Monday, November 30, 2009

Wanting Things: A Month Behind

I don't have L4D2 yet. Instead I live in my imaginary land where it's being released in a month and I actively ignore people talking about it. Generally by putting my hands over my ears and humming loudly to drown out their emanating sense of satisfaction.

So understandably I come across a few issues when I find nice L4D and L4D2 merchandise online. Covering my ears does no good and covering my eyes means I can't look at the merchandise that does exist my imaginary land. Luckily, The Valve Store has done me (and others like me) a favour and separated the not-yet existent merchandise from the stuff that does exist. If you follow.

Actually I found the store while looking for a shirt for my brother (Companion Cube!), and then was oddly surprised to find L4D wares. Because I'm not greatly intelligent, and because who would think that games made by the same company would share the same webstore? Really?

Anyway, there are two tees I'm quite fond of in the store. I Hate Vans and I Hate The Woods. Especially I Hate The Woods.

To anyone unfamiliar with the game, first, congrats on making it this far reading my rambling about something you have no idea about. Francis, an ex-con with an attitude, has a great deal of voice clips devoted to things he hates. There's a video on youtube of a song made from his hates. I like Francis because in the same position, I'd probably be acting the same way, with a touch of Zoey's "this only happens in the movies" attitude, and then a heaping pile of Church Guy's paranoid turning on everyone. Because I'm helpful like that.

And to those who don't understand those references: I'd be the "Game over, man! Game over!" guy from Aliens.

Helpful in a crisis.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sci-Fi (Almost) Sunday: The Core

First, I must confess, I have seen The Core before. Twice, in fact.

My first viewing of The Core was probably in 2004/5, a year or two after it had been released in cinemas and flopped incredibly. The television was being particularly uninteresting and this was the best they had to offer. The main memory I have of it was falling asleep half-way through out of boredom. Not exactly a great endorsment.

The second time I saw it was sometime in 06/07. In science class.
Everyone knows, watching a movie in class is always good, even when they're just boring educational nonsense, because sitting in a dark room, the teacher doesn't know (and usually doesn't care) if you're paying attention or not. I thought that seeing as I didn't see the ending last time, I should pay attention to parts of it. Plus our teacher said that this way we could learn about the different levels of the core of the earth. To this day, I couldn't tell you anything remotely sciency I learned from watching The Core. In fact, scientists voted The Core to have the worst basis in science for a science fiction movie.


So it must have lots of other cool stuff to make up for the complete disregard for science, right? ...Not really. As far as disaster movies go, The Core is strong on the doomsday, but rather light on the explosions. The acting is decent, but not even Two-Face and Hilary Swank, I mean, Aaron Eckhart and Hilary Swank can make this movie any more than bearable. There's also "the guy who was in The Devil Wears Prada" (Stanley Tucci) as the movie's annoying guy, "the guy who's been in a dozen of my favourite tv shows" (DJ Stanley) as the computer nerd, and "that French guy from all those French films" (Tchéky Karyo) as the weapons specialist.

Two-Face talking about sciencey things. Next he plays a trumpet.

That's right, weapons. Because you see, the core of the earth is said to be made of molten metal, which spins around and around and around and keeps the planet doing whatever it is that keeps us alive, until one day it stops. So the plan is that they build a ship to take them to the core of the planet, so they can detonate some nukes to get it running again. Very sciencey. They conveinently skip through the 3 month building process, explaining it all in very simple terms, so in the end none of it really makes sense. Eventually they get there after lots of stuff goes wrong and lots of people die and they save the planet! Which is such a surprise.

Ultimately you're going to have to see it for yourself, just to witness the complete disregard they have for even basic science principles. And that's what makes it watchable, in the end. It's so bad it's bearable. Watching them trying to explain the vacuum inside the earth filled with amethyst is hilarious, and much fun can be brought from guessing who dies first (and next). And don't forget the whales (you'll have to discover that on your own).

And you thought I was joking.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wanting Things: The Dark Defender

'Tis the season.
For material gratification.

You know, Christmas. I've been doing my rounds of webstores looking for interesting gifts for people. Mostly I just end up bookmarking things I'd like to buy for myself. Such as this Dark Defender t-shirt. If you haven't heard of the Dark Defender, don't worry. It's one of those fake pop-culture inside television/movie references. In the second series of Dexter, the case of the Bay Harbour Butcher is turned into a comic book by a man who, if my memory serves me correctly, gets his head bludgeoned in with a snow-globe figurine of Aquaman (I think) because of an internet flame war. I even found a screen cap showing both the poster and the snow-globe (it's next to the yellow D card).

I wasn't aware that Showtime had a webstore until tonight. But sure enough, they do. There's actually some pretty neat stuff there. Along with some massively overpriced, barely-related-to-their-programming stuff. Worth a look though. Especially if you plan on buying a certain person a certain t-shirt...

Monday, November 2, 2009

An Overall Good Time

A posthumous Happy Halloween to you all.

Due to technical difficulties, this will be a long, mostly text based post, where I ramble on about what happened on Halloween. If you wish to see the few pictures, scroll down towards the bottom. If not, feel free to read. Or do something productive with your time. Up to you, really.

