophy and dick jokes are one and the same.

Monday, March 28, 2016

This just in: GTA VI in development.

Also the sky is blue and bears sh*t in the woods.

At least LEGO Batman looks like a solid movie.

No seriously, watch an animated Batman be vastly superior to the theatrical counterpart for like... the third time. Anything that lets Ralph Fiennes be funny is getting money out of me regardless. And don't be calling BVS a "Superman" movie. That's a lie and you know it.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Holy CRAP, The Expanse, you guys...

Update: (So... that was the greatest anti-gravity death I've ever seen.)

I've become a fair weather The Magicians fan, so I thought I'd give The Expanse a look. I wasn't expecting the moon from it. I mean, it's not like there's a space opera out there that's gunning for Game of Thrones quality and I'd somehow missed the boat... is there?

I can't say what I've seen is "great" but it's really good. There's tens of millions of dollars of effects work on display. Enough to make The Magicians (no slouch in the budget department) look like a side bet. Seriously, there should be way more critics at least talking about it. Also, leave it to Johnathan Banks for taking your expectations from years of Mike and obliterating them in 2 minutes flat. I'm gonna have to see this whole thing through now.

They're adapting The Talented Mr. Ripley with the guy who wrote Luthur!

After Hannibal I've warmed to the idea of TV becoming the best place for difficult storytelling. You know, envelope pushing stuff only movies were capable of a lifetime ago. Seeing as how balls out amazing Fuller's Hannibal was, I'm confident Neil Cross can accomplish some equally interesting work. Luthur was an English police procedural that dabbled heavily in unique serial killers and penny dreadful histrionics. Brilliantly so.

If you haven't seen Matt Damon's swing at the character, I'd rectify that situation immediately.

I'm afraid you have to play this, Dave.*

*That's a HAL reference, Mr. Ferber at gamesofchance.blogspot can do as he pleases.

I'm loving the Automatron pack for Fallout 4. Even with a small $10 expansion, Bethesda knows exactly what that's worth to it's players. Leave the cosmetic stuff to the modders and instead focus on only what a developer with access to great programmers and decent voice actors can do. But enough about the pack's solid 4 hour quest and mountains of robot parts you can now mix'n'match... let's talk about it's 8-bit arcade game.

Because there's a KILLER 8-bit arcade game hidden in one of the new dungeons and I've spent at least 40 minutes playing it. Is it worth $10? No... but a shiny new silver dollar for the man or woman that mods it into the loading screen for me!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Soooo much DARKSOULS.

"Less than a moooooooonth." Is what I hear whispered in my ear by my dead ancestors seconds before I wake. "The press seems really intoooooo iiiiiiiiit."

There's an hour and a half of new footage of Dark Souls 3 I'm trying really hard not to watch available. Maybe making a post about it will help me avoid it... somehow.

Monday, March 21, 2016

I don't want to fight anymore.

Fallout 4... we've had our ups and downs. I'm finally falling back in love. I realized I focused on the wrong things. The main story is never what you do best and I shouldn't have expected an Obsidian game from you. I think I'm ready to review you.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Well... damn.

Is not what I said when my best run in the 2 years I've owned Risk of Rain crashed on me. I had been lucky and quick enough to make it to the last stage. A feat I had achieved for only the second time and I've played this sucker a ton. I've never been more angry at a glitch in my life. I get controller breaking rage now. I'm way too Scottish (cheap) to ever actually do it, but I can certainly see the appeal.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Magicians Review: A Puff of Smoke.

Why aren't you smiling?

We're about 3 quarters of the way through the first season and the fact I've kept with it should tell you enough. I've seen tons of shows I've never felt strongly enough to write about and I've managed to sit through 9 episodes of the best new show on Sci-Fi in... Christ, almost 12 years. But don't let that impression fool you into thinking this is on the same level as the golden years of BSG. A gritty and grounded reboot of Battle Star Galactica?! How could that not be a hunk of hot garbage? Yet that show stormed out of the gate with a fire in it's belly ready to make the critical community eat every ounce of their antipathy. The Magicians... does not.