Waking up on the morning of the 31st, it was a warm and muggy day. I'd kicked off the sheets some time in the early AM, too hot and restless to sleep. For days they had been changing the forecasts. Overcast with cool winds. Hot and sunny. Thunderclouds and rain. I was worried that it would be a repeat of the day before - hot and humid all day then rain pouring in come nightfall. Stepping outside my prediction seemed likely, with clouds overhead and a fairly oppressive heat. Luckily the main area that needed work done was indoors, so I didn't need to leave the house for a few hours.

The morning was spent removing almost everything from the living room, hallway and bathroom. All personal effects, knick-knacks and excess items disappeared into other rooms, light switches were covered with tape, doors sealed off with caution tape and Do Not Enter signs and furniture covered with white sheets. The bags of Halloween themed candy and bottle upon bottle of drink arrived and were hidden away in the fridge. The projector arrived and I found out that my year of light and sound tech classes had gone to waste when I was unable to connect speakers > playstation > projector. In my defence the speakers are possibly older than my mother, but still, it was quite a stumbling block. The brother was called out and set to fix it. He did. The cute cupcakes are various party foods arrived, and as we put them in the outdoor fridge we discovered it was just about cool enough to go outside.

Down to the shed we went. Up came the paintings, a second set of speakers (which didn't work any better than the pair we had), and more caution tape to wrap around the outside of the house. Back down we went, and dragged out all the wooden benches, and placed them around the path. Hot and sticky work. They look rather easy to carry. One person at each end, lift and carry. They're not. We collapsed back inside and debated hanging positions for the paintings. The portrait of his dead wife went next to his desk. Black and white figures went on the walls in the living room while creepy magpies were hung down the hallway, watching you pass, with one watching over your shoulder while you wash your hands in the bathroom. A bag of a hundred tea lights were opened and distributed in clusters in the room, with two dozen going in jars to hang outside. Others were placed on concrete tiles along the path, to be lit moments before guests arrived.

And then the neighbours came home.
As far as neighbours go, I have it pretty good. We live on a small street with no through road, and at present there are only four houses on the street. On the corner live a fairly large family who keep to themselves. Next door is my step-uncle and aunt and their daughter. Across from us have yet to finish building but are old friends of the family. However at the end of the street live the family that everyone will say hi to but don't really want to associate with. You know the type. Turns out November 1st was their eldest sons birthday, and they were celebrating the day before. And so the mob arrived. Last time there was a party there the police had to be called after they broke into our neighbour's shed. With a great part of the party planned to be outside, we had some decisions to make. Ultimately we chose to be non-confrontational. Inside the party went. We couldn't risk having them attempt to crash our party, nor did we want to be stuck outside in case the rain finally made an appearance.

It was a good decision, in the end. The police made an appearance only briefly, making sure nothing was going awry, and nothing went missing from our yard - something I was especially afraid of seeing as The Gardener was easy to take or destroy. The rain clouds, while still threatening rain, held out till midnight, and provided us with an early dark. An hour before guests arrived we scrambled to get ready and I briefly snuck out to snap some pictures of the set up. They were wonderful pictures. I say that safe in the knowledge that no one will ever be able to challenge me. Because they no longer exist. Three were recovered from the memory card. It does make you acknowledge how much you rely on photography to help you remember events. My main regret is that I can't show you all the effort that went into the party. The guests seemed to appreciate it though. And that's what's important, right?

The projector idea was a hit. Moved indoors along with the rest of the party, we pinned a white sheet to the blinds and played guitar hero, which was especially welcomed by the boys. A skewed gender ratio had them keeping to themselves, but thankfully the competitiveness of the girls got them playing together, with our effort at playing System of a Down's B.Y.O.B. on expert rewarded after we completed it on the third try. GH was such a hit that in the end we completely forgot that we planned to watch a movie just before midnight. Instead we sat around and did... party things, I guess. At several points, people moved outside to sample the cool air and for the most part the neighbours left us alone. The costumes were great, with my personal favourite being a milk maid, complete with milk jugs handing off a pole slung across her shoulders. I ended up being jealous of my brother's costume, because he ended up looking rather snazzy as Richmond from the IT Crowd. But I win in the end as I made it and did his make-up. My costume was rather... light, for me. Wearing a toga/dress and laurel wreath, I was Melpomene, the ancient Grecian muse of tragedy. Which, while sounding cool, means I was the patron saint of plays.

I had planned on doing a little slideshow of pictures from the party, but unfortunately they were also lost those along with the set up pictures. So very angry at my camera right now. The three pictures that were saved were:

Me doing my brother's make-up. (blurry)
And no, I'm not wearing a wig. I have blonde hair. Lets move on.

My brother again, pre make-up. (also blurry)

And The Gardener in his raincoat. (not blurry!)

Clean-up was relegated to the morning, and so those of us to lazy to go home crashed in the loungeroom, under the condition that they would have to help clean up. Breakfast was a very healthy meal of leftover Halloween candy and soft drink, of which, two days after the party, there is still plenty of. After the main cleaning was done, we all retreated to the lounge to play a nice calming game of Left 4 Dead. So all in all, it was nice. It's just my camera and the neighbours who couldn't made things nicer by not being quite so annoying.