It feels like the work of talented artists that have just never done something like this before. Muddled plot lines, confused character arcs, and a central magical school the show is so disinterested in telling stories about they might as well have just cut it. Nearly nothing, nearly nothing, of interest or import has happened at Brakebills. It's a backdrop the central scooby gang uses to investigate the season long mystery and hardly anything else. In fact, the most involved magical study in the season thus far took place at an entirely different institution. I've never read the books the show is based on, but could you imagine Harry Potter if Rowling loathed writing about Hogwarts? It's really off putting.

Magic Sex! (...on basic cable)

But once you're done sifting through stilted set ups and occasionally plodding dialogue, there's plenty to look forward to. The main character, a grad student who is almost certainly on the autism spectrum somewhere, is played wonderfully by Jason Ralph. It's damn brave to have a protagonist this broken and hard to watch. You've never seen anything like it unless you're a community fan. And in that case, you've never seen Abed taken this seriously.

The female lead played by Stella "Holy sh*t where did she come from?!" Maeve is just as refreshing. Her arc as Julia is separate from Quentin. She has to make do with a magic school on the wrong side of the tracks. Which again, is so much more interesting than Brakebills it's embarrassing. She also has her fair share of baggage and she makes some pretty cutthroat decisions to stay in the magic game. Her story is always a welcome vacation from Quentin and the gang's hand wringing over Fillory.

Now what's Fillory? Narnia, pretty much. It's the real reason you're tuning in and I'm fairly certain it's the real reason the books were written. You couldn't exactly hang your hat on something that sits so closely to the beloved series. So the story pretends it's really about Quentin's adventures at Brakebills. The way Fillory becomes a stand in for any children's fantasy series is brilliant because it harnesses your own nostalgia to say some pretty impactful stuff about arrested development in adulthood.

The long, winding, and over saturated road leading up to the show's tragic villain is totally worth it. Sh*t gets real in Fillory, guys. But it takes far too long for the main thrust of the story to reveal itself. Someone should seriously edit the show down to 8 great episodes instead of 13 mildly disappointing ones. But that's not up to me.

I haven't talked much about the other students at Brakebills because this is where I start saying nasty things about good actors. I hate this part, but here we go:

Left to right: Julia, Margo, Elliot, Quentin, Alice, Penny.

Penny, the proto-bully, vacillates wildly from unprovoked jerkwad to Quentin's confidant buddy at least once an episode. Arjan Gupta does the absolute best he can with his disaster of a character and even shows real comedy chops when the script lets him. He's forced to call Quentin a nerd several times and you can hear how much Arjan hates those lines.

Alice Quinn, Hermione clone #47-D, has yet to surprise me at all. Olivia Dudley has a relaxing screen presence and a shockingly wide variety of pained facial expressions. But that's about the only thing her character is allowed to do. I can't remember the last time I felt so sorry for an actor handcuffed to a stereotype. Oh right, and she ends up being Q's love interest. Again, the actors are responsible for selling it as the script just sort of snaps it's fingers and makes them love each other. It's the kind of creative decision that wears you down instead of winning you over.

Which brings me to Elliot and Margo. An eurudite/pan-sexual/goddamn hilarious couple who are the real supporting cast heroes. They play into your expectations for the privileged villains who get what's coming to them; but you end up falling in love with their fabulous bacchanalian lifestyle. Elliot even gets a little serious acting opportunity towards the tail end of the 9 episodes I've seen.

So... yeah. I'm real split on this show. It has a good story worth telling, but it was a draft or 2 away from being truly exceptional. The vast majority of the cast is terrific. Kudos to you, The Magicians, for not stuffing the roles with marginally talented underwear models. There are shows out there in your demo who do not share your restraint. And while there's a f**king great villain to be found if you stick it out, there's really no excuse for it's amateurish rising action. If you tuned out, never to return, after the 3rd episode's howler of a finale... I completely understand.

If you can make it past episode 5, you'll probably become a fan. Me? I admire it from afar. I respect the things it does well but the mounting number of rookie mistakes leave me cold. Will it be one of those shows that kills it in season 2 and never looks back? I certainly have my fingers crossed.

For what it's worth, episode 9 is a showstopper.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Walton Goggins in a sweater vest and bowtie.

I've never had strong feelings for Danny Mcbride one way or the other, but Vice Principles looks killer. There's a reason I've never tried to get into teaching and it looks like this show has the brass knobs necessary to show what a South Carolina public school is actually like. It's like a giant daycare center for hormonal sociopaths and I am not about that life... just yet.

But you've got my favorite character actor finally getting a meaty comedic role? Yes. Hell. Yes!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

New cell phone case

Doesn't it look like I have a lazy eye? Kinda?

I don't know what I expected out of the "tough" RedBubble phone case but I'll tell you this, I sure ain't throwing out my old otter box. Though it still looks and feels slick as hell. It's a lot thinner than the other case and it feels... wrong in my pocket. I'll get over it.

Friday, March 11, 2016

No wait... I'M the asshole.
Oh... oh GOD!

I was having trouble with XCOM 2. My frendly neighborhood 2k help support told me to dust and then change my resolution to keep my CPU fan from whining. For one, it sure as hell wasn't the DUST in my machine. How dare they suggest I don't take a small army of q-tips to my rig every 6 months? It's not fun.

So I kept at em' for 5 different requests. They said there wasn't nothing they could do, not even let me roll back to ver-1.0. Which I still think is sh***y, but never mind that, because putting it on "Borderless Window" mode has kept my cpu within... reasonable throttling episodes. In other words it wasn't at 100% for more than a second at a time. Which was a problem.

So they were right. I was wrong. It's not an amazing performance patch, but the base cross section isn't stuck at 45 frames anymore. That's nice. Close up fighting shots aka "the best part of the game" are still a crapshoot performance wise.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Oh look, the greatest branching narrative of all time is under $4.00

The "game" of Alpha Protocol isn't terrible... it's just cheap as cheap can be. Same with the animation, it looks like guards are walking on conveyor belts. There's quality to the work, it's just really hard to appreciate. But the story is so good, it's honestly the best espionage story in gaming, that the actual game doesn't matter as much.

I can appreciate people who didn't like it and I can understand people that absolutely despise it. But it's under $4.00. It's worth the gamble. Tell Tale still has a lot to learn from it.

The Xcom 2 patch is out!

Come on.... come on.... this better f-in work.

*2 hours later*

Sh*t, SH*T!!! This is so much worse than before. My CPU is groaning like a gale force wind and the frame rate hasn't improved at all. Man... I am bummed out.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Everyone refuses to make eye contact in the new Daredevil poster.

This is a show that shouldn't be as good as it is. It isn't interested in converts. If super heroes (even grounded ones) turn you off... well this ain't Ibsen. But it's damn proud of what it is, which is a show with great action and design choices. I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, March 7, 2016

I decided against the poster.

I was gonna frame that Bioshock poster. I was gonna hang it above my bed. But I chickened out a bit. Gaming has always been something I didn't like wearing on my sleeve. I'm always cautious about any unspoken statement I could make. I'm a mumbler and people have a nasty habit of misunderstanding things I say.

But I love nerd sh*t! So much. I have a lovely claptrap figurine atop my PC tower right now. I have a shirt that's my favorite background gag of all time. A shirt that uses Bioshock to make fun of the Big Brothers-Big Sisters logo. A shirt that just looks like the Las Vegas sign.

Things that have an inherent beauty or sense of humor that most people could appreciate. Because if I make a statement with things I wear or carry around, I want the right message sent. I'll be a gaming cultural ambassador. Inviting, not off putting. Plus, I've found it's a great way to be able to talk about New Vegas!

So yes. Borderlands phone case today... poster I'll have to explain to future lady friends, later.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Thursday, March 3, 2016

I hope House of Cards is good this year... animated GIF

It has it's ups and downs, but damn if I haven't seen all of it. All Netflix is to me this days is a subscription to Parks and Rec and American Dad. I kinda need one or the other to sleep if I don't have a book that's any good. It's hard to turn down Kevin Spacey at the worst of times. If the story isn't worth it, the performances usually are.

That's enough for me sometimes. An actor showcase.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Allright Chance, I'll see your Iron Sky...

I never knew about President Palin, I'm totally on board now.

...and raise you Southbound:

It's trying to get into the neo-horror anthology club, but quite frankly, it's a cut above those guys. It's way more Twilight Zone than Saw and I've already seen it twice. None of the segments dragged, at least for me, and there's a stone cold masterpiece in the middle of it. Plus my favorite comedian cameos as a middle aged satanist. It'll scratch your horror itch good.